Get sex educated! Image courtesy of Meg Ten Eyck.
We’re pleased to debut the fresh voices of the second cohort of the Go Girl Blogging Program! Stay tuned for new articles from new contributors. Don’t forget to tell them what you think in the comments!
“How old were you the first time you had sex?”
This is the only question I remember the doctor asking at my last gynecological exam. I paused before responding because I had so many follow-up questions floating in my head:
First time with a guy or a girl?
What exactly do you mean by sex?
First time consensually or non-consensually?
I’ve been working in advocacy for sexual minorities for eight years. The queer educator in me was begging to make this a teachable moment, but the everyday individual was so turned off by the fact that my doctor didn’t know better than to ask that question.
My next question was, Wait, why does this matter?
Why is it medically necessary to know the age at which someone becomes sexually active when they are now in their late twenties? Was it because my chart said that I’m a lesbian? Would the doctor have asked the same question to a straight woman?
I was in South Korea; how much did our ethnicity and cultural differences play into this questioning?
As I was lying with my back on the table, legs in stirrups, I was compelled to think about my own sexual awakening and, subsequently, all the cringe- worthy mistakes I’ve made in my past. It was a montage of sexually explicit memories playing in my mind, set to the antiseptic noises of an OB/GYN’s office.
It was about as stimulating as it sounds.
After I left the clinic, I realized that I should have done more research in advance on the cultural norms of women’s health in Korea, but, honestly, the thought that it’d be different didn’t even cross my mind. Afterwards, I did find a few articles discussing what to expect. Having a nurse publicly take your medical history is common. I learned that most forms of birth control are available over-the-counter, and while abortion is not legal, it’s a common practice in Korea.
Until you’re in a situation where you need to think about it, the cultural norms surrounding health and sexuality don’t often come to mind. Even if I had thought about the differences, where would I have gone to find the answers? There aren’t a lot of places that take on the topic of women’s sexual health and sexuality abroad.
Out of a need for answers, I’ve created Go Girl Travel Network’s new sex column.
I am Meg Ten Eyck: sex columnist, LGBT educator, and world traveler.
I’m an American woman currently living in South Korea. I’m an everyday person with more than my fair share of information on gender, sex, and sexuality. I’ve worked with some of the largest LGBT and sexual health non-profits in the US. I’ve also been very involved as an activist in sexual health policy. I’m originally from New York City and have been in a relationship with my love, Lindsay, for nearly two years.
Before I moved to South Korea, I was an educator and an activist with a handful of America’s largest LGBT nonprofits. You may have already read my work, published in Posture Magazine, by The Matador Network, and at Create Trips. I focus my writing on relationships, love, and identity while traveling. I also run my own blog, Dopes on the Road, where I write about traveling the world and queer culture.
So what is this new sex column?
Enough about me! I want to hear about you. I will be responding to reader questions on all things sex-related — from safer sex to self-pleasuring, relationships to marriage, and everything in between.
Maybe you’ve had more partners than you can count, but you’ve never had an orgasm. Or perhaps you think you might be interested in women, but you’re not sure how to take the first steps to discovering your identity. Maybe you’re in a country with strict reproductive health laws and need birth control. Any question is on the table.
This column is going to be a sex-positive, body-positive, and unabashed look at human sexuality. Along with answering reader questions, I will be adding in my own thoughts on current events and topics important for female travelers. For example, I’ll cover things like reproductive health laws around the world and safer ways to transport sex toys and condoms over international borders.
This column is not going to be a medical consultation. I’m not a doctor; if you think you need a doctor, get off the Internet, and go find one.
I’m excited to hear your questions and learn what turns you on! Mine will be a monthly column that will appear on the second Tuesday of every month.