And just like that March has come and gone. I have to say I am happy to see that winter is coming to an end and I especially love the fresh spring air and sunny days that seem to be happening more and more frequently!
For this month’s blog post I wanted to talk a bit about a book I read a little while ago. The book is titled Doing It by Hannah Witton and it was one of those books that I read and immediately thought “Wow there are a lot of people that could benefit from reading this.”
I read it a few months ago and have been sitting on it for awhile, knowing I wanted to write about it at some point. I’ve been putting it off because it’s one of those “This topic is uncomfortable and I’m not sure how to write about it” kind of things.
Before diving in and highlighting some of my favourite chapters and quotes from the book I’ll give you a bit more context on what this book is about. The subtitle of the book is “Let’s Talk About Sex”.
Like I said… a topic most people generally avoid talking about.
Hannah Witton, the author, is a sex-positive vlogger. She has a bunch of videos on all sorts of topics related to sex and relationship which you should definitely check out (https://www.youtube.com/user/hannahgirasol).
One of the first things she talks about in her book is that sex-ed is such an overlooked part of the the curriculum in most education systems. And it’s true. When I think back to high school there was maybe 4 weeks total in grade 9 or 10 that was dedicated to sex-ed. From what I remember the curriculum was pretty much only focused on cautioning against having sex because you may get pregnant and/or get an STI.
It wasn’t until my 20’s, years after finishing high school, that I started to be exposed to the ideas that are talked about in this book like when it comes to sex pleasure for the sake of pleasure is a thing. And sure the word consent was familiar, but again it wasn’t until my 20’s that I really started to realize the parameters or consent (every time, for everything no matter who you’re with).
Four Generations of Witton Family Sex-Ed is one of my favourite chapters in the book. In this chapter she recounts some pretty entertaining conversations she has had over the years with her great-grandma, grandma and mom on topics such as sex, relationships, pleasure and birth control. One of the reasons I loved this chapter was because underneath the entertaining stories lies the idea that it should be normal to talk about this kind of stuff with members of your family - who are typically the people we typically avoid having these conversations with.
Another chapter that I think deserves to be mentioned is the LGBTQ+ chapter. The minimal sex education that is delivered in high school is almost exclusively directed at those that are heterosexual. Sure I knew that there were people out there who identified as gay but until I started watching Hannah’s videos I didn’t know just how many different identifications there are (pansexual, non-binary, gender fluid etc). On top of breaking down what each of these mean she has guests write about what it’s like to be transgender in today’s society, what it’s like to date while trans and how those who are heterosexual can be allies to those that identify as something other then a cis-gender heterosexual.
I want to leave you with one last quote from the book, one that was perhaps the reason I decided to write this post (even though the thought of pressing the publish button is making me uncomfortable).
“It just takes one person to say something out loud and then we can start to help and support each other by sharing our own experiences”
There were many times in my teenage years and early twenties when I could have benefitted from knowing a bit more about consent. And while it may seem like a simple idea - hearing someone else explain that pleasure is part of the human experience and having sex should not just be an expectation in a relationship or a means to an end was incredibly valuable for any future relationships I may have.
Having knowledge on different gender identities and sexual identities has definitely made me more open and has left me feeling better equipped to have conversations with people of the LGBTQ+ community.
And finally just reading about these topics mentioned above, and the many more that Hannah brings up in her writing, has made me feel a lot more comfortable to talk more openly with those around me about sex and relationships.
Thank you Hannah for starting the conversation and helping me realize that these are things we shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about!
So I urge you to check out the book… If you are the parent to a teenager consider having them read it or, for younger kids, read parts of it with them and start to open up the doors to conversations on these things we so often avoid talking about!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!