where do people who have sex, or want to have sex, go to learn about real life sex and dating?
Sex ed taught me about pregnancy and STDs. Relevant, but radically incomplete. Sitting in class, watching a slideshow of oozing bumps and rashes, my seventh grade self was not being prepared to face the world of sexual negotiation, boundary-setting, or pleasure advocacy.
And it wasn’t just sex ed. Movies, news, comments from adults about midriff-baring shirts and “girls who give the milk away for free,” the information I got about sex was piecemeal and retrograde. As a result, I internalized a lot of false narratives and damaging myths related to Doing Sex Right.
By having conversations about sex—by talking about what we need and desire—we actively dismantle the silence that feeds sexual stigma and shame.
Once I did start having sex, I believed that to Do Sex Right, I should be with someone who loved me and who was committed to me. I should be very loud right away, and I should be able to orgasm from penetration alone every time. The guy’s erection was the most important thing in the room—the absolute worst thing would be to lose it. Keep the dick happy! I told myself. Act like you’re having a lot of fun! Often, I was having fun, but I wasn’t feeling much pleasure in my body. I was up in my head, bookkeeping and worrying. He did this to me so I should probably do that next, and what if I am not wet enough—will he believe that I’m turned on? How long has he been going down on me? Am I taking too long to cum? I was so concerned with whether I was Doing It Right and Keeping Him Happy that I only experienced a fraction of the pleasure I could have been enjoying. There is a lot of sex from my twenties that I can’t remember because I was disconnected from the actual physical sensations in my body.
It was easy to feel like I was performing sex for someone rather than sharing an experience with someone. Sometimes I just felt small. Small is no way to feel during sex, unless it’s some kinky game with Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. In which case, sign me up.
I knew there was more to sex than this, so I started talking to more people, reading books, exploring, watching porn. Sex is everywhere. Yet we are so rarely encouraged to engage with sexuality in an open, curious, nonjudgemental way. Call me sex-obsessed, but I implore you to name a more fascinating subject! Nothing else includes such a wide spectrum of pleasure and pain.
Sex isn’t just about humping. It’s about feeling alive through intimacy. And offering ourselves permission to feel complicated and changing desires that don’t fit neatly in a box.
We all feel fear of shame and rejection, and that fear can often lead us to bury our words deep inside, opting for silence and passivity over vulnerable self-expression. By having conversations about sex—by talking about what we need and desire—we actively dismantle the silence that feeds sexual stigma and shame.
Squirm is here to help you face the awkwardness of sex with humor, compassion, and tangible tools. Thanks for being curious enough to make it this far. See you in squirmland.