Let's Talk About Sex Baby! (And Anxiety)

Let’s talk about sex, baby.

No seriously let’s talk about it. Not in the puritanical sense of talking around it, or referring to virginity as “flowers”. Let’s get down and dirty (but not so much that we need a priest afterwards). Let’s talk about pain and pleasure. That’s right. Sex hurts, a whole fucking lot (pun intended). Not only do you feel physically done, even more so than after that time you went for a 5 am run to better yourself as person, but nobody ever tells you about the mental changes. Even if people do, we usually don’t talk about it.

In my first few times of having sex, it felt like nothing words could even describe. I’ll set the stage for you. Flowers, dim lights, this boy who I thought was the one, and of course, there’s usually jazz. We’d been going out for 3 weeks at this point, and he’s seen parts of me no one ever has. I love him, I keep thinking, right? Eventually he looks up at me and says, “Is this ok?”. We keep going and it feels great. Who knew anything, let alone another human being, could feel so good? I didn’t. But it did. Then I started crying.

This was shocking to me! Why am I upset, despite it feeling pretty good? Of course, I have anxiety in every other aspect of my life, did I seriously think that sex would be excluded from that? At first I thought this was a “first time” type of thing. However with time and different partners, the crying kept persisting, and it wasn’t even due to physical pain, as I had initially thought. Many of my friends reassured me that it was just hormones, because your body becomes a literal vestibule of messy emotions. But I refused to accept that this reaction could be generalized as “just hormones”.

I knew this couldn’t be normal mental health or anxiety as I have been through before. Through standard 3 am internet sleuthing, I had uncovered a whole world of women who had the same reactions as I had, and forged this connection between pain and pleasure. Why don’t more women ever talk about this, I began to question. Hormone are involved, of course, but it's also cultural and societal expectation. I grew up in a culture that didn’t necessarily like the idea of premarital sex, to the point where growing up, I didn’t even receive a sex talk. It wasn’t because I grew up in some conservative cult, but rather because millennial babies grew up in technological advancement, and saw everything that words could replace. My parents probably assumed I already knew what to expect.

Except as you’ve now read, you can probably tell I didn’t. I couldn’t go to my own mother, a woman I admire, about my reaction because that would mean admitting to something taboo and yet also something that everyone thinks about doing, or is doing currently. The crying happened because I didn’t feel like myself in that moment. I wasn’t supposed to be the girl who wakes up in a man’s bed. I wasn’t supposed to be the girl who let a man have her, knowing well we would not be together forever. I wasn’t the girl who should like girls in a society that accepts hetero normative relationships as the only context for love. I felt wrong, somehow, like I uncovered some great big secret that I shouldn’t have. I couldn’t help but think about women throughout time, going through the same pain whether it be physical or mental, and not being being able to verbalize or assess what they went through. As women we aren’t encouraged to talk about these things whether it’s because it’s too taboo, or we're taught to just accept things as they are.

To any woman who has had the same mixed experience with pain and pleasure, I’m here to say that it’s okay. If you’ve cried during sex, it’s okay. As I am writing this, it’s okay to talk about it, because no one can predict how our bodies are meant to react. There is also the separation of mind and body that often gets overlooked. Just because you’re body is into it, your mind may not be. It's important to realize that both have to sync up to create one of the most beautiful and natural experiences one could have. I know now that for me the crying was my mind saying no, take a break, you don’t want this right now. And that’s ok! Only through talking about it are we able to realize that while sex is a simple part of life, it is also messy and complicated.