When I was in third grade, I asked my mom what sex was. Shortly after posing this question, I remember sitting in the café at Barnes n Noble with my mom, eating a blueberry muffin, and looking at books that help explain sex to children.
Sitting in Barnes n Noble with my mom, I remember feeling nervous, but excited to learn what sex was, and mostly pumped that I got a blueberry muffin out of it. Growing up, and now, I talked to my mom about everything. Getting to spend an afternoon learning about something I could sense was important seemed exciting and grown up. I don’t remember much from this initial talk, but I remember these books had kid-friendly illustrations covering the biological aspects of (penis in vagina) sex, pointing out all of the internal and external parts involved.
A year or two later I remember sitting in my parent’s room asking my mom again about sex. I don’t remember what my exact questions were, but I needed further clarification. I distinctly remember her telling me that sex was fun and felt good. At the time, I thought that was a complete lie and very gross, but thinking back on it now, that was hugely important. Introducing the idea to a young girl that women can and should enjoy sex in a society that tells them they should not was incredibly significant and bad ass.It gave me the power to map my own sexual experiences with no confusion or guilt.
From the very beginning of my sexual education, I’ve had an open dialogue with my mother about issues regarding sex and relationships. I received incredibly poor and inaccurate sex ed in grade school and high school, so having this honest and open dialogue with someone I trust was and is incredibly important in me understanding my own ideas surrounding sex and relationships.
When I was ready to start having sex, I told my mom and she took me to the gynecologist to get birth control. She held my hand during my first gynecological exam. Any time I have a question about my birth control or my period or just need advice, I call my mom. She has experienced all of the things I’m experiencing now, so talking to her makes me feel confident and reassured. Additionally, she’s my mother and wants the best for me, so I know she won’t judge me for anything I tell her. She just wants to aid me in living a healthy life.
Talking with my mother from an early age about sex and relationships completely shaped my ideas about sex, and aided in me becoming comfortable with my own body and sexuality. She also instilled ideas of healthy relationships within me and made me feel confident knowing how to express myself if a relationship becomes unhealthy.
Having someone to talk to about the complexities of sex ranging from the literal biological way it works, to the many different types of sex, to the emotions that can surround it, to understanding what is healthy and consensual is significant. It has made me love myself more, knowing that I am fully in control of my sexual experiences.
Sex is literally essential to life, so being able to freely discuss any questions or concerns regarding sex is important. Sex is a normal and natural part of being a human, and it can be complicated at times.
If you don’t have a relationship with your mother where you think you could openly discuss questions and concerns regarding sex and healthy relationships, that’s a-okay. Find someone older than you that you trust to have these conversations with judgement free, whether that be an aunt, grandmother, friend, or any other type of mentor. The important thing is to have someone to openly talk to.