I spent my whole childhood in church. I was taught to believe in God and live a life that is worthy of his love. I was taught that we were created to be married to one spouse, with whom you would raise children and grow old with. I was told that sex before marriage was not okay and I must wait until after my wedding to procreate and express my love in this manner.
I grew up respecting these beliefs and fully believing them until a certain point. In high school, I started receiving the attention of boys and it felt good! I still fully intended to wait until marriage, until I met a boy from Minnesota.
This boy saved my life in some respects. He was my best friend, who lived across the United States. I told him everything and he was always there for me. For all of high school, he was hero.
So when I had the chance to spend a weekend with him, I took it! I flew out to Minnesota and I had 72 glorious hours with him. I no longer wanted to wait until marriage and we both mutually made the decision not to.
It was a painful experience...something I fully expected. People warned me that the first time is never good, that a girl will always bleed and always hate it.
We dated for a while, until we both realized that neither of us wanted to move across the country. We ended things and he did not speak to me for years.
I become depressed. My hero and first love had completely vanished. I was told that I was too young to know true love and that there were plenty of fish in the see. But no one knew how I truly and deeply loved him. I felt as if no one validated my feelings and began to truly question what true love was.
In my mind, I still did not plan on having sex until I was in love again. I ruined the whole "wait till marriage" thing and knew that my value had gone down, but I was not going to go sleep with every guy who had interest.
My next sexual experience, I was raped by a coworker. However, due to what I was taught by our society, I believed it was my fault because I had been drinking. It was a physically and emotionally painful experience, yet the boy seemed to truly enjoy it. I felt as if my value was completely depleted.
Maybe, sex is just for men's pleasure? If it is, then that would excuse his behavior. If it is, then maybe what happened was normal?
I continued down a path that I knew was unhealthy and I was pregnant by 19. I viewed sex as something that makes men like you. Something that is not supposed to be enjoyable for me and is the only thing that boys want. I had been dumped for not sleeping with men and even told that sex is the only way to truly please and keep a man.
For years, I truly believed I had no self worth. I was disgusted by sex and only did it when I felt like I needed to, or in order to attempt to validate myself. Then, I met my husband.
He had never had sex before. He had never even seen a girl with her shirt off. He was embarrassed, and I was in love. He showed me that someone could truly care; and after we were married, he showed me what sex was supposed to be: enjoyable.
I spent 2 years teaching a positive, abstinent plus sex education to middle school and high school students. We taught them how to protect themselves, how to say no and how to respect other people's responses. We taught them how to communicate respectfully and what a positive relationship should look like.
Positive sex education is scary for a lot of people. We do not want to put the "idea" of sex into the minds of our children. I get it. I have a seven year old daughter and a one year old son. It terrifies me to think that one day, she will be in middle school and exploring another person. Yet, what the middle school students taught me, is that the idea is already there.
I have a list of questions they would ask anonymously: Can you get pregnant by being sweaty? If I use condoms, do I need birth control? How do I say 'No'? How do I tell my mom I'm pregnant? What is stealthing? And so on.
Students as young as 7th grade asked me questions that allowed me to understand that they see and learn so many wrong things about a completely normal life event. I've heard of people using a condom, washing it and using it again. I've also heard from females, time and time again, that sex is not a pleasurable thing....just something for the boys.
This is unacceptable.
Sexual assaults happen all the time and this mentality plays into it on a level I don't think we truly understand. Imagine if everyone was taught that sex was a pleasurable act that everyone involved should enjoy. Imagine if girls were taught that they have a right to enjoy it and if boys were taught that sex is not something they are entitled to.
Abstinence is great for those who chose it. It is the only 100% way to avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. It is also not the only option. As parents, our goal is raise happy, healthy children that will be successful in every aspect of their life. What if we gave them the tools to truly be successful instead of withholding information that could ultimately affect their whole life?