With this article, Ramon unveils a vision that undoubtedly helps us to make deep and sincere proposals. It’s a total revelation!
Education VII: Sexuality in education, from conception to puberty
Is sex education the responsibility of parents or the school? At what age does sex education begin?
I propose to bring a little light to these questions in this article.
A human being is procreated by its parents and welcomed and gestated in its mother’s womb. The attitude and experience of the parents at the moment of conception constitutes the first reference that will be recorded in the energy that the parents deposit in the fertilized ovule, to a greater or lesser degree. Although fertilization can be done in vitro, the reception and gestation of the fertilized ovum necessarily take place in the maternal womb. In the case of an in vitro fertilization, relaxation and body porosity, as well as the attitude of the mother receiving the ovule, will also influence the nesting and type of bond that will be established between the embryo and the mother. The presence and accompaniment that the mother receives from the father in the prior preparation and implantation of the fertilized ovum, as well as the attitude of the professional who is implanting the ovule, can favour or hinder the corporal relaxation, emotional state and mental attitude of the mother that in some way will be recorded energetically in the baby.
The biology of the new human being is shaped during the nine months of gestation. All the baby’s organs, including the genitals, are formed. All its organs will already be present when the baby emerges into the light for the first time and is born in this earthly reality. They will continue to develop and grow until reaching adulthood. The first aspect that is configured in the human being is, therefore, the biological, the organic.
If the mother has been able to free herself from the cultural references that have made us consider sexuality in a shameful and pejorative manner, and if she maintains an appreciative connection with the primary energy and her genital organs, seeing them as one of the more noble parts of the body, she will enjoy her pregnancy with erotic-emotional pleasure. Many mothers remember pregnancy as the best stage of their life. The reason, which is unconscious for most women, is that every aspect of a woman is involved during pregnancy, her body, vital, emotional and mental levels, which results in a feeling of plenitude.
It is important to clarify that the specific, transitory attitudes and emotional states of the pregnant mother do not generally influence the baby negatively. What affects the baby are the mother’s habitual or sustained states and/or attitudes. It is also necessary to know that these states or attitudes affect the baby biologically. For example, if instead of feeling the presence and supportive accompaniment of her partner the mother experiences a conflictive relationship that causes emotional distress, this causes muscle contraction which hinders blood circulation and oxygenation of the body. How do these habitual and/or sustained states and attitudes of the mother affect the baby? The answer is simple and easy to understand. The contraction of the mother also affects the umbilical cord, the connecting link between the child and the mother. Its contraction causes the baby to feel choking and not to be welcomed.
Once the baby is born, emotional development takes centre stage, although biological growth is still very important. In this first stage of the baby’s life, breastfeeding is especially important. This is not only because breast milk is generally the best food for the baby, but also because the link between the biological and emotional aspect occurs through contact with the mother’s breast. If the mother has been able to free herself from body shame and taboos, she will enjoy erotically nursing the baby. This is how the bio-emotional connection of both the baby and the mother is reinforced.
An obvious consequence is that sexual education fundamentally belongs to the mother and father, and begins in the experience of conception. The attitude and experience of the parents in the love-sexual relationship which leads to conception will cause the baby to register one type of referent or another. This will influence the attitude and vision he or she will later have regarding his or her body and erotic and affective sensitivity.
The attitude of the mother during pregnancy will also influence the baby’s sexual education. It is therefore very important that a woman works thoroughly to overcome the taboos and pejorative views inculcated by our culture in relation to sexuality, before becoming pregnant. If the woman has been able to shed the influence of these pejorative patterns, she will rarely experience dizziness and vomiting during pregnancy, including the first three months, a stage in which this is usually considered normal. The pregnant mother will be a referent of corporal-sexual health for the baby, and her own attitude and relationship with the body will be the reference that will be stored in the biological memory of the baby.
What would the delivery process of a woman freed from shame and sexual taboo be like? It is not hard to imagine that it would be a happy birth, with total or partial absence of pain, since the woman would have no problem dilating the cervix or vaginal canal. The healthy mother-baby bond, established at conception and reinforced during pregnancy, would facilitate the baby’s vaginal passage from intrauterine to extrauterine life.
The Book of Genesis describes the basic conflict that altered the original harmony of creation. This conflict is the pride of the mind which establishes a pyramidal structure of knowledge instead of the participatory and cooperative structure in the construction of knowledge, proposed by the Creative Force or Energy, independently of the name it is given. The author of Genesis calls him Yahweh. Two more conflicts were derived from this original one: the first is the shame of the body, especially of the genitals, symbolically manifested in the man and woman hiding their nakedness, and the second the struggle of feelings, symbolized in the conflict between brothers. Cain killed his brother Abel. The same biblical narrative refers to the pain of childbirth as one of the consequences of this initial disorder, which includes the shame of the body, especially the genitals.
I want to quote two texts from Genesis, which are the source of the previous section: “Yahweh God called to man: Where are you? He replied: I heard your steps in the garden. I was afraid and hid because I was naked.” (Gn 3,10). And later: “To the woman, he said: I will multiply your pains (…), you will have children with pain“. (Gn 3,16).
