Welcome to JLove and Values Blog – a sex-positive and educational resource to educate and provide medically accurate and age appropriate information about sexuality and sexual health. For over a decade I have been teaching sex education, and I look forward to enlightening you on everything you wanted to know (but sometimes were too embarrassed to ask) about SEX, sexual health, and sexual pleasure. If you are looking for more information about educational presentations, please visit the workshops page.
I always think a good place to begin an introduction is to clarify what defines sexuality. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of straightforward discussion on these topics, is there? For instance, have you ever noticed all the euphemisms for the word “sex”? Shagging, screwing, nailing, banging, doing it, doing the nasty, getting busy, getting laid, and thanks to Jersey Shore, smushing. Have I caught your attention? These are just a few of the less than complimentary terms that have been used to mean “sex.”
But it doesn’t stop there. What about all the slang terms used for penis and vagina? Dick, pecker, wiener, vajayjay . . .Even Yiddish has contributed “shmuck” to the mix. We heard a lot of these slang terms growing up from our friends or on television and in the movies, but our parents weren’t really big on the straightforward language either. In fact, many parents (even these days) are ashamed to discuss sex or use anatomically correct language with their children, referring to their genitals as their wee wees, ho hos, pee pees, ding dongs, tuchas, and ta tas.
Why am I pointing out these terms? Because for many people, talking about SEX and genitals is associated with words that are considered dirty and violent or evoke feelings of embarrassment and shame. Furthermore, such demeaning language is associated with sexual harassment, negative attitudes toward men and women, and increased rates of body dissatisfaction.
My goal is to reframe the dialogue we use when talking about sex and help you understand that sexuality is a positive part of our lives and has many wonderful benefits. These benefits range from lowering stress and burning calories to building pelvic floor muscles and getting a better night’s sleep. (If I peaked your interest on any of these facts, I can write more about them in a later post.) However, from a Jewish perspective, the real beauty of sexuality is God’s greatest gift of pleasure. This is a significant topic that I will discuss more deeply in a later post.
Sexuality is about the “UALITY” (pronounced YOU-ality). The YOU-ality is about who YOU are and includes all the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors you have when it comes to being male or female and how that affects your relationships with others.
Sexuality is also understood by five guiding elements: sensuality, intimacy, sexual identity, sexual health and reproduction, and sexualization.**
Sensuality involves our level of awareness, acceptance, and enjoyment of our own or others’ bodies.
Intimacy is the degree to which we express and have a need for closeness with another person. Its components are caring, sharing, liking, loving, trust, vulnerability, self-disclosure, and emotional risk taking.
Sexual Identity is how we perceive ourselves as sexual beings. Its components are biological gender, gender identity, gender role, and sexual orientation.
Sexual Health and Reproduction relates to attitudes and behaviors toward our health and the consequences of sexual activity. Its components are behavior, anatomy and physiology, sexually transmitted infection, contraception, and abortion (spontaneous or induced).
Sexualization involves how we use our sexuality, which may include manipulating or controlling others. Its components are media images/messages, flirting, seduction, withholding sex, sexual harassment, incest, and rape.
When we become familiar with these five elements of sexuality, we learn to recognize which parts of our sexuality we are more comfortable with than others.
I would like you to feel comfortable with my blog and want you to be aware of my own personal guidelines as it relates to my entries. The following are the inherent values that I abide by in all of my communications regarding sex and sexuality. This is my commitment to you.
- Sexuality is a natural and healthy part of living.
- Every person has dignity and self-worth.
- Individuals can express their sexuality in a variety of ways.
- Sexual relationships should be reciprocal, based on respect, and should never be coercive or exploitative.
- Every involvement with sexual behaviors (with another person) poses risk.
We are all sexual human beings, and whether you are having sex or not, gay or straight, married or single, my greatest hope is that your sexuality is expressed and received in a positive light.