In my personal experience, I’ve come to learn that I am apparently one of the least sexual creatures that has ever walked the planet. I don’t go up and hit on anyone at bars. I don’t talk about my penis, mostly because the concept of genitalia in general makes me laugh. When it comes to sex, I’m just not the person that should ever be consulted for advice, opinions, or general knowledge. To give you a brief background of my anatomical expertise concerning boys and girls, at about seven years old, my dad told me that the reasons that all men wear pants is because their penises grow down to their ankles, thus forcing men into slacks for the rest of their lives. I believed that until I was probably twelve years old.
This knowledge conflicted with my basic childhood belief that both men and women were sporting around penises, which probably explains a lot about my life now… but that’s neither here nor there. Apparently, no one ever took me aside to explain what a vagina is, what it looks like, or what its function is. But around fourth grade, all of that began to change. It was obvious that my peers were becoming concerned about me, so they took me aside and told me about… it. Considering that as an adolescent, I became woozy at the thought of sexual intercourse, I only have three distinct times in my life that anyone has talked to me about sex successfully, and because of that, that’s pretty much the only sexual knowledge I have in my repertoire.
The first time, the preacher’s daughter of my church took me aside at lunch and started telling me about how sex worked. She skipped the basics, assuming that I understood that there were two kinds of sexual organs. She started telling me about the basic details of intercourse. Apparently, as told by Emily, what happens is that people start kissing, and you do that for a while. Then, you stop kissing and take all of your clothes off. Then, the daddy stabs the mommy over and over until someone screams. Then you’re done. Being the early feminist that I was, I immediately became concerned because in my mind (since both parties at the time had a penis in my mind) it didn’t seem fair that daddy did all the stabbing all the time… then the second question arose… where do they stab each other? I went home and inspected my own body, trying to determine where it was on a body that someone could get stabbed. Eventually, I settled on the idea that all sex, as defined in the tradition sense, involved the anus.
The next day, unsure of my current hypothesis, I decided to consult my teacher, Mrs. Adamson. Like most of my teachers, mentors, and professors, I felt closer to Mrs. Adamson than pretty much everyone else in the class, so it wasn’t a big deal for fourth grade Justin to walk up and say, Mrs. Adamson… Dawn… I need you to explain this crime of assault to me that people call sex… or something like that. She approached the situation very carefully, though it was apparent that I had really put her in a position. She began to explain to me how sex actually worked and how it was between a man and a woman when they were truly in love and married. All of a sudden, sex didn’t seem so scary. Maybe it could even be a kind exchange.
Luckily, I didn’t have to discuss sex again until I was a seventh grader… but right there in the middle of Mrs. Holtzclaw’ geometry lesson, Nicole (who had quite the reputation herself of knowing how to do sex) decided to verse me on all of the other things that can be done during sex that didn’t get you pregnant. The whole thing made me ill… mouths and all these other organs in wrong places; the whole thing seemed like a really angry person trying to jam a puzzle together. None of the things she was talking about made any sense. If people were just supposed to do sex when they’re in love and married and wanting to have a child, then why were all these other methods even relevant? And even as a twenty-two year old, I still sometimes struggle to realize what it is that appeals to people in regard to all the things that Nicole told me about.
Because I’m a distrusting people, I went home and asked my dad about all the things she had told me about, and if memory serves me correctly, he just kind of ignored the whole thing. Not in that “father doesn’t want to be apart of your life, get me another beer” kind of way. More in the “I’m just going to let you ride this one out on your own, little buddy” way. Eventually, I just concluded on the fact that since Nicole was already getting around so much as a seventh grader, it probably was best not to take any of her lessons as fact. I liked the idea (and still do) that people just go into a bedroom, close their eyes, have traditional sex, and then it’s over. And when it’s over, you hug or shake hands or go catch up on the past week’s television. Yeah, that’s what people do.
Sadly, my introduction to sex was a three part series, and the final installment was as a junior in high school. I had been dating this girl named Ally for about two weeks, and considering that most teenage boys’ hormones resulted in hand towels that were stiff as a board, my dad decided it was time for us to have the talk. I vaguely remember the exchange on our back porch, but honestly, I’ve worked to block out most of it. I do specifically remember that it was at night and we did not have the back porch light on. Essentially, I think that was to keep either one of us from having to look the other one in the eye. The speech went approximately as so:
So, you know a guy has a… goober. (Author’s note: I have NO IDEA why our family ever found it permissible to substitute the word penis for “goober,” but even as what most people would consider a full blown man, you will still here the word “goober” used on occasion at my house) And girls… well, the don’t. Well, a guy takes his, um, and then the girl has her… well, you guys get into a rhythm and sometimes you’ll work together, or she’ll do the work, or you’ll do the work… and then you’re done. Do you have any questions?
Negatory. I wanted to say something like “BREAK!” and then run back inside or something, but I just kind of sat there for a while… giggling. It may have been because we were talking about sex, or because it was the most nondescript conversation about sex that I had ever had, or maybe it was just the recurrence of the word “goober” in conversation, but all I could do was laugh.
And as I’ve gotten older, I suppose I’ve gotten a better grasp on the concept of sex, why people enjoy some of the less essential parts, and how the whole thing works. My personal sex life is about as active as Mandy Moore’s in A Walk to Remember, but that’s partially because I don’t search for random sexual activities like most lonesome and wayward twenty-somethings. I’m not saying I’m an angel… okay, I am. But in terms of learning anymore intricacies about why and how people do sex, I’m not really interested. Thanks to Emily, Nicole, and that really awkward blackout sesh on the back porch with my dad, I’m pretty sure I have the details of sex nailed down at this point… no pun intended.