Garth and Wayne (Dana Carvey and Mike Myers) brought the term ‘schwing’ to our urban lexicon. The suburban, hockey playin’, Led Zeppelin lovin’ boys of Wayne’s World would ‘schwing’ when talking about or when seeing an attractive woman. Schwing is a physical response that Wayne and Garth could not control. Their bodies were sending them sexual signals. The Urban Dictionary claims that it can only be used in a masculine context (ie. To give or achieve an erection) which is a load of hooey.
Let me say it loud and proud: Girls got schwing.
Schwing is a feeling that everyone gets to enjoy. It’s a physical response, a feeling people get when they see or think about something sexy. If you are a boy into boys, you can schwing. If you are a girl (into boys or girls), you can schwing.
Both males and females experience vasocongestion (swelling of the genital tissues with blood, which causes erection of the penis and engorgement of the area surrounding the vaginal opening) and myotonia (muscle tension) early in the sexual response cycle. In younger men, like Wayne and Garth, schwing can cause erections to pop up in 3-8 seconds. For girls, evidence, though more subtle, can begin 10-30 seconds after stimulation begins.
The notion that females only feel their hearts go a-flutter is a crock. All sorts of things flutter.
How’s this important to parenting?
There is a long history of teaching daughters to be chaste and enabling sons to gain sexual experience. Along those lines, it is an entrenched belief that women want love and men ‘only sex’.
- Make sure your kids know that men and women have broad and diverse wants and that there is no one way to act or be. Our biological gender does not dictate our sexual or romantic interests.
- Reinforce to kids that while schwing is real, there are other things to consider before acting on those sexual feelings. Every person ought to learn how to use their head, heart, gut and schwing before engaging in partnered sexual activity.
- Head – It really helps when people show intellectual smarts before getting busy. What I mean by this is the ability to think through actions and reactions, to understand the physical risks involved in any activity (ie. Pregnancy, STIs), and to understand and ensure that full consent is being given by all parties involved.
- Heart – There is an emotional element to sexual activity, even if two people are hooking up. We each have beliefs and values to reconcile, and have to manage and take responsibility for our own emotions, expectations and actions. The heart piece is about understanding what you are emotionally risking by engaging in sexual activity and the potential consequences – good and not so good.
- Gut – Illusive but real. You know that feeling that sometimes guides you away from what your head and heart are telling you. Or it breaks a tie. Though it sends subtle messages, we often listen to our gut when it tells us to take a cab not a bus, file a complaint, speak up. In the area of sex, young people especially seem to put their fingers in their ears and say ‘la la la, I can’t hear you’ when their gut is telling them something different than the rest of their body. Like when you say ‘yes, let’s have sex’ and your gut is saying ‘oh, this isn’t right’.
- Schwing - Sex is better when we listen to our bodies. Women especially, need to learn (and teach) about their own sexual stimulation and what is necessary to make sexual activity not merely tolerable but pleasing. We can even aim for ka-pow pleasure. Women might know what they find cute or sexy, but taking that and turning it into full blown arousal is something quite different.
People have a number of similarities in terms of physiological sexual response but differ significantly in their perceptions of arousal. When men are physically turned on, they almost always know it. Female awareness of arousal is varied. Research has explore this and found that mature women are more subjectively aware of physical arousal than younger women. It seems that distinguishing the physical signs of sexual arousal requires time and learning.
Parents can support their kids by asking them to consider all the different parts of sexual decision-making. Start with a convo on other decisions and explore the head, heart and gut of each one. Then broach a decision that involves sexual activity. Talking with our kids can help them avoid feelings of inadequacy or guilt, the need to act before they are ready, or the possibility of getting busy when their own or their partners sexual satisfaction isn’t considered.
We can all schwing. And we can act on our schwing just as long as we do it without disregarding the rest.