Sex, Lies, and Storytime: “It’s okay, you’re not broken.”

I have wanted to write about this for a long time.  I have so much to say about it. The problem is that I don’t have any stories about it– not that I am willing to share, at least. The world belongs to people who have the best stories.  Sexual liberation belongs to women who are willing to stand up and say “I have sex! I have this much sex with this many people, and it’s okay!” or  “I dress like this, so take that society!” Purity, modesty, and all that is pro-Virgin power comes from personal testimonies and Conservatively told bible stories.

And then there’s me.

Of course, I admire people who do tell their stories. They have changed my life, and the world really does belong to them.  Stories have a neat way of improving social consciousness, evolving into full-blown movements. [Insert Pokemon evolution joke here?].

Me, I really don’t have a story that will change your life.  I could probably make you laugh, but ultimately I’m not willing to share whether I’ve said Yes or No–certainly, I’m not telling the internet, nor my parents, nor most people I know. That doesn’t make me ashamed, by the way. I am fully comfortable with my sexuality. And I’m fully comfortable with keeping it to myself.

But since stories run the show, I will tell you the stories I know.

I know stories about women saying Yes, and it being a big problem. I know stories about women saying No, and it being a big problem. I know stories about misogyny disguised as miscommunication.  I also know stories of miscommunication disguised as misogyny–God bless the little boys who receive mixed messages and lowered bars from society every day.

I know stories about people ashamed of what they have done, because that big bully “Society” told them they ought to be.  Then there the people ashamed of what they haven’t done. There’s also shame in the couldn’t do, wouldn’t do–or, God forbid, like to do.

Oh, and there’s shame in what people don’t like to do, too. Sometimes, the don’t likes meet the likes and they confuse and shame each other.  Fun, right?

I know stories about women who proudly wear the title “sexually liberated” because, well, they have a lot of sex and they want to own it and good for them.  I know stories about women who are “sexually liberated,” or “sex positive,” but don’t have a lot of sex at all.  I have heard tall tales from people who pretend they have more sex than they actually do, because they want to be part of the conversation. And then, of course, there are heartbreaking stories from folks who pretend they have less sex than they actually do, because that’s what is acceptable.

To make matters more confusing, these stories can all belong to the same person.  Whether you’re in a Eucharist line or a picket line, chances are your sexual history is more definitive of who you are as a person than it should be.

Yes, I know stories.  And so many of these stories make want to run up and give their keepers a big hug and say “It’s okay! You’re okay! You aren’t broken.”

Everyone is just trying to figure their shit out. If sexuality was sensible, reasonable, formulated, and mundane, then it wouldn’t be so friggin’ funny. And it is funny. It’s ridiculous. It’s romantic. It’s silly.

Welcome to human relationships, friends–they’re weird.  When people take their clothes off, they get even weirder. So no, they don’t need your judgement.  They need love, they need information.  Please leave the close-mindedness at the door.

Oh, yes, there are serious things involved in sexuality: Health. Pregnancy. HIV. Disease. Emotional well-being. Rape. Consent.  And we’re awfully good at confusing people about the serious parts by making up stupid rules about the ridiculous parts.  These things need to be discussed honestly, but we keep loading them down with arbitrary social standards.  Why? Do we really need to make sex more emotionally loaded and confusing?

Here’s what we need to do:  Care about the stories. Let them speak. Respect the storytellers.  Share your own stories, if you want to.  And whatever your story is, however different it is than someone elses, whatever you choose to do with it: You aren’t broken.

You’re just another person with a story and a body, and no matter what, those two things belong to you and you alone.

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Thanks to the overwhelming response to this blog post, I started an online project to tap into the power of sharing our stories. Check it out here: http://tabootab.com/category/sexuality/

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161 thoughts on “Sex, Lies, and Storytime: “It’s okay, you’re not broken.”

