I was born in the early ‘90s, but I was raised in the early ‘00s, a time where conservative ideals about sex and gender seemed to reign. While the twenty- and thirty-somethings of the era were being “liberated” by Carrie Bradshaw, those of us who were a bit too young to buy our own HBO subscription were many times raised on abstinence-only education and Judy Blume novel as our only outlet for sexual exploration and knowledge.
As a product of this system and generation, it’s no surprise to me that many people my age find themselves pretending to believe in antiquated gender roles, hiding behind sexist and misogynistic comments on social media, but simultaneously talking about sex behind closed doors. We swat people on the nose for dressing “inappropriately” and turn around and sext our boyfriends and girlfriends. It’s maddening. But I was no different.
So, if you told 15-year-old me that I would be writing very explicit columns about sex and relationships, pulling very heavily from personal experiences, and fighting with all of my might to allow people from all gender expressions and sexualities to be loud about theirs as well, I would have thought you were crazy/had no idea what you were talking about.
I’ve never been super keen on talking about sex except with friends. I shuddered a little during health in high school and wouldn’t watch movies that contained nudity with other people around. I definitely was a dreaded conservative in high school, shaming other ladies for daring to have consensual sex all while I was no angel either.
But, once I got to college, I got a lot more comfortable—joining Vagina Monologues, learning more about feminist theory and just generally being around college kids who bone a lot. And then, I got really comfortable, and I kind of couldn’t stop.
Still, I didn’t have a pipe dream of being the next Carrie Bradshaw, even when taking over my column. I was still pretty scared about people judging me or doubting me when I began writing it. I wasn’t trying to make any political statement in the beginning. I didn’t really know why I was doing it.
It turned out I was kind of right to be scared. People aren’t so accepting of sex advice from someone who doesn’t quite fit the mold of the desirable woman. A bigger-than-average, self-identified ugly woman who has been single for much of her college career is a far-cry from SJP. I can’t imagine the hate I would have faced if I was queer, a woman of color or disabled (think about how many people writing about sex fit into any of those frameworks!).
So thats where I found my reason to write about it. I found it a little crazy that only attractive, polite people were allowed to write about sex. I saw so many people being frustrated and uninformed and angry about sex and I wanted to fix it. I felt myself shaming people in casual conversations and I wanted to fix it.
And I did it for much more selfish reasons too. I wanted to find myself, I wanted to become comfortable talking about sex so I could be more comfortable having it. And it’s something that I encourage everyone to do.
I’ve evolved from simply writing my column to hosting a podcast, writing for this lovely site and basically being a bastion of knowledge for my friends and acquaintances.
I don’t believe that staying silent about sex is good for anyone involved. Whether it is your personal experiences or simply sharing news that you learn, it’s important to raise your voice. I do it for all of those who were 14-year-old me, afraid to say no to having sex with her boyfriend and being cheated on constantly, and for those who are 21-year-old me, with her commitment issues and first-date anxieties.
I’m not stopping writing about sex anytime soon and I don’t think you should stop reading about it anytime soon either.
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