Sex education is typically considered a topic of discussion for young people, our children. Parents tremble and quake at the mere idea of their child asking them, “Where did I come from?” or, in more advanced conversations, “Where can I get birth control?”.
Sex education is never-ending.
Consider your own life for a moment. Many of us vaguely remember the overall experience of emerging puberty. Yet, we vividly recall our first period, our first crush, our first kiss, our first sexual experience — or at least the fleeting emotions that are associated with those experiences.
How about the moment you met ‘your person’? I remember the first time I laid eyes on my future husband. We were in the Commons of our college cafeteria. “He’s cute!” I whispered to my cousin. My cousin replied, “Bob? He’s my suite-mate. I’ll introduce you.” The rest, as they say, is history.
The point is, many moments in life are unforgettable. Yet, other experiences, such as our sexual journey, morph and change over the years. Our sexual exploits are affected by any number of life’s interferences. These include marriage, divorce, age, disability, illness, or even jumping into the dating scene after years of, say, a “dry spell”.
No more shame, please.
Sexuality, which is a significant part of the human experience, is often met with such shame and embarrassment that even as adults we find it difficult to talk about it amongst ourselves. We are embarrassed to talk to our doctors, our friends, and even our partners for fear of judgment.
There are many factors that drive this inward awkwardness, but our background has a tremendous influence.
What did your parents tell you about sex? Anything? Were their conversations informed by religious teachings? Political beliefs? Societal expectations? How did they model relationship behavior?
Your turn: How do you discuss sex with your kids? How have you shaped the conversations to allow for more contemporary and open communication? How do you model your own relationship behavior?
Taking it further, how do you approach your own sexual health needs? Certainly, when our children require reproductive medical care, we whisk them off to the appropriate healthcare provider to ensure their health and safety. If they are sexually active, birth control and condoms are in order. (No shame in that!) So doesn’t it make sense to take care of yourself, too?
But we’re grownups! Shouldn’t we know everything about sex?
Yet, as adults, there is the expectation that we already know …. everything … about sex. Granted, we pretty much have the genital-to-genital thing figured out – that’s the fun part! But sometimes our bodies and minds just do not want to cooperate for whatever reason. Rest assured, many people will experience these issues at some point in their lives. In other words, you are not alone.
Advanced Sex Education: What can you do if gettin’ it on is only gettin’ you frustrated?
Rule out medical issues. Visit a gynecologist, urologist, or your family practice healthcare provider to make sure there isn’t something medical going on. Menopause, pregnancy, endocrine issues can all have an effect on your sex drive. Also seek medical care to learn about safer sex practices to prevent pregnancy and prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) especially if you are reentering the dating scene — no matter how old you are!
Counseling. Individual and couples counseling can help suss out personal relationship issues that may be affecting your desire. Anyone in a long-term relationship can attest that there are many trials, tribulations, and stressors that are simply part of the relationship package. Learn how to work out these issues in a healthy manner. This will help revive your drive.
Sex therapists. I know it seems weird to talk to someone about the most intimate details of your personal life, but they’ve heard it all! They are professionals and do not pass judgment. Click here find one in your community.
Women’s Health Physical Therapists. These are professionals who work with those who have female reproductive organs who are experiencing, among other problems, painful sex. Physicians may refer their patients to this specialized group of therapists. Carrie Koziol of Pilates by Carrie is one such professional. To find a women’s health physical therapist in your area, click here, then search for “women’s health”.
Physical Therapists. If you have a disability that causes pain, discomfort, or the inability to enjoy sexual experiences, reach out to local physical therapists to assist.
Embrace your sexuality!
Your children are emerging adults, growing into their sexual selves. As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure they grow to be sexually healthy adults. However, sexual growth and experience changes throughout the lifespan. Embrace your own sexuality. Understand and appreciate that your sex life will morph as you grow and mature, just like all other aspects of your life. It’s part of the human experience.