Sex has always seemed really serious to me. Whether it was sex ed in class, talking with friends or its portrayal in media, anywhere I saw the topic of sex, it was seen as a whole big thing. You needed to be amazing at it, it needed to be this big romantic gesture or if you were a guy, you needed to do it all the time to be cool.
In reality, funny things happen; bodies make weird noises, something happens outside or just someone says something silly. For the longest time, I thought it was embarrassing but in recent times I’ve started accepting and even enjoying the funny parts of sex.
Sex education in Ireland
Growing up in Ireland, sex education wasn’t the greatest, to say the least. The vast majority of us got little more than “here’s the anatomy, don’t have sex, ok good luck”. To say it left me with a lot of questions is an understatement. Sure my parents gave me a book and that helped, but at the end of the day, a book and a teacher telling you not to have sex doesn’t prepare you for the real world.
Outside of that, my only resources were my friends who had no idea what they were doing, the internet which gave me a skewed perception of reality and whatever I saw in movies/tv/games, which answered nothing.
Improving my mindset
When it came time for me to start actually having sex, while I was excited, I was also very confused about what I was doing and nervous about doing something wrong. So you can imagine my embarrassment when my belly started rumbling really loudly right in the middle of things. Thankfully my partner at the time was very patient and we just ignored it and moved on.
This started a trend of me being scared something embarrassing will happen, trying to avoid embarrassing body noises or just saying anything funny. As you can guess, it made sex less of a fun time with someone I care about and more like a minefield of avoiding embarrassment. Sure I knew my partner would be understanding, but I had spent so long seeing sex as this big important event that I was afraid I’d ruin it for them and make myself look bad at it.
Since then, I’ve been exposed to far more sex-positive conversations and I’ve learned that my body and my partner’s body are probably going to make noise, that funny things will happen so I might as well just stop caring. Since then it’s helped improve my mindset around sex as a whole. I’m far less nervous now and find I enjoy it a lot more knowing that these parts of sex are just normal. Hell, my partner and I will just end up laughing because something silly has happened or one of us has cracked a joke and it’s just fun.
In short, don’t take sex too seriously. Whether you’re by yourself or with a partner/partners be aware that these things happen and that they’re natural, so just have fun with it. At the end of the day, sex isn’t that big a deal and if a partner is trying to shame you for these things, maybe it’s time to question whether that’s the kind of partner you want to have.
This piece is part of ‘Under the Sheets‘, the National Action Panel’s Voices campaign to raise awareness of the importance of unbiased fact-based inclusive sex education for all young people. Access more information and supports for sexual health.
Illustrations by Ezra Pinkerton.
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