RoSo’s Story of Sex-Positivity

Editors note: I’m trying to learn why some women are more sex-positive than others. So I asked my students, if they were interested, to tell me stories of their backgrounds. 

So far I have found a few things that distinguish women who experience more sex-negativity and sexual dysfunction. They — and in my youth I would count myself among them — are more likely to:

  • Worry that God will punish them for their sexuality 
  • Have sex-negative parents
  • Have sex-negative friends
  • If they are slut-shamed by their peers they feel deeply “wrong” and shameful
  • They refrain from learning about their sexuality and what works for them

RoSo is a straight 24-year-old woman of East Asian descent. Here is her story:

Sex is natural — and pleasurable

Around the age of six or seven I walked in on my parents when they were having sex. I didn’t understand what they were doing but I think partly because of that experience, when I got older I thought of sex as just something that people do. It’s just a human thing.

Plus, when I was around 12 I was playing with the family computer and found some porn that my dad had been looking at. I thought it was hot. The women’s bodies were really arousing and I was really turned on in my genitals (but I didn’t understand what that was). That was another thing that made sex seem like a normal, and very pleasurable, thing that people do.

My parents were not sex-negative

My parents never talked to me about sex. But they didn’t say anything negative about it either. In fact, I still live at home while I’m going to school and sometimes my boyfriend and I have sex in my bedroom and my mom is fine with that. She’s even bought me sexy lingerie! I’ve never really gotten any negative feelings from her about sexuality. I know that she loves me for who I am.

God didn’t “tell me” that sex was bad

I did go to a Christian School but my parents just wanted me to go to a school where would learn to be a good person. My parents didn’t believe in God and they didn’t teach me to believe in God either. And I don’t remember the school saying anything negative about sex.

I explored my sexuality 

I was open to exploring sexuality. As a kid my friends and I would touch each other because we were trying to understand what it was and how it worked. When I was 12 years old a boy and I were touching each other and he ejaculated right away. It kind of shocked me and I figured I wasn’t ready for sex yet.

But I did lose my virginity when I was pretty young. I was only 14 and it was not a good experience. In fact, that was my worst sexual experience ever. He had a really large penis. That hurt!

And then I had my first boyfriend we were together for four years, from age 14 to 18. We were together until I graduated from high school and we explored sexuality together.

It was romantic. My astrological sign is Cancer and we are romantic. So it was very loving. And I felt like he totally accepted me. Sometimes I worried about how my body looked but he would tell me, “Oh, don’t worry about it. You’re beautiful! Just take off your clothes.” So I felt really secure and comfortable with him.

I was slut-shamed and it made me bitter

I was very cool about sex and I was also very interested in exploring sexuality with my boyfriend. But even though we were together for four years we were young and we both had sex with other people, too.

But by the time I got to high school I was slut-shamed all the time, which left me bitter. I didn’t feel bad about myself and my sexuality but I was really angry at the people who attacked me.

Editors note: I find it interesting that this shaming didn’t seem to repress her sexuality. Maybe it’s because she had such an early and sustained sense of sex as a positive, natural human expression. Plus exploring her body early and getting to know it, and then constantly reinforcing those pleasurable feelings through experience could protect her from harm from future shaming. Instead of feeling bad about herself she thought her peers were jerks.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on March 1, 2018, in sex and sexuality and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 57 Comments.

  1. I found this to be interesting. I am a growth marketing intern at a biofeedback vibrator company (lioness.io if you’re interested) and we discuss a lot the stigma women face when talking about their pleasure and desires, let alone their orgasms. Sex positivity has become a trend, but as a result of badly informed sexual education, stigma, and other assorted “feelsbads” that cause women to feel like talking about sex is not allowed. Personally, I grew up in an extremely sex positive household and as such have always been able to communicate my desires and wants to my partners and myself, even if the sexual experiences I was having didn’t feel fulfilling. Since coming to this position, though, I’ve learned how to navigate my own body and talk positively about my sexual desires, experiences, etc with my partner and friends in ways that have helped me to destigmatize my own (and others’!) experiences.

  2. I have never thought about my parents or people having sex- positivity or negativity but it makes sense after reading this post. I am actually still not sure what sex- positivity or negativity is but I guess I have defined it as an openness to sex. I would say my parents are more sex-negative but they know it is natural and I just have been raised to be smart and safe about sex. I can’t think of anyone sex-positive in my life except maybe myself.
    I believe your sexual encounters should be between you and your partner unless otherwise discussed between both partners to prevent misunderstandings or insecurities. And I believe sex should be an experience and experimental, it should not be awkward or judgmental but open between both people as you are both learning and figuring out what is best for you. I enjoy/ can relate to your openness and how you have explored your sexuality and experiences and believe society would be better off this away especially nowadays since I feel like there are so many expectations from sex.

