It seemed like an odd thing to say to me at 15. With a curly bob and a generous spread of bulging pimples, I was in the low-risk category for an unplanned teenage pregnancy. But still, here I was watching my GP write me a script for Femme-Tab ED 20/100.That story was the same for my sister a few years later, who was also put on the pill to help with her skin. Then a friend. And then another. It seemed every second girl was on the pill before they left high school, and almost all of us had an alternative reason for being on it rather than preventing pregnancy.
I think it’s safe to say that we’d all be horrified if sex wasn’t a part of our futures. The thought that, at the ripe old age of 65, I might no longer be having sex, makes me shudder. We twentysomethings are expected to be crazed hornbags (sorry, I hate that expression too) and a lot of the time, we sure as hell live up to it. But do we really want to get shacked up, be intimate for mere procreation purposes, create a sex schedule (read: only Wednesday nights at 9pm) and then eventually just never have sex again? Dearest reader, I know our answers are both a firm no.
Much had changed when the world witnessed the closing of the early noughties. It was an era of anticipation for transformation. On the internet, in music, on television: the zeitgeist of the 2010s ushered in something different — something reminiscent of love, transformation and yearning for tolerance and acceptance. I saw it first on MTV. Gaga, in a bright blue swimsuit and a blond bob singing ‘Poker Face’. The theatrics of ‘Paparazzi’,and then came ‘The Fame’, in which she coins the famous line “obsessively opposed to the typical”. I saw the outlandish outfits, chiffon and latex, shades and long trains — how camp and how strange. I was thoroughly intrigued. With ‘Born This Way’, I began to realise my uniqueness and accept that it was in many ways, totally okay.
When my girlfriend and I walk through town holding hands, we turn a lot of heads. I joke that it’s because they’re wondering how a beautiful woman like her ended up with an average Joe like me. Though underneath the humour, we both know why people are staring. She’s Black, and I’m White.
There are some things that are way more embarrassing than having an STI. Like shitting your pants twice. Thankfully, Azithromycin, a common antibiotic used to treat chlamydia, exists just to remind us how much worse it can get. Azithromycin causes side effects in about 1 in 100 people including diarrhoea, vomiting and thrush. And like Lady Gaga says, there could be 100 people in the room, but only one (me) will shit their pants after getting chlamydia.
I remember clearly when the Year 12s of a nearby all-boys school sprawled sexist comments across their school uniforms. Or when boys in my year created a ‘Holy Trinity’ of the ugliest girls at my school. Or nicknamed girls a ‘bike’ based on their weight or looks. I remember when boys I was forced to go to school events with proudly shared a video titled “Jordan Peterson destroys triggered feminist” on social media. For so long, there has been denial of a clear cultural problem in all-boys schools that is obvious from every angle.
The big titty committee. A term that I am all too familiar and have a bittersweet relationship with. Growing up, bra shopping was and still is an absolute nightmare for me. I try to put it off for as long as I can, to be honest. Just the idea of having to stand in the changing room, half naked while a slightly older woman wraps her measuring tape around all areas of my chest, gives me second-hand embarrassment. I know that this is just a fragment of my already-existing insecurities and that the bra lady literally does not care, but that whole ordeal makes me uncomfortable. By the time it’s over, I am directed to a tiny rack of nude or black bras tailored to my DDs, looking like they have come straight from my grandmother’s wardrobe. Comfortable, sure, but not sexy in the slightest.
My first experience with a fake orgasm was watching a moaning Meg Ryan, aka Sally, throwing her head back in a New York deli and chanting “yes, yes, yes!”. The first time I pulled a Sally myself was a few years back, under the expectant gaze of a partner who asked if I had finished after a few minutes of rock ‘n’ roll, and I giggled awkwardly and nodded.
When it comes to sex, we all know what feels good. What belongs where for things to *happen*, however we want it done. But is that all we know when it comes to our sexual organs, or our bodies in general?
Australia is finally playing catch-up on sex education in schools, and we’re starting to learn the ins and outs of our bodies and minds. But I’ve finished school, and a while ago now. I definitely wasn’t taught a lot about my anatomy then — so how and why should I learn it now?