Let’s Talk about Sex

Let’s get things out in the open. I’m about to offend many of you. I wish that weren’t the case, but for so many people, just the topic of sex is offensive. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. And here’s why: Sex is essential to our survival, an important part of a healthy life, and a great pleasure. But many people feel sinful about it, reluctant to talk about it, and afraid of knowing too much.

And that’s exactly why we DO need to talk about it.

I live in Pennsylvania. What does that have to do with sex? These days, it has to do with a guy named Sandusky, who was enabled by Penn State for YEARS as he sexually abused young boys, while people like the “great” Joe Paterno and the president of the university not only looked the other way, but also seemingly rewarded those who kept it quiet. Why? Because of freaking FOOTBALL! American football, our national religion—where winning is everything and losing is not an option. So now, anyone of any age can read in my local newspapers or online the DETAILS of pedophilic sex, which, if you ask me, is the most unacceptable and most egregious form of sex imaginable.

And yet, we are not “allowed” nor especially encouraged to write about, show, teach, or report on the wonderful, healthy, respectful, and loving way we should all celebrate our sexuality.

This is nothing new. Let’s talk about another religion, this one global: We’ve been reading for years about priests who gain the trust of their religious followers so they can have access to little children who then become SCARRED FOR LIFE from being repeatedly sexually abused. And this wasn’t just a local phenomenon. It happened all around the world to innocent children who will never regain that innocence.

What is it about religion and football that enables this to occur? And how can anyone who is a fan of either American Football or Catholicism still be associated with those religions and THEN be opposed to healthy, loving marriage and consensual sex between adults of the same sex?

These facts don’t compute for me. Unfortunately, we are not a fact-based species. We are a fear-based tribal species. To step away from our tribes when they are fundamentally wrong is frightening. But it must be done if we are to become fully human.

The great news is that our digital world is exposing these crimes in ways they have never been exposed before. The question is what will we do about it?  Who are we in this debate, and how will we respond?  Who can we become if we allow ourselves to become fully human?

I know a lot of people who are Catholics and Penn State fans. I know they loathe what their institutions did. The question now is can we be supporters of the suppression of healthy sexual education and acceptance WITHOUT also enabling horrible crimes against children to occur? One of my favorite sayings is, “What we suppress must get expressed.” I don’t know who said it or where it came from, but I see it in life all the time.

What is the opposite of suppression? Expression. Our job is to explore and express our own sexuality in a healthy, accepting way and to teach our children to do the same.  The cult of celibacy and virginity is not about love. It’s about fear and control—control of property and wealth. I’m not saying at all that celibacy and virginity are not valid spiritual or life choices…but each should be just that, a choice.

Those little children never got a choice.

I believe we need to protect our children with knowledge, not ignorance. We need to guide them with love, not fear.  And we need to bring healthy, loving sexuality out into the light so that the darkness has no power over us. Where we shine the light of illumination, there needn’t be fear of the dark.




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35 Responses to Let’s Talk about Sex

  1. Nikki August 1, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    Hear, hear. All the way.

  2. Lorna Donaldson August 1, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Maria,a.other great article. This topic is one needed on so many levels. You and your daughter Maya published a book “It’s My Pleasure” which I found informative,funny,encoraging and most of all liberating. I would like to order an additional copy for my fifteen year old grandaughter. Thank you.

    likettot to order an additional copy for my soon to be fifteen yearold

  3. Kelly August 1, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    Not offended at all. Thank you for being honest! I love my husband.. 🙂 and I love that we have a healthy sex life, because it is a key component in our marriage.

  4. Karen August 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Agreed, you are 1oo percent correct.

  5. Donna in Delaware August 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Bingo Maria! Religion causes you to “fear”. It is taught to make you feel guilty for even thinking about sex, much less doing it! It is unnatural to suppress this desire. Yes, American football, our national religion! Do nothing, say nothing to destroy that! Baseball and basketball too! It may not be pedophilia with basketball and baseball players, but too many have raped and gotten away with it. Rape, another form of some repressed guilt from way back in a person’s life, needs also to be addressed. Stop the collective guilt and start teaching children from an early age, but teach them properly, and do not make them afraid to come to you with questions. Some adults need to be taught also, since they too were in a home, in which parents simply refused to talk about such things! Too taboo. For this reason, like stereotypes and predjudices, there will always be this problem, and it will be passed along to succeding generations. Let’s start talking to our children openly and honestly. No fear!