    • Yeah, sex-positivity means being positive about sex rather than negative. Sex-positive means you see sex as good and natural. Sex-negative means you see sex as dirty, nasty, your mind is in the gutter, and girls who have sex are sluts, hoes…

  3. I really enjoyed reading a unique perspective regarding how one’s upbringing and community lead to their sexual beliefs. It sounds like RoSo was able to achieve her perspective on sex at an early age, and then maintain that perspective even throughout the negative responses from her peers.
    I have never before fully taken the opportunity to examine how my relationship with sex has developed as a result of these different points you brought up. I think my relationship with sex has always been considering sex and exploring one’s sexuality as a natural part of adolescence. I think I would credit this fundamentally to my parents, and their heavily sex-positive viewpoints. My parents had me when they were still teenagers, and thus as I was growing up and reaching adolescence, were still actively having sex and would almost jokingly often communicate this to me. Sex was never anything to be ashamed of, but rather a demonstration of the love that had gifted them three kids. Since becoming an adult, my mom has given me various relationship advice in regards to intimacy, and even bought me expensive lingerie I would never splurge on myself.
    I think it is worth noting though, as other readers like Evelyn have pointed out, how many schools do have a tendency to promote sex-negative viewpoints. I have friends who have grown up in such environment, and it seems like such viewpoints lead to nothing by shame and a lack of protection in dealing with the negative repercussions of being sexually active.
    I firmly believe that fulfilling one’s sexual desires is vital in reaching true happiness as an individual, and developing adolescents will naturally crave sexual contact. Depriving adolescents of these experiences through sex negative feedback will lead to nothing but unhappiness. Those suppressing their natural urges will feel desperate and unhappy, and those who seek sex regardless will be uneducated and feel shunned by their community. I hope that as I grow and have my own children, I can be able to further promote sex positivity for my own family and community.

  4. I had the opposite experience in high school. When I was in high school, my group of girlfriends made a “virgin” list. I was on top of the list. I was one of two girls, out of our twenty friends, that did not have sex in high school. It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested in sex; I have always had a very healthy sex drive and a positive attitude towards sex. The one guy I was interested in wasn’t interested in me, so I took a hard pass until I got to college.
    The fascinating thing about the list, was that there was no opposite list – or a “slut” list. Many of the girls had multiple partners in high schools. Don’t get me wrong, there was criticism of their behavior. The shaming went on behind their backs and not to their faces (like being presented with the “virgin” list). Somewhere, there seemed to be an unwritten code as to how many boys you could have sex with before being considered a “slut”. In case you are wondering, that number was three. Also, part of that code dictated that it was okay to have sex if you were “in love”. So, a girl could have more than three partners and not be shamed because they were “in love” with each other when they had sex.
    Pretty twisted. Either way, no one should have been shamed for their choices.

  5. I really liked reading RoSo’s story! I am jealous about how she was lucky to feel comfortable about sex and exploring her own sexuality from such an early age. It’s interesting to think that probably by age 14 she knew more about her body and sexuality than I do now at 20 years of age. I know there’s no such thing as being “too old” to get to know your body and explore your sexuality, but I wish it hadn’t taken me so long.

    I was raised in a very catholic household and when I was 12, right after getting my first period ever, I went to meet with my priest for my monthly confession. He said that now that I was a “real” woman, it was more important than ever to commit to chastity. He explained to me why saving myself for marriage was so crucial for my relationship with God, and even gave me a “purity ring” as a gift. I was so committed to chastity that I never bothered to touch myself or even look to see what was down there. I had a feeling that God would be very unhappy if I were to ever touch myself for pleasure. I was afraid of doing anything that could potentially jeopardize my relationship with God.

    But everything changed about a year ago when I met my current boyfriend. Just like RoSo mentioned, he was very romantic and would tell me not to worry about anything and that I was beautiful. I couldn’t feel any guilt when exploring my sexuality with him, because there was nothing wrong about it! We are two people who love and respect each other. I learned that sex is just one of the many facets of our relationship and that love, God’s number one lesson, is what I share with my boyfriend whenever we explore our sexuality together.

    I finally learned RoSo’s first insight… sex is natural and pleasurable! Sex is just something that people do, like going to the mall or driving. And sex is pleasurable if you do it with someone who you love and respect.

  6. This was a very interesting topic to read. As someone who had a similar experience growing up it was also comforting. I am very interested on how different regions and families teach about sex. This is an all common trend in the sex education world, the boys learn about sex while the girls are told to be shameful about it until they are married. I went to a christian school k-8 and was only taught abstinence while the boys learned about sex. But I went on to learn more my self easily because my parents never shamed it like the school did. It is interesting to me how slut shaming can either drive or stop a sexual feeling. With many teenagers having sex it is still beyond me why there is slut shaming but no real growth in safe sex education rather than abstinence. If kids who don’t understand it go into a sexual relationship they may not know how to protect themselves.

  7. Genevieve Escobedo

    Growing up, they put the subject of sexuality in the air by my mom and grandma. They told me that “my body was a sanctuary”, a holy place where solely a single partner was given entry to. This meant they expected me to wait until marriage to give up my purity. The only knowledge I gained from sex was through school. Sex education was common in high school, there were health facilities that advocated safe sex and gave students preventive methods to pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. I’ve been in relationships where the ultimatum was breaking up so I lost my virginity long before I considered settling into marriage. I found that sexuality is a part of being human, and it was not something I could hold off until marriage. My body count doesn’t determine the lack of respect I give myself, it simply is a human desire and anyone who is engaging in sexual activity shouldn’t feel ashamed.

  8. I’ve never really sat down and thought about “sex-negative” and “sex-positive”. I find this post interesting and enlightening. I grew up in a sex-negative home and religious culture. I was always taught that sex was dirty and wrong unless you were married. I had a lot of sexual curiosity from a young age but would never get any of my questions answered. I was always brushed off and shamed for asking something of sexual nature let alone thinking it! I remember replaying sex scenes in movies just to try to figure out what was going on and how it all worked. It not only intrigued me but made me excited to grow up and find out all the secrets of this unspeakable thing that was clearly very prominent in our lives.

