After my Gungor-inspired post about the right time for sexual initiation I was surprised to see how many of my friends were ready to discuss this topic. Who knew all it takes to have so many fascinating sex talks was a (quite personal at times) blog post! If only I had known this years ago…
Anyway, an interesting though occurred to me during these conversations: my non-dogmatic answer of “take as much time as you need” can be misunderstood as “the later the better”. Hell, I even used the word “postpone” in the title!
What I meant can be put in just three words: you do you. No one in the world knows better when you’re ready to start having sex than yourself (I will contradict this statement in the next post, don’t worry…), be it your parent (…we’ll get to that), partner or authority (including religious) – no, only you can know that. That’s what I wanted to convey in my previous post, but somehow I only focused on the “later” side of the argument. If you’re not ready, take as much time as you need, even if it’s longer that everyone around you says you should. Really, I only recognized while writing that even the wedding night might be too soon for some (and that it’s OK). No pressure from your surroundings in that matter is acceptable. You do you.
I fear though that focusing on the “later” part might have sounded as if I’m advocating abstinence for as long as possible and even judge those who feel ready earlier. This post comes partly from me wanting to underline that it most definitely is not so.
While I myself started way too early (at age of not quite 17), it was only too early for me. For my own good. I was just too immature (and, let’s be honest, horny) to realize that. But, funny story, that was with someone even younger than me who was also already pretty sexually active and experienced. She started at an even earlier age, but at the same time was very mature for her years. I don’t know if mature enough to start having sex when she did – that’s not for me to judge – but I’m pretty sure her early introduction didn’t screw her up as much as mine has me.
So, here you have it: if you feel ready at an earlier age – and I mean ready in the definition I gave in the previous post: mature enough to neither hurt someone or get hurt (or, as one of my interlocutors put it, when you’re ready to take responsibility for the consequences) – then say it with me: you do you.
Yet the sex talks also made me aware that sometimes it makes sense not to wait too long. That’s because of various medical or psychological conditions that may either remain undiscovered until very late or even develop during the time of abstinence. Maybe even be caused by it. I knew of some, but really had no idea how common they are (like vaginismus, for example). No one really knows that though – women least of all, and this affects them the most – as the research is scarce, as is of the whole topic of women’s sexuality (thankfully there are initiatives like OMG Yes which try to fill this gap and defeat the taboos). The reason for this lack of general knowledge is clear if you realize how even learning yourself, your own body, pleasure and desires is frowned upon by our religion-ridden culture, even though there is absolutely no non-dogmatic reason (especially for women, as for guys they can always cite some “waste of resources” bullshit). This is yet another taboo our civilization needs to break, so, I guess, go ahead and you do you?
It seems reasonable for me – and take this with a grain of salt, as I’m neither a woman nor a psychologist, or a doctor of any kind for that matter – the longer sexual initiation is postponed and the less you know about yourself, the harder it may get when it happens. Specific upbringing, peer pressure, contradicting cultural expectations (eg. trying to find balance between being perceived as a “prude” and a “slut”), unrealistic body image pushed by media (including porn industry), the whole Pandora’s box of sexual trauma, other reasons I didn’t even think of – they can all add up with time and cause sex when it happens to be unpleasant, painful, damaging even. Add to it a pinch of common yet dreadful experiences with terribly bedside-mannered doctors (it’s unbelievable how disastrous a rude, inconsiderate or even straight up gaslighting gynecologist can be to a young and fragile patient) and a tablespoon of religion (which is a big deal in my country) and you have an explosive mix of anguish born of shame and suppression.
This is why sex education is so important. This is why the taboos around women’s sexuality must be torn down. For the sake of all men, women and children of current and coming generations. For the sake of my own daughter, who already starts to ask questions which I don’t want to answer with lies and omission. I want her to have a safe, happy and satisfying sex life when she’s decides she’s ready for it.
And while we’re on that – didn’t I promise to contradict some statements? Seeing as this post is long enough on its own, I’m gonna have to save that for yet another one. This might actually turn out alright for this blog, seeing as this topics sends some traffic my way 🙂
PS. I realized I used the words “children”, “sex” and “traffic” in one post, so – hello there, all the FBIs of the world! How are you doing?