Jan 12, 2007

Hey Wendy,

Not sure if you remember me, but I e-mailed you a few months ago with some questions, and another one popped into my head that I thought you might have some input on.

Anyway, I was thinking about sexual education in school the other day, and I remembered that you wrote in your book that you went to the library when your class received sex ed. I have always gone to Catholic school, so the sex ed. has not been too in-depth, and I really don't remember much of it. Also, my mom and dad never said anything to me about sex (enter my teenage sister). You probably don't remember this, but I do have sexual experience up to the line of actually having sex itself, but I was just wondering if you think I'm at any sort of disadvantage for not having been taught comprehensive sex ed. Not even sure what exactly I would have learned, and I know that the stats seem to show that lack of premarital sex actually improves the odds of a successful marriage, but is there stuff I should read before getting married? I don't know...sometimes the waiting and anticipation kills me...and the anxiety starts to build up about what I don't know, what I should know, what I should do, etc. I think I'm a pretty neurotic person...hopefully I can find a guy who can just laugh with me at my nervousness! I've read that reading how-to manuals can be a bad idea because they can be kind of pornographic, and that it's better to just wait until you're with your spouse to just figure things out empirically. I think I would rather just wait and have fun and be natural than be trying to imagine diagrams in my head and memorize techniques. Is there stuff about male anatomy that I should know, aside from the technical stuff? Seems like skipping out on sex ed. didn't prevent you from being happily married! Ha oh well...I'm going to go run ten miles or something to chill out. Hope you're doing well, and thanks for being such a great resource for women interested in this stuff!!

Best,

You-know-who



Dear You-know-who,

Of course I remember you. I also remember the details of your near-miss, and how your boyfriend had made fun of your inexperience and made you feel bad about not wanting to go farther. Fortunately, you are no longer with this gentleman (and I use the term loosely), but I'm concerned that he is still having an influence over your thinking. Step back for a moment: why did your ex-boyfriend make fun of you, anyway? Was he a cruel person? No, he was just self-interested. He made fun of your inexperience with the goal of persuading you to expand your repertoire, so to speak.

Incidentally, I think it's a great idea for parents to talk to their kids about sex and intimacy, and to have access to medically accurate information about the body and various sexually-transmitted diseases one can contract (even if one does not go as far as intercourse). My beef is with the standard "there's nothing to be embarrassed about!" presentation, in a mixed classroom, leading to a demystification of sex which contributes to a host of other problems. But in my opinion, your question is not really about sex education; it's about love.

You need to realize that a man who truly loves you will not be sitting in judgment of you, nor should he be regarding you as a yummy piece of fried chicken. Ever heard someone say, "I LOVE fried chicken"? That's not the love you're looking for. When someone really loves you, they want what's best for you--including your ideals. Your anxiety is totally normal, especially when surrounded by media that stress technical prowess (and an ex-boyfriend who pushed you). But that's not what it's about. If it were, then people who were the most experienced should have the happiest marriages, but instead the opposite seems to be true. Intimacy is not like tennis. Obviously you have to be attracted to the man you eventually marry, but I think you first have to break out of this "pleasing" framework you got caught up in with your ex. If you're operating from insecurity ("maybe there is something wrong with me?") I fear that you'll focus on all the wrong things.

Instead of operating at the level of: "Will I be able to please him?" I would start thinking, "Does this man bring out the best in me?" and "Do I bring out the best in him?" Ask yourself new questions: "Do I feel confident and more myself around him, or like a teetering tower of marshmallows?" The reality is that if you feel like a teetering tower of marshmallows, then no tricks from Cosmo will help you. But if you're happy and the relationship is based on genuine love (selflessness), common ideals and caring, then the rest will take care of itself.

And now, I would like to know how you manage to run 10 miles.

Wendy




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