GUTS READERS SHARE HOW THEY FIRST LEARNED ABOUT SEX
November 26, 2014
In the leadup to our soon-to-be-released third issue, we launched an anonymous sex survey. We wanted to hear from you about your experiences with sex, your thoughts and feelings and your best stories. And you told us! We’re so grateful for all the incredible, honest answers we’ve received, please keep them coming. The survey is still up and running, and there’s lots of time left to submit. Over the next couple months, we’ll be posting your survey answers on the blog, so come by and check it out.
We wanted to preserve your voices and the spirit of your answers, so we haven’t edited any of the responses.
To start things off, we wanted to hear about how you first learned about sex. The question:
Did you receive “the talk” from a parent or adult in your life? Tell us about your early introductions to sex.
- I, eight years old and in the back seat of a car at prime news hour, heard the words “oral sex” on the radio. When I asked what it meant, my dad told me that it was when two people shared the same Oral B toothbrush. My parents only told me this story recently, but it explains my very healthy protectionism of my oral hygiene products.
- In the fifties and sixties we attended a film about chooks and roosters. Can’t imagine anything funnier now. It was useless and patronising for teenagers. As I have said any talk about sex would have just closed me up. I really didn’t want to know and wasn’t ready.
- Yes, my mom explained where everything went and what came from it (babies)
- yes, absolutely, but in the sense that my parents always had an open platform so that we could talk about it. it was never something that they thought we ought to know, and didn’t teach me, but more I brought my questions to them and they were as honest and frank with their answers which i appreciated. there was a definitive divide between me and my friends this way. from a rural area,
i knew i was queer, but my friends were not, they learned about sex from a reproductive based standpoint, like babies, abstinence and through fear. i was always interested in pleasure and desire for different bodies. honestly, as i grew, the internet was much more helpful than my parents were. early dial up internet answered a lot of questions that i had, but my parents always supported that.
- I had two older sisters so the topic was discussed on occasion. My understanding was that my parents just wanted me to tell them when it happened. When I did, my mom yelled at me and kicked me out of the house. She told me that I hurt her and my dad because they hadn’t met the guy. She told me I should’ve waited longer. She cried a lot and my dad didn’t talk to me for a week or so.
- No talk with my parents about sex when I was young, or in my adult life. I think my parents’ rationale was:
they teach you this stuff in sex ed, right?
- Because of my early exposure to porn, I became very fascinated with sex and asked my mom a lot of questions. She was very open and got me books on the subject. I explored ideas around sex often with my other friends. I remember being around 7 and my friend and I would roll around pretending to have sex. Another friend and I would often look at each other’s vaginas. When I was a teen my mother never had “the talk” with me. When I was older and started having sex, she attempted to have “the talk” after the fact and it felt silly. The person that opened my mind and I think had a hand in forming confidence in my sexuality was my grade 9 health teacher. Up until then, I thought the clitoris was where pee came out of.
She told us what our clitorises were and told us to go home and masturbate.
She said that we didnt need another person to experience sexual pleasure. She also said it was important to know what you like so that when you do eventually engage in sexual activity with a partner, you can tell them what you like.
- Oh man, that was gross. I was probably 9-ish – the summer before Grade 5. Dad took me for a bike ride and we sat down in the shade of a medium-sized tree in a park I’d never been to for ‘the talk.’ I remember feeling uncomfortable and confused as to why we were hanging out one-on-one. My dad is a generally closed dude so when he brought it up, the ‘conversation’ felt inauthentic and sterile, for lack of a better word. And it was obviously disgusting, too.
- My mom basically threw a Dr Ruth book at me at told me that if I had any questions she could answer them. I’m not sure if this is true but I remember reading that people sometimes urinated during sex and that freaked me right out.
- One memorable moment from my early adolescence is sitting in the passenger seat of the car with my dad, driving down our street. It kinda came out of nowhere but he said
“Sex is meant for people who love and respect each other”.
Those words stuck with me.
- I received the talk in about grade 2 and it was extremely watered down. Enough to make me confident that menstruation was normal, but I had to figure out the rest myself. I don’t know how other generations did it without the internet.
- I think I learned most things I knew about sex from school but also from watching things like 90210 and Dirty Dancing with my sisters. My parents generally avoided it, except to say “be careful!” whenever one of my siblings went out on a date. I do remember the morning my mom joined my sisters and I in the kitchen and said:
“Well, you know what girls? Your father and I had sex last night. For the first time in seven months! It was fantastic.”
I was thirteen and mortified. That small insight into the realities of adult sex still terrifies me.
- I don’t remember a specific talk, I remember a picture book about puberty and anatomical differences between sexes. I had 3 older siblings so I feel like most information just trickled down, by talk and watching TV that my older siblings were watching. I remember always feeling like I already knew what we learned in sex ed. I remember feeling somewhat freaked out after watching a rated R movie that my older sister had rented. When I was a bit older, around 13 maybe I remember having a discussion with my mum about when was an appropriate time for people to start having sex. I think I thought 16, she didn’t want to put a number on it, but focused on maturity and how you felt about the partner.
- My “talk” came from my mom and it had a lot of
“sex is for when you’re in love,” “wait until you’ve been with someone for ____ amount of time” and “virginity is a gift” nonsense.
I totally didn’t realize it at the time, but there was a lot of slut shaming and sex negative attitudes in the way that I was explained sex and the way that I thought about it when I was younger. Despite those talks and my prior opinions, I feel really lucky in the way I was introduced to sex. I had a loving, respectful partner and we figured out how we wanted to have sex together. It was ideal, really.
- There was never a talk. There were pop-up books about genitalia and how two people have sex and how the fetus grows. Sex was always present, I was never shielded from it. I knew what sex was right away, it seems.