    I was taught that masturbation was damaging and disgraceful. God wouldn’t want us to use our bodies in that way and he especially wouldn’t want us to have those type of thoughts. In fact, my religion (which I’m no longer a part of) had handouts and speeches from acclaimed members of the church telling us that our brain was a factory and it was our job to dispose of any sexual or inappropriate thoughts. That would keep our factory pure and clean, just the way God wanted it. If we had those desires or thoughts then we were wrong, sinful, and disgusting. It makes me sad when children are silenced or shamed for asking sexual questions or for being curious about their bodies. I think the best place for Children to learn these things is from their parents otherwise they’ll look somewhere else for answers.

    I’m very open about sex and definitely sex-positive. I love discussing it and I think it’s a normal thing that is part of life and there’s no reason we can’t talk about it freely and openly. I have always been vocal with my partners about my wants, needs, insecurities, and questions. I can’t imagine having a relationship where we just performed sex and didn’t talk or communicate about our bodies or sex lives.

    I’m bothered when I hear the term “slut shaming”. Just because someone is sex positive or has more experience doesn’t mean we need to judge them or shame them. Sexuality is to be enjoyed and explored. I encourage that!

  9. This is such an interesting topic and read! As a child my mother constantly reminded me that sex was reserved for marriage. She had waited until marriage with my father as a way to get back at my grandmother who was pregnant on her wedding day. My mother and I never spoke about sex and pleasure; she simply said not to do it. My father spoke to me once very awkwardly about masturbation. It was a short conversation and he simply said that it was better than winding up pregnant or being a whore. I waited until I was almost 19 to have sex the first time. I had been dating my boyfriend for almost 4 months and decided it was the right time. We went on to getting engaged and eventually broke up when I turned 21. My mom made it very clear that we weren’t allowed to be home alone together, but never offered any advice about protection or anything else that had to do with sex. After we broke up I felt some disappointment in myself because I would eventually have sex with someone else. Luckily, I found that my friends were incredibly sex-positive and they “coached” me through!

  10. I grew up in a sex-negative home. From a young age, my parents made me feel like sex was a bad thing. My dad wouldn’t let my sister and I sleep over at our friends’ houses if they had brothers. Whenever we went to a movie and there was a sex scene, he would make us all leave the movie. It was always so embarrassing (he should’ve just researched the movie ahead of time!) In high school, he disapproved of my sister and I dating, so neither of us did. My parents both emphasized that sex was only meant for marriage, and they always judged girls who were having sex and getting pregnant in high school. I believed that if I had sex before marriage, I would definitely go to hell. I am still combatting with negative feelings towards sex. I am 23 and a virgin, and I am afraid that if I decide to have sex before I get married that I will always feel really guilty about it.

    I often feel bitter towards my parents that they made me feel so uncomfortable and ashamed, even just towards the idea of having sex. I want to be able to grow past it because I know that sex is a natural and enjoyable part of life and it shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of.

  11. Gosh, this brought back lots of memories of my childhood. I can say that my experience was the sex-negative. Although my parents were quite affectionate with each other, they never talked about sex with us children. I also went to Catholic school, sex was never mentioned except the obligatory sex education we got in sixth grade. Males and females were separated and I remember feeling quite embarrassed but also very lost. I really felt that the moment I lost my virginity (pre-marital) was the moment I was destined to go to hell. I don’t think I had an idea of what sex really was until I was sixteen and other students were talking about it. I really wished there were others I could have talked to about sex. In my small community there was nowhere to turn without getting judged. I was born into a very traditional Catholic Vietnamese family, and the idea of sex before marriage was taboo. Now that I have my own children who are adults now, I am happy to say that both my children are very open and honest with my husband and me. I think because we never put sex in a negative light and never shied away from the subject, I wanted my children to get answers from me and not have to go to others for information. I will admit that it took some learning on my end to be okay with discussing sexuality with my kids. This I believe stemmed from my upbringing in a sex-negative culture, as was stated earlier, silence also speaks volumes. Thank you for this positive view from the student.

  12. Reading this blog brought to light how many people have been fortunate enough to experience sex-positivity in their lives. It seems more positive or neutral than negative. I remember my own experiences as being positive, perhaps that is why as a parent of now adult women, I am glad that I was able to talk openly to my kids when they were younger. Even today we remain upfront, open and honest about sex. The “door” has always been open so that when they had questions we could and would talk. Educate your children, give them that facts and let them know that sexuality is a normal part of life for both men and women. Experiencing a positive first time is important, choose wisely and make sure you are both emotionally and physically ready. It’s an extra bonus when you are able to find your perfect mate that you want to spend the rest of your life with.

    • It might be getting more positive or neutral these days, at least in terms of discussions from parents. But it’s hard to tell by people who write in to this comment Because people with more positive experiences might be more inclined to share their story.

      I asked my students about it in class and they mostly say that their parents haven’t said anything or were positive. But silence can have a negative connotation.

      I think parents aren’t as big a problem as the culture these days. All of the young women in my classes have heard Girls being slut-shamed at school. A girl who lives not too far from me killed herself because of the Slut-Shaming she experienced. The musical airwaves are also filled with girls being referred to hoes. I still hear women referred to as skanks on television.

