My Sex Education

When I was in the fifth grade, my mom drove past a building grafittied with the f-word on it and I summoned the courage to ask her what it meant. She took a shaky breath and said that it was a bad word for sexual intercourse. To this day, that phrase makes me queasy.  Her explanation was short, factual, and contained words like “insert.” It left me more confused than ever.

I thought a blow job had something to do with a hair dryer. A girl in my class said that she gave someone a blow job in the woods next to our school. I couldn’t stop wondering how long that extension cord must have been.

When I was in the eighth grade, a rumor spread that a girl named Maggie took a shower after school with twin brothers from our class. I just looked her up on Facebook and friend requested her, because after all these years, I am dying to find out if that was true. I had not yet kissed a boy. My parents wouldn’t even let me watch Pretty Woman and Maggie was getting naked and soapy with brothers?

At the end of the ninth grade, I snuck out of my friend Ashley’s house during a sleepover. We put Cabbage Patch Kids in our beds, covered their faces with sheets and left their hair sticking out on the pillow. We left a “Sounds of the Ocean” CD playing because we thought the waves sounded like breathing. Ashley had met two Marines at the beach the weekend before, and they were waiting in their car for us down the street. I was terrified. They took us to the pier and we smoked cigarettes. They drove us to their motel room where we watched a movie and drank a beer. My mind was racing about exactly what would happen and how I would act and what it would mean and how I would be different afterward. After a while, they drove us home and said good night. Neither one of them touched us.

We got caught sneaking back into the house. I was grounded for the entire summer. My mom told me years later that she had watched my stomach for months, praying that I wasn’t pregnant. She thought I was some wild child and I had still never been kissed.

Finally, in the tenth grade, a boy named Rob found out that my parents didn’t get home from work until 6pm. He invited himself over and stuck his tongue in my mouth while we were watching TRL.  My brain played grainy footage of a giant squid attacking me with its tentacles. I was happy when he stopped. He asked me if he could “just stick the tip in to see how it feels.” I had no idea this was not an original request. A shout out to all my ladies who have been on the receiving end of that question, and a special one to the Thirstea vendor at the Brooklyn Flea for turning it into the sign on her tip jar.

Rob had weird blackheads inside of his ear. Once I saw those I made damn sure not to let his tip out of his pants.

In the eleventh grade, my friend Kristy told her single mom that she was pregnant and she didn’t know who the father was. Her mom said, “Damn. Me too.” Kristy got sent to a home for pregnant teens. She told everyone that she was going to boarding school and then gave the baby up for adoption. When she came home, she described childbirth to me and explained what an episiotomy was. I decided to remain a virgin for a very, very long time. Sex ed teachers are missing the boat. A detailed, life-sized episiotomy poster hanging at the front of a class could wipe out teen pregnancy forever.

In the twelfth grade, I kept my personal curiosities at bay thanks to my best friend Tara’s parents’ library of porn. They say most people are visual learners and whoever they are, they’re right. What a relief to discover, after all those years, that I was using my hair dryer properly. TC mark

image – Helga Weber


More From Thought Catalog

  • Scott

    I’ve showered with twin bothers before: a clogged drain and hair on the soap.

    Hire me to edit this stuff.

  • Anonymous


  • Michael Koh

    giga puddi

    • Tashiri410

      you’re singaporean, aren’t you?

  • Mary

    For the longest time (most notably thanks to the Clinton administration) I thought Oral sex just meant you talked about sex.

    • Melvin Alvarez

      there’s something about you, Mary…

  • Mary

    For the longest time (most notably thanks to the Clinton administration) I thought Oral sex just meant you talked about sex.

  • a.

    Does this end with you slutting it up in college after being so naive?

    • Anonymous

      I wanted it to end with . . .
      And then I got wise in freshman year and became the biggest ho the University of Michigan had ever seen.

  • Billy

    There are way to many errors in this piece for it to be posted. Someone over at thought catalog is not doing their job. 

    • Captain Obvious

      They don’t have editors. 

      • You're wrong

        they do.

