Growing up experiences are different for each of us. Our biographies change according to our culture, language, country, family, school, among other reasons. I want to share part of mine with you. I was born in Mexico City, one of the biggest cities in the world. My parents come from conservative families and they always gave us the best education they could afford and I cannot complain about that. We went to good schools throughout all our education and had great opportunities. Even though both my parents worked full time, they were always there for us, helping with homework and special assignments. And let’s face it; we were a lot into studying and reading. Why do I tell you all these? It is just to give you an idea how was it when I was growing up. My parents were always talking openly to us about news, school, family issues, and yet I do not remember having “the sex talk” back then.
At school, I had some classes where teachers told us about reproduction, the body parts, and anything you normally learn at school, except erotic intercourses per se. When I was 14 years old, one of my teachers suggested for us to read a book about sexuality. Since my father was always very keen to buy books for us, I asked him if he could get me that book. He bought it and when he got home, he asked my mother to read and then they will decide whether it was appropriate for me. The same happened with a psychology magazine that talked about sexuality and STDs. I am still waiting for them to give me those books back so I can read them. All around sex was not something we would talk about.
AIDS started to be mainstream when I was seven years old and I asked my mom how could someone get the virus. She told my dad about my question and he lectured me about the things we should not ask about. After those experiences, I did not ask them at home anymore. When I was 15 years old, someone asked me if I knew how parents “make babies”. I said, “of course I know” rolling my eyes, like all teenagers do. The truth is, I was clueless about it. I knew that we need an egg and sperm and that is called conception, but not about how parents “put” those ingredients together to “make babies”.
Long story short, I had my first boyfriend and I did not understand why he kept wanting to put his hands on me and I kept avoiding more any physical contact except for kisses. University started and, if I remembered correctly, I was into my second year when the University organised an event where very well-known experts had conferences programs conducted during a week. One of those experts was a sexologist. I saw her on TV twice before that day and I remember myself feeling embarrassed yet very interested to listen all she had to say. The talk was great and she answered lots of questions in a very colloquial way and at the same time, making one think about it in a serious manner. The talk finished, people stood up and I stayed behind. At that moment, I decided that was what I should be: a Sexologist. And here I am, after years, I’ve reached the first goal!
Why am I telling you this long story? Because when I was a teenager, I thought I was the only ignorant one in my entire school and that everybody else knew all about sex, intercourses, etc. Then I realised I was not the only one who lack of information. I blamed my parents, the school, the country, culture of my lack of sexual education and told myself that I had to do something about it, and I studied to become a sexologist. That was the main reason, my country had a huge issue and I saw myself as a super hero.
Digging and digging, I found out through my professional experience around the globe that the lack of a proper sexual education is not limited to my country or to the least developed countries. In some places, there is a wrong idea that talking about sex topics is a way to encourage young people to start having an active sexual life or they simply talk about sex when there is an increase of teen pregnancies or STD; there are not prevention programs. In the opposite side, there are places where there are programs regarding sexual education available but young people feel shy about asking more or to talk openly about their feelings, fears, and doubts around sexual intercourse, dating, love.
Sexual education was/is a present issue. It is not only with teenagers, there are adults who lack such information and this only complicates problems in their life, especially for couples who have just begin a relationship. It does not matter that we are in the age of technology, with or without Internet and ebooks, we will always need to have clear and real information. We are sexual beings from the day that we are concepted until we die. As a sexologist, my commitment to myself is to give a bit of help whereas is giving therapy, talks, or writing. At the end of the day, my inner teenager is leaning hand by hand with the adult I am nowadays 🙂