I believe that we have a problem with educating children about sexuality. We ask public schools to teach children about sex and instantly the lessons focus on the physicality and the dangers. Then religious groups leap into the discussion and demand that their mythical taboos be incorporated into the education. In the end, the programs become so mechanical and fear-inducing that even an adult would laugh at the result.
What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate
My point of view about sexuality is probably off the norm. I don’t believe the function of sex to be about physicality, bonding, religious, or societal aspects of life. I believe sex is centrally about communication.
Bear with me.
In terms of understanding the meaning of the communication of a speaker or author, the lowest form of communication may be the written word. When I write an email, all aspects of vocal and physical clues of my communication are lost. Scholars in Speech Communication call it “impoverished communication.” It means that my words may fail to communicate my intent because the subtleties of my nonverbal cues cannot be conveyed in written form.
A phone conversation is an improvement over email because the other person can hear my intonation and rhythm of my words to understand my meaning. Still, a phone conversation lacks the nonverbal physical clues that help express what I’m trying to say.
Many scholars believe that face to face communication is the highest form of communication because the words and nonverbal cues offer a complete package of meaning that allows the listener to better understand the meaning of the person speaking.
Sex: The Ultimate Communication
Despite the positive aspects of face to face communication, the meaning (or mind-to-mind transfer) of the speaker still may not be fully complete. There is a gap between what the person is thinking, and what the other person interprets from the words and nonverbal cues.
I believe that the physicality of sex leads to the closest humans can come to mind-to-mind communication. Even ‘meaningless’ sex contains a significant communication between the two people that may be denied or discounted by one or both after the encounter but remains regardless.
Mentoring Sexual Communication
While there are differences in sexual encounters based on gender and there are health and procreation issues that must be understood, the unifying aspect of sexuality is communication and its impact on the individual.
A child needs to know that having a sexual relationship with someone will change their view of that person and of themselves. After a first sexual encounter, new aspects of their minds and bodies will be revealed and it likely will trigger a desire to experience that intense experience again.
It doesn’t matter if it is a male/female, male/male, female/female, transgender, or any other type of sexual encounter, the communicative aspect of the sexual encounter will have the same impact. Just as friendship is bonded by discussions and sharing, sex creates a bond with another person that cannot be denied, nor ignored.
The Real Story of Sexuality
Some people seem to think that sex is something that is done after two people have achieved a milestone in their relationship (going steady, marriage, etc.,) but it is not a milestone. Sex is a conversation. I’m not trying to weigh in on the morality of affairs, or sex before marriage, but I do believe that when two people have a sexual encounter it is a sharing of minds that is not easily dismissed as insignificant.
If we could teach that to our children I think they might have a better idea of what they are getting into when they take that step into exploring their own sexuality.