  1. This is beautifully written. It speaks to many of us (both women and men), and too many times I have seen people overburdened and thumbed down due to Society’s label of one’s sexuality.
    Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. I enjoyed this post. I was a virgin until I was 21 and I have been in a monogamous relationship since I lost my virginity to my boyfriend. We have a lot of sex….a lot of awesome sex. Sex is something for an individual person. “Virgins” get hell for being prudish “Whores” get hell for having too much sex. How about we all just have as much or as little sex as we want and not judge everyone! Sex is fun!

    Loved the post. Good job.

  3. This was a wonderfully written blog! At first I wasn’t sure where it was going… it was very… unbiased. Which is what made it so perfectly written in my opinion. Pulled the reader in.

    God told us to Love and that is our job. Not judge. It was a very tactful article and I am happy I have read it.
    I’ve also been learning through life experiences that God tells us not to do things in the Bible not because He wants our lives to be miserable or that He is going to hate us or that He doesn’t want us to have any fun… but because He knows us. He created us. So when women dress immodestly He knows men are wired by sight and are attacked by lustful thoughts. Etc etc And of course I agree with your statement, “Oh, yes, there are serious things involved in sexuality: Health. Pregnancy. HIV. Disease. Emotional well-being. Rape. Consent. And we’re awfully good at confusing people about the serious parts by making up stupid rules about the ridiculous parts. ”

    I look forward to more of your blogs!

  4. This was amazingly well done. Inspiring, funny, spooky. I like this. I will be following your blog. I quite enjoy your views and style of writing. 🙂

    Made my night at work interesting.

  5. Yes, stories I have known too, stories of my friends and those who are less than friends and then of those who are much, much more than friends, I have had the faint perception that none of it made the people involved broken. But you have put it here so succinctly. The post is the master story of them all.

    1. BECAUSE you are a man… If a Man feels more like having sex when he is wearing a bra and ladies underwear, unless your sleeping with him, you probably don’t know. He certainly isn’t telling you how fucked up that bitch was who laughed at him because of it, but man is he feeling misunderstood and broke.

      Man says honey I am not interested…everyone thinks, bummer he’s not interested…woman says not interested, they think ‘she says no …but she really means yes”.

      IF a man has been raped it is just as horrible but a man is far less likely to share that with anyone then a woman …and a woman is not likely to tell a man unless she is currently sleeping with him or it is currently causing her problems, so why would you know?

      Man who sleeps with 20 woman=no problem…woman who sleeps with 20men=whore! Why would YOU feel broken? And if your talking to woman they aren’t telling YOU that, but we do tell each other.

      1. Your comment surely intensifies the focus that I seem to have missed earlier. However, even before people start changing their convictions (Man who sleeps with 20 woman=no problem…woman who sleeps with 20men=whore!), you need to be convinced yourself. Thanks for the enlightenment.

  6. Thank You. Sex is so loaded; I am sure it’s that rare issue that everyone feels a bit judged and even broken. There are just so many ways for it to go wrong. I am 54 and single and its a different world then when I was single before and yet just as full of confusion and judgement when it comes to sex as when I was 17.

  7. I would say you underestimate yourself. Stories are not what makes the world go round. Common sense does. Storytellers only and it becomes nothing but a rerun. You are an educator not a story teller. The usual term ‘Teacher’ is the only educator is dying. The school shootings tell me that people need more then ABC 123 that doesn’t take 20 years to learn. Common sense is needed everywhere to help cure this classing of education and an insult to human ability in the dictated time and subjects everywhere. Wasting years of peoples lives. Basics every year for years is going to end. People will just have to find another way of getting babysitters. It isn’t going to be public education much longer.

  8. i love it! i love it! i LOVE it! i’m so glad you wrote about “it,” and now i’ll stay up too late reading more! {thank you.}

  9. Very healthy approach to this shady topic of embracing your own sexuality, which by the way is impossible not to, since it whips our eyes every day with TV commercials, Internet and even some books, especially those containing Colourful Surnames in a title 😉

  10. Very interesting post. The topic of sex and women can be a complicated one. But I figure if a guy can have multiple partners and casual sex, then so can women. I have friends who are like that, and they keep no attachments and they make sure their partners understand that. Your post made me reflect on my own sexual identity. I’m a virgin, I’m 29 and I am in no rush to have sex. Sex does not really interest me. It’s not really my thing. That’s what everyone does, but that’s not what I do. At least not yet. Anyhow, I am proud of my sexual status and that’s what your post made me realize.

