All my life I've been labeled the "perverted virgin". I chose to wait till marriage to have sex but, being an actress, I've been surrounded by people who are very open about their sexuality. I also do not have much of a filter and when I became a Christian at 14, I had to teach myself to be modest, as caring about such things did not come naturally. To my non believer friends I was "innocent" because I was a virgin and to my Christian friends I was a bit perverted because I never shied away from talking about sex.
This year I married my husband Seth three months after my 30th birthday (finally!) resulting in my sexual debut. My honeymoon was dreamy but I was astonished at how unprepared I was for the realities of sex. My church, my parents, my friends, movies and certainly my schools did not prepare me for the challenges I faced that week and the subsequent weeks following the honeymoon.
This got me thinking. I feel like I did everything "right". I wasn't naive and afraid to learn and talk about sex AND I was having sex within the safe, holy, romantic confines of marriage. So, why was I so shocked and dissatisfied?
I don't mean that my husband "didn't satisfy me". Female satisfaction being the responsibility of the male is a vulgar misconception about sex. Seth did everything right. He was kind and passionate and comforting. I was dissatisfied on my honeymoon because it was not like in the movies. It was not how my friends had described it. It wasn't at all how I'd imagined it. It was not easy.
I recently had a bunch of my female friends write to me describing their "first time". Every story was so different. Some girls had positive adult experiences with men they loved, some were raped as young women before encountering an "actual" first time, some were pressured as teenagers, some were pressured as adults, some "got it over with" with a friend and some waited 'til marriage. But the common thread and theme in these stories was startling. Nobody felt prepared or informed of what sex was truly going to be like and what the consequences of having it would be. At the very least, they wished they would've known some key information.
For instance, I wish someone would've told me that having an orgasm (typically) comes easy for the man and difficultly for the woman. In every movie, when people are in love, they have smooth passionate sex and everyone climaxes at the same time. All the women look like they're having the time of their lives and it's all wrapped up in 4 minutes. I felt like I was defective, like my body wasn't working the way it should. I was angry that it was so easy for Seth's body to have an orgasm and damn near impossible for mine. If someone had prepared me for the realities of sex and educated me about my body, I could've skipped a few tearful nights in Cancun and saved my sweet husband from feeling so helpless. Yes, after about 3 times of trying everything was SO fun and pleasurable that I didn't mind not orgasming and yes, when we got home I did some research and found out that many women (more than 50%) don't orgasm vaginally but only climax from clitoral stimulation. This knowledge and my incredible husband's open heart and willingness to try anything, led to some GREAT sex but I came home wondering if other people felt like their "sexual education" had failed them.
Now, I want to acknowledge the fact that everyone's sexual experiences are very different. It's hard to "teach" sex ed because it's almost impossible to nail down how any of our experiences are commonplace. My reality when it comes to sex may be far from your reality. Everyone's body is different as well. There is also something to be said for not knowing too much before you get there, leaving some things up to chance and learning along the way. One could also argue that if you are a single, celibate Christian, waiting for marriage, being careful not to "awaken love before its time" is a necessary endeavor in order to stay pure. Despite all that, (and with all that in mind) I believe God has been showing me a need in our communities and our culture. A need for better sex education.
I'm still exploring how He wishes me to help fill this need but I think He wants me to start by writing about how sex ed has failed us. I want to debunk some common myths and misunderstandings. I want to uncover the biology of sex and our sexual anatomy. I want to dig into what the Gospel has to say about sex. I don't have any formal training. I'm not a sex therapist or professional sex educator. I'm just like you; I sat through the health class, I've seen the Hollywood movies, I listened to my youth pastor, I have some questions. So, beginning in January 2016 I'm going to post bi-monthly on NotAtTheDinnerTable.com about sex ed fails.
From this point on, I'm going to make some assumptions about my reader. If I were to try and include every type of human who has sex, I'm afraid my articles would become tomes. Many professional writers and teachers out there are brilliantly capable of teaching sex and anatomy that covers everyone and I think that's amazing. I am not that brilliant. This is my first attempt at laying out my thoughts on this subject, so please forgive me because I have to narrow down my topic somehow. I'm going to assume that my reader is straight, identifies as a traditional male or female gender and is a Christian who believes what the bible says about sex.
If you don't fit into those parameters, my purpose in writing is not, and will never be, to hammer you into them. As I said, I simply need to narrow down my topic. The best way for me to do so is to start where I am. I am a straight, traditionally female Christian. Maybe reading things from my perspective, even if we are total opposites, will still answer some questions you have about sex. We probably have more in common than we think. For instance, if you are a polyamorous, transgender male Buddhist, I bet we can at least agree that traditional sex ed was a huge fail.
Stay tuned for my first installment of Sex Ed Fails by Annie Baur: The Mythical Hymen.