Isn’t sex private? Ya, the intimate stuff is, but sex is deeply connected to who we are, what we think of others, how we were raised, and what we think about ourselves, so why not talk about it? Sex is never just sex. There is always an underlying belief system we hold with this activity. We are rooted to it from how our mothers and fathers treated sex. Did they shy away from a dirty topic, holding themselves too proper to even discuss sexual relations outside of procreation? Was it thrown in your face everywhere you looked and you became over sexualized or equally as painful, under sexualized?
Our existence on this planet starts with sex, from birds to fish to dogs and people; we are all affected by sex. Yet, most people don’t like to talk about it, some won’t talk about it and still some talk non-stop about it. Even if you are having as much (or as little) sex as you claim, just how fulfilling is it? Are you a better person because you had sex? Has your life gotten deeper and truly better because of sex?
I am the one in the relationship that does not like talking about sex, whereas my husband can dive head first into this topic discussing every aspect without even a hint of embarrassment. I’ve come to a conclusion, that which I don’t like to talk about is exactly what I need to talk about. So here I am leading this blog, talking with friends, my mom and step dad about sex as if it is a casual topic like golf.
So why don’t I like talking about sex? What is my hang-up with the topic? Why can Nathaniel (my adorable husband) talk all day about sex but I always shy away?
Sex, for me, was always a way to get boys to notice me as a teen and young adult. I was a good flirt, often called, not to my liking, a tease. Never promising guys I would go all the way but giving them enough that they would always assume sex was inevitable. While sometimes, in relationships, if sex was their prize, I rarely felt treasured. Often I felt cornered and convinced to do it again and again, or belittled when I said “no”. My “no” was never strong enough. I reasoned that since I was such a tease, I deserved to be treated less than. My conviction to stand up for myself was weak, my words like chaff, a useless outer-shell with no substance.
But how did I get to the point where I felt like chaff? I don’t know. Not fully at least, but with some fleeting certainty. I have two kinds of memories, so to speak. There are the memories from childhood, teenage years, and adulthood I know as truth. I feel them, hear them and sometimes I can smell them, making them come to life in my heart. These memories are the ones that follow me through life, scenes from my past I’ll never forget. Then there are the memories that come to me as flashes, quick vignettes of a scene I’m never quite sure happened. No photographs accompany these memories, no home movies on dusty VHS tapes recorded these moments in my history. But, there they are embedded in my mind leaking out waiting for me to collect them and make sense out of them.
The flashes are hard to write about, hard to talk about, because they don’t feel real and never will. Yet flashes keep coming. These flashes are of a young me being taken advantage of as a young girl by two family members over the course of several years.
Though prayer, writing, and deep conversations I have decided to live my life believing the abuse happened, allowing God to reveal more flashes as He deems me ready to receive them. The more open I am for God to do His work, the more work He does in me. Whether or not the abuse happened, I’ll never actually know. There is no proof, only my gut feeling. But despite the lack of cold, hard evidence I am still going to believe I was sexually abused as a child, because I’d rather dive deeply into life than float on top of The Nile. All my choices with boys and men, all my over-flirtatiousness, all my wanting validation from guys through physical means and my not wanting to talk about sex seems to have grounding with the abuse as the soil. Without acceptance that I was abused the roots of many of my life choices, behaviors, reactions and low self-esteem just dangle free with no connection.
My connection with sex runs deep, I bet yours does too.