I Refuse to Be Embarrassed When Talking about Sexual Things

Ooh, yes, I DID just write that title. And why? Because why the fuck not?

I’ve learnt everything about sex, my body in TERMS of it and about other people from the Internet. Sex education in my school was terrible; the last teacher I had for PSE was the only one that told us useful things. The rest of the teachers said, “Don’t get an STI, this is how you put a condom on, bye!” Nothing about how to deal with feelings, physical intimacy, or that pressure to do things does exist.

So, I decided to find out about it by myself, before the last teacher came along and told us that we shouldn’t have to do anything we didn’t want to do, and that saying no was okay. I used youtube, older people I knew, but I could never ever ask my parents for fear of embarrassment.

Even now, I’m telling myself that making this post is stupid. That NO ONE will want to read it, because it’s been somewhat drilled into me that talking about sex should be done in a whisper. Bullshit.

You might be wondering what the aim of this post is? It’s to show you that asking advice from people is totally fine, and that you should. You’ve heard it before, I know, but I want to discuss my experiences of talking to people. If you want me to, at some other time, I’ll continue the discussion with other topics (you can even email me to ask me to cover something).

At the moment, I’m 16. Up until a year ago, I was basically told, “DON’t HAVE SEX!” which made me worry. When I THOUGHT I was ready, I was told I wasn’t. I want to tell you that there is nothing wrong with doing anything you want to do, and that people who discourage you should think: is that them worrying for you, or just pushing what they think onto you?

I’ve been in 4 “relationships” – two of them official, and the other two very small things. Well, the thing with Jasmine wasn’t so small, except for the length of time (about three weeks in total).

With all but one, I’ve discussed sex. Physical intimacy. And with every single one, there’s been a recurring theme: “Don’t do ANYTHING you’re not comfortable with, okay?” from both sides.

I won’t talk about the specifics of each, not because I don’t want to, but rather because I literally can’t. At least one of them reads this, one doesn’t know and I doubt the other two would be okay with me saying exactly what went on.

Setting boundaries is so important. All of the people I’ve ever done anything with were respectful, and we never forced each other to do anything. I had a couple of instances of fear where I thought I’d overstepped, done something they didn’t want, which caused me to get so paranoid. After talking it through with them, they assured me that it WAS okay, and that they didn’t feel rushed. In the situation with Jasmine, where she was worried that I was getting too nervous, I told her I was okay: communication is something that’s pretty much essential, if you want to feel comfortable.

I wouldn’t say I’m experienced, but I’ve had physical experiences with both guys and girls. I remember feeling, one time, like I was trapped: I enjoyed it at the time, but afterwards, I felt so sick and worried there was something wrong with me. It took me a while to realise that it was okay NOT to be attracted to someone, but that I should never force myself to do anything just because I think it’ll make me more attracted to them. If I’d have talked it out, without being embarrassed, not as much fear would have been in my mind.

The most valuable source of knowledge came from my friends. Robin, especially, has given me so much advice. After I became comfortable with asking her, we sat in the bar in Italy this summer and just chatted about sex, what to expect, how to handle certain situations and the most important thing: things might be awkward sometimes, and you won’t know what to do, but you have time to work it out. I didn’t feel very embarrassed, and the questions eventually came to me easily.

I’ve talked to my other friends too, but not as much. Jasmine always made me feel very inexperienced and a bit stupid, but people like Wren – who understand my fears – I can talk to. There aren’t many people, besides those on youtube and the Internet in general, that I can ask about non-straight sex, so for all of that, I had to wing it. Oh NO, that makes me sound like I’ve done more than I have!

