I’m still learning sex…at forty-two…because, let’s be honest, there’s a lot to learn, and I’m not about to claim expertise on a subject so vast and deep. That’s probably why my sex blog has lasted longer than any other I’ve started over the years: there’s simply a never-ending well of things to find out and share about sex.

It begins when we’re young. We learn from what our parents tell us…or sometimes more from what they don’t. Maybe we learn a few things from our friends (some of which might be true). And then we fill in the blanks with our suppositions and fears and expectations. Schools jump in and try to scare the crap out of us, at least here in the US, where, for the most part, the emphasis is still on abstinence and STDs. That was my experience. I learned about masturbation on my own and then began perfecting it with information from a girlfriend. By the time I was 12 I knew exactly how to get myself off, even though I didn’t know the technical terminology for any of it. I just knew how to make myself feel good, and, because I didn’t know any better, I didn’t feel an ounce of shame about it. I also had the puberty lessons at school, and the reproduction lessons, and the STD lessons meant to scare us out of even looking at the opposite sex. I also only learned about heterosexual sex. Even though I’d already had a few indefinably close relationships with girlfriends, I didn’t quite realize I was bi-curious because I didn’t know it was an option. I didn’t have the language for it, so I guess I couldn’t be it…fully.

The first conversation I remember having with my parents about sex? I was probably 9 or 10 and we got into the truck, me in the middle like normal. My dad started the truck and my mom asked me, “So what do you know about sex?” I was trapped. And I answered, “Enough, I guess.”

There was also the time I was reading Seventeen Magazine and I came across the word masturbation. In the article’s context, it didn’t really make sense to me, so I asked my dad what it meant. He was totally caught off guard, but to his credit, he at least answered “playing with yourself” before he went and hid in the garage.

Then my period. At 13, I figured it would come soon, as most of my friends had already started, so when it did, I was surprised that my mom wasn’t prepared. She had to run across the street to the convenient store to grab sanitary pads. She’d had a hysterectomy right after I was born and had not had a period since, so I think she’d sort of blocked it out of her mind that at some point she’d have to help me through it.

And…then the note left on my nightstand, detailing my first sexual encounter at 16. My father found it “by accident” and then read it “because he was worried.” He took the information to my mother who then, carefully avoiding having any real conversation about it simply winked at me and told my father “it was just a made up story.” He bought he because he wanted to…and the following week my mother took me to the clinic for birth control “to help with my menstrual cramps.”

I can honestly say, my real sexual education came after that and wasn’t so much about the mechanics of sex as the possibilities of sex.

As a teenager, the possibilities were bound by my limited knowledge and experience. I guess that isn’t a whole lot different from now, though my knowledge has grown and my experience has opened up doors I would never have imagined as a girl.

My sex life as a teenager was built on a belief system that I had to keep my virginity safe until I was in love, and then I would only give it knowing I could never get it back. Virginity was something girls kept from boys or gave to boys and then had to reap the consequences by earning a “reputation.” Hand jobs and oral sex were ways to avoid giving up your virginity. But always, it was about girls keeping things from boys, and being punished by the community when they didn’t.

In college, my sex life was pretty pedestrian. Not that “pedestrian” is bad, but it was very mainstream and there was little experimentation. I don’t think I ever felt like I had much control over sex. But I also didn’t realize that I was submissive by nature, and that I was subconsciously giving control to my partners because I needed them to have it. I had a bad habit of seeking out young men who were anything but dominant. As a result, my sex life was uninspired and unfulfilling.

I was desperate to find someone who could fulfill a role that I didn’t even know existed. And by the time I did know D/s was a thing, I was so confused about what I was “supposed” to be that I couldn’t admit what I was. How could I be a strong, modern, independent woman and still let a man tell me what to do? I bristled against it.

Even now, I resist. Not because I don’t want it, but because I don’t fully know how to accept it.

We learn from what we see, hear, read, feel, experience…from our successes and failures. I learn from what I write…sometimes writing myself into understanding…or into more questions. The whole point of this blog over the years has been to learn and share what I learn.

Right now, I’m back at a cross-roads. Mr. D has asked me to consider what it is I crave from Dominance and submission…what it is I feel is lacking when we don’t have a D/s relationship. We haven’t had one for years…and we’ve been flailing. It’s not just because of the missing dynamic…there’s a lot more than that. But now that we are back in a good place, we are both aware that something is conspicuously absent. We know it because we’ve had it. Experience has taught us both that D/s provides us a much needed structure in which each of us are the best version…the “growing” version…of ourselves. D/s pushes us to continue learning.

I’m going to cut things off there, because I’m heading into another post with this stuff. I guess the point is that sex education should never really end. We should always be learning and growing sexually.

Though many of us came from the days when parents and churches and schools taught us only that “man + woman = baby,” we should now be at a place where we realize that sex is pleasurable…sex is a part of a healthy relationship…sex is not just about procreation…sex doesn’t even have to be about orgasm…heterosexuality isn’t the only option…sex is nothing to be ashamed of…it’s natural…it’s for everyone…and we should be talking about it.

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