My Own Sexuality Issues
If you told me a few years ago, when this photo was shot, that I would one day post it, I would’ve laughed in your face. But then again, I never thought I’d ever talk about my intimate stuff either, so never say never. That’s definitely the most valuable lesson I learned in my 32 years of existence.
I went to a professional photographer to get a CV picture and after we were done with that, she suggested we take a few more shots. It was great fun. It made me feel important and beautiful. Of course, I felt shame when I looked at the outcome. ’Cause I’m a good, smart girl who values reason over impulse:
“That’s not me, I’m an academic, I don’t even know why I agreed to take these pictures. Nobody’s going to see them — EVER!”
Well, here we are, four years later in the middle of a discussion about sex education.
The story about the picture is meant to show you how distorted my self-image was, how disconnected I was from my body and how I thought it’s shameful and in bad taste to portray myself as a sensual, sexual woman.
Part of it was my own trauma, for sure:
"The shame filled secrets women carry are old, old tales. Any person who has kept a secret to her own detriment has…
How Society Deals with It
But the most part is due to the image of female sexuality I grew up with in an awfully prudish society. All of the information I ever got about sex was from a book my friend had in her room and from older peers. No grown up ever talked to me about the sensations I would feel in my body with puberty, about how to channel them, how to deal with them. The only sex-related information that came from an adult’s mouth was my class teacher telling us that sex isn’t like in the movies (and that’s valuable a.f., so here’s to her for having the courage to tell us that!).
Other than this, I remember a guy with a banana and some condoms visiting us in ninth grade and talking about contraception. The boys made fun of him, we were absolutely bored and that was all the sex education we got.
This was Romania, year 2004. Considering that there’s a debate about introducing sex education in schools today (2020) and that Romania has one of the highest pregnancy rates in minors in the EU, I dare say not much has changed.
Who’s to Blame?
And how could it have changed? Our parents haven’t changed. They never received any sex education. They didn’t have porn, erotic materials, movies or internet at their disposal to educate themselves. They went through puberty in a socialist society governed by an agrarian, patriarchal, orthodox aka prudish mentality.
Hell, they watched porn in groups at secret movie nights when someone gathered the connections to buy a VCR and some foreign tapes: action movies, thrillers, horrors, comedies and at the end of the night an erotic movie. That was their screen time and in most cases their sex education.
Their generation is the most numerous in Romanian society today. They are the ones who vote the most, their representatives make the laws and for them masturbation causes a fall from God’s grace or neurological issues, depending on their religious stance; family = marriage between man and woman ONLY; women = housewives etc.
Under these circumstances, it’s no surprise they changed the name sex education to “sanitary education” and stipulated that parents have to give their consent in order for their children to attend the class.
Sad, but true… But again, not surprising. At least not if you’ve studied Romanian socialist society. (see my academic paper here: https://www.degruyter.com/view/title/539422)
And the Solution?
It’s gonna take at least two more generations to name a school-subject “sex”- anything and to train people capable to talk about masturbation, clitoris, pleasure etc. without blushing.
Because sex education isn’t just about contraception and STIs — although that’s a good place to start. It’s about acknowledging and honouring sensuality and pleasure. About teaching girls to feel good and empowered with their sexuality — and not isolate their body completely from their mind, like I did for such a long time.
If you’re looking to educate yourself AND your children on this topic, I recommend you read “Come as You Are” by Emily Nagoski and “Pussy. A Reclamation” by Regena Thomashauer.
And if you’re a woman and you want to take the primordial step forward, “Women Who Run with The Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés is the book you’ll want to keep on your nightstand for many years to come.
I used to be a fixer, a control freak, a millennial woman with great ambitions and little self-esteem. Now I just am. And it’s marvellous! I teach Zumba, Pound and Yoga; I read, write, travel and do my best to enjoy life. Follow to hop in for the ride! Instagram: andra.cd View all posts by andra.cd
Originally published at http://mollyhund.home.blog on June 8, 2020.