My first introduction to s-e-x was at the New England Aquarium in Boston when I was in 4th grade. My friends and I were on a Girl Scout trip and let’s just say us Girl Scouts knew about more than just tasty cookies after watching a pair of rock hoppers in the penguin pen. The next year, the health teacher separated the boys into one room and the girls into another room for the big puberty talk. By that point, I had read enough Judy Blume books to understand about menstruation, but fun facts about sexual activity — in humans, of course — were news to me.
I wasn’t the only kiddie who grew up naive about the birds and the bees: the Facebook group, “We bet we can find 100,000 people who were clueless about sex growing up!” has 120 members so far and is growing. After the jump, read a couple funny — er, funny/sad — stories from the sex ed trenches.
“I had absolutely no idea what sex was until I was about 12. Before then when my Mum tried to explain it to me she used words like ‘sperm’ and ‘egg,’ instead of ‘penis’ and ‘vagina,’ which made me think that making a baby was like some magical Harry Potter induced s**t, and my Mum had no problems with letting me believe that for as long as I could.”
“My “sex ed” teacher didn’t know what an orgasm felt like and it was her job to teach us about sex, I quote, ‘I imagine it’s like a headache… when everything goes wrong, except everything is going good.’ We were also told not to touch ourselves at all, let alone masturbate, because that belonged to our future husbands.”
“I was told that condoms cause cancer until I went to college.”
“The only thing I can remember from Texas Sex Ed was that sex will rip your heart out with velcro … somehow. And the only thing I remember from Oklahoma Sex Ed was that everyone had STDs so don’t have sex ever! It took Wikipedia and a few lurid Google searches to finally learn my actual anatomy and the mechanics of sex.”
“I use to believe the boy peed on the girl and that is how she got pregnant. Good thing I found out the truth sooner than later.”
The group was organized by Choice USA, a pro-reproductive rights organization that protests against so-called “abstinence-only” education, which does not teach about birth control or ways to have safe sex. Groups like Choice USA think that it is a young adult’s reproductive right to be taught comprehensive sex ed — whether it’s by health teachers in schools, parents or religious institutions.
I know some people believe parents, not schools, should teach their kids the birds and the bees. But my parents never talked about sex with me growing up. I even remember my mother slapping her hand over my eyes during the sex scene in a movie! (Considering the movie was “Nine Months,” though, I was able to put two-and-two together.) Knowing that was my mother’s attitude towards sex, as a kid I never felt comfortable asking her questions about sex, either when I was a tween who wasn’t having sex and when I was a teenager who was.
I feel lucky I had comprehensive sex education in 5th grade — not to mention one very memorial visit to the the aquarium in Boston — to teach me the facts! [Facebook: CluelessOnSex]