Of course I remember; it was The Big Day. I had no idea why, though I suspected it was a Big Deal considering how many whispers behind hands were fed into ears. It was Sex Education day in the grade school, and we were all to watch a film shown to all the 6th grade classes that day. Whispers and wiggles. Whispers and wiggles.
I must point out that it was a relief that lunches were only long enough to bolt down the sad excuse for food slopped on a sectioned tray because they were nothing more than slab seats attached to slab tables that folded to move out of the way. The film started shortly after the lights went out, and that’s when the wiggling finally stopped. It must’ve been made in the 1940’s – it was black and white, streaked, stuttery and utterly boring. My seat because uncomfortable and fast.
I have no idea how it started, this ancient film, or how it ended, but I was unimpressed throughout. I had nothing to do with sex! It had hand-drawn diagrams with Latin words, the official words for body parts, and not in the least bit interesting. I was never one for cartoons or abstract art, could never quite see how it could be possible that there was such a thing as a Roadrunner or Popeye in real life, and that’s how I saw these line drawings of cross-sections from the waist down. I had never seen a boy with his pants down, and if that funny “womb” and ovaries were inside me, I sure couldn’t feel them. If there was a lesson, that lesson was lost.
That film showed menstruation – in drawings that had no meaning to me. It said that the womb cycles and menstruates monthly, the mark of fertility. What? But, there was no classroom discussion afterward. No one talked about the film. Even the whispers behind hands stopped. I took that to mean everyone else was as unimpressed by the film as I was, and that was that.
A few months later, my body kicked it in and I was horrified. I was bleeding! I hadn’t done anything, hadn’t fallen or cut myself and I was terrified to see the bright red blood. I was given a belt and a pad through a half-opened bathroom door, figured it out, put it on and went to bed.
The next day, I felt that line-drawing womb and ovaries with a vengeance. I went to school wearing the same belt and pad that I was given the night before. By the afternoon, the thing was soaked and heavy and I asked to go to the nurse. I had no idea that I would bleed and bleed for days on end! And the pain…! My father came to pick me up, never said a word, and I went to bed. I figured I’d die and I only wanted to be laying down.
It was another few years before the dreaded mating hormones took hold, and my response to them was based more on how my friends were reacting to them than to what I actually felt. All of a sudden, “sex” meant a lot more than just this damned uncomfortable monthly cycle. I had no idea how or why, but boys were supposed to stick the penis in, it was supposed to feel good, and nothing could be more important. It sure didn’t sound like something pleasing. Not at all.
By junior high, the girls that let boys put their pee-pees in them were called sluts. Nothing could be more important than to have sex, yet if you did, you were a bad girl. The boys knew which girls “put out” and they stood in line for it. But, only the jocks succeeded. The rest of us boys and girls just did the ol’ dating thing, and that just meant phone calls and an occasional football game or two. Boring.
The dance didn’t make sense to me, nor did it relate to that god-awful monthly period, and who knows where fertility came in. It was many, many years before I learned what pregnancy was, and by then, I was convinced that, no matter how many times I tried, I would never have sex that felt good. As far as I was concerned, my biology let me down.
All I could think during the past few weeks is how a few, simple conversations back then would’ve changed a lot about how I then went through life. Am I the only one so utterly clueless? Oh sure, things worked out for me in the long run, but maybe not in a typical sense. I didn’t become a pregnant teen statistic, nor did I catch a big, bad disease. But, that was luck.
So, what makes sex such a taboo topic between adults and kids? Not only would I have been spared a lot of discomfort growing up, but that’s not all. Look at all the kids sexually abused. What is it about adult males that drives a fixation with sex with children, girls and boys? If rape is a power thing, then what do men get out of dominating little, helpless children? And, how could these men then go around beating a drum against abortion? If you want to end abortion, end the cause by zipping up your damned pants!
There’s a lot to talk about, folks. A lot. What is our biology plays a major factor in life developmentally, psychologically, socially, governmentally and religiously. It’s the whole she-bang and at the root of how we all get along together. Isn’t it time the human race grew up?
Get talking! Sex isn’t a secret – it’s a key!