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26 September 2011 @ 05:34 pm
having "the talk"  
I somehow stumbled today from reading Autostraddle's NSFW Sunday to reading an advice article for mums who are trying to have "the talk" with their daughters. 

And it made me think about my own experience with the talk - mostly the fact that I never got the talk. Not really. When I was in Grades 6 and 7, we had Family Planning QLD come out to the school and give three hour long talks on how babies are made and what hormones do and why I bleed like a stuck pig out of my vagina for 5 days every month and what a condom is. Basically, we were told about the basic mechanics of sex, and at the end, we got to watch a woman have a baby, which let me tell you, has pretty much put me off pushing a 6lb human out of vagina EVER. And this seemed to be enough for my mum. I was in Grade 7 the first time I got my period and informed my mum and that was the end of it. 

But never, in any of those talks was there a mention of sex for pleasure, or what an orgasm was or what the hell my clitoris even was, so you can be sure there wasn't any mention of the word masturbation. There sure as hell wasn't any mention of LGBT relationships (this is now almost 10 years ago!). As an 11 and 12 year old, this satisfied most of my curiosity, because exposure to the internet wasn't nearly what it is now, and it wasn't until I got to high school that I became curious about the other parts of my sexuality. I spent 5 years at an all girls school, and pretty much from my first day there, the word lesbian was thrown around everywhere. At this stage of my little gay life, I had no idea I was gay, even though I knew what a lesbian was. It actually wasn't until half way through Grade 8, when I really started to read ALL the fanfic that I learnt about sex and masturbation and what a vibrator was and the stuff they won't teach you in sex ed. It was also at this point that I had my first kiss, ripe old age of 13. At 15 I'd mostly figured out I was queer and told my friends with mixed reactions, including "how can you know if you've never had sex?". Well, at 20, I'm still a virgin, and yep. Still queer. 

My own experience with sex education is probably why I have no shame in talking about any facet of sex, or concealing the fact that I have a healthy sex drive. 

It also made me think

What was your experience with sex education like? Did your parents ever give you the talk and looking back now, did you learn anything from it? If you ever have children, what would you like to talk to them about that you feel like you missed out on?
sir, echofon is a program, not a device.: [sg-1] fly away nowgingasaur on September 26th, 2011 09:05 am (UTC)
I remember the talk we got in... was it 5th grade? And I don't even remember what happened but it was Texas so all I remember is, "This is a penis, this is a vagina, OKAY WE'RE DONE GO BACK TO CLASS." And then in high school it was better because the main message was "don't have -unsafe- sex or you will get std's/pregnant and die" but I don't remember any talk about, like, orgasms and stuff. I do remember we watched this miracle of life video where it showed you eeeeverything, from sperm going up a vag to the grand ugly birthing process.

I'm only just coming to terms with the fact that it's okay to talk about sex because let's face it, when you grow up Catholic, it is no picnic. The sex education I got there was that a.) I'm a slut solely because of my having a vag, b.) really don't ever have sex because you will get pregnant and will KILL A LIFE if you don't want to stay pregnant, and c.) don't enjoy sex because it's for making babies with only the person you're married to. So I would say if anything, it wasn't school that fucked with my sex education, it was church. And my mom a little bit, because I got a lot of the, "don't dress like this or that and don't act like this or that because then boys will want to do you." Although she did give me a "getting to know your body" book that told me what a hymen was, so I guess it wasn't all swing and a miss.

If I ever have children, I don't ever want them to feel like they have to be ashamed of any part of their sexual experience, from thinking about it to actually doing something. I don't want them to hit their 20's and still think that all this sex talk is just inappropriate harrumph!! My own curiosity was so, so stunted by utter fucking nonsense and I'm still really angry about that. I mean, it's not like I wanted to do anyone anyway, but just the fact that I spent most of my life ashamed of my own body pisses me off.

Oh, and forget gay sex education. Does that even exist anywhere?
one must always be prepared to liberate treasuretendre_posion on September 26th, 2011 09:24 am (UTC)
Oh man. Growing up Catholic. I had public education for primary school (pre-school to 7th grade) and then for High School I went to an all girls catholic school because that was where my mum wanted me to go and get a 'good catholic education'. I took Biology in my senior years, and my teacher actually told us that she wasn't allowed to teach us about condoms or how the pill worked because it was against the Catholic faith, and I think that was the first time that I ever got really angry over what the Catholic school system was teaching us. Most of my friends by senior year were having sex, and one of them, I remember her telling me, had already taken the morning-after pill THREE TIMES. I mean. I wasn't even having sex and I knew that you should just make him wear a goddamn condom or tell him no.

