You and I were born through sex. Actual sex.
So if we want a clear sign of a sexual-myth in action, all we have to do is think of stories where somebody of great historical importance is supposedly “born” without sex.
The story of a non-sex birth is, by definition, a big old pile of myth.
Take the Jesus myth. Jesus was proclaimed to have been born “immaculately” – of a virgin mother – and I totally understand why. If I were Joseph, I wouldn’t own up to the fact that I had sex with, and impregnated a 12 year old child either. I’d be like – “yo, that wasn’t me – that was immaculate conception. God did it. It’s a miracle. My baby – oops – I mean god’s baby, is a true miracle.”
However, what’s truly a miracle is that we continue to teach this type of fictitious “sex-education” in school. Children learn these sexual-myths of supposed “virgin births” everyday – as if they represent the highest path. They then suffer the subtext of shame and guilt around their own bodies that accompanies these stories.
“Abstinence,” we are told, “is the only option for true purity.”
Which leads me to the flight attendant on my plane from Seattle to Chicago. She asked me what I was doing in there. I told her that I’m a sex educator, and I was teaching all weekend at the Conference of Sex and Consciousness Educators.
“Sex educator?” she asked sharply. “Who needs that?” “I certainly don’t need that, I’ve been married for 20 years,” she said with piercing eyes that betrayed her lack of certainty about her stability. Then squinting, and pointing her finger, she continued, “you’re not one of those people who believe we should have condoms in schools are you?”
I told her absolutely I thought we should offer free condoms at schools.
She was horrified. “Condoms encourage children to have sex,” she said angrily. “I don’t want my children encouraged to have sex by you people.”
I explained to her that children are having sex, with or without encouragement. And that’s exactly why we need education for adults as well as children.
I pointed out that in order to have a real discussion about condoms in schools, we would also need a serious curriculum about the realities of sex, sexual communication skills-drills, body education, safer sex practices, and open discussions about STI’s.
“Additionally,” I explained, “my friend buried her cousin recently, because he died of AIDS – at 21. He was Catholic, and told to just be abstinent.” His death was seen as a failure of his moral character – not as a failure of our educational policies.
It’s almost 2011, and kids are still being exposed to HIV and dying from AIDS all around the world because we don’t want to admit that pretending that sex isn’t happening – isn’t working.
I asked her if she was intentionally saying that the unnecessary death of children is a better alternative than educating them about sex and offering condoms.
She said, “well, I guess if kids are already doing it anyway, you make a valid point.”
Furthermore, I pointed out, even if we give kids condoms in schools, it doesn’t mean they will automatically and instinctively use them.
Children would have to be taught about sex, just like they are taught everything else – and condoms would at least give our kids the chance of surviving young adulthood without the trauma of STI’s and unintended pregnancies.
She whispered to me that she was taught about sex, and “the monthly thing women get down there” from her younger cousin – and not her parents – as if it was a most honorable fact in her sex educational history.
“How’d that work for you?” I asked. It was kind of awkward for a moment.
She immediately explained to me that she was a good person, who came from a good family, and a church goer. She said she doesn’t need sex education because she’s married and not the “type of person who needs those kinds of things.”
For an instant, I could see how sad and lonely the bedroom is for her.
The reality is that nobody tumbles out of the womb as a sexually empowered being. Sexual-self-empowerment has to be learned.
We have to learn to physically love, honor, and respect ourselves, our bodies, and our beautiful and diverse expressions of our sexuality, and this is exactly why we need sex education in our lives.