(Originally posted on Body and Soul)
The one thing they don’t warn you when you sign up to study Sexology is how it will change your personal, sexual and love life. Besides a few new moves and super bedroom skills, I never stopped to think it would.
When I began this journey, I considered myself open minded. I owned a vibrator so I thought I knew what this was all about. What I found was the beliefs I held around love, sex and relationships were not my own, but a result of the environment I had grown up in and the society that surrounded me. These had never been challenged or tested and I accepted them because they were the “norm”. To explore what you want out of love and life when you are told there is no such thing as normal (as we are taught studying Sexology and continue to teach others) is the most freeing statements for those that are curious to look at what else.
If we could separate ourselves from all the messages we received, what is it that we would want? I like to sample everything that life has to offer and feel that with relationships, dating and sex, I did just that. It’s at first the things that seem out of bounds and taboo that I thought would be appealing. These might have to be hidden for others or have consequences for areas in some people’s lives, but when you are a Sexologist, nothing feels off limits. I always knew that if I ever introduced my parents to a partner of the same gender or to multiple partners, it wouldn’t be completely unexpected. I wasn’t going to lose my job or offend my friends if I wanted to live a different lifestyle. After all, I was a Sexologist.
Whilst I expected to create a love life that was something juicy, different and potentially had one of those great names no one understands, what I found felt like the complete opposite. But I found it. I wasn’t told it something I should want or what was expected of me.
When nothing is out of bounds, you sometimes choose the things that are more simple but fulfilling whilst those around you continue to ‘spice things up’ going on what feels like this never-ending journey to sexual excitement but never quite staying there. I wonder sometimes if the sexual excitement wears off because once something is done a few times and is no longer new, different or taboo, you have to try the next kinky and crazy thing.
After coming from a background where serial monogamy was the norm, serial monogamy was where I got back to, but with a more open mind. However, this time it was a choice from testing out and experiencing what else was on offer, not something I felt I had to do.
This is the issue with the ‘should dos’ in this world. How can you say something is a choice when you haven’t explored other options? I know people say they don’t have to have anal sex to know they don’t want it, but when it comes to different relationships styles and ways of loving, should we just accept that monogamy is the norm? Would you know that Italian food is your favourite if you hadn’t tried Japanese and Greek?
The job has its ups and downs and sometimes being that girl who talks about sex can feel exhausting (especially when everyone keeps wanting to tell you about their sex lives and secrets) but it’s this insight that the job has given me about love in my own life that has caught me by surprise. Here I was thinking studying sex would just make me a bit better in the bedroom, but it has allowed me to change my entire outlook on life and especially love.
I’m lucky to have found love in my life but luck is only part of it. I first had to realise what type of love worked for my life. I ditched the list and focused on traits and aspect that could not be touched or counted. But It took me a while to get there. In a world where women can so easily be degraded for any amount of sexual and romantic experimentation and exploration, finding out what type of love works for you (and sex) is not an easy thing to do.
Even though I’m the expert, it still doesn’t mean I always get my personal and love life right. But at least I know that the path I’m on comes from my choices and not as a side effect of a world that tries to tell me what to do. I’m not sure if I believe that love miraculously appears, but you at least you need to know what it feels like when it does walk past you on the street. And you don’t have to be a Sexologist to do so, just willing to have an open mind and explore and challenge the world that surrounds you.
Whilst the sex tips (and toys ) keep on coming… It’s the realisation and freedom of loving the way that works for me that has really been the benefit of the job.