Do you remember your first kiss?
I wish there wasn’t so much hype around it.
The glittery fantasy of true love’s first kiss sounds exhilarating, but those fairytales ignite unrealistic expectations.
High expectations can lead to feeling let down.
Perhaps, this is why most people remember their first kiss negatively?
The problem most of us face is, before we have a chance to learn about reality, fantasy has already set the pace.
Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
This week’s artsy fartsy sex ed project is focused on exploring fantasy.
Science shows us that most people’s first kiss doesn’t turn out to be as earth shaking as they hope.
If we expected clumsiness instead of fireworks, maybe we wouldn’t feel so deflated when reality hit. We could laugh it off, and try again.
A sense of humor can make all the difference in uncomfortable situations.
Fantasy is harmless when it’s grounded in reality.
The problems appear when you think reality should be like a fantasy.
With all the media we’re surrounded by, it’s easy to get caught in that trap. Illusions can capture our minds, and fool us into expecting perfection.
These days, we’re all exposed to a lot more fiction than facts.
Kids are especially vulnerable to falling into unrealistic expectations; especially when it comes to sex.
To help understand fantasy better, I created the “Fill-A-Fantasy” story template.
It’s an easy to follow writing exercise that helps anyone, even non-writers, create a fun story.
One sentence at a time, you fill in your version of what happens next. In the end, you have an entertaining story to tell.
This particular fantasy, inspired by a Barefaced card, is about the experience of a first kiss.
Since the kids participating today haven’t experienced their first kiss yet, they were hesitant when I told them about the project.
It didn’t occur to them that fantasies don’t require experience.
Their faces lit up when I gave them permission to just make something up. They could be anyone they wanted, kissing anyone they choose.
I also reminded them that this doesn’t have to be a good experience. It could be boring, gross, romantic, or super sexy.
Now that they realized this could be fun, we got to writing.
I carefully dictated a writing prompt for every line they wrote. It was up to them to fill it in as they wanted to.
The message I want to communicate with this week’s project is that sexual fantasies, as well as real-life sex, are about being creative.
Many kids say they watch porn because they want to learn how to do “it” right. Unfortunately, they’re missing the point.
No one’s telling them that learning how to have sex by watching actors act isn’t going to cut it.
Real sex is less dramatic, and more diverse than these streaming fantasies. Learning about sex exclusively through free porn leads to unrealistic expectations…much like the first kiss scenario.
Something as simple as a first kiss, or as complex as sex, can be messed up by trying too hard, or by expecting too much.
What these kids need to know is, sex is done “right” when there’s mutual consent, and it’s done wrong when there’s not.
All worthwhile sexual activities are about exploration, connection, and pleasure. It’s more than just going through the motions.
Exploring fantasy can help the sexual creativity flow.
But, being lost in fantasy may prevent the flow of reality.
Creativity is complete when it’s shared.
When I was in art school, we always ended a project with a group critique. A critique is way different than just showing what you’ve done. It’s an invitation for feedback, and requires a thick skin.
Feedback, critiques, and judgement are not welcome in artsy fartsy sex ed.
I don’t want anyone to feel as if there’s a wrong or right way to do these projects. Everyone should be proud of themselves for doing them…period.
To encourage a celebratory ending to our project, we took turns reading our Fill A Fantasy masterpieces out loud.
There was lots of laughing…this project was a hit!
Since I was the only one in the room who had experience, everyone wanted to know how my first kiss went down. The kids loved hearing every painful detail.
It helped me to remember what it was like to be the age my kid is at now.
I hope this project helps improve someone’s first kiss experience.
The reality is, a first kiss can be scary, exciting, clumsy, and awkward. It’s usually not like it is in the movies, and that’s okay.
Like anything, it gets better with practice.
Even if your first kiss was awful, it’s fun to revisit. Talking about your experiences can help the kids in your life know that what they’re going through is normal.
Fumbling through these things happens more often than not.
Sharing can prevent an unnecessary blow to their self esteem one day. Even better, your epic fail may help them feel more comfortable talking to you about theirs.
When your teen shares something like that, it’s priceless.
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