Sex without regrets

Sex on Tuesday

Before I started writing this column, several of my friends gave me the same warning: If I wrote this column, the first thing that would come up when people Googled me would be the most taboo word in the job market — “sex.”

As someone who has carefully curated my online presence to cater to potential employers, this warning was something that I took to heart.

I found ways to justify writing this column, such as telling myself I’d regret it if I didn’t at least apply and try to tell my story. I hoped that by sharing my unique perspective, I could help make others feel validated, as former Sex on Tuesday columnists had done for me. After a lot of thought, I realized that the benefits of joining this conversation outweighed the potential costs.

While I spoke to many of my friends for advice on my column, there were two people that I specifically did not discuss this column with: my parents. I turn to them for advice on just about everything. But I knew that if they saw my name next to the words “sex” or “orgasm,” they’d freak out for the same reason some of my friends did — they would think that this would make me unemployable.

Sex is a taboo because people are afraid of it and want to control how other people do it. Throughout history, people have tried to make rules about what is “acceptable” when it comes to sex — rules about not having sex before marriage, rules about what kinds of sex you can have, rules about who you can have sex with, and the list goes on.

If you talk about sex, you automatically become “the sex person.” Some of my friends have even labelled me “the boy-crazy one,” distilling me to just my sex life simply because I like to talk about sex. Suddenly, I am no longer a prospective engineer or an amateur singer, but I am merely conflated to “that person who overshares her sexual experiences.”

And God forbid a potential employer finds this all out — then suddenly, I’m a sex deviant who could never be employable because, clearly, I don’t know proper boundaries and professionalism.

But sex is a totally normal and natural process — we all think about it or have it, so there’s no reason for us to be so afraid of talking about it.

The Sex on Tuesday column is supposed to help remove the stigmas and taboos surrounding sex by discussing the issue openly and honestly. It helps writers to overcome the shame they’ve faced for their sexual preferences, and it forces readers to become more open to learning about sex.

My experience with this column has been fun and validating, and I don’t regret sharing some of my most intimate moments with the internet. This column has given me more courage in my sexual exploration, and empowered me to push back against the taboos of sex. It has allowed me to connect with so many readers and friends who have experienced similar challenges and identified with my writing.

It’s true that overcoming these taboos can be difficult in our society. If you find yourself struggling to do so, find ways to edge out of your comfort zone. Make it easier on yourself if you have to — it is perfectly acceptable to avoid the larger hurdles if it helps you reach the finish line. Consider why something matters to you, and think of how you can help others.

One of the steps I took to help me face the taboos was to leave my parents out of my decision to write this column. As of right now, they still don’t know I work at The Daily Californian because I didn’t want to risk them finding out what exactly I write about — I wanted to be able to write this column honestly, and I was afraid that if they knew about the column, I would hold myself back. When I first started publishing my columns, I carefully moderated my social media settings to exclude them and anyone who might snitch on me.

But now that my semester of writing the Sex on Tuesday column is coming to a close, I’m prepared for the eventuality that my parents will find out about my work — whether that happens years from now or tomorrow.

So, Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this, know that I’m proud of the work I’ve done with this column this semester. And if someone doesn’t want to hire me because I wrote about sex, then I wouldn’t want to work for them anyway. You raised me to have a voice, I wanted to use it, and I don’t regret it.

Rebecca Martin writes the Tuesday column on sex. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @beccasexontues.