      I do think things are getting better but historically they have had devastating effects with nearly half of American women with major sexual dysfunctions including painful sex, difficulty with orgasm, a lack of interest in sex. Study after study has come up with consistent numbers of between 41% and 44% of American women. So I hope we continue to improve on this front.

  13. RoSo’s Story of Sex-Positivity was extremely informative. I have to admit I wasn’t quite expecting it to go into personal details, but I found the concepts and experiences within her lifetime to be very telling of how sex should be addressed in out society. Sex has always been a difficult topic to bring attention to, adults become easily embarrassed, and children who fist hear about it usually find it overly funny. This makes open discussion on sex difficult, leaving kids oblivious to a major aspect that will influence a majority of their lives. An important thing to realize is that this lack of conversation can have similar affects to negative sex experiences such as slut shaming. Without a proper understanding of one’s own sexuality children can potentially grow up self-loathing themselves for decisions or feelings that are perfectly natural. I believe that more awareness should be placed on the topic of sex and sexuality so that we can raise a generation of children that can be comfortable with their own life decisions and so that they may feel comfortable with the type of people they develop to become.

  14. This is a very interesting topic to talk about and some of the points are very important for people to understand.
    For example the fact that not every kid was told what sex is until it happened. In my opinion, it’s not fully severally to give your son or daughter a lecture on sex, but do not keep it a secret either. There are many religious or traditional families, where it is just inappropriate to talk about sex, especially to the kids, this is the case where “sex class” at school, or in my school it was called “living skills class”, is necessary for the students, grads.
    It is harder for girls, as in this story she was slut-shamed. Some people can fight back, learn on that and just become wiser in the future, but for some people, they are not capable of doing so, which breaks them down. And as in RoSo’s case, she was strong to not fall for all the bullying she had to go through during High School

  15. Everyone has their own experiences with sexuality and I thought it was interesting to read someone else’s point of view and experiences. Some people have good and some have bad experiences. For me, sex was never really talked about in my home. I do like to think though that is was a more positive topic rather than a negative. While growing up I was never told that I could not date, but at the same time I’m sure they preferred for me to not be dating. They would rather have me focusing on other things such as school, sports, and other activities. I think it is very important that children should be well educated on this topic as well as know that this is a natural part of life. Allowing children to be open and talk about sex eliminates the factor of being ashamed or felling like they need to hide things.

  16. Nica Gutierrez

    I believe that the way we think about sex, whether it was negative or positive it is the way we were brought up. I was brought up in a Catholic traditional latin family. I was taught from very early on that my body as well as my soul was created to be loved, valued and respected. I grew up wanting to be loved and valued and embraced for me. As a teen ager I did see relationships that my friends were in that were not the best and it wasn’t good gor them at all. I saw the negative cycles of unhealthy toxic relationships. I wanted one that was based on love and intimacy. I grew up appreciating good relationships. Those that were not only loving but compationate and caring. I believe sex was creating to be a positive moment in ones journey where there is mutual shared values and commitment.

  17. I really liked this post. It resonated with me because I feel that we all as human beings have our needs. I grew up in a very conservative household where sex was very controversial to talk about. In fact, my older cousin and I barely were able to start talking about these kind of things because it was not like our families really opened us to this real world thing of sex. I was always kept in the dark about it, and it made talking about these kinds of things with anyone in my family very hard. My mother would however, always tell me that if I was having sex at a young age to always keep it safe and use a condom. So I was made aware of the safety and concerns over sex but was also made to think that it had to be when you’re married and already with the intent to have children. I was not told that it was something people did for pleasure. The part I thought was interesting to read was the part where this student said she has sex in her parent’s home and that her mother was okay with it. It is definitely two different worlds because in my home if I was caught having sex with my girlfriend I would be beat and scolded and told that I should be doing those kind of things in my own home. I am 20 years old, a manager at Starbucks, and go to college but would still be treated as a child in that instance. It is definitely interesting to see how her mother is very accepting of her daughters sex life as well as her privacy. What is a little strange I will say, and maybe a bit controversial to some in my opinion, is the mother buying her daughter suggestive lingerie. The relationship dynamic between the mother and her daughter in that case is pretty unique as I do not think that many mother’s and daughters would have that same type of relationship that RoSo and her mother have together. Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to seeing more from RoSo!

  18. Julissa Avila Corona

    Growing up ,around the age of 12 I started exploring my body parts. Although I feel like I was open to sexuality from my childhood. When I was three years old my dad would drop me off at a family friends house and she would babysit me. When he dropped me off, her oldest son opened the door and brought me in. I then walked to her room and and caught them having sex. She got up and quickly closed the door and sat me down at the corner of the room and continued to have sex. That was the first time I saw two people having sex. Around 5 years old, I remember playing with this young boy abut 2 years older than me. We ran behind a truck and I cant remember that conversation but it was about kissing. He kissed me and it felt so strange, I got up and ran home. So, at 12 years old I didn’t know much of because my parents didn’t share much about sexual education up until when I was in middle school. It was my mom who talked to me and told me to be careful but she didn’t come from a negative place, she just wanted to make sure I be careful and explained what could happen if I were alone with a boy. She never mentioned it again after that day. During my high school years I started hearing other peoples, “ How I lost my virginity” stories. I wondered what it would be like. Well, my time came at 18 years old. It wasn’t how I thought it would be especially because I didn’t bleed. I think sex is a very interesting topic to talk about because it’s nothing bad in my opinion. In fact, I ask my close friends how their sex life is and give them ideas on how to spark it to make it more fun. I think sex is natural and an important part of a couples life.