  11. Wow. Big topic. Sex is so confusing in our society and I think even more so by people who were raised to be conservative. I am living with my boyfriend and my mom insists on calling him my husband because she can’t handle the fact I have sex with a man I am not married to.
    My father and mother are both the super conservative religious types and sex and sexuality have been a huge issue between them and their kids. I think times are also changing and some people have addated well to the change and others have not. It will be interesting to see how sex is viewed in twenty years or so.

  12. “Sexual liberation belongs to women who are willing to stand up and say “I have sex! I have this much sex with this many people, and it’s okay!” or “I dress like this, so take that society!”

    That is for people with too much time on their hands, or boring self-obsession. The rest of us just get on with our lives without worring about how often some woman gets laid.
    thanks.

  13. You do have stories…your life. Just like everyone else, you are an individual. Your stories develop and merge with others’. You talk about the people you know and they probably talk about you and your stories. Whether you know it or not you are interesting. I’m not sure if this blog is misunderstood by me, so I apologize if it is. I just want you to know that you are awesome for being able to share your feelings.

    1. Oh, of course I have stories! I just also have a line of privacy that I don’t want to cross with revealing those stories…but I still have things I want to say, some from experience. Guess it’s a weird combination! Hopefully I can express my “things” without getting into the nitty gritty, at least in the blogosphere. :

      1. I totally understand. I am the same way. I hope you didn’t take that as an insult. Sometimes I have a problem getting out what I am trying to say. I was having some problems yesterday. I probably should not have been commenting on anyone’s blogs.

  14. “Oh, yes, there are serious things involved in sexuality: Health. Pregnancy. HIV. Disease. Emotional well-being. Rape. Consent. And we’re awfully good at confusing people about the serious parts by making up stupid rules about the ridiculous parts” Beautifully, beautifully worded.

    As someone who’s had many sexual partners (some very regretful and some wonderfully lighthearted and some I’ve had for many years that it’s fun to think back: oh, remember when we were 16. God, we were so hot) I think that casual sex has its pros and its cons. But, as a woman who likes sex and also likes feeling respected, I believe you do have to seriously ask yourself “why am I doing this?” Is it because I want validation, because I like the feeling, because I’m trying to wipe away some pain. And now that I’m a little older I’ve gone through different phases of the above. Having responsible sex with people because you love the feeling (and have some sort of a friendship) is great and experimental, but ticking through men (or even the same one) and having it not bring you happiness is never good. It doesn’t make you a whore, but stepping away from it doesn’t make you a non-sexually liberated female either. Listen to your gut.

    1. Well put 🙂 I think the “Emotional well-being” is the trickiest one. It’s also the one that can lead to the most judgement. I guess part of it is just being allowed to make mistakes, without needing to deal with the wrath of society alongside your own pain.

  15. Your post is beautiful written. The point is honest and direct and I believe that’s what makes me love it. I like to think of myself as sex positive, whether I’m currently having it or not and I don’t believe we need to broad cast our sexual lives to be positive about sex. Thank you for your words, I know I appreciated them!

  16. “And we’re awfully good at confusing people about the serious parts by making up stupid rules about the ridiculous parts.”

    Well said. When you go about “slut shaming” for example, you can’t really teach people the important things of sexuality. Namely that it should be fun, enjoyable and entirely your choice – and that if it’s not, it’s okay not to have sex or talk about it.

    It’s so weird. How many people roam the planet? 7 billion? Did they grow out of cabbage crops? If not, why are people so tense about sex?

    It’s messed up. But I believe we’re heading in the right direction.

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