It took 15 years after that explosion to finally make peace with my body. There was not one road but a series of steps and tumbles that led to my sexual education. I learned more about myself through every relationship and one-night-stands. I healed from the emotional abuse I endured in my 20’s. I learned the cavernous chambers of sexual identity and pleasure. Finally, hands-on learning I can understand!
Unlearning is a real team effort. My older sister’s sex-positive attitude was a light at the end of the cervix. Years of therapy has given me the voice to speak up. A community of feminist peers with their support and communal learning, provided the space to learn and exchange. I have a great gyno who answers all the questions I have. I read books, pamphlets, brochures. I even got the courage to grab fistfuls of free NYC condoms. Anything to further my knowledge. I experimented and learned and laughed, all while shedding my internalized sex-shame one clothing layer at a time.
Unlearning is a work in progress. I still get shy about the topic with my Mom, although now she’s trying to be more open about it since I’m obviously an adult. I’m learning more about my body over time and how to listen to it. How to respond to it and to know what feels good or not. Owning my pleasure meant listening to my body. To be patient with my body. To be accepting of the wisdom it’s telling me; not to reject it because of some other external factor (i.e.: this partner won’t like me if I say this or this is what I’m “supposed” to do).
I am also assertive and vocal of continuous consent, very important for all parties involved. I no longer carry the extra weight of worrying what others will think or say just because I am living my truth. I own every inch of my body and it’s a daily affirmation I make to keep this peace. This body is not for a future spouse, or for childrearing or a trophy for someone’s stupid honor: it’s all my own, no one else’s. Managing my anxiety has also provided me the mental clarity to be present. To enjoy the moment and frankly, to breathe. I am able to be present in the moment, be aware of myself and to accept peace in myself.
No one tells you this about sex: it’s okay to take your time. In this hypersexed/youth-obsessed culture, sex can be weird. Sex can be complicated. The most important part about this sexual education is you: your comfort, your consent, your pleasure, your health, your safety. I don’t have the answers but I’m still learning to not feel any shame or guilt for any piece of me. Solo cuidate / take care of yourself in the process (condoms, birth control, abstinence, whatever works for you). Light up all the candles to the Google Gods and do research to learn.
Sexual education does not mean a direct pregnancy/life-sentence.
It’s a fucking conversation.