OK, Mom, I would sarcastically think, rolling my adolescent eyes behind her back, stomping into my bedroom to blast Tori Amos and scrawl Smashing Pumpkins lyrics in hot pink lipstick across my mirror.
But, girl, I'm 30 now. And not only do I fiercely agree with what my wise, darling mother lectured to me almost two decades ago, but I also fully credit sexuality as one of the most life-changing influences of my life.
I value love sex, in particular.
Let's backtrack, babes.
It's no secret that, for most of my life, I've been in a toxic, unhealthy relationship with my body. There were times when we really needed to break up. Only, you can't dump your body. You can only recklessly fight with it and hope it doesn't die in the process.
The battle began when I was fourteen. I had acne. It was angry acne that could only be covered if I wore pancake makeup designed for Vegas showgirls. The kind of makeup that only bred more acne.
No matter how cool my designer jeans were, how shiny my platform Sketchers sneakers, or how "underground" the patches on my Dickies messenger bag, I felt hideously ugly.
No ointment, Clean & Clear, or Neutrogena would quell the raised, red zits that had invaded my skin.
And then, I found myself at summer camp. It was the summer between ninth and tenth grade.
I don't know if it was the oxygen from the unpolluted air or the freeing ease of being around authentic teenagers I genuinely liked, but the acne faded away.
I looked in the mirror one day, and BAM. I had regular teen acne.
After a short-lived moment of experiencing the bliss I had only read about it teen romance novels, my life once again became an all too real Judy Blume book. Only darker.
I became obsessed with my weight. I lived off of lettuce leaves. If I ate anything else, I threw it up in whatever toilet was available, popped a handful of breath mints into my mouth, and acted like nothing had happened.
When you hate your body — whether it's your weight, face-consuming acne or every inch of your own skin — you end up having not only a destructive relationship with your body, but also a very disconnected one, too.
And, it's impossible to connect with another body if you haven't connected with your own.
So, I spent most of my 20s having removed, detached sex.
Don't get me wrong, I actually wanted to feel something. I went to extreme methods to feel, to please, to connect.
I pushed my partners into being sexually aggressive with me so that I could feel physical pain, which trumped feeling nothing at all.
Sometimes when I had sex, I left the room.
My body was technically there and we were technically having sex, but I was so fucking checked out the entire time. It was almost like being in a boozy blackout. Sometimes I did have sex when I was blacked out because that gave me an excuse for my numbness.
But everything changed for me when I started to have love sex.
I guess you could say love sex is the same thing as making love, but the term "making love" repulses me so fiercely that I'm compelled to take a vow of celibacy every time I hear those words violate the air.
Years ago, I had one of those relationships with a girl who just really saw through my kinky exterior and wanted me raw. And because I trusted her in a visceral way — a way I had never trusted anyone before — I found myself having love sex with her.
Something shifted. I allowed my body to feel pleasure for the first time ever. I was present in the moment with her. I didn't feel pain, but I didn't feel numb, either.
I felt her body against mine; I felt her fingers brush up against my back, and I didn't float away like usual. It was the first time I let my body have an intimate conversation with another body.
And while we broke up pretty quickly after that, she served a great purpose in my life.
They say everyone comes into your life for a reason. I don't know if I really believe that, but by fate or chance, this woman changed my life.
She taught me that my body was capable of feeling something other than blatant disgust and hatred for itself. She taught me that my brain — that's full of colorful ideas and stories and complex thoughts — is connected to this body.
And suddenly, the two were interconnected. And I began to live my life in my body.
I've always valued my imagination, my values, my dreams, my work. But I didn't have the same respect for my body.
But when I discovered (through the healing powers of love sex) that they are one in the same, I began to treat my body with same dignity.
Now, I continue to have love sex. It's like this primal, visceral, abstract reminder that my body can feel so many things and express my most sacred thoughts in a way words never can.
It's given me a love for my body. Not necessarily for its physical appearance (still working on that part, babes), but for the temple that it is.
It's the home of the energy that allows me to create all the things that I create.
I stopped treating my body like it was a playground. I started to actually care what I put inside of it — whether that was a drug, a shot, a toxic diet "food" or nothing at all. I try to nurture my body now because I know I can't exist without it.
It's where the ideas formulate. It's where my gut holds court — and I'm a firm believer of listening my gut. But how can I possibly trust my gut when I neglect its home?
When I was younger, felt horribly ugly and unworthy, and had this deep sadness inside of me that I just wanted to rip out, I took all the hurt and angst out on my physical self.
I thought, if I disconnected from my body, I could disconnect from the bad feelings.
Now, when I feel shaky and uncomfortable in this skin, rather than put up a wall between me and my body, I think about love sex.
And I'm reminded of how precious, sacred and intuitive this body is — and that I need to take extra care of it. Love it, even.