The Sex Post

Author's Note: This is a LONG post, even for me (y'all know I be long-winded) and I planned, initially, to break this up into separate posts, but I feel like it's something that oughta be kept as one piece; so, read it in chunks if you have to. :)

I've not talked a whole lot about sex on this blog. There's no "sex" label (though there is a "sexuality" label) and if you type sex into the search box, it only brings up a handful of posts. I typically write about the things that are pertinent in my life so the absence of "sex" as a topic would suggest it's not pertinent, or current, or palpable.

I suppose in a way that's true, and I'll clarify that later. However I don't think it's fair to ever assume that sex isn't a part of most people's lives in some form. Regardless of gender, if we're not talking about or doing it, we're thinking about talking about it or doing it. These days sex is everywhere and even if you're trying not to think about it, you're still thinking about it.

I decided to write this post because of an interaction I had with a couple of friends a few days ago about an unexpected date I went on. For everyone I told this story to -- and it is quite the story -- sex was one of the first topics that came up. I was either being told to get ready for it or told I shouldn't. There's obviously backstory on this, but suffice it to say the guy I was with and I have serious history as well as serious sexual tension.

With the exception of the 2 aforementioned friends, sex was but one of a litany of issues that needed to be discussed in the aftermath (and beforemath... wait, is that a word?) of this date. It fell midway on the totem pole -- important because it's sex, but not important because it's just sex, and the least of the issues I have with him -- and with most everyone it was a passing comment or joke or, in one case, a rule ("don't have sex with him, you'll get AIDS" -- ftr, he does not have AIDS and it was admittedly an ignorant, crude rule/joke).

For someone who likes to use stories to make a point, I'm sometimes a terrible storyteller. It's partially because I'm an excellent emotion detective. I can read an audience like none other and if, as I'm telling you a story, I can sense your disinterest, my story gets really short. I don't want to waste either of our time. And so, while I knew both friends were generally interested in hearing my story, I quickly got the feeling that the more I talked, the lest interest I was keeping.

Right now, I can't really remember exactly what I said, but I did mention that this guy and I have this interesting history, an important piece of which is the ever-present sexual tension. Upon the ending to my story one of them asked, "well did you have a good time?" I responded that I had and then the same one asked, a little more anxiously, "did you have sex with him?" It hadn't occurred to me that euphemisms were being used or that a good date ends with good sex.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not naive or new to any of this. I know that a good date doesn't always end with good sex. I suppose, however, that what I did realize in that moment was how differently sex interacts with my life than some of my friends. I think processing that is what led me to tweet something about being associated with many individuals others consider "hoes" (this, of course, is a whole other post in and of itself).

We all talked a few more moments and then the conversation was over. I was left with a question -- and it was really just a question -- if there's so much sexual tension between this guy and I and I feel it and he feels it then what's stopping us? Rather, what's stopping me, because I'm always the one to stop it. What makes me so different? The truth is I'm not that different and honestly, this isn't that deep. I just have a different background and thus a different present relationship with sex.

Back when I was in my tween and then teen years, I was heavily involved with my church's youth group (wait, wait, before you think "oh, I know where this is going..."). Those years of my life have become so instrumental to who I am and how I do things. I learned a lot about my faith, who I am as a person and what my place is in the world during those years. Obviously you can't have a group of teenagers who spend a lot of time together and not ever talk about sex. One of the things I appreciated then and carry with me now as I work with teens in various ways is frankness, especially around issues of sex. Our adult leaders were honest with us about sex and there were enough older teens through the years who were also frank and honest with us.

A lot of those older teens were like older brothers and sisters to me so when THEY told me that I didn't need to be having sex, I believed them. Whole heartedly. And I also took it seriously to save myself for the person I was going to marry. The concept made sense to me and I also couldn't overlook the fact that I had varying levels of exposure and experience to and with sex at my disposal and they all pretty much said the same thing: "wait."

So wait I did. I was like every other teen; the waiting wasn't easy and I got myself in a lot of situations that were not easy to get out of, but somehow or another I managed to escape each one with everything intact. The other key point here is that while I was in high school I had just as many friends who were having sex as I had who weren't. The peer pressure was pretty even on both sides. But then I got to college...

There's something about college that can be hard to explain if you didn't go, or didn't live on campus or had a bad experience. I think it's summed up well, though, in the idea that college is more than your classes; in fact, I think classes are the least of your educational opportunities in college. College is about the people you meet and the experiences you have that all challenge who you are and what you believe and why. I remember a sunny afternoon during my freshman year, sitting out on one of the lawns with friends debating religion and Christian faith and walking away from it thinking that I had to tell all my friends who were preparing themselves for college that they needed to start thinking about why they believe what they believe because it wasn't enough to just believe something -- you gotta back it up.

By the time I entered college, some of my ideas about sex had changed a little bit. I wasn't really not having sex because of my faith or really even because I wanted to save myself. I wasn't having sex because I didn't see a need. My relationship with J was relatively new, from a romantic standpoint, and we had talked about sex and at the time I believed he was serious about not having sex for religious reasons so I didn't press the issue much -- it was fine with me.

But the funny thing about everyone around you doing something that you're not doing is that you've got to find out what the big deal is. So while in high school, those who were having sex weren't really talking about it that much (and of course we all know those first few years of having sex, nobody knows what they're doing for real, anyway) and the rest of us who weren't obviously weren't talking about it, the people I met in college WERE talking about it. Sex became the cornerstone of everything -- the juiciest gossip all had it's roots in the sex somebody was or wasn't having with somebody else. It also didn't help to realize that almost literally everyone around me was having sex with each other (or maybe it did help since I thought that was somewhat ridiculous).

I'm being a little facetious here. Not everyone I was associated with in college was busy having sex. More than likely the numbers resembled high school a lot more than I thought at the time, but it sure felt like more folks were doing it (cause there was a lot more talking going on). In any case, like I said, the funny thing about (feeling like) everyone around you doing something you're not doing is that you've got to find out what the big deal is. So I did.

I'll spare you the details on that one because details aren't important. I still didn't get what the big deal was, and I also didn't feel this sense of dread that I recall my "brothers and sisters" making me feel like I would when I was 14. This, of course, isn't to say that later on I didn't feel that way, or eventually figure out what the big deal was. And now when I talk to young girls, I encourage them to wait, but I always talk about how difficult I know that can be.

So here we are present day. I'm a lot smarter than I was then, a little more experienced and I'm definitely a lot better at ignoring that feeling you get when everyone around you seems like they're having fun. I've got friends who never ask me about my sex life and I've got friends who seem to always inquire in some way. Ultimately, I've deemed sex as one of those things that I'm just not going to die without and that I really respect what it does to an individual and to a relationship, so for the most part, I don't partake in it unless I'm in a relationship.

All this detail is a lot more than some of my closest pals know about me. One of the reasons is that as I went through that process of getting smarter and more experienced, I learn that sex is one of those topics that people have STRONG feelings about and usually if you don't agree with them, it's a fight. Folks just don't like to be judged for what they are or aren't doing in the bedroom and disagreement feels like judgement (because in some cases it is) to a lot of people. Even something as simple as just stating you do it differently can read to some folks like placement of values. I don't have interest in assuring folks that I just do it and see it differently and that I don't think they're bad people for however they do what they do or don't do when it comes to sex.

This has also meant that it plays a whole different role in my life and changes where I place my priorities and values. Doesn't mean I have it all figured out or know exactly what I'm doing -- just that I know what works fo rme so I do that. I get my kicks in other ways...

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