DANIEL SMITH/THE HOYA
DANIEL SMITH/THE HOYA

At least once a month in the deep dark recesses of my dorm room, I quasi-host a sex-ed class for my girl friends. It’s usually accompanied by cheap liquor and some form of bagged snacks, with an opening line that could make its own Cosmo headline.

Now, this isn’t your middle or high school health class, with a middle-aged gym teacher and a PowerPoint of STIs meant to scare you away from ever touching someone’s genitals.

This is sex-talk anarchy.

It all started with us talking about the boys we were getting with (or not getting with but desperately wanting to), which then turned into a spontaneous albeit regular occasion. We are a combination of seasoned practitioners and curious newbies, some with more questions than others, and all of us willing to provide the best feedback that we can.

We’ve done it all. From handwritten guides on the appropriate way to sexually please a guy and demonstrations with bananas to a show-and-tell of sex toys, we have made sure to cover all our bases.

The funny thing is that these are the questions that I myself have answered through Google, online shopping (nipple clamps, am I right?) and actually trudging through the jungle of sexual curiosity. This approach, though, is not exactly universal. These were questions we wanted to be answered, but the girls I knew were afraid to ask. And it’s a common phenomenon, visible even through the delightfully anonymous questions on YikYak.

Women want to know about sex, we want to talk about it, compare stories and figure out how to skip our periods using birth control (Yes, you can do it. And no, it’s not bad for you).

The thing is, ever since we were young, we were taught not to ask questions in sex-ed because people might think we were “doing it.” Not to masturbate because it’s “gross,” because it’s “dirty,” because somehow we’ve been given the impression that taking an interest in our biology is “shameful.”

We don’t watch porn because we’re not supposed to have a sex drive, and giving in to our biology in search of stimulus is somehow reserved only for the male fraction of our species (thankfully, this is slowly starting to change).

DANIEL SMITH/THE HOYA
DANIEL SMITH/THE HOYA

We’re told to shut up about what we like and want during sexual encounters because we wouldn’t want to come off as too experienced (“But, seriously, where did you learn to give head like that?”).

Women don’t talk about sex, their sex drives, their kinks and curiosities because we’ve been taught that we’re not supposed to have any. It’s the whole, “Don’t have sex because you will get get pregnant and die!” spiel from “Mean Girls.”

So, what do we do? We sit down with our three to 10 friends and use our collective knowledge to figure the whole thing out. We talk about our vaginas, we talk about having sex and how awesome it is when that one guy we’re getting with “does that thing, you know, with his mouth?”

We re-educate ourselves sexually and ask all of the scary questions we could never ask our flustered gym teacher. “Mr. Smith? What’s the appropriate way to clean silicone sex toys in order to avoid bacterial build up?” is not the sort of question you ask Mr. Smith, whose health class was simply an unfortunate footnote in his job description.

These conversations do take place, covertly and without ever mentioning them outside of our small circles. Because after all, we need to “keep up appearances” for the sake of our peers. And we shouldn’t. Sexual curiosity should never have to connote shame. When only a small percentage of women achieve orgasm through vaginal penetration alone, shouldn’t we be taking the time to explore ourselves? Not only physically, but through the emotional and psychological factors that influence our sex lives. We shouldn’t fear knowing what gets us off, or how to get ourselves off.

As more women embrace their sexuality (in whatever way, shape or form they want) they find at their fingertips a world of resources. Yet, these resources are not enough if we can’t share our own wisdom with others and receive guidance in return. It’s not enough that we have to pick, filter and put together the puzzle of sexuality in the dark. Whether it be with our peers, our partners or professionals, it’s time to make the conversation on female sexuality public.

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