I'm already pretty set that I don't want to have children, but I had a conversation with my godmother the other night about how I want her kids to feel like they can come and talk to me about stuff they don't feel comfortable talking to her about, and her little girl is only 5 now, but I do not ever want her to get to 15 and not know what her goddamn clitoris is, or if she's gay, think that she has nobody to talk to about it for 5 years like I did.

I was 18. EIGHTEEN by the time I learned that queer girls need to have safe sex too. And it was only because I purposefully went looking for the only LGBT youth group in my city. The facilitator handed me this piece of thin latex that looked like someone had cut right down the middle of a condom and made it into a pretty square and goes "this is a dental dam" (unsexy name, I know) "you need to be using one any time you have oral sex with a girl that you don't know is clean. And if you don't have one, get a condom or a latex glove". I mean. It was like someone telling me that the sky was fucking blue. Gay sex ed only exists if you actively seek it out, and I hate that I waited so long to seek it out, because I was almost 16 the first time I had anything resembling sex with a girl, and it was only a year and a half later that I went off to Schoolies (a big week long party when you finish senior year) and watched all my other friends bring guys back to our room and thought "well, maybe I should just try it" and got drunk and almost slept with a guy who's name I didn't even know, and I still consider walking back to my room crying and having to tell my friends that he'd kicked me out because I wouldn't give him a blow job. Sex ed taught me nothing about either of those situations.
Nathalfbloodme on September 26th, 2011 10:05 am (UTC)
Followed the link on tumblr (realjerseyboi on there just so you can connect the dots).

Sex education for me was mainly the PSE lessons at school. Oh and human reproduction in Biology. We were taught the mechanics, made to put condoms on boiler tubes and basically informed "Sex before marriage is bad" by a teacher who, as much as I love her, had a daughter who was known as the biggest slut that had ever gone through the school. So yeah, most of the girls at my all girls secondary took no notice of her.

My mother didn't feel able to give me the talk, and my sperm donor handed me a pile of porn mags when I was 13 and said "Everything you need to know is in there." In fact he did the same to my younger brother and I had to take on the parental role of giving the talk. I was 21 at the time. Yeah adults in my life weren't great on telling me about much more than the mechanics and none of them applied to me. I mean whilst I hadn't fully accepted my queerness I knew from the moment Sex Ed started at school that I would never use a condom, I knew that I would never sleep with a man.

By contrast, I spent the last two years working in a primary school. The first year I was with Year 5 (9 and 10 year olds) and at that age I had been shown a video of robots that was extremely confusing. The DVD they were shown however, explained periods, the mechanics, what a clitoris is and how it creates pleasure, that boys get wet dreams, and a lot more than I ever learnt. But still no discussion of LGBTQ sex at all.

Sex ed has moved forward in the UK but still there isn't enough talk about what sex means for those that go against the heteronormative. It's made me determined that if I have kids, I'm going to make sure they know about ALL forms of sex and protection.
one must always be prepared to liberate treasuretendre_posion on September 26th, 2011 10:14 am (UTC)
Thanks for coming on over :)

I think the 'no sex before marriage' thing is pretty much universal in school sex ed, without it being said. "when a mummy and a daddy", which to any 8, 9, 10 or 11 year old really means "when you're married"

LGBTQ sex ed being missing from every sex ed program makes me really disappointed. I have this inkling that one of my cousins, who is not even 13 yet, might be gay, and he's at a Catholic All-Boys school, and I can bet that he'll get no support, or be told where he can find support if he is gay.
Nat: Dropped me Brainhalfbloodme on September 26th, 2011 10:20 am (UTC)
They say one in every ten people is Queer. If that's the case, on average in every UK classroom, three students are missing out on the education they need. Probably the same in other countries as well. It's disgusting.

And as for single sex religious schools, they're about as much help with sex ed as a chocolate teapot sadly.
Corinne LastnameCoz_Cat on September 26th, 2011 11:10 am (UTC)
This was really quite interesting to read. I'm cozcat from Tumblr, and I've never really gotten any sort of proper sex ed. In primary school we got the standard anatomy-and-that-crap that's probably fine for year fives and sixes. However, we got to the end of year nine, which is when we decide our own subjects (as the next year is the year before VCE), and the only health ed we'd had was part of a program that we did for a term, which was nutrition. So the last sex ed my school offered was in year six. I'm now coming up to the end of year 11, and the only thing resembling sex ed I've had since then is biology (did 1/2 in year 10), in which we discussed the logistics of human intercourse for purposes of reproduction, which was applied to all species that reproduce sexually, and humans were just used as the application to what we already know.

