So, I realize that generally this post is full of specific information or advice around having safer sex, but this month I seem to be without a good question. Instead I thought I’d try to spark a discussion about one of the hardest aspects of sexual actions to identify, name, or teach: Decision Making.
Most of us have heard that study after study has proven that people who are provided with comprehensive sexuality education they make smarter sexual choices–they are more likely to wait longer before sexual activity, they are more likely to use contraception and STD protection correctly and consistently, they are more likely to get tested, communicate with their partners, etc. Comprehensive sex ed gives people a basis of accurate, honest information from which to base their decisions, but we know that just having the information doesn’t make us make good decisions. So, what else really goes into the decision making process?
Just think about a few of the questions that might go into deciding to participate in a single sexual act or activity:
Do I want to be sexually active? If so, with whom, under what conditions?
What does being sexually active mean to me? How long do I want to know someone before I “go down on them,” “have sex with them,” “kiss them?” Will we talk about “it” before anything happens? What will I say?
Will I ask them about STD status? Will I tell them what I like? What types of protection will I use?
These are just a few of the questions, but they barely scratch the surface of the myriad of small decisions that we make (consciously and unconsciously).
So my first question to you is this: what do you remember effecting your decision making process? Peer pressure, parents, hopes for the future, cultural ideas and ideals? What voices stuck in your head (positive and negative), what did they say? What could have changed or altered your decisions? Share a story, share an insight.
What if we talked about our sexual decision making the same way we talk about decisions and beliefs around our jobs, our clothing, our friendships, or our votes, our faith?