  6. vanessa August 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I am a lapsed Catholic. I grew up hearing sex was dirty, and to be endured for the sake of having children. Thankfully, I discovered it could be quite wonderful & quite vital with the right partner. I would like to think that I am raising my daughter with a far more enlightened view, so that she is empowered & not afraid.

  7. Toni August 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    Bravo, Maria. Excellently put. Thanks for the courage to express this when other remain silent.

  8. EssieJ August 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Thank you! We cannot move forward if we aren’t communicating and educating. Let’s have the courage to continue talking about it.

  9. kerry surface August 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    thank you so much for this article. i have been so disturbed about the sandusky story that i could scream. there are so many “football” stories that i have been bothered about for years, but this takes the prize!! maybe at some point the money and fame will not take center stage ( wishful thinking)
    love your site and articles.

  10. DJinPA August 2, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    Kudos Maria! Absolutely! I ditto all of the above comments. I would add that if any of us know someone brave enough to step forward and blow the whistle on some sort of bad behavior, back them up, please! Most people just cannot begin to understand the social pressures, the familial pressures, the immediate back-lash, the hate mail, the vitriol and the sheer lies that get flung their way. In this era of 24/7 news and the rapacious appetite for scandal or gossip that people seem to have, people who speak up and speak out about things gone awry or a need for openness or change tend to get destroyed. Mix in politics, religion, or whatever cult du jour such as football, and it is a toxic brew. In the face of something bad, so very often good people say nothing as a means of self-preservation or to protect their family from horrible retribution. Anyone who has ever stepped into the limelight to speak out about something that touches a nerve will understand what I mean. All the rest of y’all, please get their back. You can bet your bootie the zealots and haters will speak up right away. Loudly and often. And for those who believe they have God on their side, they will stop at nothing to get the upper hand. Good people need to speak just as adamantly–and create an equally potent tidal wave of support and kindness to those who desperately need a good word their way. All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. So, when you see your neighbor taking a brave stand, giver her a big-time attagirl and buy her a coffee to show you care.

  11. Lisa August 2, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    I’m with you 100%! On a personal note, my older sister and I were both unplanned pregnancies, my sister being the “reason” my parents, who didn’t love each other, married. My mother was seeing another man while married to my father and was unsure who my father was for a while there. A disastrous marriage and difficult divorce ensued. Do you think either parent spoke to my sister and me about sex, considering the pain and suffering they and their daughters endured? No way! Much too embarrassing to discuss sex.

  12. jerre August 2, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    THANKS MARIA…I like what you are dishing out…also on
    the subject of football where has our society gone when men get
    paid unbelievable amounts of money, for playing a game that reeks havoc on their bodies,causing physical damage,often
    permanent…..and in cases reported lately….contributing to the death of children dying of heat exaustion in practice…..
    then compare their compensation…[ a really big gripe of mine]
    to our teachers, and money put into education….a drop in the bucket…where have our values gone….yes I resent that teachers
    are begging for educational materials and supplies while athletes
    are throwing a couple of mil. to their fav chairity while deciding they need to buy a house with a larger garage to protect the
    umpteenth new car they bought…angry about this yes….and no..I am not a teacher…however I have put seven children
    thru our public educational system….so I have seen how out
    of balance we have become in our values….no wonder we get people like saduskey….yuk….

  13. jo August 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    i am in FULL agreement and felt supported by reading yours, Maria, and all of you brighht people with INTEGRITY.

  14. maria (farm country kitchen) August 3, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Thank you EVERYONE for your supportive comments. I never know when I post something like this how it will land on people, so to hear your positive feedback makes me feel relieved and happy that I am not so alone in my thoughts.

  15. Debra August 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Words of wisdom! Thank you for this approach. Great article by the way.

  16. Patryce A. Smith PhD August 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    THANK you…
    For more years than I want to think about that is exactly what this wacky society of ours has allowed. Time to stand up & take your ‘freedoms’ back. Way to go nighttime M.O.M. Been there – done that job…

  17. rachel August 4, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Thanks Maria! I especially like your last paragraph. We need to educate our children about sex or else they learn from others sooner or later, or even worse, learn from the hard way.

  18. angela August 5, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    110%correct I’m with you all the way this is nature and there is nothing to be ashamed off, very well said I thank you for a job well done

  19. Maureen August 8, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Took the words right out of my mouth. 🙂

  20. VINCE August 8, 2012 at 11:18 am #


  21. Sherrie Easter August 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Thank you, thank you. It took courage to write the article, but we, as a people need it. I agree with you all the way! Keep up the good work.

