sex ed with taylor

self explanatory,

welcome to opinionated...

where I give my arguably-educated opinion

tw: sexual assault, human trafficking

virginity My first controversial opinion is that virginity is not a social construct. hear me out—people have always remembered their first kiss, right? Whether or not it was good or bad or in-between, it was a significant moment in our lives, but no one argues whether or not our first kiss is a “social construct.” I will loudly argue that having sex is more intimate, more emotional, and more significant than kissing. It's the reason some people choose to reserve themselves for marriage—the act of sex is intimate, regardless of how many people you choose to engage with.

the social construct narrative does more harm than good I want to start by saying that I understand why this narrative began. It began as a way to end slut-shaming (specifically towards women), as a way to tell people that you don't have to reserve yourself for marriage, that it's ok to have sex. When this narrative originated, the terms virginity and purity were used synonymously and incorrectly. Unfortunately, this narrative has taken a turn for the worse—we have forgotten how significant having sex is. empowerment means something different to everyone, and we have now began increasingly shaming people who choose to reserve themselves.

This narrative is also harmful to people whose first times were not enjoyable—or worse, not consensual. When we tell people who had a negative first time that oh, it's ok, because virginity isn't real, we are invalidating their negative experience.

The first-time for anything is stressful because it sets the tone for how you view that thing from there on out. Overall, it's ok for our virginity and our first-time having sex to be important to us.

from celibates to sex workers... It is YOUR decision what you do with your body, no one else's. If a celibate is celibate because they are being manipulated, that is wrong, not because they're celibate, but because it should be their choice what they do with their body, even if they make the choice to remain celibate. Similarly, if a sex worker is being forced into work (trafficking), it is wrong because they are not making that important decision regarding their body for themselves (and because, you know, trafficking is an awful crisis).

now let's change the conversation...

Here is my guide and advice to having sex for the first time.

things I wish I knew, and things I want you to know I hardly, as in basically never, talk about my sex life (which by the way means I hate when people ask about it). But, here is my advice.

Disclaimer: Losing your virginity has a complicated definition: it can mean penile-vaginal penetration, penile-anal penetration, manual sex amongst other things, etc. People, especially in the queer community, always ask me what sex is because there's this heteronormative definition that we always hear (that is, penile-vaginal penetration). I'm working on an article about what sex is, but for now, read my advice as it is pretty much applicable to all sexual encounters.

  1. location If you can find a bed, find a bed. if you can find somewhere completely private, find somewhere completely private, i.e. not a seemingly private room at a party, or the backseat of a car, or your partner's parents' couch. This is for many reasons: it'll be more comfortable, you won't be stressed about getting caught, and you won't risk getting in trouble (reminder, public lewdness is a charge).

  2. contraception Please do not have sex for the first time without contraception, especially if it's not with someone you see yourself being with forever. Even if there is no risk for pregnancy, there is always risk for an STI/STD, even if the parties involved have never had sex. If you have the slightest interest in having sex, buy contraception. you would always rather be safer than sorry. This applies to everyone, never assume your partner(s) have contraception.

  3. lube This is not talked about enough, especially for gay men. Lube is amazing because sometimes our bodies don't respond that fast, and sometimes sexual pain (especially in the anus) can be reduced drastically with a little lube. Most sex stores have tiny, travel-sized lubes that aren't a nuisance to carry around. Reminder: always test any product on your hand to make sure you aren't allergic (you do not want to find out the hard way that you are allergic to latex, silicon, etc).

  4. pain is kind of normal, but only to an extent If you are on the receiving end of penetration, you will likely experience extremely mild pain or discomfort, and this is usually a sign of dryness (which can be “fixed” by being properly aroused or using lube). You should NOT feel sharp shooting pains, sandpaper-esque dryness, or basically anything that is so uncomfortable or painful that you either find yourself needing to stop immediately or you never want to have sex again. In vaginal sex, this can be a sign of various conditions, such as endometriosis, vaginismus, pelvic floor dysfunction, and more. If you find yourself experiencing anything mentioned above, please seek medical attention. to each other I know y'all are probably nervous, especially if this is both of y'alls first times, but having a conversation before the act of sex is so important. Discuss what you're curious about, or maybe what you've tried and liked/disliked. Now, this doesn't have to be a weird and awkward convo where y'all are sitting and staring at each other. You can mention all these things casually, and honestly, if your partner(s) can't have an intimate conversation, proceed with caution. You also don't necessarily have to literally talk about these things before sex—you could also cue each other during sex, meaning if your partner does something you enjoy, make sure they know it! This can be with a sound (moan) or with verbal affirmation (“I love when you _____”). Lastly, I encourage talking after sex, like a recap, of sorts. Again, I know it sounds so awkward, but the benefits of even one conversation are substantial.

to sum it up... Sex is fun! But kind of daunting! Never ever let anyone make you feel like you have to do something, whether that's engage in sexual activity or refrain from it. You'll know when the time is right, so be safe and be smart!!

