Last week I stumbled across the Erotic Journal Challenge by Brigit Delaney (how adorable is her logo? I’m green with envy!). Since I’m terribly inconsistent and perpetually inspiration-less with this blog thing, I’m giving this challenge a shot, hoping it will help me to blog some more.
I have a lot of things on my mind lately concerning the struggle with my PCOS and Hashimoto’s, and I want 2019 to be the year I finally get better. My hope is that getting physically better will also help me to get better mentally and kick depression’s ass. However, I’m expecting a long and hard journey, and I’m only just at the beginning. Baby steps is what I’m telling myself.
What does this have to do with the Erotic Journal Challenge? Well, since striving for health is the most prominent thing in my life right now, it’s going to color my perspective of everything else. While I’m reminiscing about the past, my thoughts will inevitably bounce back to the present. This week’s prompt is Sex Ed, and there are some things I really wish I’d known earlier.
Prompt #11, 3/16-3/24: Sex Ed – What were you taught about sex as you grew up? What did you not know that you wished you’d known? What/how did you teach yourself? Who taught you the most?
Maybe I wouldn’t be at this lowest point in my life health-wise if I had paid more attention in biology class in school. I was 18 when my gyn warned me about hormonal irregularities in my body for the first time. She wanted me to see an endocrinologist to check it out further. My menstrual cycle has always been irregular, which prompted her to take a closer look. But I, 18 and stupid, shrugged it off. I had other things on my mind. If I had been diagnosed with PCOS earlier, maybe I would have taken better care of my health. I got pregnant at age 20, and again at 21, with maybe 3 (irregular) periods in between, and I forgot all about hormonal imbalances amidst diapers and stubborn infants.
I should have paid more attention. But my “Sex Ed” came mostly from romance novels and concentrated more on the pleasure side than the functional side of things. At least, what was considered pleasure in 90s romance novels. The very first novel I bought myself, a Historical Gold Extra serial, contained a (in hindsight horrifying) rape scene. The heroine thinks she’s starting a position as a governess and the “hero” thinks she’s a sex worker sent to “teach” him sex. And when the heroine refuses him and “acts” like an inexperienced virgin, he takes it as an act meant to please him and proceeds regardless. Again and again. As you see, that scene left quite the impression, and I can still recall it vividly over 20 years later.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s been formative for my sexual fantasies as a pubescent girl or even till today, or if that was inside of me even before. Maybe it just gave me a nudge. Once, I had to ask my grandmother to open a belt I had fastened too tightly because I liked the pressure of it around me. I was hardly six. Ropes and games where someone would be tied up (preferably to a tree after having been caught in a round of Robber and Gendarme) fascinated me even before I could read. (It’s still a recurring theme in my writing today – just take a look at The Hunting Game. Go on, it’s free).
Sure, going to school in Germany, I knew the bolts and nuts of sex. Sex Ed is a recurring thing in school here, starting in elementary school. Plus, being a teen in the 90s, I had the BRAVO, a pop music magazine aimed at teens that also contained educational content about sexuality. Every German Millennial knows Dr. Sommer and their column in the BRAVO. However, they, too, concentrated more on the nuts and bolts and the importance of using condoms, waiting till you’re ready, making sure your partner really wants what you’re doing enthusiastically.
Maybe I had taken that first warning of my gyn more seriously if I had known more about the fundamental importance of our hormones. But I skipped the last, most in-depth Sex Ed unit in school. It coincided with a time when anything remotely sexual triggered me following an incident of sexual violence. I didn’t want to see naked bodies. I didn’t want to learn anything about those instruments of attack. I stayed away from biology class.
Ultimately, I don’t know if things would be any different today had I attended that class. I don’t know if I had learned what I should have known to realize the consequences of a little hormonal imbalance. Maybe I just should have listened more closely to my gyn. Maybe I was just young and brash and stupid, period. Still, whenever I think of the Sex Ed back in school, I think of that one phone call I made from the coin telephone underneath the stairs in the school’s auditorium, when I called off my appointment with the endocrinologist. And I wonder if my life would be different now.
Brigit DelaneyMarch 22, 2019 - 3:15 am ·
Interesting…I’d never heard of PCOS before, so I looked it up.
Also, you might be interested in following Sex Bloggers for Mental Health (by @Sassycat3000). She puts up a mental health related prompt bi-weekly.
And thank you for writing! Every voice added to the chorus is another that makes the volume too hard to ignore. I often struggle with coming up with ideas, and these memes can really be a life-saver!
Jo Henny WolfMarch 22, 2019 - 7:44 am ·
Thank you for the suggestion! And for bringing this challenge to life! I’m grateful for anything that helps me pushing myself in the right direction. The personal nature of journaling definitely speaks to me and makes it easier to write something.
May MoreMarch 23, 2019 - 3:38 pm ·
Very interesting post – the rape scene u mention does indeed sound horrific.
I help Cat with her mental health meme and if you feel like linking please do – here is the site
Jo Henny WolfMarch 24, 2019 - 10:15 am ·
Thank you! I’m going to check it out!
As for the book, it was your standard run-of-mill 90’s romance novel. I read a lot of those as a teen. This stuff/trope was ubiquitous, and I read undiscriminatedly.
WindyMarch 24, 2019 - 5:14 am ·
I enjoyed reading your perspective on your sexual education. I’m sorry about your health issues. I have had some of my own, but a close family member was just diagnosed with PCOS, so we are learning all about it and are on top of taking the prescribed medication. We’ve noticed a HUGE difference in her symptoms. Hang in there with taking care of yourself. Keep writing. This is my first time here as I am reading what other bloggers have written on Brigit’s #11 …… I am excited to have found her writing prompts to add to my blogging experience. I laughed out loud at the picture on the left …. “fairytale fuckery!” HAHAHAHA Windy
Jo Henny WolfMarch 24, 2019 - 10:02 am ·
Hah, thank you! Writing-wise, I’m always drawn to the magical, to fantasy and fairytales. And Sex.
I just read PCOS SOS by M.D. Felice Gersh, and it really changed a lot for me. It explains really well how PCOS influences the body/metabolism and what you can do to work with it. I’ve started implementing some of the lifestyle changes she suggest and already see a huge difference.
All the best to you and your family!