Redefining “The Talk”

We’ve all been there; in an awkward conversation with our parents about “the birds and the bees,” surrounded by giggling classmates as our middle school teacher put a condom over a cucumber, or listening to our more experienced friends tell us how it actually goes down. But as we grew older and began discovering our sexual identities, we realized it can’t be taught by a textbook.

Sex.

When The New School Free Press first landed on this topic, we realized some of us had a narrow-minded view on what exactly sex could entail. It’s easy for our mind to strictly think of the act itself, because after all, isn’t that what we were taught? The reality is that sex is hard to define. Beyond the physical act, there’s the emotional burden it brings, the consequences of unprotected sex, and realizing some of us don’t fit into the common categories we were given growing up.

By keeping this in mind, we realized we had to unlearn what we viewed sex as by thinking about all of its layers and implications. The NSFP started our reporting by giving students an open forum to talk about sex the way they see it. We learned through surveying 100 students that defining sexual orientation isn’t black and white. We spoke to women who are frightened about the future of their reproductive rights under Trump’s administration. We discovered our LGBTQ classmates feel as though the school doesn’t offer them enough resources or support; that social media has forged the way and given women a platform to own their sexuality and publish their own nudes; and sometimes the best form of pleasure we can receive is being in tune with our own bodies and minds.

In publishing this special issue, we hope to redefine “the talk.” We hope to push you beyond your perception of sex; something we ourselves had to do in order to accurately reflect our diverse student body and their lived experiences. For a three letter word, sex carries a lot of weight and can be a daunting topic to approach. And while we know it can be difficult to navigate and talk about with candidness and honesty, we mostly hope you are now at least talking.