Whether you are gay, straight, bi, queer, or anything around and in between, sex has been a subject discussed either in the forbidding whispers and giggles or the clinical dryness of the health classroom.  And that’s a shame.  Because neither forum offers a comprehensive understanding of the physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of sex.

For LGBT teens, it’s even worse.  Our assumptively hetero-normative society American society not only totally dis-empowers and vilifies our personal attractions, but refuses to talk openly about the versions of sex that they do find appropriate.  I remember in 8th grade, I attended a school-sponsored overnight aimed at getting girls ready for High School with lectures and workshops on sex, drugs, body image, and media distortion.  One of the workshops featured an analysis of advertisements, including one of Britney Spears leaning over a soapy car, talking up some brand of Chevrolet or motor oil.  Point being, the instructor happened to mention that this ad was not only talking about [insert inane commercial product here], but also advertising a perverse form of sex aka anal.  Even at 13 this pissed me off.  Who is she to decide what kind of sex is perverse or not?  And yet we encounter this all the time- from protesters holding up signs that condemn sodomy to parents who tell their children that their effeminate classmates are “not normal” and do nothing to stop the teasing they encounter.

So with all of these silent, strictly codified rules making us second-guess our emotions and attractions, what do we as ambitious, hormonal, insatiably curious teenagers do?  Well, first of all, we do everything and then deny it.  But more importantly, we create online communities, blogs, confessions into cyberspace detailing all the things society tells us we’ve “done wrong.”

25 Things About My Sexuality is one of the more brilliant blog concepts I’ve seen: it offers online submission forms for anyone that desires to submit often lengthy and detailed “confessions” about their early sexual experiences, partners, and fantasies.

I put confession in quotes because of the completely artificial societal construct that makes 25 Things writers “guilty.”  There is nothing these bloggers have done that an open mind couldn’t fix.  Or better yet, an open dialogue.

FORRRRR EXAMPLE: Today’s post was from a woman who had grown up in a Catholic family where her parents were not very affectionate towards each other in public, nor did they ever talk about sex or masturbation.  She writes: “My parents didn’t talk much about homos at home, but all I remember hearing from them was that they were somehow weird and that it was not desirable to be one. We didn’t talk about masturbation either, I only remember one time when they told me that sex is something a man and a woman do together because they love each other. For a long time I thought masturbation was only for perverts, and I didn’t really try it at all until I was about 15.”

Now, understandably, in Catholic households, masturbation is sometimes considered unnatural and wrong, but this same stigma exists in thousands of non-religious homes too, because the taboos of sex and self-love have completely overtaken society.

This blogger writes further: “A recent post really made me think about how a lot of the people who write here think they’re weird and not normal, but really there are LOTS and LOTS of people out there struggling with very similar stuff.”  So if we acknowledge that there are many people in the world feeling just as guilty and awkward about perfectly normal things, what’s a society to do?!?

Bianca’s prescription is two-fold.

  1. Parents, teachers, mentors, peers- freakin’ TALK.  I know it’s embarrassing and awkward to bring up sex and sexuality, especially across generational gaps, but it’s so important.  Open discussions about what we feel as sexual beings will help smash negative stereotypes and stigma, as well as passing on positive attitudes for children who will grow up respecting people of all orientations and practices.
    1. Sidenote: Unitarian Universalist Churches have started a wonderful sex ed program that addresses these issues brilliantly. I attended one of the classes for a panel on LGBT issues this past year and found the kids very mature and comfortable with themselves.  The program features everything from safe sex practices to masturbation techniques to discussions on homosexuality and gender non-conformity.  I highly suggest that anyone who has this course available to them use it!
    2. Other teens- stop judging.  The terms whore, slut, cougar, perv, fag, cougar, etc. do not belong in our societal vocabulary.  Everyone is entitled to their own variety of sexual practice and you have no right to make arbitrary distinctions about the quantity or quality of their partners, the content of their encounters, or their personal feelings and fantasies.  If you have negative personal opinions about a certain practice, consider if they are grounded in safety or health concerns.  If not, consider re-evaluating.  Whatever makes a person happy is fine, as long as it goes without hurting another person.  Your recriminations only perpetuates a sexual elitism- and one day, the shoe may be on the other foot.

If the concept of sexual privilege in society strikes your fancy, mediate on Gayle Rubin’s “Charmed Circle” from the book Thinking Sex.  http://interalia.org.pl/pozycje/1194044411-533/1.gif

Also, another example of a good “Confession blog” is Queer Secrets.  It’s styled after PostSecret (also a personal favorite, but with exclusively queer material).  WARNING: it is very depressing, as it focuses on people who are forced to remain closeted.

Advertisements