  19. Chinwe Idika

    Hello,
    It is pretty refreshing to hear about parents who have neutral-to-positive perspectives of sex and sexuality. I feel that it is partially contingent upon the values that the parents hold most dear to them, and it seems clear from this post that sexuality and the restriction of it was not something that RoSo’s parents felt strongly about.

    I grew up in a household that largely avoided the topic of sexuality, and whenever it was mentioned it was largely understood to be a negative subject. It must have been nice to live in a household that was progressive enough to see sex not as a necessary evil, but as a part of the human experience.

    I’m agnostic, so I don’t have any religious views that necessarily restrict me from exploring my sexuality, but I did grow up with parents who were pretty conservative on most issues, including sex. It’s actually inspiring to see the positive outcomes of parents that are open and honest with their children about sex, because the data shows us time and time again that abstinence-based sex education actually leads to higher rates of teen pregnancy and STDs.

    I feel bad about RoSo being slut-shamed, but I’m glad she rose above that.

  20. I consider myself sex-positive, although, that was not the case when I was younger. My parents weren’t extremely open about sex, my mom would talk about it but only give the negative side of things, like pregnancy, STD’s and what not. I was not allowed to have a boyfriend or anything of that nature. Things happen to me as a teenager that I wish wouldn’t had because I was actually very shy and timid when came to sex, which made me believe in what my mother said even more. I was actually the only virgin out of all my friends for a while during high school. They would tell me their different stories, I would laugh and frown at some of the things that had happened but I also knew I wasn’t ready for what everyone else was doing. I finally lost my virginity at 17, it did come with things I didn’t want or thought would never happen to me but it allowed me to think for myself what sex really was. I am now very-very open when it comes to sex. I think it’s natural as long as it’s between two people and its consensual. I know to protect myself. I can become defensive when it’s time to remove my clothes but that’s something I’m working on. What I do find weird about myself and sex though is that although I’m a sex positive person, I don’t really enjoy sex! I wish I knew why but I just can’t figure it out.

  21. Hello! I grew up with an Asian mom and I couldn’t be any happier to have her as a best friend.

    Although she is traditional, she isn’t your average Asian parent. She is sex-positive. She wouldn’t shame me or ban me from knowing about sex when I reached my pre-teens – it wasn’t a taboo in my household. My mom made sure I knew that sex was a good thing and that there was nothing to be ashamed of when I experienced it. She educated me about protection, about womanhood, about having safe sex during my teen years, about communication, and most importantly, about consent. She even asked my doctor to give me condoms during a checkup when I was 12 (in case I was sexually active, but I didn’t lose my virginity until later). That was embarrassing at that moment, but now it’s just hilarious when we talk about it.

    The fact that she is sex-positive, didn’t mean she encouraged me to go out and be promiscuous during my teenage years. She made me understand and realize what could have happened if I wasn’t educated and if I didn’t know how to protect myself. She created a safe zone to discuss a topic that was intimate and personal. And to be honest, it made me more comfortable knowing I could confide in my mom if I had a bad experience losing my virginity when I was younger.

    Now that I’m older, I’m glad my mom was open to educating me. I hope to provide the same safe space my mom did for my future kids (when they are at the right maturity), and hopefully they will be able to be confident and comfortable with having sex and their sexuality.

  22. Hello! I think this was a very refreshing story about sex-positivity. In my case, I had to learn on my own that sex wasn’t a bad thing through my own experiences with losing my virginity with my boyfriend, as well as discovering masturbation. My mom never verbally expressed that it was bad, she more so was against sex before marriage. My dad has always been really awkward with the topic of sex, so I was never exposed to my parents being open about that part of their relationship. I grew up in a Christian home, went to a Christian elementary school, and consistently when to youth group from middle school all the way through high school, so when sex was a topic it was always very uncomfortable. I remember my junior year we had a lesson about sex with our partners before marriage, and as someone listening in who had already lost their virginity, and being the only one in my small group who had, it was extremely uncomfortable and I felt singled out and ashamed even though no one knew. After the first week in that series, I didn’t show up to group until we moved onto the next one because of it. It all made me realize how frustrating the process of discovering sex positivity is in an environment like that. Thankfully I had my boyfriend who would constantly remind me that it didn’t matter what other’s believed as long as I was comfortable with my decisions. I’m much more comfortable with my body and I feel so much more educated as well. I think it’s important to teach more about sex positivity and sex in general in order for us to feel proud and safe with our bodies. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  23. Hello. I found your post to be very insightful. I think it’s great that you can express yourself comfortably concerning sex. My intimate experiences I must say have been the total opposite. I laugh about sex and engage in conversations with lady friends, and sometimes guy friends but I’ve always been sexually ‘uptight’. I believe it is due to my church upbringing and the rigid guidelines set forth. Sex has most of the time been something that just went along with the relationship. However, it’s gratifying to hear how you came through your challenges.