Again, I’m not exactly a bloody Guru on this. I’m still learning, and I will make mistakes with who I trust and who I get physically involved with. Even so, there are some things you should remember:

• If you feel awkward talking to your family, talk to your friends about this
• Don’t think you’re too young to ask questions – it’s better to know now, rather than get anxious later that you know nothing
• Asking about sex doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to do it right then; only do physical things when you feel comfortable
• If you’ve never felt sexual attraction, there is nothing wrong with you
• If you feel attraction to a lot of people, there’s nothing wrong with you either; don’t be afraid to explore that, as long as you’re safe
• If you don’t rush it, and you’re ready to deal with any consequences, then go for it. Don’t let anyone else judge you

I don’t want you to be in a situation where you can’t speak up. If you have questions, if you have CONCERNS or if you’re just worried that you’ll be too embarrassed to do physical things with your partner, find someone to talk to. Whether that be friends, family or someone online, don’t think you’re too immature or that you’re wrong for asking for help. Sex can be shitting scary, and also if you think you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, it can stop make you even more terrified.

Some people are genuinely very uncomfortable talking about it, and that’s okay too. Either because of a bad experience they’ve had, or just because they don’t want to – don’t pressure anybody to talk, or NOT talk, if they don’t want to.

Z you know, I’m always here if you just want someone to chat to. Maybe you didn’t get anything out of this post, but even so, if you find yourself being curious about anything and you’re too afraid to ask anyone else, I’m here. Not that I’m some high-up agony aunt, but I’ll do my best.

Drop me an email if you need to. I hope you didn’t find this post too forward; I want to be as open as possible with you, to show you it’s okay.

From Elm 🙂

82 thoughts on “I Refuse to Be Embarrassed When Talking about Sexual Things

  1. I can relate – my sex ed was rubbish too. We were literally told the same things in secondary as we were in primary school – “make sure you’re being safe” ect. What annoys me is that we were taught literally nothing about non-straight sex so me being stupid and clueless had to go and google stuff because for a while I thought that if I was in a relationship with a girl, I wouldn’t be able to do anything sexual (how stupid was I lol) but now I know otherwise so it’s all good. I don’t see why sex has to be one of these subjects that’s awkward to talk about because that just makes teenagers even more uncomfortable and they’re more unlikely to NOT ask questions about it, and rush into things without knowing what they want and how to be safe. I’m proud of you for writing this and spreading the message that it is perfectly ok to talk about sexual things. 🙂

    • Hell EXACTLY! 🙂 Honestly, saying “be safe” is never enough. I couldn’t even google much, for the fear of someone searching through my history (how they’d do that, I don’t know). But YES, I think the message NEEDS to be spread that talking is good! So glad you liked the post 🙂

      • I found some do you know Arielle? She’s quite good though her bisexual video from two years ago upset me more than I can say, but luckily she’s apologised for it. But anyway – what other channels are there that you know? 🙂

      • Yes I’ve watched some of Arielle’s videos! Also MissFenderr is pretty good as she tackles bi sexual myths in her ‘I don’t bi it videos’. Her coming out video is very emotional – it made me cry!

  2. I agree, sex is so much more complicated and complex than be safe and logistics, it comes with emotions and the older you get and when it comes round to actually doing it, it brings up way more questions. We used to ask my form tutor, aged 18, loads of questions about sex and babies and how it all works, and I still feel partly clueless. I learn a lot about boys from my boyfriend because as a girl, we only got taught stuff on our part! I say talk about sex!!!! Xxx

    • Yeah exactly! 🙂 Ahh, it’s reassuring that you had similar experiences (though I’ve never asked my form tutor!) I just think it’s time to talk about it because otherwise, I’ll lock myself into believing I CAN’t speak up which is rubbish.
      The thought of sex does make me a little nervous still, but I’m getting there.

      • It’s completely normal to be nervous, if you are with the right person, they’ll respect that different things take longer for some people to do than others. Never feel pressured or forced, and honesty is always best! X

      • That’s some great advice 🙂 I’ve always been told that the first time for girls, when having sex with a guy, is painful, so I’ve built up this horrible expectation. But yes, honesty is very good X

  3. Elm, this wasn’t too forward at all! Sex ed these days (look at me, I sound so old) is basically- don’t do it. But if you do, be safe. GOOD LUCK. We shouldn’t be embarrassed about it, because it’s human nature, and hey, it has to happen, or we’ll die out like the Puritans!

