By Liz - freelance writer for 29secrets // March 12, 2017
I always thought the first person to buy me lingerie would be my hot future Ryan-Gosling lookalike boyfriend. Yet one cold afternoon in October I found myself thumbing the outline of a delicate purple lace lingerie bodysuit and staring slack-jawed at my new roommate (and soon-to-be-best-friend). She squealed with excitement “Do you like it? You can change the size if it doesn’t fit! I just wanted you to be excited!” I was flabbergasted. My female roommate had bought me lingerie. Sure the lingerie itself was beautiful, but more importantly, I felt loved and supported in a new and powerful way.
Context: the lingerie didn’t just come out of thin air — the lingerie was borne out of a whole lot of me nervously pacing our kitchen telling my roommate how anxious I was about being intimate with a new guy I was seeing. It was my roommate telling me to calm my shit and look at sex as something fun that I got to dress up for, instead of something layered in taboos and anxiety (when is too soon? Landing strip or full Brazillian? Do I look fat from this angle? What would Jesus say?).
I have zero recollection of ever having sex ed. I don’t know if it was because I flouted the system (I skipped gym class in high school) or if these classes were just so scary to me that I repressed them from my memory, but somehow until university my knowledge of sex was pretty much limited to that scene in Mean Girls where Coach Carr says, “Don’t have sex. Because you will get pregnant and die.”
I was every parent's dream. That is — assuming your parents are white suburban middle-class Christians, who would rather burn in the fire of a thousand suns than use the word penetration at the dinner table. Throughout my adolescence I didn’t need a purity ring or curfew to keep me from hanging out with boys — my chastity was already bubble wrapped in 80 layers of repressed shame.
Flash forward: these days I’m a 22-year-old independent woman, I live in London, I occasionally “free the nipple” on my way home from yoga or to go get groceries. But experience has taught me you can take the girl out of Sunday school but you can’t take Sunday school out of the girl.
So yea, I’m always a little nervous when I start seeing someone new.
When my roommate gave me lingerie, she was reminding me that I don’t need to hold onto the anxieties I was raised with. Sex can be fun and sexy and comfortable and loving and a whole lot of other adjectives that don’t result in premature death. When communities of women and men start changing the way they conceptualize intimacy it can be truly lovely. We can start talking about things like a female orgasm (if you haven’t looked at OMG.yes go now!) and teach kids about healthy relationships in school — not only heterosexual ones but LGBTQ+.
Lean into the people around you, show them in small ways that you love and support them and their sexuality (lingerie optional).