  24. I too, consider myself to be a very sex positive person. Very luckily never really having a negative sexual encounter, some very awkward yes, but never downright negative. So when I was in highschool and the girls around me were terrified of sex and even masturbation, it made very little sense to me. Sex wasn’t really talked about in my household, especially by my parents. But it was never negative and my mother even took me to a seminar at Stanford before I hit puberty to help explain everything to me (she felt my school did not do a good job, as I think many schools tend to.) There were times growing up that I caught my brothers watching porn, and once even my parents, so masturbation was never negative to me. And when the girls around me in highschool didn’t even know their own anatomy it confused me. From this blog post and some of the other comments, and my own life experiences it seems that sex negativity goes hand in hand with little education on your own body. A lot of times fear is because of a lack of understanding, which I think is what a lot of girls are led to in regards to their own body and sexuality.

  25. Cynthia Minton

    I, unfortunately, fell into the sex-negative category and I think it’s because my parents had me when they were young. My mom was seventeen and dad was twenty when I was born, when I was two, they got a divorce. Both parents are Christians, and they burned in my mind that sex or anything sexual was wrong and sinful. They never told me to learn from their mistake, but that I should wait to have sex until I’m married.
    When I was in high school, my dad decided to put spyware on my computer and found out that I was watching porn. My computer was taken away and I was grounded for a year. My dad even bought a book for me on why it’s bad to masturbate!
    Within that year, my dad and step-mother found out that I hung out with a guy-friend (nothing sexual) after school and they grounded me for another year.
    For the longest time, I thought it was sinful to enjoy such a pleasurable thing, let alone be near a male human being.
    When I was eighteen, my mom kicked me out of her house and my dad wouldn’t let me back into his. I was angry and rebelled. I decided to go clubbing and went home with a guy. Looking back, it wasn’t the best decision, but I got lucky that he was nice and ‘normal’. He gave me the best sex I have ever had (even till this day), and we dated for three years.
    I wish my parents taught me more about sex or were more open to the idea instead of pushing me away.
    My husband and I bought a house and lived together before getting married, both parents were not thrilled but after these years accepted that I can be responsible. I didn’t become pregnant when I was seventeen, nor was a troubled child – just a very sexual one and they didn’t know what to do with me.
    I would hope that whether the person decides to have sex younger or older, they should be educated and safe.

  26. I identify myself as a sex-positive person, but I feel like not much of my childhood or upbringing really had an effect on that. When I was a child, maybe around 5 years of age, I loved boys and was constantly smitten by any boy that just smiled at me. A cute guy smiled at me in a passing car and I couldn’t stop thinking about him for weeks. Growing up I always wondered if my sexual tension towards boys started extremely early and strong for me or if everyone started thinking that way around that age. I had my first discussion about sex during a sex ed seminar in the 5th grade and I honestly thought I was way too young to have that conversation because I didn’t suck any of that information into my brain.
    I had to learn about sex on my own growing up, whether it be from porn or from figuring out how to masturbate. My parents weren’t any help either, just like RoSo’s parents they weren’t necessarily against sex but it was just a subject that never came up. There was actually a time that my mom found a used condom in my jacket and nearly kicked me out of the house, which I personally think was a questionable parenting tactic because I was basically terrified of using condoms and getting caught again after that.
    Even throughout all that I still maintained my sex-positive outlook and it wasn’t because of my upbringing but because of how sex-positive society is nowadays. Kids are having sex younger and younger these days and I’m not saying that’s a good thing, however at least it’s helping get rid of the negative stigma towards sex and “slut-shaming”. I would rather my child be informed and equipped for what life has to offer than lie and scare them out of sex, leaving them unprepared for the inevitable.

    • If you haven’t had a lot of negativity in your life you are more likely to be a sex positive person.

      But about half of women in the United States have major problems with sexual dysfunction like painful sex, difficulty with orgasm, a lack of interest in sex. Other women who don’t have these problems are often need a vibrator. That’s actually a sign of sexual repression. It’s not natural to need mechanical equipment to enjoy sexual pleasure.

      It’s not surprising since Women can experience so many negative messages in the world: slut-shaming, Being told that God will punish you for Being sexual, negative feelings about sexuality from parents, rape and sexual harassment, body shame that comes from feeling like you don’t measure up — which distracts about three quarters of the women I surveyed in my classes from the sexual experience — being a big problem for about 2/3 of them.

      You are lucky you have escaped this.

      And different women respond differently to the negative messages in the world.

  27. The manner in which society dictates how we feel and act is scary, and looking through history it has always been this way. However, I do think we have evolved (intellectually via the speed of global communication) that perhaps the power of those that control society (religion, men, etc…) is lessening… And then I look at the politics today and think we still have a long way to go. What does make me hopeful is the mind and character of the author of this post ~ strong and confident, even with the slut-shaming that took place.

  28. Jeniffer Jurado

    Growing up i think i was more open with my mother more than any of my sisters, they always felt like they were going to be judged by my mother, to me that was weird because i always felt like i could go to her for anything and tell her about anything that i was going through. I was 17 the first time i had sex, my mother was not upset with me having sex, i think she was just disappointed with the person who i lost my virginity with, i was dating a very nice guy before the guy i had sex with. The relationship did not last long and i eventually started seeing other people, i had sex with two other guys after that and one of my best friends who was a guy started shaming me for it. I did not understand why till later when he kept begging me to have sex with him and i did not want to because we grew up together and to me, that was just weird. Other guys that i had messed around with also had their moment of shaming but i just ignored them. I was very open about my sexuality and dated guys and we did our thing until i became a Christian. I still think sexuality is a very beautiful thing, i do feel like i am sinning when i have sex with my boyfriend because we are not married but we live almost two hours away from each other so it does not happen very often 😀

