In life, learning is important, sure, but then again, so is unlearning. It’s like throwing away your basics and relearning them again, sometimes out of your own free will, other times because life has made it that way. There’s a lot of unlearning that I want to talk about, but I’ll save it for another day. Let me get to the point: today life kicked down my fundamental knowledge of relationships really, really hard – I found out so much more about sexual relationships, and it seems like everything I thought I knew now has to be relearnt.
Yeah, so anyway, there are some things that are ingrained in you, as a result of growing up in your culture and with your values. For me, in an Asian culture where talking about even feelings is awkward as hell, naturally, no one ever talks about love, relationships, sex, that sort of thing. Or at least, no one around me ever did. Which brings me to this: everything that I’ve ever learnt about relationships are bits and pieces I’ve picked up from mostly American and British books, so I have information about relationships more mature than mine, with protagonists way older than me, and who hold different values than the ones in my culture. So I’m vaguely aware sexual things like blowjobs and full on sex does happen (somewhere far away in the world), but I didn’t think it happened to my immediate friends. (All I heard were rumours of other people doing it, and that was about as close as it got.)
Naturally, when it did happen to me (basically, my boyfriend and I had a two-line conversation discussing where our relationship might progress in sexual terms), I was a bit surprised, but that was all. It wasn’t until I asked around for how were the sexual aspects in friends’ relationships, did I become WAY MORE SHOOK. I found out it was actually pretty normal to talk about sex, which came as a huge disbelief, and I became slightly confused about life for a while. (I mean, I know it’s normal to talk about it between friends, and I know that of course people talk to their SOs about it, but… it hasn’t sunk in.) I don’t know if it’s because I’m ace, or because I never expected some of my friends to actually go there, or because my relationship never breached this territory the last time (which is pretty reasonable, considering we were around 14/15) but I’m just… so extremely shocked (not in a negative way! just neutrally taken aback). Really, the only word to describe this is shook.
Like, alright – I know this is the age that people start to grow up and try new things. As hormonal teenagers, it’s completely normal to start reaching more bases in a relationship and start doing more sexual things, but I’ve just… never considered that concept applying to me personally, if that makes sense. It’s so amazingly weird to think that all my friends are growing up (some of them way faster than I thought they would!!), time is passing by so fast, so many things are happening and progressing, and I’m just slowly crawling my way through the Sexual Experience.
Honestly, there’s still so much for me to unlearn – to accept that this is how fast life is going to go, to understand that sexual things are still normal no matter how hidden they are from public, to realise that different relationships are different. Which brings me to the next thing.
Even now, today, actually, I still have to remind myself that aspects of my relationship shouldn’t be compared to anyone else’s, and especially those depicted in fiction books (mainly chick lit). For real, when I first got into a relationship, I was so upset all the time because things weren’t working out the way I thought they had to/ the way I wanted. Over time, I began to let go and go with the flow, but I’m still in the process of kicking away the need to follow a definite structure of a relationship. While it’s more than ok to ask around and gauge your friends’ opinions and share how different dynamics work, at the end of the day, relationships still aren’t comparable. My relationship is different from the textbook definition of a relationship (if there even is one), it’s different from my friends’ relationships, it’s entirely my own and unique in its own way. Small gestures like running your fingers on your SO’s skin and small, stolen touches may not necessarily mean the same thing in different relationships. And I think that’s what’s great about relationships – each one is unique in its own way, they’re constantly evolving, the same gesture can mean something different in a year’s time, and so you’re constantly unlearning and relearning things. :)