Since the mosquitos were on a feeding frenzy, one evening all nine of us squished into a 4-person tent to pass the time. Perhaps not surprisingly, after not too long the conversation turned to sex. These 14 year olds were seeking insights and advice about sex from their ‘elders’. Elders, in this case, hardly older than them.
I found myself unable to contribute. At one point I declared that I was there to learn too. It’s not that I was inexperienced – rather I feared my experiences would have freaked out the group even though there is nothing particularly freaky about what I might have reported. The campers sought a step by step (or blow by blow) guide to giving good blowjobs and there was a discussion about having sexy pictures taken for your boyfriend. I offered a few comments but they were not likely memorable to my underlings.
So with almost 20 years since that summer, I think back to the information that these young women were hungry for. I was hungry for the same information at 14 and at 17 I was even hungrier. An open and honest (and vastly more experienced) 24 year old would have felt like a godsend.
So what happened? Did I think I would be judged? Or be misunderstood? Perhaps I feared providing too much information? Maybe I thought the cone of silence that had been invoked would have been disregarded once we returned to camp and that my stories and experience would make for great campfire storytelling? Or maybe I was filled with shame – and couldn’t imagine sharing my experiences – no matter how fulfilling some of them were.
It’s amazing to imagine that evening if I had risked some honest sharing. Sure, we could have done a deep dive into the fine art of fellatio. But I could have told them about cunnilingus and the power of their partners tongues too. I could have talked about mutual masturbation. I could have described sex with the lights on and eyes wide open. I could have reflected on discussing pleasure with a sexual partner and negotiating sexual exploration.
Would it have blown them away a bit? Probably. If I were 14 I would have been blown away. But gratefully so. I would have been gratefully blown away.
My next post will cover the sex stuff I learned as a camper many, many moons ago and ways to dig into the topic with your kids when they return home from their camp experience.