  29. Hello! Thank you for sharing this. As I read your experience about the topic of sexuality, I thought of my own. Growing up, the topic of sex was sort of a bit of a taboo in my family’s household. My parents are bit of old fashion when it comes to a woman’s sexuality so I have definitely heard my fair share of slut shaming. Though, personally, I never understood it. I also grew up in a Catholic household which meant we were also suppose to wait until we got married to have sex. So for the most part, sex for me was something that was made to feel like a huge sin. One of the few things my mother did tell me about sex is that if I did lose it before marriage, was to lose it to someone I loved. In the end, I did end up losing it to my first boyfriend who I loved dearly at the time. But the days after I lost it left me in so much guilt because I felt as if I had disappointed God. I think nowadays, more and more women are becoming more open and comfortable with their sexuality. Which I am glad. I know many still get judged for it, but I know that if/when I have a daughter, I am going to teach her that a woman should embrace her sexuality.

  30. Geawna Hernandez

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

    The island where I’m from is very tiny and majority Roman Catholic. My family and I don’t really speak about sex, but my dad did warn me about the consequences of not having safe sex. I was raised by my grandmother and she was extremely strict. Therefore, I knew having sex was not what I was supposed to do in high school. She was very aggressive about it too. Although I love her, I did not follow that rule…

    I lost my virginity at the age of 15. I don’t regret it at all. I lost it to my boyfriend at the time and he truly was my first love. If there is any advice I could give to younger girls is to be really picky about who you lose it to. I think the worst part about losing your virginity is regretting or despising the person you lose it to. I’m grateful I don’t. He was also super respectful and we even talk to each from time to time to check up on each other.

    If my family found out I lost it (at that time) I know for a fact they would have flipped out. Because of the type of person I am, I don’t feel sad that my family never really talks about sex or was open to the idea of me doing it. I’m a little more conservative about my private life and I like to keep it that way from anyone and everyone. I rarely talk to my friends about it because that is just who I am as a person. However, I am so glad I am living in the new era of sexuality and how we are normalizing it. I want to be that parent that my kids can come and talk to about it. I might be a little strict just to ensure they are responsible when it comes to sex and definitely safe!!

  31. I’m not sure I would say that I lived in a sex positive household, my parents just never seemed to bring it up. When I was in eighth grade, my dad had the “sex talk” with me which was extremely awkward and uncomfortable. That was the first and last time sex was ever brought up during my entire childhood and high school years. My siblings and I just never brought it up but I know that if we had my parents would have been perfectly open to answer any questions we had. My best friend was raised to never talk about sex, which has affected her adult life a great deal. She always felt embarrassed and nervous about getting involved in relationships with men because sex scared her. When she and I were in high school, we had just turned 18 so we decided to buy a few dirty magazines, just because we could. I took them to my house first and my mother just thought it was interesting and funny at the same time. Once my best friend’s mother caught wind of it she went ballistic and started calling my friend nasty names. She told my friend that only disgusting pedophiles buy magazines like that. I felt so bad because it was just supposed to be a joke, we were just taking advantage of the fact that we were technically adults. After seeing how my best friend was raised, I always told myself that I wanted to be upfront and honest with my kids about sex. I would rather be open with them so that they feel comfortable enough to come to me with any questions they may have.

  32. In reading this article, it got me thinking to how I was brought up almost in the way where sex was forbidden, it was bad, we didn’t talk about it etc. Now that I have had sexual encounters and am more educated on the subject I feel that it is important to introduce sex in a not so negative light. Yes, there should be restrictions and limitations based on maturity levels, but as far as learning about sex, I feel that it is important to educate our children about it as they are growing so it will not be such a taboo subject as the majority of the world makes it out to be. Growing up in a religious household, sex was bad and anything sexual was bad which made me want to explore it more and made me feel bad for doing so. Now that I am a mother and I know all the facts, I feel it is so important that my children are well educated on this and it is important to share that this is a natural part of life and not something to be ashamed of or to hide from; Of course, all in modesty and maturity. Thank you for sharing this relatable article as I feel it is an important topic of discussion for parents as well as children.

  33. As I read this article, I found it really interesting because I got raised up in the same situation; in my situation, it was more neutral than positive though. Growing up, my parents never told me that I wasn’t allowed to date, but at the same time they sort of gave me the signal that it is not preferred. That’s the approach that my parents took with everything else too. My parents never talked about sex, but at the same time, I knew that they didn’t prefer for me to explore my sexuality at such a young age. Reading this article really showed me how our upbringings or our surroundings can influence how confident we feel about out sexuality and sexual experiences. Although I wish my parents were more proactive in trying to teach me about sex, I respect that they approached it the way they did (they let me learn from my own actions and trusted that I would think about the consequences before doing anything) because it’s not common for traditional asian parents to teach their kids about sex.

