I received my first bit of formal sexual education, like so many boys before me, the way God and country intended: my fifth grade class was separated into two groups and we each watched a different black and white movie about puberty. The boys’ movie was mostly about imminent pubic hair and the need for underarm deodorant. I’m not sure what the girls’ film was, but I’m sure it was enlightening. Afterward, there was a question and answer session between the boys and a sixth grade teacher who acted as our guide through the topic of sex. Unfortunately, we didn’t glean enough information from the black and white movie to properly formulate any cogent questions. I recall one boy asking if a woman had two babies, would her breasts grow two nipples apiece? And in the first of what would be many, many examples showing why I should never be charged with children in an instructional capacity, the sixth grade teacher said that the breasts would not sprout extra nipples. I would have told the kid that women’s tits turn into cow udders during the second trimester.
Luckily, I had an older brother who was happy to instruct me in the truth about sex. The way Adem made it sound, sex was an intense mashing of pee pees that quite frankly grossed me out. He had a few old issues of Playboy and probably a few other skin mags, but he also had these two magazines that each contained high-gloss pages depicting stills from a hardcore pornography movie. I pored over these periodicals and practically gagged at the glistening, hairy genitalia in life size across a two-page spread. It was more like looking at photos from a murder scene or something you’d see in a journal about surgery. This is sex? It looks ridiculous. And why is this woman lounging around her house wearing a leotard and pantyhose? None if it added up for me.
When I was thirteen, my parents sent me to a church-sponsored sexual education program called About Your Sexuality. For most people, a church-sponsored sex ed. program evokes images of watching outdated filmstrips about proper hair-combing techniques and the dangers of holding hands before marriage. I was raised a Unitarian Universalist, so About Your Sexuality was a series of six brutally frank classes on the ins and outs of sex. Lesson one: the penis goes in and out, as evidenced by a full color filmstrip featuring two of the homeliest people you’ll ever see fondling each other’s hairy genitals before going at it in extreme closeup. One of our instructors specifically pointed out the woman’s poor manicure and back-twisting scoliosis. What I and a room full of pubescent teenagers were seeing was sex, not as presented on the glossy pages of some porn magazine or an implied offer of sex by some bathing suit-clad model in a beer commercial, but actual raw, dirty, hairy, sweaty, human sex. And it was fucking disgusting.
There was another health class in the seventh grade that tried to instruct me on the finer points of sex, including those famous painted cross-sections of a penis and a vagina. By then, I was so turned off by sex that I treated it all very clinically. Many of my friends were confused by sex, and would espouse common junior high school misconceptions about it: a girl can’t get pregnant the first time, or you can go blind from repeated masturbation. I had been through About Your Sexuality, and I held no such misconceptions. Sex began to take on the aura of some future chore I would eventually perform rather than a special, life-changing event that I should anticipate. Looking back, I can see that for all of my sexual education prior to actually having sex, there was one point that was left out: sex is fun. It feels good. Whether it is a shameful or a glorious act, whether you will have sex to procreate or to get your rocks off is up to you. But even taken academically, the pure clinical act of making whoopee is enjoyable. That’s the only reason human beings do it. That was the missing link to my instruction, that for all of its grossness, for all of the matted hair and pungent odors and horrifying, contorted facial expressions that can result from sex, it is one of life’s simplest, purest pleasures. And there’s every reason why a hormone-fueled kid should want to do it.
I wish that, when I was younger, YouTube existed, because then I would have watched Laci Green. Of course, this would cause a further temporal conundrum where she would have still been in diapers, but if I’m already traveling through time and changing shit around, we can say that she would have been a recent college graduate who already made videos like this. Laci is really very informative and takes special pains to be inclusive, which I think it a good attitude when it comes to helping young people feel okay with their uglies. She’s a good mix of entertaining and informative, each of her videos are well-researched and nicely produced and come from an angle that sex is fun, you should want to have sex (and not just as a biological imperative). Instead of laying out the cold, hard facts as if you’re cramming for some endocrinology exam, Laci attempts to dissect the emotional and romantic components to sex as well as the physical. I’d recommend her to any young person looking for the straight dope on fucking, though watching her videos myself makes me feel like a dirty old man. Just more evincing of my repression due to years of faulty sexual education.