The summer before I left home for University, my mom and I decided to go for a drive along Spanish Banks, one of my favourite places in Vancouver. As we sat in our beloved camper van and stared out into the ocean, I took a moment to feel gratitude and excitement for the life that lay ahead of me. It was in this completely meditative and calming state that my mom decided to give me a sex talk.
Our family never discussed sex or even matters related to the opposite sex. When I first told my parents in Grade 5 that I told I boy that I had a crush on for the past year that I liked him (and that he said he liked me back!) they looked at each other in tacit agreement and then said to me firmly, "You shouldn't do that." There was a period of silence. I went up to my room and felt like I was in trouble.
When I really got my heart broken by a boy for the first time, my mother waited a few days for my tears to dry before she looked at me and said, "This is proof that you CAN'T TRUST ANYONE."
My mother was very good at getting straight to the point in only a sentence or two. Our sex talk in the camper van was no different. The talk basically went like this: "You are going to meet a lot of people in university and boys will want more. You better be sure he's worth it because once you 'lose it', it's gone."
I never took my mom driving for years afterwards.
Looking back on it, my parents did their best with what knowledge they had and you know what, I figured it out! (I also had a really awesome older brother who was always there to hear about my boy problems and answer my questions.) And sure, if I was in that camper van today, my sex talk would have gone quite differently:
I would have clarified that there's no such thing as "losing it". When you have sex for the first time, you don't lose a part of yourself. You are still yourself just experiencing something new. You definitely do not lose your value and you do not lose your worth. And if someone makes you feel that way, YOUR SEX LIFE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. These kinds of people tend to make a career of judging other people anyways. So just remember: Your body. Your choice. Your life.
I would have told myself that I would get heart-broken a lot in my life and that's a normal part of dating and romance. You learn from every relationship. If a boy breaks your heart, it is not your fault. You are beautiful and you will find someone that will fit you better and make you happy in the way someone else cannot.
I would have re-enforced the importance of "no glove no love". Men will come up with every excuse under the sky not to use a condom. The best one I heard was: "they don't work on me." (?????) Stick to your guns. If you don't want an STI or to get pregnant, NO GLOVE = NO LOVE! Also know how to put on and remove a condom: remember you want the sombrero not the tuque. You may have to instruct some partners on how to do this. If you want a re-cap, come watch our show SExT at the Fringe and Summerworks Festivals and Beyoncé will break it down for you ;)
My sex talk would also touch on the importance of peeing after sex, because urinary tract infections are a bitch and more common than you think. A simple pee and a wet wipe can save you the agony of trying to flush everything with cranberry juice and waiting uncomfortably in the doctor's office for a prescription.
To cap it all off, I would given myself a high five for telling that boy in Grade 5 that I liked him. You go girl.
I didn't grow up in a sex positive household. My sex education consisted of strangers coming in and waving condoms in our face and making us fill out crossword puzzles, and marking them together. I prayed that when it was my turn to give the answer in front of the class, I wouldn't get #15 across: vagina.
It was a production of the "Vagina Monologues" that I did in my first year of university that was the first sex positive experience I had. Talking about our bodies was easy and normal and liberating and empowering. I rid myself of the shame surrounding my body and how people perceived it. I was in charge. I also started to love saying the word "vagina" because it was no longer a swear word or a secret. I re-claimed the word. Eve Ensler is a genius.
No matter what sex talk or lack thereof you have with your parents or what kind of sex ed curriculum you have at your school, you will be ok. It is more important to know to trust your gut when it comes to anything. Your comfort level with your body and with sex is different than the next person's. Go at your own pace and never let anyone pressure you to do something or to not do something. You are in control.
If you are a parent reading this because you googled "how to give my kid a sex talk" and you're panicking a little bit, bring them to our show SExT at the Fringe and Summerworks Festival which opens tonight!!!. The youth will give you and your kid the best sex talk of your life. ;)
TORONTO FRINGE FESTIVAL
LOCATION: The Annex Theatre at 730 Bathurst Street
June 29th at 8:45 PM
July 2nd at 5:45 PM
July 3rd at 12:30 PM
July 6th at 7:00 PM
July 7th at 9:15 PM
July 9th at 2:15 PM
July 10th at 5:45 PM
TORONTO SUMMERWORKS FESTIVAL
LOCATION: Factory Studio Theatre at 125 Bathurst Street
August 7 @ 12:00 PM
August 10 @ 7:45 PM
August 11 @ 9:15 PM
August 12 @ 6:00 PM
Happy Opening, Fringe Festival!
- Post by Elena Juatco, Actor & SExT Creative Facilitator
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