I think I've technically been raised Christian, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm agnostic. This being said, I have never had the talk (I deflected it. These are the sorts of discussions I don't want to have with my mother, and I'm more the type to learn independently, anyway.) The places that we're supposed to get the talk - so that everyone gets them, such as school - didn't have heterosexual sex ed, let alone any homosexual sex ed. (I'm not sure if there are any better terms.)

In this day and age, a lot of people probably learn what they know from books, looking it up on the internet, or (as I did) smutty fanfiction. The people that need to learn it probably don't, though. All over, my school's sex ed is negligent at best. Even though people often find out what they need to independently, it really isn't enough.

(My apologies for any repetitiveness or incoherence. I'm tired.)
The Resident Vampire: SDoaCG - Belle/WORK THAT STRUTvamp926 on September 26th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
We got the talk in school in 7th grade, I think, if I remember correctly. They showed us a video which explained what basically happens with the sperm and and female reproductive parts.

I never got the talk from my parents until they found a condom that my friend had given me in my room. I mean, I was at the age where you still giggled and got embarrassed about sex so I never thought that having a condom was a big deal. But yeah, that's it.

Basically when Jimi was living with us my mom would just periodically remind me that I shouldn't be having sex until I was married and I think she tried to scare the crap out of me by telling me that your cramps get worse after the first time you have sex (which is false obviously). I mean, I've never had sex, but I've done other stuff. I think I've talked about sex more to Michelle (my Michelle) then I have my own parents, and tbh, that's the way I prefer it. I get awkward when I watch True Blood or Game of Thrones in the same room as my parents (how my 17 year old sister does it, idk). But yeah. I generally don't feel comfortable talking to my parents about that stuff. I just feel like they sort of have an archaic view of sex and all that junk, which is why I talk to Michelle about it. But I do think that kids should have someone to talk to who's older and who they can trust and who's been through it before.
well well wellahkna on September 26th, 2011 10:08 pm (UTC)
This is an interesting topic. I think I had The Talk with my parents at a very young age because I don't remember it but my mom says that when I was young I asked about babies and she straight up told me. This made it extremely awkward for me when we finally got sex education in whatever grade in elementary school (maybe grade 5?) because it seemed like every girl was making 'EWWWWW' noises at demonstrations of tampons and whatnot. And I had gotten my period at 10, in grade 4 and this was part of my daily life. It got even more awkward in high school when in grade 9 sex ed the teacher was talking about vaginas and whatnot and the girls were STILL grossed out. Like they had absolutely NO working knowledge of their own anatomy and constantly made loud, disruptive noises about how they found their own vaginas gross and didn't know what was going on there.

I have never wanted to smack parents and children alike more in my life.

My parents are very sex-positive too, being really encouraging about talking about sex and never hiding their active sex life from us. My brother and I were at least on our way out of our teens when we had sex for the first time. Although, come to think of it, I've never asked when Jeremy had sex for the first time but my guess is that it's with his current girlfriend because he was very emotionally young and never went out before that. My mom's got two bottles of lube and some edible sex paint on her bedside table and doesn't care about that, since everyone is always in her room watching DVDs. I even suggested that she stock up on a scentless lube that was on sale at the grocery store and she responded that she had plenty because the strawberry scented/tasting stuff made her feel nauseous in the morning. My mom and I talk to each other when we're in the bath, and when we're naked and it doesn't bother me at all. And according to other people this is not very common because they talk about their parents having sex like it's the grossest thing in the world and my cousins berate their father for going around in cut-off jeans because they think they're too short. Whereas everyone in my family is always in their underwear and mooning each other to be silly.

I definitely think that mentality helps me relax a lot about sex. My brother and I talk about it all the time in reference to television and relationships and such. It makes me feel very free because it doesn't bother them that I'm gay or that I have an extremely high sex drive or anything. I think because of this I'd end up being the hippy dippy sexually open parent if I ever end up with kids.

