My parents, mostly my father, was and still is a fantastic human, who taught me so many important lessons to prepare me for my adult life. My mother was alive and around but family complications made it had for us to talk or see each other, until I was an adult.
My father has always been honest with me when I had questions or needed advice. As stubborn as I was growing up, I knew he was always in my corner—well, sometimes. However, when the topic of sex first came up when I was in high school and he found a boy in my room, even though we were not doing anything, may father’s reaction was different. The conversation went silent, and never took root, even after, now that I’m 26 years old.
Sometimes, I wish I had someone who would’ve gotten through “the talk” with me to wash out the awkwardness about sex when growing up. Even though I figured it all out with time, it was difficult.
I don’t think I’m alone when I cringe thinking back on being 13, feeling awkward about asking questions. The worst part was it was never even comfortable asking whoever—teachers, aunties, older cousins, matrons (for someone who spent time in boarding school) or friends. Then during the holidays, when I got home with all the changes I saw on my body and no female figure to talk to, I had to figure it out. I didn’t know the basic about how my body works.
To be honest, I learned all about sex and birth control through Google. And I know I was not the only one.
But even with Google, since I didn’t talk about women’s bodies and stayed away from the topic of sex almost completely, I became ashamed of my body as I developed into a woman–all women have their own insecurities about their bodies and we take time to fall in love with ourselves). I even felt ashamed shopping for underwears with my friends, wearing a swimsuit or changing in front of them. I would always hide like as if I had something weird growing on me.
I had so many questions going through puberty about the changes that were happening and what it all meant for me. I was in high school before I had the courage to ask a friend about the basic female anatomy and never used a tampon simply because I was scared of my own body. I can only imagine how much easier things would’ve been if I would’ve known about my body.
I truly needed a role model because the internet and friends were terrible sources for important questions and issues in my life concerning puberty, boys and sexuality. I would have loved to hear my mother’s experiences and advice. I know we could’ve bonded through these experiences and she wouldn’t have needed to worry about me because I would’ve gone to her for everything.
Growing up, for me, sex was a bad thing. Before I broke my virginity. I always heard sex would defile me, give me diseases or get me pregnant. I heard the temptations of sexual relationships and how they would ruin my life if I got involved. The messages were meant to encourage me to wait until marriage to have a healthy sex life but instead, it directly connected sex to shame, no matter the circumstances, I began to believe that there was never a time or place to show my sexuality.
It got to a point, I thought there was something wrong with me. I found myself to be a very, very sexual person with whoever I was dating. And it drove me crazy, when I thought I was not getting enough from them. I never really interacted with any women who had a high sex drive or were very openly sensual, which made me think that these feelings made me unusual or messed up. It took me a long time to get through those feelings and embrace my sensual side.
I also was uncomfortable with affection. I wasn’t used to seeing my parents kiss, cuddle or hold hands (actually I NEVER saw that). So whenever I saw people doing it, it felt uncomfortable. I had a weird notion that adults don’t touch or show affection, as if it was somehow appropriate. Of course there are still limits to what is appropriate in public, but I was weireded out even if my friends parents were holding hands in public.
I still remember my first time to have sex…the tension, the anxiety, the nervousness (let that be a story for another day.)
When I have kids in the future, I want them to become adults gracefully and not be in the dark about their bodies or sexual relationships. With whom I will blessed to have as a husband, I hope that we will have the courage as a couple to be open with our kids about the beauty of our healthy sexual relationship and public affection. I want them to develop knowing that it isn’t shameful to be intimate with a spouse and they can come to us if they ever have questions or make mistakes. I can only hope that I can take any mistakes my parents made and turn them into a positive lesson with my children someday.