When I came up with the idea for Adult Sex Ed Month (#AdultSexEdMonth), one of the main things I wanted to do was to open up communication about sex … how we talk about it and how we learn about it.
What I didn’t expect was to see some of the best examples directed toward teens (well, indirectly to their parents) and older adults in online conversations.
The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health put out one of the best video discussions I’ve ever heard about any sex topic: Let’s Talk About Masturbation.
While the video, narrated by Melissa Lopez, is primarily aimed to teach parents how to talk to their kids about masturbation, there was that a lot I got out of it as a woman who has adult children. She was frank and forthright about a topic that’s often marred by shame and silliness. She brought up a lot of good points that made me aware about the embarrassment and naiveté about sex and masturbation that I had until my early 30’s because of the family and culture I was part of.
“Lots and lots of people do it, yet we still don’t talk about it very much.”
“Many people have received messages throughout their lifetime that masturbating was evil or bad or was dirty. And unfortunately we internalize those messages and we may pass them onto our kids without even meaning to.”
“We don’t call our genitals by their medically appropriate or anatomical names.
“Self-touch and self-pleasuring can feed some of the hunger that young people (and in my opinion, adults also) have … that desire to be touched and to feel the pleasure of touching.”
“Why aren’t we talking to our kids about masturbation?” Melissa asks in the video.
Remember, we live in a society in which Dr. Jocelyn Elders was fired as Surgeon General of the United States after she told a United Nations conference on AIDS in 1994, “I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught.”
I remember the fire and brimstone political, social and religious conservatives conjured up when Dr. Elders spoke those words. Their motives were not only to demonize then-President Bill Clinton, but to dictate the sexual mores of our culture, as well.
While masturbation isn’t the topic du jour of the sexual and morality police today, others are such as pro-life/pro- choice and same sex marriage.
I also reflected many times over the discussion that HuffPost Live host Abby Huntsman had with a panel of sex bloggers advocates about ageless sex.
Yes. Folks over “a certain age”, or at least four of their contemporaries, have sex, and say it’s the most enjoyable sex of their lives … and they’re unashamed to talk about it.
Joan Price: “There is no age at which we have to retire our genitals.”
Ken Solin: “I’m 68 and my girlfriend and I spend 3-4 nights a week together and when we do, we have sex a couple of times a night.”
Walker Thornton: “The fact that a 68-year-old man is having sex a couple of times a night is something we have to be talking about and acknowledging.”
Sydney Schwab: “It’s not about keeping love alive with this technique or that thing … to me, what’s different at this age (68), is that opposed to when we were younger is that it’s more about the before and after than the physical activity itself. There’s still pleasure, but what’s more important now is the sense of intimacy.”
Ashton Applewhite: As we get older and get to know our bodies better, we’re more comfortable about saying what we like.
I thought about my mother who’s now in her early 70’s and only talked about sex with me twice in my life … once when I was in the fourth grade and again when I was newly divorced. Both times she uttered that same six words: “Sex is for married people only.”
Bullshit, I say. I’m not anti-marriage. I’m all about happily-ever-afters, butwe’re sexual beings with and without partners and spouses. Sex is an inherently awesome experience. It’s the way our bodies and minds are naturally wired. The more we know about and talk about sex with our partners and our peers, the better it will be.