  4. i agree wholeheartedly. What sucks is that talking about sex is always deemed as such a shameful thing and i always wonder why. i mean, isn’t it just something intimate human beings, animals all do at some point in their life? It’s the reason why population is growing! I’m so glad you spoke out about this. Sex is normal.

    • Yes it is, and it should be normal to talk about it. We’re always curious, and so there’s nothing wrong with exploring that. You summed up my thoughts exactly with your words 🙂 It’s natural, and nobody should be ridiculed for asking questions or wanting to know about it. I’m glad you liked the post and, well, that you agree that talking about it is good!

  5. I learnt more about sexy by having it than I was ever taught, obviously I had basic common sense but I seriously school didn’t help at all

  6. AMEN TO THIS!! I always feel so awkward talking about sex unless I’m comfortable around the people I’m with… Although saying that I hate talking about it around my parents 😂

    • Urgh same! Parents and conversations about sex make me feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I do find it awkward, but I’ve got better at squashing those urges. I’m very glad you liked this post! 🙂

  7. “I’ve learnt everything about sex… and about other people from the internet.” Same here, but I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing…
    In all seriousness, I think sex ed at schools is generally terrible so we kinda have to go to the internet to get the real picture. At my old school, we basically got told “no glove, no love” and that was it. Like how the fuck is that meant to help?

    • Agreed – like WTF?! The only useful thing I learned was how to put a condom on and I don’t even have a penis so if my partner didn’t know how to put on one is the only time THAT would come in handy. Honestly the only real lesson for me would be experience, because the internet can only show you so much, which means I’ll probably be very embarrassed at some points but it’s all part of learning, after all.
      I don’t know what my comment was ugh I’m just rambling.

  8. Well u got sex Ed in Germany and in the USA and even it is. It the best in Germany it is even worse in the USA.
    When I was little I had a book that basically explained kids how babies are made and I don’t know how many times I read it. I think I used to memorize the whole book but to be honest I am glad I had that book because way back then it wasn’t that weird to “learn about that stuff”

    • I wish I’d had that when I was little. All I had was vague talks from my sister, which didn’t really explain much. But I’m glad you can relate to sex education being rubbish! 🙂

  9. YES ELM! Thank you for writing this!
    I find the whole stigma around sex, and especially female sexuality to be, quite frankly, ridiculous. Posts like these are just SO IMPORTANT, because it shows that hey, it’s a weird thing, but it does exist and we can’t hide away from it forever even if you choose not to have sex yourself. I do think it is important to have people you can talk to about this sort of thing, and AGH SCHOOL SEX ED SHOULD BE BETTER, although at my school we have been talked to about both consent and boundaries AND sex between two vagina-owners (that sounds weird lol) would you believe, as well as the usual ‘STIs are bad guys and don’t get pregnant until you’re ready HERE IS HOW’.
    But yeah, thank you again for writing this. I agree that we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it and anyone who thinks otherwise is a little bit silly.

    • On another note the feminist part of me is now like ‘WHY CAN GUYS TALK ABOUT SEX ALL DAY BUT NO ONE ELSE CAN NO FAIR’ but that’s a slightly different matter

    • YES, ELLY, precisely! 🙂 I’m just so so happy that you like this 🙂 WOAH your school’s good; I’m jealous of it! I just want people to know that you CAN talk about this, that it’s important and shouldn’t be embarrassing. Thank youuuu for the feedback 🙂 Oohh and thanks for retweeting it!

  10. I’m just gone fourteen. I don’t see myself as ready, at all. I know pretty much nothing about it! I do sometimes feel pressured, not necessarily to have sex but more to be relationshipy and not want to wait until I’m 16. A lot of people I know and have known have had sex, and at younger ages than 14 – I find it all very disconcerting. I wouldn’t know what to do😂

    The sex ed at my school isn’t a thing. In year seven we were taught about reproductive systems, and in year six we had a brief talk about periods. Year 8 RS we were told what an STD was and not to catch one at all costs. I’m now in year ten, not a word on it since year 8! You making posts like these are so helpful Elm, honestly, this is going to help so many people (and me, not that I plan on doing anything but your advice is great!)

