My parents are foreign. They didn’t know that, in America, you learn about sex at school. My dad therefore took it upon himself to educate me, when I was about 11. I’m not sure why I didn’t just tell him that we already covered this topic in class, but for whatever reason, I indulged him. This is word-for-word how that conversation went:
Dad: “You know when you get older your body starts…changing, right?”
Dad: “Ok, good. And you know if you ever have any questions, you can ask me?”
And then he left. That was the end of it.
At first I was relieved. I was off the hook! But then I realized – wait a minute, this is a man who thinks I am completely ignorant about sex. From his perspective, I know nothing. And his solution was to essentially say “You know how sometimes stuff happens? Ok good talk.” Mostly, I was upset about the bad parenting. He told me my body was going to change! You don’t just drop a bomb like that on a kid and go make yourself a sandwich. I need details! Am I going to grow horns and a tail? This was not enough information.
If at home I didn’t get enough information, at school I got too much – and the wrong kind. In 6th grade we were forced to watch a video of an actual childbirth. Not a cute thing where you see a woman in labor and then the camera cuts to a crying baby. Thanks to the camera angle, this roomful of 11 year-old boys had a direct view of the proceedings.
This was an 80’s video, and if you know anything about the grooming habits of that era-well, how can I describe what we were looking at? Imagine looking top down at the Grand Canyon, but it’s surrounded on all sides by a luxurious hair jungle. A consensus quickly developed in the classroom that this was the worst thing we’d ever seen. But it quickly became second-worst, because suddenly, a tiny person began emerging from that cavern of horrors. One kid in the class vomited. The rest embraced abstinence.
To this day I’m not sure what we were supposed to learn from that video. Also, they never showed us a picture of a normal vagina at school. Not to be sexual, but just to say, ‘This is what they look like most of the time. When another person isn’t climbing out of it.” No, that would’ve been inappropriate.
Not enough information at home; too much information at school. Luckily, I soon discovered an educational source that taught me everything I needed to know about sex, exactly how I needed to know it. It was beautiful, glorious, internet pornography. And my education continues to this day.