Jonas from Finland
Finland is quite progressive, but there are still a lot of people who aren’t.
My mom was a feminist. Her best friend was gay and all of my nannies were either lesbians, or in the very least, a bit weird.
I grew up in a pretty open and progressive household. My mom always told me pretty much everything was ok, just don’t hit people. I remember feeling shame about sexuality sometimes though, so there were cues from society getting in somehow.
It was confusing because my home environment and my outside life often didn’t line up. My school was all working-class families, most of them single-parent homes. I think that maybe the people in my community were more angry and hateful towards anything different than other, better off families in Finland. The kids in those areas probably had a much different experience.
I got bullied a lot by older kids in my neighborhood, I was six at the time, so they were probably ten. They asked if I have ever taken my dick in my hand and moved it back and forth. They said it felt really good. I thought they were trying to screw with me though. I mean, there is no way this could be true, right? Knowing them, it would catch fire or something.
Even if I was really unsure about this questionable advice, one night I took my teddy bear under the blanket and gave it a try. I think my mom figured out what I was doing pretty fast because almost immediately I was taking 15-minute naps six times a day. It was either masturbation or narcolepsy.
One time, she knocked on the door while I was on my mission and whispered through the crack, “You know Jonas, it’s normal what you are doing and totally ok.”
I yelled back, “Mom, I don’t know what you are talking about!! I am sleeping!”
I just totally freaked out. I have never felt so ashamed in my life. Even if I was ashamed though, no amount of shame could ever make me stop. Even when there were moments where it was starting to hurt, I would think, ‘eh, I can do this. I am a fucking trooper.’
The paper trash was always a gold mine for young boys. We would go dumpster diving and it didn’t take long before we found porn and were like ‘oh what’s this?’
We collected a lot of trash porn, but also a neighbor of mine had a huge collection we would go over and look at. His mom was really fucked up and she bought him a bunch of porn magazines when he was ten. I don’t really understand what her motivation was, but my friend covered all of the walls of his room with porn. It was hardcore porn too. We would go over there for sleepovers and masturbate like monkeys and his mom would never say anything. At first, I thought it was normal, but later, I realized how fucked up it was.
Sometimes we would also steal porn from kiosks and stuff. At ten you don’t really feel bad about that kind of stuff because you don’t realize what you are doing. It was the middle of winter in Finland, but we would be outside in this treehouse with our pants down masturbating. Nothing could stop us.
When I was around twelve, my mom bought me condoms ‘just in case.’ I was seventeen when I finally lost my virginity, so those condoms were well passed expired. My mom tried to be open with me, but I didn’t feel I could talk to her about things. I was ashamed. It wasn’t something that I wanted to talk to my mom about.
I think that’s probably programmed into us. I don’t know where it came from, but I felt ashamed about a lot of things that had to do with sexuality. When I started masturbating, I felt ashamed. Then later, I got into kinky stuff and felt really ashamed. My mom is a feminist and I wanted to hit girls, so what the fuck?
Until I was around thirty, I felt horrible because I thought I shouldn’t want to hit women. Fortunately, I eventually found people who really like it, then it became different. Before, I always felt like I was taking something from people, which I don’t want to do. After I found people who also like kinky things, it felt more like I was giving something to them.
(Read about consensual BDSM here, here and here.)
It took me a long time to get over those triggers from childhood. We really don’t talk enough about these things. I believe very strongly that you learn all of your sexual behavior before you actually have sex. We take it all in when we are ten or eleven and carry it with us. That’s part of the reason I think we should talk to kids about sexuality much, much younger. But with our religious society, I know that won’t really fly.
I also would have liked to see a wider range of information provided in sex-ed. Sure it can still be focused around penis plus vagina and out comes a baby, but there is so much more to it that takes so long to figure out on your own. There should be a book or something for young people that is more in-depth. Maybe not in the same age group, it doesn’t need to be so young, but at least for when you are older. Not sure if it’s something that we could actually do, but it would be really interesting.