The fact that it is not easy to give birth with a total absence of pain is due to the fact that it is practically impossible for a woman to completely overcome the shame and taboo of sex. The reason for this extreme difficulty is because it is a primordial conflict, reinforced by culture and education that inculcate a shameful and pejorative view of the body, especially the genitals, as well as women’s breasts. It is precisely the shame and the fears in relation to the body, and specifically to the sexual energy and the genital organs that embody it, which hinders muscle relaxation and therefore dilation of the cervix and vaginal tract.
Once the baby is born, the relationship that the parents will maintain with him or her, especially the mother, will be a very important referent in the configuration of the mental structure of relationship with the body, including the genital organs.
The healthy way to relate to the baby at this stage is to foster a relationship based on physical contact. This contact must include the whole body, also the genital area of the baby. This is how a mental structure is built that is not dissociated from the body, vital energy or emotions. In other words, an identity where all the levels are integrated, without dissociations.
The child must learn to see the body naturally, without embarrassment. It is necessary to foster the child’s attitude of appreciation, respect, and esteem in relation to the body, both their own and that of the people around them. This respect must be accompanied by experiences that help the child to discover the body’s various functions, as well as the diversity of sensations that are awakened throughout the body, without excluding the genital area.
If the parents or educators observe that the child is touching and playing with their genital organs, they should never scold him or her but should act naturally, inviting him or her to touch different parts of the body to experience different sensations, and see whether they are more pleasant or not so pleasant. Even parents can participate in the game with a full-body massage with an attitude of acceptance, trust, and respect, avoiding any shameful or pejorative attitude in relation to the body in general, and in the erotic zones in particular.
Children’s games are usually innocent until they reach puberty. In general, they are inspired by natural curiosity. Both parents and teachers should show an open and understanding attitude towards these games, without giving them any more importance than they give to other children’s games, which are normally driven by curiosity to expand their experience and knowledge. Adults have to watch the children’s innocent sexual games with naturalness and acceptance. They should avoid an attitude and words that transmit messages that may distort the natural and innocent curiosity of children’s games. In other words, they should not encourage a vision and concept of the genitals as a something bad, dirty or sinful.
If the subject of sexuality is experienced and treated in a natural way, without any taboos or shame, children will not generally be curious about sexual relationships, since this is not a typical characteristic at this age.
As children grow and become interested in aspects related to the body and sexuality, and become curious to know where babies come from, we must convey a vision of sexuality as a source of life and creative potential. It is an energy that is within us and nourishes the body, vitalizes emotions and brightens the mind. An energy that has a double movement, from inside to outside and from outside to inside. The energy that goes from the outside to the inside can also be called feminine energy, and the energy that goes from the inside out we can call masculine energy. These two movements are present in all people, men and women.
If the child is curious to know where babies come from, this should be explained in a simple and natural way, such as: There are moments when the father and mother feel a lot of love for each other and feel very united, and they also unite physically. How do they do that? The father and the mother lay naked in bed, they embrace and the father puts his penis inside the mother’s vulva and vagina. In this special and loving union, the father sometimes places a seed of life inside the mother that joins one of her seeds of life, and together they become the seed of a new life. This becomes a baby that will grow in the mother’s womb for nine months until it is born, and it continues to grow outside the belly. It is something similar to what happens when we plant a seed in the ground. First, it grows below the earth where we do not see it. Then the day arrives that it emerges and continues to grow above the earth, growth that we can see.
But this is not sexuality. Sexuality is much more. Creating a new baby is one of the many wonderful possibilities that this energy of life is endowed with. We cannot see it with our eyes but we can see it in our body, and also in the effects it produces. It is very important to learn to use sexual energy well because like any other energy it can do wonderful things. However, when we do not use it well it can do a lot of damage. It is not about being afraid but about learning to know it, respect it and use it well, in relation to ourselves and to others.
We can, therefore, say that sexuality is energy, and energy can be compared to water stored in a reservoir of water. If well channeled, it can be useful for many things. We can enjoy bathing in the reservoir, build canals and use water to irrigate orchards and fields. We can build pipes and make it reach the houses to provide water for drinking, cooking, showering, for many good things. But let’s imagine that the dam of the reservoir breaks and all the water comes out suddenly. What can happen? Well, that same water which can do so many good things when used well can also be very destructive and cause a lot of damage when used badly.
We must, therefore, learn to contain sexual energy, preventing it from overflowing, and letting it flow through creative and constructive channels. We will not achieve this by relating to it with fear and shame, seeing it as something bad, dirty and dangerous. We will achieve this by knowing it, by making friends with it, learning to keep it and using it to nourish the body, irrigate and vitalize emotions and feelings, and bring radiance to the mind to develop a more awakened knowledge linked to reality. A knowledge that is more practical and respectful towards ourselves and towards the environment.
So, we can conclude that sexuality is energy, the source of life and creativity. It is the warehouse where we keep the seeds of everything we can develop during our lifetime, and much more. Sexuality is the motor and origin of the life of every human being. It is therefore very important to know sexuality, to look at it with confidence, love and respect. Make friends with it, since we need it to be able to enjoy life and for all aspects of our own health, that is, for our holistic health.
Ramon V. Albareda
Psychologist. Theologian. Sexologist
Creator of Estel, Centre for Personal Growth and School of Integral Studies
Next article: Education part 8: Sexuality in education, from puberty.