Thursday, 20 September 2012

talk the talk and walk the walk

Last week I discovered who Clea Duvall is

and imediatly downloaded every film she was ever in.

Now that I'm back home I'll proceed to watch them entirely, like the creepy little stalker I am.
"No Joana" Xana says "It's not stalking if they're famous!"

Which reminds me,
Xana doesn't like me to write her name here, because "You know my name in brazilian means cunt!! What if there's braszilians reading this?"
I'm not sure if her problem is readers believing that I have a friend whom I call that,

or the possibility people in Brazil will get confused into thinking that, instead of a friend, I hang around in the company of an antropomorphic human-sized pussy that ocasionally joins in conversations.
Either way, from now on I'm shortening it to X. Which is kinda cool and makes it sound like Xana's a sexy spy with a secret identity.

So, this week we all crashed at X's house, in Coimbra. I went back to the not-so-healthy nocturnal habits and ended up in some strange jet lag state. After sleeping until 3 in the afternoon I woke up feeling reaaally weird, and had this conversation with Mariana:
-I'm not tired, just mushy, like my legs are made of play-doh.
-Oh, I feel like that when I've had a lot of sex the night before.
-Yeah, it's pretty much like that, but without the blissfull joy of actually having screwed all night.

And that introduces the subject I have for you this week,

I'm bringing this up because lately I've been finding myself included in a lot of really open and honest conversations about sex.
It just started to be a topic, all of the sudden.
I don't know if it's the summer and everybody's kind of horny. Or it's something that happens when you turn 22. All of the sudden sex becomes something everybody's confortable discussing.
It's not like I've been hanging with any different people, either. They've all been my friends for years and always talked about relationships and love stuff.  But now, I'm getting waaay more information than I used to.

Not that I'm complaining! Quite the opposite, it's awesome to have people sharing with me the ups and downs (a-ah!) of their sex life.
It makes me feel like one of the ladies in Sex in the City.
I guess...
...I never really watch the series.
but I'm pretty sure it's similar to this. Pour me a Cosmo if I'm wrong.

But the point of this post is not to tell you how freaky I found out all my friends are.
I'm going to write about sex education.
my sex education.
or.. hm.. lack of it.

Let's start from the beginning, ok?
Telmo told me once, that he remembers exactly the day he found out about sex. Until then, he had only heard the daddy-puts-a-seed-in-mummy explanation, but didn't really know how that physically happened. When he discovered, he was completly freaked out about it. 

I never went through that sort of moment of realisation.
I always knew sex existed. The same way I knew Santa Claus didn't.
My barbies had sex on a daily basis. I would lay them naked over Ken and give both some privacy.
I didn't know exactly how it all happened but I grasped the basics.

and theeeen, I became a teenager.
That's when it all went downhill and I started freaking out, like Telmo when he was 5.

If, like me, you've been part of the weak public education system of Portugal, all you learned in school about sex was mostly in science classes - a biological perspective, regarding the whole where-do-babies-come-from question and scientific illustrations of penis inside vaginasand the catholic moral classes - where they talked A LOT about contraception and STDs.

and that was it.

In short, from all school thought me, sex was having a man putting his penis inside me and meanwhile we both had to be very carefull about contraception and disease control.

I was also sure you had to do it lying down. In the dark.

Meanwhile, there was a whole different side to it that nobody really talked about, but I knew it existed.
Everytime I went to my grandparents house, they had this little magazines with the tv program schedules, soap-opera synopses aaaaand, in the last pages, a short erotic fiction.

And I always read this.
Very quietly, curled up on the sofa,
during family gatherings.

don't judge me

This fictions featured descriptions of fortuitous sex encounters. No regard for STDs whatsoever. Sometimes there was more than two people and, let me tell you, they were rarely lying down in the dark.

It's not like I believed those things really happened all the time. I knew it was fiction.
But I felt teachers weren't being very realistic either.

