things are different when...

By J.S.

           I find it ironic and sometimes awkward that seamen, a general term to call men working at sea, is pronounced like semen. Coincidental or not, it seems to have some point. I had attended trainings last year to comply with the requirements of the industry. In almost every occasion, my instructor never failed to sneak in the topic about sex.

          In one of my courses, when it's three fifteen in the afternoon and everyone had gone for a coffee break, our instructor starts to tell his stories during his life on board. He narrates experiences with emphasis on how good he was in attracting prostitutes to have sex with him. He was teaching us his techniques and telling us what he does. The next day, he began telling his other sexual fantasies. On another day, he was telling us how he cheats on his wife and how he escapes confrontations about it. Until our last day, he had not failed to talk about sex.

          I always get disturbed by his stories and I begin to ask myself questions. Is this how men talk about women and sex? Couldn't he think of better ways to keep our attention besides talking about sex? I believe that a real man is more than what I have seen. A real man has a mature mind. Someone who can think clearly. Someone who will not deal with a prostitute to satisfy his flesh. Someone who will not be proud about cheating on his wife. A real man will not make other men do the same mistakes he committed. A real man is responsible for his actions. A real man will make every sacrifice just to keep his family.

          In my next training, I was hoping things would different but it didn’t get better. While many were falling asleep, our instructor started to talk about sex to pump up everyone’s attention. Stories about his sexual adventures from Brazil to Venezuela, to Netherlands and Russia, to Singapore and China and even in the Philippines; for every country and every port, he definitely had something to tell. From the stories of these selfish individuals, seafarers became stereotyped to have gone for sex to every race in every port in every country. I couldn’t put all the blame on them for committing this mistake but I am optimistic that it’s not too late to make things right.

          The last training I attended turned out to be different. I did get sleepy but there were no lame sexual stories in between topics. We talked about sex on our last day, but in a totally different perspective. Instead of telling how to win a woman for sex, our instructor discouraged us in bringing sex outside marriage. Sex is a gift of God to a man and a woman who are bound in marriage. It must be kept sacred for your wife alone.

         The nature of our work as seamen brings us closer to temptation. Long months away from home, from loved ones make us long for love and affection. Sex may give us a temporary satisfaction to the emptiness that we have, but it doesn't mean that we have to dwell in the idea so much to lead us into infidelity. Sex is not something we should keep unspoken of either. It is something to talk about with an open mind and holistic perspective. We just have to reveal the truths and expose the lies about it.

           So, shall we talk about sex?