Acknowledgement: If you are a victim of sexual trauma, you decide what your virginity means to you—your body is yours, no matter what, so treat it with grace and respect and kindness because that's what it (and you) deserves.

glossary celibates: in this context, a person who abstains from sexual activity, particularly penile-vaginal penetration

sex work(ers): involves receiving money or goods in exchange for consensual sexual services or erotic performances, either regularly or occasionally

trafficking: to deal or trade in something illegal, common examples are drug, human, and sex trafficking

manual sex: refers to sexual activities involving hands (fingering, handjobs, etc)

public lewdness: refers to indecent or obscene behavior in public (i.e. car sex, sex in a fitting room, so on)

STI/STD: sexually transmitted infection/disease; transmitted via bodily fluid or genital-to-genital contact

“safer”: I encourage saying safer sex instead of just safe—there is no such thing as safe sex, and saying “practice safe sex” is misleading because even if you do everything right, there is always a risk.

endometriosis: in people with endometriosis, the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows in other areas of the pelvis, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or intestines. The condition can be painful, including causing pain during sex.

vaginismus: the muscles at the opening of the vagina become tightly contracted, making penetration difficult or even impossible

pelvic floor dysfunction: the pelvic floor muscles—the ones you tighten when you want to stop passing urine quickly—can become painfully tight. It can cause an achy pelvis and pain with any kind of insertion.

is it real? what is it?

short answer, yes, it's a real thing... and it's called epididymal hypertension.

to sum it up: when a male gets aroused, the arteries that carry blood to their genitals expand, causing these veins to get larger. this causes the veins that take blood away to restrict, therefore trapping blood and allowing the erection to be maintained.

when there is (a) a loss of arousal or (b) ejaculation, the brain sends a signal called detumescence. this signal tells the blood vessels to return to their normal state/size, losing the erection.

now, when neither (a) or (b) happens, the blood just stays there (sometimes giving off the “blueish” color) and everything just remains contracted and tight (causing the typically-mild pain or discomfort).

treatment the symptoms of blue balls are very rarely anything more than mild and uncomfortable. if one does experience long-lasting pain, call a doctor as this can be a symptom of erectile dysfunction or something else. but more often than not, it just feels weird. in order to get rid of blue balls, you have to get your brain to send that detumescence signal, meaning you either wait it out till you're no longer aroused, or you find some way to ejaculate. BY NO MEANS does this mean pressure your partner(s), but if they're down to help you out, go for it.

note: when I say male, I am referring to people with a penis, or to biologically-born males or those who were assigned male at birth and therefore probably have a penis. I acknowledge intersex individuals and those who were born male and do not identify as a man (hence why I used they/them pronouns).

what's the difference and why does it matter??

kink kink is basically just an umbrella term that refers to any sexual interests outside of the “norm.” what is considered the norm, however, is determined by the individual. consider stuff like edging, hair pulling, BDSM, group sex and choking—these can and are all considered “kinky,” but depending on the individual(s) involved, the “norm” of those things may vary.

fetish fetishes do fall under the kink umbrella. however, the key difference is that a fetish is a requirement—it is necessary for someone's sexual enjoyment and arousal. kinks aren't always necessary for someone to get off, fetishes are. there are lots of kinds of fetishes: form fetishes, media fetishes, or even fetishes focused on certain body parts (feet, most commonly) or certain types of partners.

key differences there are two key differences in kinks versus fetishes.

the first is that kinks are usually for exploration purposes and enhance sex while fetishes have been established as necessary (meaning they can't “enhance” sexual experiences because fetishes determine whether or not the experience even happens or exists). this means that a kink can turn into a fetish, but a fetish isn't kink in the sense that kinks are optional, fetishes are required (remember, though, that fetishes are under the kink umbrella).

the second and most important difference is that fetishes can unfortunately become dangerous and/or harmful. if not “regulated,” they can become more and more extreme and consequently more disruptive. take the example of a voyeurist, Bob: ultimately, Bob's sexual satisfaction is contingent on finding a partner(s) that will engage in voyeurism. if Bob sets out to find a consenting partner with his interests, his life could potentially be consumed with finding a partner, therefore becoming a disruptive fetish. if Bob, at any point, decides to take an unhealthy approach to voyeurism (spying on people without their consent), the fetish becomes dangerous.

people who are consumed by their fetish often seek psychological help, and the more disruptive and dangerous cases are usually diagnosed as fetishistic disorder.


edging: refers to the practice of getting as close possible to orgasm, then slowing or even stopping stimulation so as to not orgasm

form fetishes: fetishes involving inanimate objects (i.e. high heels)

media fetishes: fetishes involving specific material(s) (i.e. leather, latex, silk)

“certain types of partners”: this refers to the fetishizing of races, nationalities, etc (a widely-known case of this is Asian fetishizing). remember, unfortunately not all fetishes are harmless.

“regulated”: this is a general term for obtaining consent (from all persons involved) to engage in the fetish. many fetishists will have established forms of consent such as contract—this is also common of BDSM practitioners.

voyeurist/m: the practice of gaining sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked and/or engaging in sexual activities. when not consensual (meaning the person is spying on people who are unaware they are being watched), this turns into voyeuristic disorder.

fetishistic disorder: involves having a fetish that cause stress or impairment to the individual and/or harm to others