Let's talk about sex...
Thanks to Salt-N-Pepa, whenever I host workshops about sex, I can’t help but sing a little of the ‘90’s tune to get started.
Despite sex being everywhere in the media, we are often told, either explicitly or implicitly, not to talk about it. Sexuality has been narrowed down to a definition most cannot relate to. The media depicts “sex” as reserved for attractive, young heterosexual partners. And let’s not forget, this definition of “sex” is always super-amazing-orgasmic-wonderful – and it happens every day.
So, what happens when people don’t feel like they fit in this box?
Well, a few things may happen. Some will try and conform to fit in this box. Others may begin to feel guilty when they don’t fit into this definition. Sometimes this guilt will turn into shame and people may go from thinking, “I feel bad that I can’t be ______,” or “I feel guilty when _______,” to internalizing this message as a shame message of, “I am wrong. There is something wrong with me. I am not okay.” This shame message can then manifest itself as anxiety, depression, addiction, “risky” sexual behaviour, vulnerability to abuse or trauma, inappropriate humour, or even avoidance.
Sexuality is so much more than this narrow definition that continues to cause harm. If everyone is a sexual being (and you are!), sexuality should include not just the “act of sex,” but conversations about pleasure, consent, identity, attraction, development, anatomy, birth control, pregnancy, abortion, parenting, menstruation, menopause, relationships, spirituality, family, masturbation, kink, miscarriage, singledom, body image, polyamoury, monogamy and much much more.
I believe sexuality is such an important topic especially when it comes to conversations around mental health. My hope, through counselling and workshops, is to bring these conversations into the everyday so that others can connect with each other, know they’re not alone, find some healing for past guilt and shame messages, and begin to feel empowered when it comes to their own sexuality.