Sugar Talk: A shit show year for everything—including sex education

2017 has been a bit of shit show. I hesitate to say it’s extra shitty for sex education and sex. It’s been bad all around. It certainly hasn’t done sexuality any favors.

We have an administration in the White House that is attempting to steer our country back to abstinence-only education; nixed a proposed move to begin collecting information about lesbian, gay or bisexual people in the census; that is attempting to ban transgender people from serving in the military; that rolled back the birth control mandate (thereby allowing employers to refuse to cover birth control); that attempted to defund Planned Parenthood (the largest provider of reproductive health care in the United States); that is actively separating families through deportation; that has nominated countless folks to governmental positions who oppose LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, and sexual freedom to various offices, including the judiciary.

The president of the United States has been accused of a number of acts of sexual impropriety ranging from harassment and inappropriate comments to groping and sexual assault by 22 women with incidents stretching over the past 40 years. The #metoo movement, started by Tarana Burke in 2006 and popularized by Alyssa Milano in response to the Harvey Weinstein revelations, has rippled across industries resulting in multiple powerful men losing their jobs and changing the national conversation. It’s great that we’re finally talking about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. It’s also exhausting.

Plus: North Korea. White supremacists and neo-Nazis marching and worse, being normalized. An increase in violence against synagogues and mosques. Massive hurricanes. Mass shootings. Ongoing police shootings. Racism writ large. Of course, many of these aren’t new. Yet, this year the bandage got ripped off.

You know. You’re living through it.

It’s not fucking sexy. Not. At. All.

At Sugar, we’ve heard from customers that they’re too stressed out to have sex. That they’re angry. That they’re scared: How do we find our joy when shit gets scary, or simply gets even scarier than it was before?

When times are tough, does sex even matter?

It does. As sex educator and coach Amy Jo Goddard has said, “The more whole we are as sexual beings, the more fulfilled we are as human beings.” There certainly are times when it makes sense to put your sexuality on the back burner. But don’t leave it there. Our sexuality is part of our life force. It’s part of how we heal ourselves and those we love. It’s part of what gives us joy. It’s a spark that feeds us and gets us through the hard times. It helps us stand tall in the face of things we fear.

So we have to prioritize it. We have to step away from the outside world, where we are told that we aren’t worthy, that our bodies aren’t good enough, that being born with Black and Brown skin is less than, that we don’t deserve pleasure or that how we fuck is broken. We have to celebrate our bodies and our spirits exactly as they perfectly are. Scars, battle wounds, and all.

It is not only OK to take time to honor your sexuality, it is critical. It is oxygen.

Go and fuck, make love, masturbate, whatever that looks like for you, and embrace your joy.

You deserve it.

Do you have questions about sex, sexuality, relationships, or gender? Send them to sugartalk@sugartheshop.com. Jacq Jones is a sex educator and the owner of Sugar, an education-focused sex toy store in Baltimore and online at sugartheshop.com.

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