Growing up, the word “sex” in my house was equivalent to a bad word. It was simply not
discussed. The “sex talk” with my parents went a little like, “you are not grown,” “wait until you are married,” “if you end up pregnant, you’re not staying here.” As a teenager I didn’t think much of it; I just wanted out of that very awkward conversation. I responded with the appropriate “yes ma’am” and “yes sir” and I was on my way. Although I escaped this uncomfortable conversation with my parents, my juvenile curiosity was only peaked and my many questions were left unanswered. So, I turned to the closest thing to me for guidance, and as a millennial, my outlet of choice was social media. More specifically Tumblr.
On Tumblr I could be, say, and do whatever I wanted and unlike Facebook and other popular social media platforms, there weren’t any nosey great aunts and older cousins who would undoubtedly expose me to my parents. Tumblr is where I began to explore my sexuality without fear of judgment. Social media has become a platform for transmission of ideas and personal expression. Through social media we have seen a rise in sex-positive content created by and for women. We now have outlets that feed
us positive images of women reclaiming their sexuality. Celebrities such as Blacc Chyna, Amber Rose, and Cardi B; all began their careers as strippers with large social media followings, before climbing the social ladder to reach their now celebrity status. As they have reached celebrity status these women have chosen to stay true to their sex-positive roots by continuing to promote and practice sexual liberty. With celebrities such as the women listed above and sex-positive content across most all social media platforms, I have learned to appreciate my sexual journey and have even been able to discover the power in my sexuality.
At 16, I remember asking one of my older followers “I am 16 with three bodies, am I hoe?”. I would have never felt okay asking any of my peers that question and my parents were absolutely not an option because I felt ashamed. So I took the only place where I knew that I would get real answers and unbiased opinions. To my surprise, she responded by saying that it was okay for me to have sex, but to be careful that I was not having sex for the wrong reasons and to protect myself from sexually transmitted infections. She made it a point for me to understand that the number of sexual partners was in no way correlated to my self-worth. I needed this. But for so many youth, like myself who turn to social media for guidance, this experience could have just as easily been a dangerous one.
We need parents to open up their doors for communication on sexuality and sex with their children. Simply telling our children to not have sex is not enough. Telling our children what sex is, is not enough. We desperately need to create a safe and judge free space so that our children feel comfortable coming to us to talk to us about anything regarding sex. I believe that this open dialogue begins with parents opening up about their own sexual experiences. Once our children see how we are able to be open and honest, this can, in turn, build trust so that in the future our children can do the same. Although social media has had a huge impact on our lives and ideas it still does not relieve our duties as parents to raise and educate our children. Sex is not a bad word, and it is important that our children learn this from us.
Written by Alia C.