All this is what made me believe that school boards should be teaching some form of sex education in every single grade of school. Because maybe it should be your parents telling you but clearly it's not. Someone needs to tell kids that sex is awesome and should feel amazing but you should never feel guilty about or obligated to have sex or pressured or anything. Kids should know every option and know every detail of every kind of birth control to the point that there is absolutely no shame about asking for it from a doctor or asking to use it with a partner. I want schools to talk about rape, how it's rape if someone is drunk or passed out, if either partner says no or a million other ways. My personal feeling is that the way my parents treated sex and sex education made me more confident as a woman, much more able to see the internalized misogyny girls are being taught every day and I honestly wish more people could feel that way.
one must always be prepared to liberate treasuretendre_posion on September 27th, 2011 04:44 am (UTC)
I think that's an awesome attitude towards sex ed that your family has, and it's such a healthy one as well. I don't think that anything makes kids feel like there is something wrong with sex and sexuality more than their own parents completely ignoring the fact that eventually their children will be teenagers and adults and have the wants and needs of them.

I had a lot of friends in high school would would flat out not even be around us when we had a conversation about sex. I've always had a crazy high sex drive and no qualms about sex. The only real problem that I have is a lack of body confidence, which I'm well on my way to sorting out.

I'd really like to be able to start that kind of dialogue with my mum, because the older I get the closer we get, but I haven't come out to her yet, and because she grew up in a very Catholic house, she is very much of the mind that sex stays in the bedroom between two people. I do, however, have that kind of relationship with my godmother and we're both really open with each other about everything.

I want there to be 500x more education on LGBT safer sex. I'd been having girl sex for 2 years before anyone told me that chicks should have safe sex to. And maybe that was a lot of naive teenage behaviour on my part, but it needs to be taught.
well well wellahkna on September 27th, 2011 05:37 am (UTC)
I think it's a pretty awesome attitude, yeah. It's actually really funny because my mom and her sister are basically the same person who spend every day together yet my cousins have no body or sex confidence at all. And we were all raised together. Apparently your body image and self-esteem is tied to your father so there's that. In my personal journey I found that the people who love you are going to continue to love you no matter what you look like and potential partners are going to get crushes based on you not your body too.

I hear that a lot about people with parents with Catholic upbringing, that there's a very conservative, compartmentalized mentality towards sex. And a reticence to broach the sex and, specifically, gay sex topics. (I went to school in a backwater place where everyone was very, very French Catholic)

Oh man, how much do I wish there was more LGBT education in general. I think there's a greater chance of pigs flying then that being taught in school which is a rather depressing thought. :/
one must always be prepared to liberate treasuretendre_posion on September 27th, 2011 06:47 am (UTC)
I've always found it weird that while I'm not particularly body confident, I am sex-confident. Although it's a whole different story when you get drunk and try to lose your virginity, only to be thrown out of the guys room because you didn't want to blow him. 17 year old me was so great :S

The only way that I got any kind of LGBT sex ed was because I actively saught out an LBGT youth group and part of what they do is actual proper sex ed for LGBT teens. I mean, I knew all about condoms and the pill and the morning-after pill, and I knew that gay guys needed to have safe sex because they were at a higher risk of aids, but I pretty much just thought in my teen stupidity that girls who had sex with other girls didn't have to worry about any of that stuff, and by the time I found out I was sexually active with other girls.
well well wellahkna on September 27th, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)
Ugh. What even are boys. They're so dumb and offensive.
one must always be prepared to liberate treasuretendre_posion on September 27th, 2011 06:54 am (UTC)
Tell me about it. I don't think I've ever met a boy aged 13 - 25 who wasn't just a douche in some way or another.
well well wellahkna on September 27th, 2011 06:57 am (UTC)
I've met lots. But they're largely dorks who spend most of their time LARPing. Or married to my friends.
one must always be prepared to liberate treasuretendre_posion on September 27th, 2011 07:09 am (UTC)
Oh. There is the cute gay manager at work who isn't a douche. But I had an almost argument with one of the other shift managers today about evolution and the bible, of all things. I said something about Adam and Eve and he goes, yeah, but it wasn't Adam and Steve and I just went 'dude. you do not even want to go there with me. do not.'
well well wellahkna on September 27th, 2011 07:13 am (UTC)
You're suddenly making me feel very glad that my brother and his friends are all really gay friendly. I don't think I could take it if his bros weren't like that.

I just can't associate with those people. I'm not a good people person in general but I used to have to be civil to people who worked for the Knights of Columbus for work and that almost killed me.