When I was a teenager, I never got a chance to talk about sex with anyone. My family didn't talk about it. I didn't have any friends that I was comfortable enough with to talk about it (and none of my friends ever seemed to talk about it in my presence so I wonder if I wasn't the only one living with this culturally-self-imposed prohibition.) I didn't have a "trusted adult" to talk to about it. I just didn't ever talk about it. But it was ALWAYS on my mind. And there was no internet to turn to for information.
Not talking about it unfortunately became so ingrained in me that despite twenty-seven plus years with my husband, I still find it very difficult to talk about sex with him - but I'm trying desperately to change that. I now can write about it. I now don't seem to have a problem talking with other people who don't have a problem. But bringing up the subject, talking with ease and openness is still hard. Hmmm. I seem to feel like I'm muddying the waters.
Yesterday afternoon my not-quite-sixteen year old son came home from school and was telling me about a movie they watched in science class. They watched the PBS Evolution Show 5, Why Sex?
It obviously made an impression on him. But what I was most amazed at was his ease with talking about the subject with me. He talked about the bonobos "penis fencing" and songbird adultery and commented on how silly the "obviously staged" human sex scene was. There was none of the hesitation I've always felt when talking about the subject of sex. Never in her life did I ever have a conversation like this with my mother. And yet, while he was able to talk about it with relative ease, I found that I was holding back in the conversation. I wanted to mention the Museum of Sex exhibit that I saw earlier this year. But something stopped me. And I'm still trying to put my finger on why. It was a "teaching moment" that I let pass by.
It's hard to fight back against behaviors that have been a part of life forever (or fifty-one years in my case) - but I keep trying. At times I think this blog is a form of public self-therapy - all my musings and ponderings. I've tried very hard to not back away from the difficult topics while at the same time not being ... so totally in your face with information. But I have always preferred in your face to silence.
This morning I read a wonderful Carol Queen column at SFGate.com titled "Goodbye, Bill (or, Asphyxia)". It was an honest, non-sensationalist view of the situation, and I appreciated it immensely. People don't want to talk about this shit - for all sorts of reasons. But, it needs to be talked about. Last year we had a kid in our town die this way, and the only way to know that was to read between the lines. Privacy and all that. I love what Carol Queen has to say - go read the article.
Silence subjugates truth more thoroughly than out-and-out censorship. Silence allows shame to get the upper hand. And shame destroys and corrupts.
So, with that, I think I'll go take a walk and ponder what tomorrow's blog post - my stop on the Spicy Summer Sundays Blog Tour - will be. I promise it will be fun. Sometimes I hate that I feel compelled to write these heavy duty posts. But if I didn't, I'd be silencing myself.