For several months, I have been writing a bimonthly column in my local newspaper called "Sex in the Suburbs." I am a passionate advocate for comprehensive sexuality education, which I teach to youth in my faith community. My last article was similar to a recent post on this blog regarding condom myths and facts.
I get a lot of positive feedback from my articles, particularly from folks over 40. Even though many of us witnessed or were part of the "sexual revolution," it seems the norm is still to consider sexuality a hush-hush subject--worthy of red faces, downcast eyes, and throat-clearing. Meanwhile, we (in the universal sense) can't get enough of stories about strange sexual phenomenon, such as people having sex with cars or ghosts. Not only that, but there seems to always be another sex scandal in the news, involving a teacher, a clergy person, or a politician. What I saw when I approached the paper about writing a series of articles was an opportunity to give information about the realities of sexuality, which effect all of us--and our children.
The editor of The Federal Way Mirror, Andy Hobbs, was not only kind and brave enough to give me that opportunity, he has been very supportive to me as I've developed my column. In addition, he wrote an opinion piece this week that explained why the paper chooses to run the column, and printing the nickname I seem to have been given in certain circles, "The Sex Lady." There are many people who work more intensely than I do advocating for safe sexual health through community clinics, Planned Parenthood, and other organizations, and I humbly acknowledge that and give them my deepest respect. I only hope to join their work and be another voice for comprehensive sexuality education that begins at home. I have to admit to being more than a little proud of my city's paper for truly hearing my intention and supporting this really important, though mostly invisible, work.
I hope to make it just a little bit easier for parents to talk to their kids about sex. I hope to make it just a little bit easier to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. In my wildest dreams, I hope to make it easier for anyone to say no when they are not ready or interested in sex and yes with confidence, joy, and safety when they are--and to know how to tell the difference. I hope to help people understand the difference between a healthy relationship, a damaging one, and one that maybe just needs a shot of support to tip the balance into positive territory.
Here's another piece that may separate me from the crowd (though I am certainly not alone in this either). I believe this is God's work. I believe God wants each and every one of us to know that this thing called sexuality is God-given, sacred, holy, and as such, deserves careful thought and treatment in our lives. Sexuality is something that can create spiritual awareness, inspire awe and wonder in creation, and can conversely cause pain beyond what any of us would wish on our worst enemies. Why wouldn't we spend as much time talking about it with our children as we do talking with them about grades, drugs, alcohol, driving, cell phones, allowances, and such? The United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association are two denominations which take the task of educating youth, families, and adults about sexuality as a moral and ethical issue that belongs in faith communities, which is why they have collaborated to develop the lifespan comprehensive sexuality education curricula, Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith.
The Sex Lady says, "Let's talk about sex. Often. And in detail. And in God's presence. It's the right thing to do."