Ask Bish – I Don’t Understand Sex, Help?
Sex isn’t as easy as some make it out to be …
I’m a 17 year old girl and don’t understand anything about sex and don’t feel comfortable asking anyone in my family, and my close friends aren’t very helpful (they say they don’t want to “ruin my innocence”. I can’t believe that is as easy as some make it out to be… Help?
Hiya! Great question! I think a lot of people will be feeling the same as you so thanks for asking it.
You’re bang on when you say that sex isn’t as easy as some make it out to be – and the fact that you know this means that you probably understand more about sex than many people. I’ve been doing sex educatin’ for over 15 years – I reckon I learn something new about sex every single day.
People can learn about sex, sexuality and relationships throughout their lives. They learn from family, friends, religion, culture, media but they also learn about sex from other sources. The internet *waves* can be a great source of sex ed if you go to the right places *waves again*.
Thousands and thousands of young people come to this site every week to find out more about sex and stuff. You haven’t said what it is that you are looking for exactly but some of the most popular posts are how to have sex, how to masturbate, the vulva and the penis.
You could also try Scarleteen – they’re ace. They have moderated message boards staffed by trained sex educators as well as lots of detailed articles about sex, sexuality and relationships. There are also other links to other good #SexEd sites and resources on here. However not everyone is into learning about sex.
I find that people are more interested in learning about sex the more they are interested in sex. If you’re interested in having sex by yourself or with others, or generally exploring your own sexuality then it can be a good idea to learn more about sex, however it isn’t something you might be that into at the moment – which is totally cool I think.
Your friends might be into talking about sex but that doesn’t mean you have to be. Write your own script. What are you into right now? What do you find interesting? Art, music, books, films, telly, games, exercise, sports, hobbies, activism, politics, gender, design, fashion, crafting, badge making, tumblrs, cats on the internet, hilarious youtube clips ….
However, if you do want to learn more about sex right now it might be quite frustrating and difficult that your friends aren’t wanting to talk to you about it. There could be a few things going on here I reckon. Firstly maybe they don’t know as much as you think they know and they don’t want to look daft by not being able to answer your questions.
Example: if I’m watching a game of football in a pub and someone I’m with asks me a question that I’m not confident I know the answer to I’d be tempted to say “oh it’s really complicated you probably won’t get it” (I don’t but I’m tempted) because I don’t want to be embarrassed by looking like I don’t know stuff. Maybe your friends might fear that you will ask them a question that they don’t know the answer to – example where *is* the anterior and the posterior fornix? (Answer) – and so they are dissing you to hide the fact that they don’t know.
Another thing that could be happening is that your friends have this image of you as being a kind of person that you aren’t. How people see us is a complicated mix of what we think of us, what other people think of us and what we think other people might think of us – based on our idea of what we think of us. The reality is that us humans (*assumptions klaxon*) are pretty complicated and labelling ourselves as a particular kind of person is not that helpful because we are all different at different times with different people.
So maybe your friends think that you’re innocent (or you think they think you’re innocent) but think of how else they see you too. Think of other aspects of you that are different to being ‘innocent’ and give yourself a bit of wiggle room – just from your question I can see that you’re curious, resourceful, thoughtful and observant. Maybe check this out and think a bit more about you and give yourself a bit of a big up too.
If you want to be able to talk to your friends about sex stuff you could perhaps demonstrate your curiosity by throwing in a few things you’ve picked up here or at other websites. When people are learning about sex for the first time it can be difficult to get used to using the words, so have a think about the words you are comfortable using to describe ‘things’. It could also be that your friends behave in a different way to you in a group or IRL than individually or online – so you could perhaps try and have a conversation privately with someone you trust “hey don’t leave me out of the sex talk, I’m interested.”
Whilst we’re talking about friends, you could also think about your friendships and how you think they are going. If they exclude you from conversations and don’t support you or don’t make you feel good then perhaps you could consider developing some new friendships. My relationships graph can be used to think about what is and isn’t working well in your friendships as well as romantic relationships.
If I could give one piece of advice about sex then it would be to try to think about what it is that you might *actually* want rather than thinking about what you *should* want. This is also my advice to you about wanting to learn about or talk about sex.
And if you have any other questions you particularly want answering then put it in the comments or ask me another question via the Ask Bish page.
© Justin Hancock, 2014