      • You're wrong

        they do.

      • Sarah

        THANKS, CAPTAIN OBVIOUS. oh wait.

    • Anonymous

      I think you meant to say “way too many.”  Nice instance of Muphry’s Law, though, Billster.

      • Pot meet Kettle

        I think you meant to say “Murphy’s Law.”

      • Anonymous

        Muphry’s Law states that whenever one corrects another’s grammar, they will inevitably make a grammar mistake of their own.

    • Anonymous

      They don’t edit, bud. It is a communal blog, not a newspaper. They just approve stuff to go on the site for content.

  • Stefanie J

    I only noticed two errors (missing small words) but I loved this piece, I think it’s very nicely written. 

    • spelling bee

      now it’s a game, i can’t find the errors

  • Zach

    so, like did she take a shower with the twins? also, you sound hella prude lol

    • Gregory Costa

      I like a good prude.  I think I fall in the prude category.  Nothing wrong with a good prude. 

    • Guest..o

      you sound hella stupid lol

  • Zach

    so, like did she take a shower with the twins? also, you sound hella prude lol

  • Jenni E. Sormunen

    Gee, what’s wrong with you Americans?! :D 

  • AA

    i liked this. good writer.

  • Laurenk

    you had facebook in eighth grade? how old are you?

    • Dove

      i think she’s saying she just recently looked her up on facebook, not when she was in the 8th grade

  • Raegan

    Very nice. Although reading articles about the awkwardness of life makes me feel really uncomfortable. I remember being the only kid at the lunch table in 8th grade who didn’t know what “eating out” meant. When they explained it to me, I thought they were lying and went home and asked my older brother.

  • Melvin Alvarez

    I don’t know if I should be thankful, but my parents gave me “The Parent Talk: Guide to Your Child and Sex” book when I was nine.

  • Julian Galette

    Am I the only one who was relieved that the author’s 14/15 year old self and her friend weren’t taken advantage of by Marines?

    Good piece. 

    • douchegirl

      Yes. Oh my God, I thought the story was heading towards a #dark path.

  • Ryan Simmons

    Wait, so was the rumor true about Maggie and the two brothers?! I don’t know why I’m so curious about this, it’s weird.

    • NoSexCity

      I’m curious because I’m a creep. Gimme the deets!

  • Brian McElmurry

    This was really great. I liked yr divorce piece also. I really like what you’ve written on TC so far!!!!

  • Stellie Cat

    So did Kristy’s mom have a kid too?

  • Kyle Angeletti

    Good read. 

  • Laura Witkowski

    “Rob had weird blackheads inside of his ear. Once I saw those I made damn sure not to let his tip out of his pants.”Excellent call. You’re a woman of great virtue.

    • karyn

      I consider being called a woman of great virtue high praise from the woman whose deal breakers include not owning a blender and using kitchen sponges, thanks so much! 

  • mathematician

    she’s lying about her age. TRL didnt start until 1997 or -98, but her blog says she was 16 when she worked on empire records (production in 1993/4), so she couldn’t have been in 10th grade then.

    girls who lie about age are about as sexy as girls whose facebook photos of themselves are all hotter than they really are.

    • NoSexCity

      Gosh, I hope you grow up to be just like House or the BBC’s modernized tales of Sherlock.

    • Raegan

      Why was my “Get a life” comment flagged?

    • kickrocks_camrocks

      you’re a numbers faggot. fuck you and write your own article douchebag asswipe

    • karyn

      Hi, thanks for paying attention…i’m 34 years old. I was in fact 16 when I worked on Empire Records, and I graduated high school in 1995. MTV music videos were on in the background during my first kiss. TRL came later, you’re right, and I didn’t realize that until you pointed it out. Memories can be skewed. Thanks for the fact checking though, I like being kept in line. xo

  • Sophia

    This is similar to my naive and sheltered adolescence. I could relate a lot. Good piece.

  • MUNZ

    i enjoyed this. shout out to all my fellow high school prudes!

  • Nico Ortiz

    Great post, Karyn !

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