  34. As I read this article it caught my attention because I have a lot of work to be done still to make it a more sex positive idea at home with my own children. I never thought about it until now that my daughter is almost reaching that age where her body is changing. I was happy to know that Roso’s story had more of a positive idea and her parents or school never mentioned that sex was something wrong or more like commiting a crime or a sin. That is how I grew up as well, but my mother will be the one talking to me about protecting myself. On the other hand my father never spoke or even let e talk about sex at home. That wasn’t his fault that was how he was raised. That was the time when women were not allowed to speak up or have sex until marriage or else they were considered to be the worse. This topic interests me because there is a lot of men and women who think that sex is negative before marriage or bad. Sex can be bad if you are not taking care of yourself or your partner is not respecting what you like or dislike. My job now is to make that better of an experience for my children and future women, so they will not have negative experiences but enjoy it! Sometimes there are women and men who have had bad experiences because they have been abused before, that will be something in which can affect for the rest of their lives and have more of a negative idea.

  35. Curious, not having delved into sociology lately, is there a consensus notion out there about what percentage of U.S. females are “sex-negative”? And has this changed appreciably since the appearance of the Internet?

    • well, sex-negative cultures lead to sexual dysfunction in women. And studies consistently find high levels of dysfunction among American women, at nearly half (Low or no desire, pain, difficulty with orgasm). And it’s common for American women to need mechanical help like a vibrator, which is not natural. You don’t find it in sex-positive societies like Oceana when Europeans first made contact.

      Our sex negativity stems from things like Slut-shaming, Rape (which colors sex with negativity and trauma), and objectification – leaving young women feeling like they are supposed to look or act a particular way. And that is rampant on the Internet.

  36. I find this article interesting because I grew up in the exact opposite way. So it is definitely interesting to hear the “other-half” lived. Growing up I wasn’t even allowed to date until I was 16 and even then I didn’t until I was a second year in college. I grew up in a very strict Catholic home where sex was something one didn’t explore until they were married. Sex was always something that was never spoken about besides in my fourth grade class when a nun taught us sex education. Due to my upbringing I do believe I have developed a stigma towards sex outside of marriage. However, with that being said I have been with my boyfriend now for about two years and we have sex regularly. My mother is aware and she does not approve. However, I have not been disowned due to my decision. Though I do have sex now I always wish that I would have waited until marriage.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with this. I Suspect your experiences the more common one.

    • I am a male and was brought up in very sex positive home and my mother encouraged me to be promiscuous. I love women and had sex with over 300 women by the time I got married. I must say that I regret having been promiscuous and I’m teaching my 2 kids (both boys) to wait until marriage to have sex so that it will be a very special, bonding experience. I don’t want them to be like me. I want them to be better than me.

      Anyway, what I want to say about your post is this… I grew up as the only male in a house full of women and have had many deep conversations with and have known many different types of women throughout my life. The fact that you wish you would have waited until marriage for sex tells me something about you. It tells me that you really don’t need it or enjoy it that much. If your regret about having sex before marriage is because of religious reasons then I admire your religious conviction.

      I was always attracted to “slutty-nymphomaniac” type women. When I was in school, the only girl that I was interested in having a serious relationship with was the one that was having sex with the whole football team and would flirt with the male teachers. She would wear a very short skirt and high heals to school every day, wouldn’t wear bra or panties, etc, etc. I still have a weakness for sexually assertive and sexually liberated women. “Good girls” bore me. I wish I could change that about myself.

      Just make sure that you marry a man that shares similar views to yours when it comes to sex. My ex-wife was very sexually repressed even though she was brought up in a very sex positive home (I’ll explain more details about that in another post). She was not into frequent sex, was not willing to try new things and was embarrassed to wear lingerie. After 12 years of marriage I opened myself up to relationships with sexually adventurous women and eventually I ended up leaving my wife for a women that had been as promiscuous as I had been throughout my life. I feel in love again with a woman that had a reputation for being a “slut”. We’ve been together now for the past 10 years.

      Again, just make sure that every aspect of sex is dicussed in depth with the person you plan to marry and make sure that your sex drives and sense of adventure when it comes to sex are pretty closely aligned.

  37. Every person has their own experience with their sexuality and it was interesting to read about your student’s mostly positive experience. Sexuality for me was never discussed at home besides the very common “wait until marriage” line that my mom would tell my sister and I. I wish I had a more sex-positive experience growing up so that I wouldn’t feel like I had to hide my sexuality from my mom and I wish I could have had her to talk to instead of learning these things from friends or whatever sex-education I had in high school. I am now sex-positive in my adulthood, but it took me a long time to get where I am today. I want my future children to come to me about these things I want to create a sex-positive home life for them where they are comfortable with their bodies and don’t feel like they have to hide things from me like I felt I had to do when I was younger.

  38. I’m glad you had such a positive experience with sex even going to a Christian school. I was raised in a Catholic family and went to Catholic school and sex before marriage and self pleasure were seen as wrong. You didn’t touch yourself because if you did you were sinning in God’s eyes. I had such a hard time growing up and excepting my sexuality. I was also abused as a child and I was afraid of it after that. I also would hear my mom having sex and it sounded like she was in pain. It’s funny, because when I was in high school and even before that we didn’t so much talk about sex but she had a shoe box of condoms for us to be “safe”. It took me a long time to be more open with my sexuality and realize its ok to tell your partner what you want and what your comfortable with. I feel like for the first 10 years of my sex life I really didn’t say what I liked and it felt like it was more for him then me. Finally at the age of 42, I feel like I get just as much from sex as my partner does.
    You had such a positive upbringing and I hope to do the same for my daughter and that she feels comfortable talking to me about what she might be dealing with. Being shamed for being open about your sexuality is just people not being ready or understanding how wonderful sex is! Thanks for sharing your story.

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