As the school year comes to a close and my kids are headed off to enjoy their Summer, it is also the time of year for…Sex Education! Honestly, I do not recall it happening this late in the school year back in my day, and it is slightly amusing to me, as well as a bit annoying, that our children are taught, on the last day of school for my elementary kids and the last week of school for my middle-schooler, some technical information, and then sent off on their way. It is kind of like, “here’s some basic stuff we have to teach you that won’t make a lot of sense, will seem really weird and will be a big part of the rest of your lives, with no way to ask more questions or get support…have a nice Summer!
While I am not as concerned for my kids, as I talk with them regularly and they ask me a lot of questions, I do feel quite a bit of frustration for the ones who do not have the same resources.
My parents taught for the Los Angeles Unified School District for 40 years, and I know that in addition to the bureaucracy in regards to what can legally be taught, most of us adults are not comfortable having or leading these conversations either. We have never been taught, in school, how to connect and communicate with each other, we are not really taught how to have deep and meaningful relationships with each other and we are basically expected to assimilate and figure it out on our own; or in therapy later in life.
I asked my kids what they learned, and the majority of what they shared had to do with STDs, prevention and birth control. Not much has changed in the 30+ years since I was in their shoes. I did find it interesting that at my daughter’s middle school, in addition to listing the effectiveness rates of certain methods of birth control and STD prevention, also listed the amount of self-control it would take to implement them; such as: abstinence being 100% effective, yet requiring the most self-control.
What if, in addition to this important information, we also opened up a regular forum for them to discuss what they might be feeling hormonally-physically and mentally-emotionally?
What if we, as adults, took the position that our sharing of our experiences, from a deeply authentic place, would make an even bigger difference for them? What if we addressed the peer pressure and societal pressure and anything else that may come up for them, and offer alternatives, offer ways to allow them to slow down and really connect with each other, instead of the focus being on “when is it going to happen?” What if boys and girls were not separated for these lessons, so that they may learn to openly share their fears and anxieties with each other?
Through my teens, and well into adulthood, there has always been anxiety and pressure that I experienced regarding sex. I knew what was “supposed” to happen and I knew how the parts were “supposed” to work. A friend shared with me about this place on a woman that many of us didn’t know about that was supposed to “make her orgasm.” I found books and instructional videos to help ensure that I “wouldn’t let her down,” and I focused all of my attention on “her.” And while this was greatly appreciated by the women I had been with, lacking a deeper understanding of myself, and measuring my value as a lover solely against her experience, caused more anxiety on my part and disconnection from myself.
What has made the biggest difference for me was to have been given permission to slow down.
A 7-week Tantra course I took a little over a year ago opened many doors for me in this area. In this class, we spent several hours simply connecting with each other—being present, breathing together, learning to read energy, learning to have easy boundary conversations—all from a place where sex was not the end goal. It was from this space that I was truly able to relax with the people I was partnered with in the class. As I took these techniques into my personal life, the quality of my sexual experiences changed dramatically; what I began to experience was more of a partnership and exploration, and an obvious energetic connection such that I could feel my partner 3,000 miles away. This is a far cry from puking my guts out after just “getting it over with” at the Saharan Motel on Sunset when I was 21 years old.
As I talk to my kids about the physical things they are experiencing, we also discuss their fears, the “weirdness” of it all—pressure they may feel, worry they may feel—all the time modeling connection, presence, and respect of boundaries. If we can make this available on a larger scale, imagine what the world would be like without all of the shame, frustration, and not-knowing regarding a practice that can bring us so much joy and fulfillment.
What’s Next? Talk with others. Take action.
We are proud of our SOCIAL INTEREST GROUPS—WEEKLY PHONE CALLS to discuss, gain insights, build communities— and help solve some of the most difficult challenges the world has today. Calls are for Members Only (although you can join the first call for free). Not yet a member of The Good Men Project? Join below!
Join the Conscious Intersectionality FACEBOOK GROUP here. Includes our new call series on Human Rights.
Join The Good Men Project Community
All levels get to view The Good Men Project site AD-FREE. The $50 Platinum Level is an ALL-ACCESS PASS—join as many groups and classes as you want for the entire year. The $25 Gold Level gives you access to any ONE Social Interest Group and ONE Class–and other benefits listed below the form. Or…for $12, join as a Bronze Member and support our mission, and have a great ad-free viewing experience.
Register New Account
Please note: If you are already a writer/contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (Request a new password if needed).
ANNUAL PLATINUM membership ($50 per year) includes:
1. AN ALL ACCESS PASS — Join ANY and ALL of our weekly calls, Social Interest Groups, classes, workshops, and private Facebook groups. We have at least one group phone call or online class every day of the week.
2. See the website with no ads when logged in!
3. MEMBER commenting badge.
ANNUAL GOLD membership ($25 per year) includes all the benefits above — but only ONE Weekly Social Interest Group and ONE class.
ANNUAL BRONZE membership ($12 per year) is great if you are not ready to join the full conversation but want to support our mission anyway. You’ll still get a BRONZE commenting badge, and you can pop into any of our weekly Friday Calls with the Publisher when you have time. This is for people who believe—like we do—that this conversation about men and changing roles and goodness in the 21st century is one of the most important conversations you can have today.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Photo credit: Shutterstock