    A few weeks ago, I was kissed unexpectedly. I reacted in a bad way, not that I completely ran away but I said a very weird thing afterwards (god I cringe!!😂). I feel like I don’t know how to kiss or how far to go ever, it’s not something I really want to do at the moment in any major way. I know it isn’t anything majorly sexual but it still had me stressed for days.

    Sex is such a prevalent thing in teenage society from the age of about thirteen. We need as much educating on it as we can get! Thank you!

    (Ps I am so sorry for the length of this comment!😂)

    • Don’t be sorry – I’m glad that you could speak about this!

      Okay first of all, being kissed unexpectedly is a big thing. And it’s OKAY to not want to do things like that yet 🙂 Only do what you want to do, ALWAYS; if you don’t want to kiss people, then don’t! And if you’re not ready, then it’s good to tell yourself, and other people, that.
      You won’t know what to do until you do it, really. Other people can only tell you so much, so don’t stress about it 🙂 I totally get it though.

  11. Haha, you should be thankful for the sex education you do have. In other conservative countries like the Middle East, we have none at all. It’s swept under the rug. In many conservative countries, kids are taught to be embarrassed and ashamed of the sexual desires that they do have.

    I had to learn about sex all on my own. And I still have questions about it that I don’t know who to ask:

    “Is having sex before marriage really worth it?
    “If one does not get an STD from having sex, what are the emotional and physical costs and consequences from having it?”
    “Can one be in a relationship without having sex?”
    “If so, can one control their desires to have sex while in a relationship?”

    Things like that. By the way, if anyone can answer those questions, I’d highly appreciate it, haha.
    We should start a new hashtag: #questionswithelm. Who’s with me?

    • If that happened it would make my month! I can have a go at answering those questions, from my point of view but I’m a virgin so take this as NOT fact. But it must have been.. Horrible to think of it as shameful.
      Sex before marriage: depending on if your religion is against it, I’d say it would be worth it depending on the person. I think that if you save it for marriage, there’s a danger of a huge expectation and so you may be disappointed. Your body is not just for your partner – it’s for you, and any sexual desire you feel shouldn’t be shameful. You can explore it, so that you KNOW your body before you get married – don’t be too worried of people taking advantage of that, because in any situation, there will be a danger of ANYTHING happening. But if you want to wait, you can; it’s up to YOU rather than anyone else.
      I’m not sure about the second question 😦 Sorry!
      You can be in a relationship without having sex. If you’re asexual – you’ve never felt sexual attraction – you wouldn’t want to, but some people just don’t have sex with their partner and that’s totally okay. It’s all down to choice. As for the controlling desire question yes, or at least, I would be able to. Trust is very very important in any relationship, so if you don’t want to have sex, you have to trust that the other person wouldn’t cheat on you BECAUSE of that.
      I hope that helps! 🙂

  12. Suhhh relatable. I only had sex Ed in 6th grade and well after that the world and my friends taught me what I needed to knw. However once when I said the word sex in front of my mom she looked at me as if I had grown two heads! The people are so closed minded that it surprises me. I’m glad u got better sex Ed than I can ever in my entire life 😂

  13. If what happened?

    Ooh, good point. Are you religious by any chance? Oh so true. You should do because you want to. But what’s interesting is that they emphasize you can get STDS so you should wait. But what if the person you marry gives you STDS? Then what? So what’s the point of waiting then?

    Nah, no worries. If someone else can answer it, that would be great. But who knows, that person could have sex with someone else. That would stink.

    • Yeah, I understand – that’s why trust is very important. Honestly, if you use protection, the chances of getting an STI are much slimmer. Same if you get yourself tested 🙂 Though I’m guessing that would be seen as a bit humiliating? I’m sorry – I don’t want to offend or anything.
      No, I’m not religious – I’m an Atheist – but I know many people who ARE religious want to wait until marriage BECAUSE of their religion and I entirely respect that 🙂

      • I understand. I still don’t know what you mean by “if that happened, that would be awesome.” I still don’t know what you’re talking about. Do you mind explaining what you mean?

