In our highly technological society, in order to obtain a job we must engage in years of formalized training. We must continue life-long training, updating our skills to maintain a level of expertise that will allow us to continue to compete in the job market.
In centuries predating the technological and industrial eras, workers-to-be were taken under the wings of older and wiser masters of their craft so that they, the new generation, could learn the requisite expertise needed to develop a skill, a career, a science, an art. We are taught to earn a livelihood but we are not taught to fully live our lives.
These are facts we take for granted. We see the need for training in any field of career endeavor as essential and good.
Why then do we go lightly and in ignorance, into our most intimate relationships?
Sexuality has long been a subject of taboos; of the covert glance; of averted eyes; of stolen moments trying to discern what is supposed to happen in the bedroom through reading magazines and watching pornographic movies that are geared to titillate the supposed adult mind rather than to inform the uninformed just awakening sexual consciousness of the teenage boy or girl.
Why do we assume that the “how to” of sensuality and sexuality are ingrained in our genetic structures, set to kick in as the pangs and longings of puberty begin? Why do we assume that the skills of human connectedness - the ability to mold bodies, minds, souls in the crucible of sexuality will appear magically out of the blankness of “no where.”
After much opposition, sex education classes finally made their appearance in schools but the material taught is often sparse. It is often dedicated to physiological differences, nocturnal emissions, menstrual cycles, sexually transmitted diseases and protective measures.
Granted, this is a step forward but these classes are often taught by teachers who are themselves part of a generation that is uncomfortable about its sexuality. Embarrassment, giggling, averted glances exist where instead, there should be openness and acceptance. We must create a freedom of environment where students - young or old - feel comfortable enough to ask questions about the mechanics of the act itself as well as about any other aspect of sexuality, sensuality or romance without fear of ridicule. We must create an atmosphere where no fears and no question is considered silly or immature.
For one of the closest of human to human interactions, why do we receive little or no training?
Is the sharing of our bodies – the sharing of our most intimate selves less important than our careers?
When we do teach a little mechanical information, why do we leave out the dynamic force of true intimacy with all its beauty; with all the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual elements of union?
It is a miracle that the human race has managed to continue to exist. It is furthermore, no surprise that tragically, we are quickly losing whatever little ability we had in earlier less complicated eras, to truly connect; to communicate, body to body; head to head; heart to heart; soul to soul.
There is a bountiful joy to be found in true intimacy. Let us together walk through the gates of knowledge to a new and fuller awareness; to a fuller and more knowing acceptance of ourselves and of our partners.
Betty R. Stockley