I’ve traveled down memory lane back to my University dorm and wrote out a bunch of memories. There are now 4 essays posted on my If Not Now When publication under the Sexuality tab about my coming-of-age lessons in sex and sexuality.
If this isn’t me pushing comfort zones then I don’t know what is! 😛
Your discomfort does not inhibit my creativity.
I decided to cross-post the newest essay here on my blog for you to read in case you cannot access the Medium platform. I know they have a quota if you’re not a member or subscriber. Ask Ashley to explain to you, I’m still confused despite best efforts on her part to drill it into my head. (Thanks, friend) ❤
If I get a chance to put the other essays on here later, I will. Part 1 is about my first exposure to sex in my residence (dorm) during my first couple of years, part 2 gave me my first glimpse into mutual lust by observing other couples and my first exposure to a bj (ack!), and part 3 might make you cringe because uninvited oral sex happened and I liked it. (Consent was unheard of back in those days… ugh.)
So, if you’re a relative of mine or squeamish about these topics, click away. You Have Been Warned. 😀
Otherwise, enjoy. I look forward to your comments.
Learning sex (part 4)
In adequate sex education in high school
During my high school years in the mid-1980s, I yearned to talk to someone about the fun aspects of sex, but there was no one. Most people in my orbit were uncomfortable with the topic. It wasn’t something people debated over lunch, for instance. Not like today, where everyone hurls every private thought into the internet abyss…
I remember an awkward health class in grade 11.
My high school invited a nurse to give us a sex education lesson. I thought, great, we’re finally going to learn something. But first, there was a form to sign by a parent to allow this to happen. If a parent disagreed with exposing their 17-year-old teenager to sex education by a health care professional, they could sign a waiver and allow the student to miss that class.
My mom signed the form.
The nurse was younger than middle age and probably didn’t have children of her own. I have no way of knowing if this is true. It’s just a thought I had at the time.
As far as her approach to teaching teenage girls about sex was concerned, well let’s just call it inadequate.
I found her discomfort in front of the class off-putting and strange. She was a medical professional in female reproductive health, a person we should have looked up to for accurate, not embellished information. Her job was to describe and educate us on how our bodies change during adolescence, what it meant when we felt a certain way, point out safe and adequate protection from pregnancy and STDS, that sort of thing.
She was clueless. She didn’t know how to talk to teenagers, looked flustered and embarrassed, and spent too much time consulting textbooks and diagrams. Her lesson was clinical and boring.
She didn’t even come close to addressing masturbation, homosexuality (which was just becoming a household name when the AIDS epidemic hit), sex for pleasure instead of procreation, what boys go through during adolescence, or consent. Those were the topics she should have addressed.
Can you imagine the uproar this would have caused during the 80s?
Incidentally, I never heard the word consent in relation to sex until the #metoo movement happened decades later.
The nurse began her lesson by handing out a list of questions we were not allowed to ask: nothing personal about her or ourselves, no crude or derogatory terms, and stay on track with the outline in the handout.
I don’t remember looking at my classmates. It felt embarrassing to be in this class and I figured I was the only one who was inexperienced in sexual matters, so eye contact with the pretty girls certainly wasn’t something I wanted. The nurse’s discomfort made me more uncomfortable as well. The vibe in the classroom was quiet and cool, with an air of disinterest. I think most of us just wanted to get it over with so we could leave.
There were no boys in the room.
It didn’t take long for me to tune her out. The diagram with the Fallopian tubes didn’t exactly capture my interest. I left that class knowing nothing new about female sexuality.
No wonder I ended up in a co-ed University dorm with no knowledge or experience about sex.
It was much later, well past having babies myself, when I came to realize I really wanted to know what it feels like to be hunted and desired by a man. I don’t mean to imply that I didn’t have that before I partnered up and started a family; there was the usual meat-market behaviour in bars and nightclubs, and I had several long- and short-term lovers. Some of those men (boys) took the lead and romanced me a little bit.
However, most times, the feeling didn’t appear to be mutual. There were men in University and my work life after graduation who desired me and pursued me a little, but I didn’t feel the same way about them. Sometimes, it went the other way, where I felt all distracted and lustful, but the men weren’t interested.
I often thought about the ‘lust and love’ I observed (and wrote about here) with those two couples I met in University, wondering if it was ever going to happen to me. It took a lot of research into myself to discover what made me tick sexually, which was tricky since there was little dialogue with anyone in my social circle. Other sources weren’t easily attainable, either. I mean, the library censored the nitty gritty of the kind of sex I wanted to know about, and the romance novels bored me to death.
The internet years later was much more helpful than Anais Nin was when I was 17. And her books were not present in my libraries; I discovered her in a book store.
I always knew on some level I needed a foundation of friendship before I could evolve to the next level and include sex. There were several factors that played a role: timing, equal give and take, desire to nurture, and mutual intent. Those were the elements I needed and wanted to feel safe in an evolving relationship. Without those elements, I guarded myself and wasn’t able to to drop my inhibitions. Plus the desire to pursue something beyond a one one-night stand, known as a hook-up today, needed to be mutual.
It wasn’t always mutual.
Of course, there were a few missed opportunities where I might have learned about sex and lust had I given myself a chance. But because I didn’t feel lust for some of the men who desired me, I didn’t allow to open myself up to the experiences. Mutual lust remained elusive.
There was another scenario: I fell hard for a couple of guys and lured them to having sex with me. They both did, but I put in all the work; the pining, the chasing, the convincing. I even followed a guy to the Bahamas once and spent the afternoon making out and fooling around with him. He was interested in the sex (of course he was, it was easy for him) but there was no other connection between us. I know today we were misaligned, I suffered a case of infatuation and, he was a two-timing asshole.
When I finally had sex with these men, it didn’t feel right after. In one case, it didn’t even happen at all, despite the rented hotel room and all the anticipation. It left me confused and deflated — what happened to all that sexual energy I felt during the pining and chasing? Why didn’t my body respond the way it did during my fantasies?
I know today that the mutual desire, steeped in lust, wasn’t there. The men saw an easy opportunity to get laid. For me, the hope for a connection on multiple levels, after sex happened, didn’t materialize with them.
I was in my early to mid 20s.
Thank you for reading.
Personal update: I’m off to the airport, possibly in a boat due to all the rain, to pick up my mom and my sister. 🙂