  22. Seriously69 August 8, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    This is a well-written article…thank you for writing it!

  23. E.P August 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Thanks Maria! I completely agree with your article about the injustice of not protecting our children and fully prosecuting those who violate their trust and their bodies. Despicable! I grew up Catholic and long ago turned away from the church due to the misogyny and and an overall feeling that it was wackadoo that a priest, who had never experienced a “human” marriage – who was instead married to God – was equipped to dispense marriage counseling advice. The fact that women cannot perform certain duties in the church, that a loving gay marriage is wrong, or opening gay clergy are unacceptable just rubbed me wrong. The pedophilia issue is just so inexcusible that it makes me want to tear my hair out. This issue isn’t only limited to the Catholic church. Just recently, a Jewish girl was molested NY by a therapist and adults and the clergy in her community largely doubted the truth in her accusations – ridiculous and so, so sad. Here’s one of the articles about that http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/05/15/report-yiddish-posters-appeal-for-money-for-alleged-child-molester-in-brooklyn/
    In general, I think we need to do a much better job of looking out for our children and for protecting them. Why support the inflated salaries of sports stars who are not gentlemen or ladies – nevermind pedofiles. Michael Vick was able to land another gig after he was released from his prison term, the result of his conviction for illegal dog fighting. Pedofiles however and any kind of sexual abuser deserves life in prison without parole or something even swifter. I do not believe these people, sad as it may be, can ever be rehabilitated. I also think we need to protect our children in other ways too – parents need to be vigilent about who is around their kids. There are so many cases where a family member or a “trusted” friend was the abuser.
    Someone brought up the disparity of teachers salaries compared to sports stars. I totally agree that this is pathetic. We need to pay teachers more for good work. We also need to end “tenure” to weed out those who don’t perform and waste our children’s time and minds. In the real world, no one gets tenure anymore. Those who don’t perform are shown the door and teachers, if they are there for the right reason, should not expect anything more than that. Rent the documentary “Waiting for Superman” to see what I mean.

  24. Ann August 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    I don’t think it takes courage to say this. Twenty-two responses and every single one is applauding your position? It doesn’t take courage to preach to the choir.

    I think it takes courage to defend one’s religious belief in the face of bullying and insults like, “Religion causes you to “fear”. It is taught to make you feel guilty for even thinking about sex, much less doing it!” or a nationwide boycott on a fast-food chain (not because the food is unhealthy but) because one employee holds fast to an unpopular religious belief.

    As for talking about sex, I haven’t noticed an absence of sex in the American culture. I think you’ve framed the whole thing incorrectly.

  25. Jo Ann August 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    I am a christian and have a gay child. How do you answer questions about the Bible’s teachings on gay people? My child feels like an unworthy person because the church teaches that the Bible is the truth and nothing but the truth. That’s how the Chicken diner support hate event started. Call it support of freedom of speech if you will but only a fool would hide behind that issue. We all know what it was and it hurt people. I’ll of course will never eat there again. My child has no choice in the sexual part of life. It is what it is.

  26. Tumble Weed August 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    To be a virgin, both of you, is important because you are more unlikely to have a std while pregnant. Sometimes that doesn’t matter because your own parents could have infected you with one. Still, a couple should enjoy each other without inhibitions. Also, have you ever heard old men talk? that is their number one subject! They know all their neighbors partners and so do people who hear them talk. nothing taboo about that subject.

  27. Holly How August 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Hi, Maria! I always enjoy your articles!! Many of them end up on Pinterest under “My Body – My Temple” on my page! 🙂
    Thank you for your positive encouragement in this article.

    I think people too often behave as though “agree with me or you’re stupid” and conversely when someone doesn’t aggree with them they also take it that the other person is telling them they’re stupid.

    Having a 13 yr old daughter and 11 yr old son, I’m constantly dealing with the drama that honestly never goes away. You go from kids drama to adult drama because people love to hear about it, talk about it, make fun of it and feel better about themselves because they weren’t the center of it. Somehow they feel better about themselves by reducing everyone around them.

    There is no dialogue present here….simply self-serving judgement.

    Because I am a Christian my first question to my children and close friends when this mess arises is, “Where’s the love in that?”

