Sex has always been something hard for me to talk about, mostly because it’s something people do not feel comfortable discussing openly and honestly. Sex was not something my parents tried too hard to keep away from me; it was just something we did not discuss. There were no parental controls on any of the TVs in our house and no nanny blockers on the computer. Generally, they did not try to police what my siblings and I watched and let us consume whatever media we liked. Sometimes my dad would try to tell us that we needed to change the channel because what we were watching was inappropriate, but once he left the room my siblings and I would just turn it back on and lower the volume. My parents are older, so I do not think their lack of content filtering came from a place of carelessness, more they did not fully understand the technology. I grew up with technology and it was really key in helping me understand the ins and outs of sex; however, the useful information did not come until later in life. My parents were not talking to me about sex and my school system was only interested in giving me the basic mechanics of heterosexual sex, so I turned to TV and the internet to find what I was really looking for. My parents never explicitly told me sex was not something to be talked about but somehow, I knew it was not something I should ask them about, so I did not. TV media taught me that sex was passionate and spontaneous, which contradicted what I was seeing on the internet; the porn I was watching had no such elements. It was hard, fast, and somehow managed to seem more realistic than TV sex scenes because there was no plot and you got to see more than just breasts. I knew that the sex that was being had in porn was not ‘real’ sex but that did not stop it from influencing how I thought sex happened in real life. Porn taught me that men were at the center of sex, women orgasmed easily, and that there were no awkward moments during sex. Clearly, those are all wrong, but I was young and had no one to tell me otherwise. As I got older, I started looking for resources that were more informative rather than performative. I learned that I actually knew nothing about ‘real’ sex and had a lot to learn. The lack of comprehensive sex education led to a lot of these misconceptions my peers and I held. Someone once told me that if my nipples got hard that meant I was horny; I went years believing that was true and thinking I was an absolute freak. Not having a place or space where we could learn about the sex some of us would soon be having only reinforced the idea that sex was not something that should be talked about. This pushed me to look for resources that would provide me with the information about sex I really wanted to know. I learned all about the vulva and how orgasms were actually achieved. It was empowering, but I had no one to tell my newfound knowledge, because sex was still something I was not comfortable discussing aloud with others. Now, I feel comfortable discussing sex with my friends, mostly because I can now relate to them. I still do not feel comfortable bring it up with my parents, even my mom. I did not ask or tell my mom I wanted to be put on birth control. That conversation would have been so hard to have because of how little we have discussed the topic of sex with each other. I feel more comfortable discussing sex because I now have adequate information about it, not just the mechanics but the social aspects of sex which are important too. Talk about sex is very gendered and I understood that when I was younger, when my parents would tell me certain things were ladylike and even in high school when my female peers were humiliated or shamed for their sexual exploration while the men were applauded for their actions. When society actually talks about sex it is so weird, since no one ever talks about it no one really knows how to. My ideas about sex have changed a lot throughout my life. When I was younger, I got my information about sex from the media and my peers which led to a lot of misconceptions about sex. Many of the misconceptions I had about sex where gendered and that is mostly due to the kind of media I was consuming back then. The porn that is easily available is made specifically for the male gaze, so it only made sense that I thought sex centered around the guy’s pleasure. As I got older, I grew more interested in actually learning about sex rather than just seeing it. My quest for information led to me to some strange places on the internet but I was able to find a lot of good, helpful information, which allowed me to debunk a lot of the ideas I had about sex. For a long time, I thought my first-time having sex was going to be extremelypainful. These new resources taught me that it did not have to be and I could actually enjoy it. It took time for me to get rid of all the misconceptions I had about sex and I am sure I probably still have some lingering, but now I feel confident talking to people in my life about sex (still not ready to talk about it with my parents though!) because I have information guiding the conversation. I think that the media is an amazing resource, but society needs to ensure that people have access to good, accurate information about sex first or they will end up bombarded with information and ideas about sex that are not true and can actually be harmful.