In the Netherlands, children as young as four are taught to normalize their bodies and curiosities, having questions answered and being educated about anatomy and adult interactions. In America, sex ed is rarely mandatory or comprehensive, schools teach abstinence-only programs, and provide almost no training on safe sex. The result? America has four times as many teen pregnancies, drastically higher STI rates, and way too many adults who are clueless about even basic sexual understandings. There are better ways to address America’s sexual health – we should start by acknowledging sex education is healthy.
This month in Canada, our neighbors to the North (after the last election cycle, the suddenly super-appealing side of the tracks): a Newfoundland judge has officially recognized all three adults as legal parents of a child born to a polyamorous triad, overturning a lower court ruling stating no more than two parents could be listed on a birth certificate.
Despite none of the triad being married, the judge wrote the child “has been born into what is believed to be a stable and loving family relationship which, although outside the traditional family model, provides a safe and nurturing environment. I can find nothing to disparage that relationship from the best interests of the child’s point of view. To deny this child the [multiple] paternal parentage would not be in his best interests. It must be remembered that this is about the best interests of the child and not the best interest of the parents.”
A great article by a sex researcher on that underrated-but-obvious-when-you-think-about-it cohort of men who identify as “mostly straight” rather than straight, gay, or bi. I have personally identified as mostly-straight for years, despite the entire extent of my guy-on-guy action being a friendly but tingly mouth kiss from a bisexual friend (felt nice but the stubble threw me off a bit). The more experience you get, the more you realize gendered attraction is a spectrum, and there’s no such thing as an on/off switch for desire. In other words: just because I haven’t gotten down with guys yet doesn’t mean I won’t ever want to.
Paula Stone Williams’ TED Talk, more effectively than any I have ever seen, relates in a meaningful way why men don’t recognize their privilege, how women have to work twice as hard for half the respect, the importance of living authentically, and how drastically and surprisingly social capital changes when a man becomes a woman. So many wonderful lessons to be learned here.
I’ve always said sex is a red herring. Rather than signify love, or a bonding experience, or a mutual commitment, or a stepping stone to a long-term relationship, the true significance of sex is only – and exactly – what the people having it decide it is. The real question is whether the people involved are truly on the same page in what it means to THEM.
So if you want to have sex on a first date – or any other time – do it. Just be honest with yourself and your partners while you’re doing it, and make sure they’re being honest with you.