    And with regard to sex, you are aboslutely correct…it’s fabulous, it’s wonderful, it makes us healthy…when done with love, honor and respect for ourselves and the other person. Period. No qualifications.

    There are three “slogans” I hope follow my children throughout their lives after I’m too far gone to speak them anymore:
    1) “If you want to have a friend, you’ve got to be friend.”
    2) “You can’t expect someone else to respect you if you aren’t respectable.”
    3) “Jesus love you.”

  28. Paul Brown August 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Thank you Maria! I could not agree with you more. While, heaven forbid, not a fan of Penn State or Catholicism, it still rings true for any football program and any religious group.

  29. Bonny August 8, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    We’ve had this wrong for 2000 years. Hebrew scholars know better. Biblical strictures against “sodomy, et al” are not about same sex activities being wrong. Sodomy was used to brutalize and break the spirits of defeated warriors and it was the brutality that was forbidden, not consensual sex. Again, an ancient teaching twisted in the name of power and control.

  30. Justine August 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Correct Bonnie- And while I agree with you Maria that there’s no topic we should not talk about, openly and honestly, please reconsider calling pedophilia “sex”. It’s not- it’s rape/assault/domination, plain and simple. Please leave the noun and verb -Sex- for the wonderful, liberating, healthy, comforting, exciting [put your favorite adjective here] thing it is. And here’s a bombshell folks, college football is NOT a moneymaker for colleges. It is estimated that less than half of the big college football programs make money for their schools. Most football programs are funded by student fees or from a school’s general fund. It’s also a fact that when sports are a focus for students, grades suffer. Let’s not assume that because something is popular with people, that its also good for them. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/education/edlife/how-big-time-sports-ate-college-life.html?pagewanted=all

  31. Donald August 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    To me sex educati0n is essential, but who trains the trainers, who sets the standards? Free choices is a way of living but do not touch the untouched. I know simple folk who are not top notch sportsman e.c.t. who are better persons and who have more happy families.

  32. Kathy August 9, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    Actually not all tribal people are fear based or refuse to listen to others. In fact the Natives of this country and many others across the planet were respectful of others and their beliefs. Which is why it was such a shock to them when the Europeans refused to listen and acted the way they did.

    If you want to know more a good book to read is American Indian Prophecies Conversations with Chasing Deer written by Kurt Kaltreider Ph.D. Forword by Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D. (he wrote Coyote Medicine).

    There are people who do not support these tactics and I am one of them. Family motto “Let us be known by our deeds”. In order to truly understand how much more “Christian” the natives were you have to read the books by those who are actually informed about the true history. Those books are a good start. People who are on the outside looking in very rarely get it right.

    I have seen sports and religion for what it is for decades but found very few who could see its failings. Hopefully people will stop, in my opinion, worshiping false gods.

    Just wanted to point out that being tribal does not have to do with fear and trying to shout down others. On the back of the book American Indian Prophecies it states: Why was Indian society essentially free of crime? Why did their government system work in such a just manner? Why did Indians live longer and healthier lives? And why were Indians unaffected by stress, depression and neurosis, which are so prevalent in Western society?

    It’s a good read when you approach it with an open mind and realize that not all societies follow or followed the path so many follow today.

  33. Cloo August 15, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    Not sure where the article leaves off and some comments begin. However there is some loose association between football, Religion-you named the Catholic church, and chicken sandwiches, and Sex. First this article is biased/jaded, you did not seem to mention in the contrast of agnostic/atheistic/incest sex abuse cases that have occurred; or maybe that does not make the news as much? Don’t say it does not happen, it is just not as high profile issue, those things are hidden better? Oh, it is just not interesting to people to hear about, right? no big names to fry! I am tired of you hypocrites pretending to care.

  34. maria (farm country kitchen) August 15, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    Dear Cloo,

    I do care. I care about educating our children with knowledge and protecting them with love rather than trying to keep them innocent and “pure” while anyone — famous or not — and most likely even a family member — can hurt or take advantage of them. But yes, that doesn’t show up in the newspaper that much, which is an important point you bring up. My main point is that we (people and the media) should stop wasting time arguing about stuff that doesn’t really matter and start paying attention to the stuff that does: keeping our kids safe, loved and protected so they can grow up into adults that do the same for their kids.

  35. Michael Sweeney August 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Thank You !!
    So eloquently communicated
    Just wish more people could communicate at this level of understanding

    Michael J Sweeney

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