- Oh man. Did I ever. My dad called me into the piano room when I was 15. We were only invited in there when we were about to get a lecture. He told me he’d been reading some disturbing articles about teens and wanted to make sure I was well informed. He didn’t want me to be tricked into any sordid behavior.
He warned me about hummers (“Do you know what those are”) and mutual masturbation (“Do you know what that is?”). I said ew, oh my god, yes dad. Okay?? To this day, I’m not positive I know exactly what a hummer is. A blow job, right?
- NO SEX TALK! thank you, mom. and especially thank you, dad. intro to sex was my imagination, movies, masturbating, and “Are you there god, it’s me margaret.”
- Nope no talk. My sex ed came from peers in bits and pieces. This worked quite nicely to confuse the hell out of someone already confused. At that time transsexualism was not well know or understood and, like gays, even less tolerated.
- Dad, being a guy who thought that the talk needed to be done, but not having prepared to have it and not really knowing how to get resources or whatever, just said that
if i got someone pregnant i couldn’t live at home anymore.
And mom was there and expanded that that meant using prophylactics. I think they just assumed that going out and having sex was just something people did, and I just had to be given the simple boundaries. Where is the sex talk historically located? I dunno if my parents got one?
- I knew people had sex, and I thought it was strange but very important. When my mother tried to explain it to me I ignored her. I wish I hadn’t.
- We had a pretty open teacher go over sexual education with our class in grade six, so around 12 years old. Other kids didn’t take it very seriously or were uncomfortable, whereas I was just curious. I feel like the boys were a bit more immature and I kind of associated more with the girls in the class who were legitimately interested. I was also proactive about it, I asked my dad about puberty and what those things meant when I was younger. I don’t think he talked to me much about it but rather helped find some stuff online for me to read. Otherwise, it was my mom and dad saying anal sex was unnatural and that waiting for marriage is important (although that’s changed as years have gone by).
- My introduction to sex happened in the forest when I was about five. There was a rock, there were Barbie and Ken, and there was a friend twice my age.
What’s Barbie doing?” I asked.
“They’re having sex,” she replied.
“What’s sex?” I asked.
“A very, very bad thing that you should never, ever do, she explained.
- When I was very little, and had no concept of where babies come from, my parents used a book (the title I can’t remember) to introduce the notion of sexual reproduction. I remember that the drawings were cartoonish, but also shockingly graphic — the mom and dad’s bushy junk were on display, and maybe I’m making this part up, but I’m pretty sure there were instructive drawings displaying their “love making.”
Aside from this early attempt, my parents were mostly mute on the subject of sex (but not repressive… just not overly interested or concerned). I think they understood that the combination of sex ed, school and TV would be enough to “educate” me.
I certainly think Degrassi High deserves some credit when it comes to my early understanding of sex — remember when Caitlin has a sexy dream about her fav female teacher?? SO IMPORTANT.
- No. My mom gave me a very rich lecture when I pressed her about periods prior to puberty (which I’ll be eternally grateful for). I got my first sex-ed from two Farsi blogs. They were the most sex advice I’d ever gotten (mostly I remember them talking about women having an active role despite being written by men.
- OMG–My dad told me once that
“men aren’t made out of wood.”
I still don’t really now what he meant. I think he meant that they can’t be trusted…like plastic.
- I received the talk about birds and bees from my parents when I was about 11 years old. I should have gotten the talk before I was that old and also I should have been given the proper names (I was given no language for our sexual parts).
I was sexually abused by my brother at age 10 and so when I told my Mom when I was 12 that I had been sexually abused I could not explain any further because at that age I didn’t even know the name of my vagina etc.
- I never received a verbal “talk.” I got sex ed in elementary school and my parents bought me cool feminist sex education books that I read on my own. My early introductions to sex were masturbating from a young age and then having unsatisfying encounters with dudes in my late teens that I felt mostly anxious about. It took a while for me to come into my own sexually, and I think I’m still working on it.
- No. My mother put a book about anatomy on my bed and never mentioned it again. My friends and I pored over it for months and were so fascinated by the pictures of body parts but didn’t have any adult we could safely talk to about sex
- My “talk” was my mom saying that i was to go on birth control when i was 14, because i had a bf nd
she wanted me to “just be safe”.
- I didn’t receive the “talk” until after I learned what sex was. And I learned in an unconventional way – I stayed over at my sister’s home. She was newly married and I had fallen asleep in her room on the floor.
I awoke in the middle of the night to hear her and her husband having sex, although being 8…I thought he was hurting her. I cried.
- When I was in high school I started dating a guy who was a Sophmore in college. He had his own apartment but he basically lived at my house and my parents LOVED him. He was like a member of the family. So there I was, 16 and with a practically live-in boyfriend and my parents had never had “the talk” with me. I was pretty close with my parents, we ate dinner together most nights and spent time together, but they were just never very “parenty” in that way. So, my boyfriend and I were using the “pull-out method” and we had been doing that for about 6 months when I noticed that I hadn’t had my period in a while. I made him go to the drug store and get me a box of pregnancy tests and also some Plan B. Thank goodness! That weekend I was doing my laundry and I went downstairs to switch my clothes. But it looked like someone else had already switched them for me to make room for their own load. Sitting on top of the washing machine? My pregnancy test. Crap. I walked into the kitchen to find my Dad sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper. He looked up at me.
“So, I came across this pregnancy test…” “DAD” I cut him off. “None of your *friends* are pregnant are they?” “NOBODY IS PREGNANT.” “And your *friends* know that they have to use a condom every time…* “DAD! They know. My friends know.” “Ok.” “Um…do you want to play Scrabble.” “Sure.” And then we played Scrabble. And that was my first and only sex talk.