        Right, I understand what you’re saying. No, not at all. One should get tested. It’s better to be safe than sorry. The way I see it, an STI is like any other disease. It just needs to get treated. And I’d rather have the person get treated than have that person pass it on to someone else.

        Okay. Good to know. I agree with you. I respect that you are an atheist. May I ask, what made you decide you to choose to be one? 🙂

      • Ah yes! You can make it happen! Ask people to ask you questions through Twitter or on here. I think we’d all like that! 😀

  14. AMEN, GIRL.
    thank you sooooo much for this. i’m asian, and asians don’t exactly do the birds and bees talk, if you know what i mean. honestly, the sex ed at my school is terrible. like, really bad. for a long time, i didn’t even know what sex actually was; all i knew was that it had to do something with being naked and a bed. and yes, i still feel awkward just typing that, though i know i shouldn’t. it was like, learn boundaries and shit, and communication and shit. but nothing about FEELINGS or thoughts, or wants. and it was like, “have protection and don’t get stds.” it was awkward and it didn’t even teach us anything. i learned about sex through the internet and youtube, not at school, like i’m “supposed” to.
    so i’m glad, really glad in fact, that you’re speaking out about this. thank you.

    • You don’t have to feel awkward!!! 🙂 But I do understand. Remember that if you ever need advice, I’m here 🙂 And I’m SO glad this could help you and that you liked the post!

      • Not 100% – it all depends on, really, where the girl is in her cycle. So basically, there are certain points in the month where a girl’s more ‘fertile’ – that makes it sound like a plant OH DEAR. But without a condom, there is a much, much higher chance, and you can also pass on a STI, so a condom is pretty much necessary if you don’t want to get pregnant and if you’re not sure if your partner’s free of STIs. 🙂

  15. My school’s sex ed was pretty good (and we did it in year 8). We put condoms on dildos (not kidding) and talked about different types of contraception, the commitments that you are making and the importance of consent. But still, by that point, probably 70% of the Year knew most of it already from, as you said, The Internet. Capital T, Capital I.

  16. At my school we actually had…not that bad sex ed? Like we even talked about trust and feelings and stuff. (Although nothing on non-straight sex ed, sigh. Thanks to the internet for that.) I mean, I personally don’t feel that comfortable talking about sex in relation to me…? And I vaguely wish that people would not just expect me to talk about relationships and stuff all the time. Like, YES I DON’T HAVE A CRUSH, it’s not that hard to believe. *scowls*
    Anywaaays sorry for this random rant in your comments; fabulous post!

    • Shhh Eve, RANT AWAY! It’s what I do. Honestly, I get you there; you shouldn’t talk about relationships all the time if that makes you uncomfortable. It’s all about choice 🙂
      And ahh thanks! So glad you like the post!

  17. Ugghhh my school’s sex ed was rudimentary at best. They taught the girls about periods, the guys about boners, and neither of us anything about different sexualities or any form of abuse. I wasn’t taught that sexual abuse isn’t about sex (it can be any number of different things) until long after I needed to know what it was. I’ve learnt most things from the internet, and even now theres still so many things I don’t know. I can say that no word of a lie, if sex education was improved in schools then it could stop the exploitation and rape of minors or basically anyone. Thank you so much for this post, it’s what everybody needs 🙂

    • I’m happy that you liked the post. Yeah, we got taught about relationship abuse in all forms in year 11 – and some vague notion of it in year 10, but not much at all. I think if we all had good education, like you said, it could help reduce so many issues – not stop them completely because they’ll always be there – but at least educate people on what it is, what the signs are and what to do.

  18. I don’t think people should be embarrassed about discussing sex and sexual intimacy.

    However, at ten years your senior I can tell you we often think we’re ready for situations we’re not. Hindsight is 20/20 and often times we don’t know the variables until we’re in balls deep.

    I think when it comes to sex, people have their own decisions to make, but I also think people should wait until they are in a place where they can handle the risk and responsibilities of sex, as it relates to STIs, pregnancy, privacy for intimacy, and emotional maturity.

    Just my two cents.

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