Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thoughts on Sex Ed

The talks with the kids recently have made me think about my own education on the topic and some of the more amusing (I hope) aspects of that. If it isn't too mortifying, post your own in the comments section. Oh, heck: the more mortifying, the better, right?

One of my earliest memories of being aware of even understanding all of this was going to camp and having to get a check up at the doctor's and fill out a form. I must have been in about fifth grade, which would make me roughly the age Baboo is now. There was a question on the form about menstruation, and I remember explaining what that meant to a girlfriend who was also going to camp. I'll have to ask her if she remembers that conversation (it was on the sidewalk in front of my house) and if what I said had any basis in reality.

As for the mechanics of reproduction, I thought it was all involuntary. Like ovulation. You can't control it. It just happens. Women have this small window of time in which they can conceive, and most of the time it sort of just sneaks up on you.

I thought it was the same for men. No one explained the concepts of lust or, heaven forbid, just plain friction. So I thought erections were spontaneous (I guess in teenage boys they sort of are) and had this hysterical image in my head of the executive, hurriedly leaving a meeting in the middle of the workday because "Oh, no! Here it comes!" and running home to his wife. I never did work out how husband and wife both explained that they had to leave work RIGHT NOW! At least, junior feminist that I was, I had it in my head that they both worked outside the home.

The image still cracks me up.

3 comments:

valentina said...

Oh it is so weird that we ever turned out ok considering how many myths we had about sex. I got a lot of info from my friend Kit whose 16 year old sister filled her in. Theirs was the first house I ever visited and heard Bob Dylan. I was about 13 I think.

Anyhow at a slumber party in my basement Kit said her sister said sperm was sort of like egg whites. And I guess it sort of is if you can compare it to anything...She also said that the boy spilled it on your stomach... So much for contraception. The old coitus interruptus... so reliable...

This was of course post the army ant conception concept. I was after all a mature 13 and even started to menstruate later that Easter. My mom had well prepared me for that because as a girl when she started she thought she had cut herself sled riding and the whole experience had been quite truamatic.

She was the 4th of 4 daughters and got lost in the shuffle of any explanation of sexuality. You'd have thought ONE of her sisters would have filled her in. But everything was so hush hush and although her mother, my grandmother was a Unitarian she tended to be rather Victorian about some things...

Even in 1964 when I turned 13 there was just this sort of vagueness that hovered about sex.
My mom was trying to be so conscientious as a good Unitarian mom, to make sure I understood it was pleasure and not sin. That it was all natural etc etc. That contraception was an option...She reassured me that I would like it when I grew up...

Yet still it all remained mysterious. And we were all curious but not enough to ask for specifics...

That was the "gross" quotient that still remained during junior high school...

I always appreciated knowing my parents loved each other and were affectionate. So I think basically the fact that you both model this for them and that they are secure in this knowledge is the best thing you can do besides being informative.

Jeez it saddens me that girls start to menstruate so early. A life time of Built In Obsolescence! I hope Skittles' migraines do not increase as her hormones change. That was what did me in. That and horrible cramps... But there is the chance that hers will go away too. So we just have to be hopeful.xov

Susan said...

you are so funny!!
I thought about the same thing. Only I had it in my mind that you only "did it" the number of children you had.
God forbid you would do it for fun!
Three times sex, three kids, 1 time, one.....oh our simple minds:)

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