I guess I lacked a honest thing that would fill the gap between the all the scientific information about sexual organs and procriation I was getting from school and the debaucherie that I read on those magazines.
Not having that middle point left my teenager self with a lot of unawnsered questions that are kind of embarrassing to aknowledge, now, but here it goes:

Is sex always pleasurable?
Are other kinds of intercourse sort of a variation from the penis-in-vagina, which is the real deal?
What is normal, and not normal to do in bed?
How does it work when it's two people of the same sex?
Do other girls masturbate?

I guess we all had doubts that now sound kind of silly and obvious, but at the time it was a big deal!
A friend told me that, before highschool, she was convinced that blow jobs were this thing nobody really did. Only hookers. "Until I overheard some girls in school talking about it and I started having doubts. So I got the courage to ask my older cousin. She told me she did it with her boyfriend and it was a completly normal thing to do with a partner as long as both of you wanted it."

Unlike her, I never had the guts to ask my older cousin about this things (Sorry Alice! I know you'd be glad to help!). Or anyone, for that matter.
I got my answers in time, as I grew older.
Some from reading stuff online. 

Others from actual practise.

But I also learned that you don't suddenly start doing it and figure it all out.
I just went further to dealing with other bigger issues: like boundaries, consent, sexual identity, intimacy and compatibility. And some more especific day-to-day problems like "what if there's a dog sleeping in the bed?? gah!! I don't what do this in front of the dog!"

The learning never ends and you always have stuff going on you're not sure, or need to share...
Unfortunatly, I started coming to the conclusion that, as an adult, I'm almost as handicapped when it comes to talk about sex as back when I was a young teenager secretly looking at the vibrators in my mum's La Redoute catalogues. 
And that's something I should start worrying about.

One of my friends told me that the best decision he ever had was to promote a honest attitude with his parents about his sex life:
"Now that I'm older, we talk about everything. I really get a kick from having sex in public open-air spaces and  I've warned my mum that there's a probability of me being arrested for indecent exposure, one of this days! ahaha! but seriously, it's better for her to know what I do now, and give me advice, than to be surprised later on, when I call her from jail."

It's cleary been working great for him. But I definatly can't talk about any sex things with my parents.
I didn't do it when I was thirteen - I'm not doing it now.
for me
for them
for everyone.

But, recently, as my friends started being more open about it, I realised that a lot of them were dealing or had dealt with stuff I could relate to. And that it had been kind of silly of me, in the past, to think they wouldn't. To think that I was the only one having doubts about sex matters. that everybody else had it all figured out but me.

CONCLUSION:  Keeping it all to myself was never a very mature thing to do. Comunication is a bliss. Even if only to reassure you that you're not alone, and everybody is just as messed up as you.
Besides, being able to talk about sex with family and friends makes it easier to later do it with a partner without making it very awkward.

So, what about you guys? Where did you get your sex knowledge from?
Did you're parents talk to you about it?
Was it a mix of erotic short-stories and science classes, like me?
Did you read stuff online? Had any good books?

With whom do you talk, now? Where do you go when you have doubts?

and also... when is sharing just too much?

I'm saying this because, as I was preparing to write about how people around me are talking a lot about sex, I commented it with X. Just in case I was imagining stuff and people had been discussing penis sizes and how oral is ok from way back and I was just not paying attention.

She agreed imediatly: "I know what you meeeean! I noticed too! Everybody is fired up, right? Yesterday I was going out with a group of friends who started talking about sex stuff. My cousin was there, and said things that I WISH I HADN'T HEARD! GAAAAH! GAAAAH! IT'S MY COUSIN! TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!!!"

Also my mum told me that, when she was my age, her friends were very talkative about this things. But there was one in particular that had a lot of weird sex encounters and shared them detailed with the rest of the group, even though they reaaaaaally didn't want to hear about it.
It's been 40 years and my mum still remembers it! ahahah!

So, how do you know if your full-disclosure is making everybody unconfortable and will probably scar your well-intentioned friends for life?
Like, everytime they see that person you had been with they will remeber he likes to be poney-rided and can't really talk to him without bursting into laughter?
this is just an example.