Sunday, October 05, 2008

How I Learned About Sex

Why do we call it “the birds and the bees”? Why not “the flowers and the trees”? Or “the he’s and the she’s”?

And, for that matter, why do we often learn about it in the playground or on the streets rather than from the people who did it to make us?

I asked my mother how she learned what we carefully call “the facts of life.” She laughed and said, “All my mother told me was, ‘Don’t let any boys touch you.’ That was it; nothing else, ever.”

What did she teach me? Some pamphlet she had hidden in a kitchen cabinet above the washing machine and, somewhere, another one I ran across that was more Catholic than the Pope, more repressed than an emotionally-retarded, guilt-ridden little girl who once got caught making herself feel nice at the age of four.

I remember, at the Jesuit prep school, being outside at lunch and someone explaining to me, “…so, when you screw a whore…” I was 14 at the time and he was telling me about VD or some such. If only the Catholic pamphlets would say things in clear language, we’d have no problems. But when it’s “pray to keep your Baptismal purity,” I want to ask, “Huh? What’s that all about?”

Maybe get a friend to give our kids The Chat.


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