As strange as this may seem coming from a Sexpert, when I was younger I despised talking about sex or anything related to it. I was that kid who clapped her hands over her ears and sang as loudly as possible at the first hint of “the birds and the bees” talk from my mother. Soon after, I told my fifth grade teacher I had a migraine in a failed attempt to avoid a similar health talk at school. As I got older I began to emerge from the anti-sex bubble where I had previously resided. By middle school I could tell a dirty joke with only the slightest feeling of discomfort and enjoyed playing the “penis” game where you replace a word in a movie title with the word penis (my 7th grade favorite: Alice in Penis-land). Still, even talking with my friends about making out with a boy made my insides squirm—not in a good way.
As I progressed through high school, I became involved in a serious relationship that lasted for four years. With this relationship came experience, and while my experiences never made me feel personally guilty, I was too nervous or ashamed to ever discuss them with my close friends. I never thought there was an issue with this silence until I realized there was so much I didn’t know about sex; sure there was always the risk of babies and some really nasty virus called HIV, but I truly wasn’t nearly as informed about the decisions I was making as I should have been. Then came college.
Suddenly I realized it was actually okay to talk about sex. Information came flooding in as I talked with my roommate, floormates, friends and Sexperts on everything related to sex. Things with my high school boyfriend fell through, but as I became more and more informed about the factors that should influence my sexual choices, I wasn’t nearly as nervous about being single in college. I knew my right to consensual sex, the risks I would face and the fun I could have. While I never got into the whole casual sex thing, I don’t look down on those who are.
Last spring I went through Sexperts training. It is impossible to describe how liberating it was be surrounded by people whose mission was to facilitate discussion about sex and sexual health. I learned more than I thought I would, and, a few months into the term when I met a new boy, I had enough information to make an informed decision about what I wanted in the relationship. Being able to talk openly about sexuality and sexual health with my boyfriend has made the relationship not only incredibly fun, but healthy for both of us. It’s been a long, odd journey from the faking-a-migraine ten year old to the liberated nineteen year old I am today. Talking openly about sex has made me more comfortable with myself and allowed me to make healthier (and more fun) decisions within my relationship.