18 Adults Reveal How They Learned About Sex
"Because when a man puts his penis in your vagina it gets THIS big. Then spikes come out of it."
Oprah did an episode on the birds and the bees when she still had her talk show. I was in elementary school. My mom recorded that episode on VHS and left it for me to watch (alone) when I got home after school one day. We never spoke about it.
My dad sat me down when I was 16 and said: "If it looks funny, don't touch it." The end.
My parents dodged that bullet through no effort of their own. We learned ALL about sex in class in fifth grade because Northern California. There was nothing left to teach.
Still haven't gotten "The Talk" because my parents are too uptight to acknowledge that sex even exists.
My mother tried to give me this book and I was horrified and refused it over and over again. One day she just opened my bedroom door and threw it inside without saying anything. Eventually I read it and TBH — very informative.
When I was 15, I was in the car with my mom and she turned to me and said, "Sex kills, you know." And then, a very awkward silence later, "and oral sex is sex too." The End.
As a 12-year-old, my mama called me into the kitchen and said, "You been thinking about having sex?" I assured her I hadn't been. Then she put a two liter of Coke on the table and said, "Good. Because when a man puts his penis in your vagina it gets THIS big. Then spikes come out of it."
Later, at 15, Mama said, "I'm going to tell you three things about having sex: 1) Protect your heart. You only get one. 2) Protect your body. You only get one. 3) And if he's 'getting his', you should be 'getting yours'."
It was the night I left for college on a cross-country redeye. My mom was coping by giving the bathroom a vigorous scrubbing. About an hour before we had to go to the airport, she got all choked up, stopped me in the hall and said, while still wearing her yellow rubber gloves, "Use condoms."
It was because of Bill Clinton. I had been hearing so much stuff on TV during/before his trial that it made me really curious what "sexual relations" meant. And while I wasn't told about what EXACTLY Monica ALLEGEDLY had done, some gentle children's books were purchased that explained how a man did a "funny little wiggle," etc.
My parents bought an illustrated book designed to help parents talk about sex to their kids. They covered the basics of reproduction and then hid the book. I later found it, secretly read all of it, and googled "kid-friendly definition of sex" so I could learn more but avoid scarring myself with porn... I feel like this says a lot about me.
We learned all about sex in fifth grade in Connecticut. We had sex ed once a week, which was also taught by our classroom teacher, Mr. Williams. I remember we each had a blue book with The Information in it, and after each lesson, Mr. Williams would take questions from the anonymous Question Box. He was totally diabolical and would figure out which boys had crushes on which girls then seat them next to each other for the month, which made all of sex ed pretty awkward.
My mom assumed that I knew everything from the unit; my dad, a few years later, came to the rec room in the basement and haltingly asked: "So... do you... know about things?" My face got extremely hot and I said, "Um yeah." I knew, somehow, what he was talking about, from that incredibly vague sentence.
My mom gave me "The Talk" at 12 after we moved to Brazil. Coming from very conservative Colombia to very liberal Brazil, my mom sat me down and not only explained how things work but also told me it's OK to be gay, it's OK to be trans, it's OK to like things differently than everyone else. She then bought a pack of condoms and left them in my bathroom.
You're thinking my mom is really cool right? Well, when that pack disappeared (gave it to a friend who had a bf and wasn't being safe and I wanted her to not be dumb) my mom freaked the fuck out and proceeded to call me a promiscuous slut.
When I was a preteen, I asked my teen brother some of the awkward questions that I didn't want to ask our parents.
We subscribed to Newsweek in the early '90s and there were a lot of cover stories on HIV and teen pregnancy. I kept seeing this word "condom" so I asked him what it meant. He got really weird and turned red and told me to go look it up in the dictionary.
The same thing happened when Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came out and I didn't know what "libido" was.
I looked these two words up in the dictionary, which led to looking up many other words. I learned a lot.
When I was 8, we were on our annual extended family vacation at my grandmother's house in Florida during Christmastime and my cousin, who's a year older than me, told me she knew what sex was. When I asked her to tell me too, she said, "You should ask your mom." Sadly, I was not intelligent enough to realize this was a ploy for her to get me to ask the question she so badly wanted answered and to deliver said answer to her. After a day of begging my mom, she finally relented in my grandmother's guest bedroom and said, "It's when a man's penis goes into a woman's vagina." But, turns out, I'm a lesbian, so that "talk" wasn't too helpful.
When I was 5 I came back from school appalled and told my mom that my classmates were dumb because they all believed babies came from cabbages. My mom asked where did I think babies came from — expecting a random response — and I promptly replied, "Mom and dad have to have sex for a baby to be made inside mom." She was shocked. I still don't know how I found out about that one.
When I was 10 and waiting in line at Walgreens, I started thumbing through a book that aimed to educate middle-school-aged children about sex. I tossed the book in our basket and my father paid for it without saying a word. My mother, who worked as a nurse and occasionally participated in workshops with Planned Parenthood, also brought home hundreds of educational manuals — and condoms — that I looked through regularly. It all paid off because when we had to learn about sex ed in seventh grade (it was Texas, so of course we were a few grades behind), I breezed through those written tests.
In retrospect, I'm pretty sure my parents figured I'd read about it (I learned there was no Santa Claus by reading an article about it in the newspaper when I was 8), set up an environment where there were plenty of reading materials, and thus spared us the discomfort of "The Talk." It was a win for everyone.
I don't remember any conversation except for this one: I think it was around fourth or fifth grade when I came home from school on a Friday and one cat was on top of the other (my) cat and they were making noises. Turns out the first cat was really a male (we changed the name) and sometimes the vet can't tell until the cat is around 6 months old. Anyway, when my mom got home I asked her what was happening and she told me that our cats (who were brother and sister) were making babies. Then she explained that on Monday when the vet opened we'd take them in to get fixed. What will happen to the babies inside my cat I asked? She explained that they weren't really babies yet, and the vet could help make whatever that was go away. Double lesson.
Growing up in a conservative Korean environment, my family never openly discussed sex. At 17 my father (who's a doctor) sat me down at the kitchen table and, after a brief, "Your mother told me you are the gay," pulled out his giant medical journal and proceeded to give me a 30-minute lecture about anal elasticity. He said, and I quote: "I don't care that you are the gay, I want you to be happy. But if you have the anal sex I don't want you to suffer from the leakage." He then launched into very graphic anecdotes about patients he's had who suffered from "the leakage," complete with anatomical charts.
I was scarred. I didn't let anything or anyone near my anus until 10 years later.