What they don’t teach you

All throughout high school I studied sexual education

most of it was scientific

detailed and specific

I received some religious sexual education too

where we read a poem in Psalms and picked our favourite verse

mine had something to do with breasts

and with deer

 

but for all that education

I didn’t understand

that I didn’t have to have sex

if I didn’t want to.

 

I thought that if you loved each other

it was like saying yes

Often,

I did want to

just not right now

 

But I thought they wanted me

and that made it okay.

Often,

they would say

“But I love you” or

“I’ve missed you”

something simple

something sweet

so that I would change my mind.

 

I never had orgasms

but I thought it was part

of the myth of being female

 

It was what I deserved, after all.

And I was more interested in giving anyway.

 

After finding this out

my wife

held me in the dark

for a long time

and told me that she loved me

and that I didn’t have to ever have sex with her

if I didn’t want to.

 

I believed her

and I still do.

 

But it took me years to learn

what my self was worth

what my body was worth

 

And I wish they’d taught that

in high school.

 

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