This is Part Two of a two-part series by Janell Ariela. Born and raised in Staten Island, New York, twenty-six year old Janell Ariela is in pursuit of her Sexology education and career. She is very passionate about her career choice and takes it very seriously, with exceptions of it being fun and healthy. As a child, Janell has always been intrigued by health and sexuality. She is currently working on her Bachelors in Women's, Gender & Sexuality, and minoring in Psychology. Ms. Yik will attain a Masters in Human Sexuality and a PhD in Clinical Sexology in the near future. She cannot wait to graduate and network with more Sex Educators, Sex Geeks and Sexologists to make this world a safer and sex positive world. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
In my last article the question was, "Are you open minded and comfortable with sex?" The point was to develop a better understanding, most importantly building respect towards others, thus becoming comfortable through your own way, discarding ethnocentrism. The point is not to make you agree to everything but if you understand that proper sex education is extremely important, my job will be half done. There will never be unchallenging answers or a solidified decision, and it can and will take a long time to unlearn all the conditioned disinformation we have been taught. Not saying everything we were taught is wrong, but realizing that people have been misinformed by cultural and religious bias is a step in the right direction.
There are many adults who do not know their own bodies still, and are still afraid to ask questions, which can lead to not getting the proper care. In my opinion, it is strange that people still disagree and/or do not understand the necessity of sex education. It is written all over society that it is needed, but it is our job to willingly and gladly educate.
From research, asking questions, and learning through personal experience, the next goal was to discover why sex is taboo. Why are we misguided, misconceived, shamed? Why do we feel some type of guilt, and why do we feel uncomfortable in certain ways? People love having sex, but do not like to talk about it. This is the problem, and I found out why.
There are so many reasons as to why many people feel that way; the number one reasons are religion and culture. In many religions and cultures, sex is a taboo unless you do it the way the religion or culture tells you to. If you don’t do it that way, most of the time it can force guilt and shame, and can give misguided or incorrect information about those who do not follow.
Many will argue that sex is strictly for procreation, although there are many valid reasons why people do it. Nature always wins, not something humans created. We cannot stop people from having sex… at all. So we must educate and protect them, and ourselves.
Another thing is, having sex isn’t "everything in life" either, so do not get that confused. Sex will not make you a "whole person." Sex has many definitions and is not only intercourse.
If we did not have the proper sex education through school or through our guardians, we learn about sex through culture, mostly religion and many times through society. When we learn about sex through them, many of us may learn a very tampered and small aspect of it. The majority of sex is usually described as very bad and wrong, which brings guilt and shame, and intervenes with our power to make our own decisions.
Through most cultures and religion, there is only one time that is sex is approved, and that is through marriage. We all know marriage is not for everyone. Should we put shame and guilt on those who choose not to get married or don’t believe in marriage when they have sex? I don’t think so.
When we feel bad about certain things we do sexually, we tend to refuse to take notice or acknowledge our natural feelings. Often we turn to negative things so they can stop this shame and guilt. With effective proper sex education, we curb these negative attributes. We end "slut" shaming, body shaming, or shaming and guilt in general, often resulting in depression, suicide, and even murder. Sex education brings awareness, slowly combating rape, sex trafficking, genital mutilation, child sexual abuse, diseases, STDs, and STIs. Gaining protection and understanding for the LGBTQ Community. Aiding in the decline of unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and unwanted children. Eliminating sexual harassment, ridding the faking of orgasms that can lead to complications in many relationships. Eliminating everyday sexism, gaining equality for women, gaining sexual consent, and so much more.
There are so many reasons why we should normalize talking about sex. If we have people who see or go through sexual assaults, harassment, rape, and more, the easier it will be to speak up for what is right and defend ourselves and those who are victims of it. In addition, we'll rid the fear to come out and tell someone if one has an STD or STI so it will not be passed around.
Sophia Wallace, an artist who created "Cliteracy," once said:
There was an 11-year-old boy who asked his mother, "What is a clit?"
Life can be simple as that! Many times we complicate it because we are uncomfortable, we fear sexual questions, and we think that children should be restricted from sexuality, because "it’s an adult thing." Many times we are doing this because we think we are "protecting" children, not realizing we do oppress them in many ways and create other problems.
We also further the damage by thinking early sexual behavior will occur, when in fact it has been proven that that is not always the case and in fact abstinence education does not work often! Hiding sexuality from children does not protect them. These curious children can try to answer their questions with other, incorrect resources. We should give an explanation of this forever-existing sexuality to them. We should give an explanation that it is expected and it is extremely normal, and we should try to give an explanation that the way we convey sexuality should be self-controlled with the appropriate age.
We are all Sexual Beings, and yes, even asexuals are in some way. We are all here because our parents had sex. From when we are in our mothers' wombs, we discover masturbation, which is a normal discovery at any age. We also discover many parts of our bodies, and we masturbate as well, or we simply just touch ourselves. We are told it’s bad, not to do it, and to stop touching ourselves, so we keep that information in our brains until puberty hits and we become so confused as to what is happening with our bodies and minds. Throughout the rest of our lives we continue to be sexual beings.
Sexuality is a fundamental part of our lives, it is very important, and we must speak about it at every age in an age-appropriate conversation. Many times children aren’t being taught the full aspects of life, especially with sexuality. From a young age, we are taught that there are only two kinds of people (which is incorrect), someone with only a penis and someone with only a vulva (and we are not even taught the correct term of a vulva). Then we are taught constructed gender codings and labelings that have been changed many times.
Sexologist Amy Jo Goddard states:
The more whole we are as Sexual Beings, the more fulfilled we are as human beings […] The more comfortable and good you feel in your body, whatever its size, shape, color and imperfections, the more whole you feel, the more confidence you develop, the more whole you feel, and the more sexual expressed you are, the more whole you feel.
She is not saying you have to be sexual, have sex or talk about sex all the time, but if you are restricted or having that taken away from you, parts of your human rights are taken away. We are not taught that spirituality and energy ties into sex and sexuality very much. Because of particular systems of faith and worship or communities, we do not learn or realize how a very large quantity of spirituality is tied into it, and it becomes less valuable. When it becomes less valuable it doesn’t allow us to awaken our true sexuality, and when many times we do not awaken it, we do not realize our own self importance as well as others', which causes us to look for "our whole being" when we are already are a whole being.
We must also realize spirituality differs from person to person. Amy Jo Goddard also proclaims:
There are many ways to normalize talking about positive, healthy sexuality. Please try to research how to, and if you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will gladly help. The point of my blogs is to try to normalize talking about sex, so that when I do post "outrageous" kinky things, or when they pop up in our everyday lives, we can think critically, be more understanding, less judgmental, and be free from the guilt and shame we may not realize we have.
But before I end this blog post, a favorite quote of mine that I want to share with you is, "Know the importance of giving other people freedom to make choices you might not necessarily make yourself." If we do not at least try to let people make their own positive choices without hate, harassment, or being ridiculed, we will never, ever have equality in anything. We need to realize the beauty in many things, and change ourselves first.