How the child Rebecca learned about the mechanics of sex, a story told in two acts.
I was five, and was on the way home from preschool. We had spent the day writing letters to Santa Claus about what we wanted for Christmas, so I was still wrapped up in childish holiday greed. As I rode home I told the woman who drove the carpool all about my day.
When we got to my house the carpool lady got out of the car to walk me to the door where my mom met us. The carpool lady said “Rose, I understand congratulations are in order.”
My mom looked at both of us for a second and said, confusedly “Well thank you, but I’m not sure why.”
“Rebecca told me that you’re expecting another child.”
“No I’m not pregnant; I’m not sure where she would have gotten that idea.”
At this point I stomped up the four stairs to our back door. I spun around on the landing, hands on my hips, and near tears I shouted, “You weren’t supposed to tell her! It was going to be a surprise!”
See, I had asked for a new baby brother or sister for Christmas. And I had been a very good girl so I assumed it was a done deal. Why would Mom need to know about that?
After Mom and the carpool lady got over their giggles, Mom came to talk to me. She explained that neither storks nor Santa could bring babies. Babies only happened when a Mommy and a Daddy loved each other very much (accurate, if short on detail). Then the baby would grow in a Mommy’s tummy. That was my introduction to the idea of sex, to the idea that there were things grown-ups did that I didn’t know anything about.
In the third grade, our small Catholic school sent home a permission slip to find out if my parents agreed to my going to a short sex-education class. Mom signed the slip and told me that if I had any questions that I didn’t feel comfortable asking the teacher I could come home and ask her.
On the appointed day all the girls grade three and up who had signed permission slips were brought to the Chorus room. We saw slides of a cutaway uterus and fallopian tubes, and a penis and testicles. Everything was named scientifically. The teachers briefly explained about menstruation, and what purpose it served, and when we could expect to begin getting periods of our very own. We were told that after the man planted the seed, a woman would begin to grow a baby. They showed us illustrations of a baby at different stages of development. Then they asked if there were any questions. I sat quietly.
When I got home Mom was waiting in the kitchen to ask about my day. She asked about the sex-ed class and we talked about what I had learned. Then she asked me if I had any questions. I nodded. There was one thing I hadn’t been able to figure out.
“How does the man plant the seed?”
In my defense they don’t really explain the act with tab-A, slot-B clarity to grade schoolers. And my nine year old brain certainly didn’t go there. I had it all figured out, to make a baby a Mommy and a Daddy had to kiss in a special way and wish really hard (still accurate, still missing a few key details). After all parents who loved each other kissed, and I knew that not everyone who wanted a baby got one immediately so I figured the wishing had to be just right. But I couldn’t mesh my kissing theory with everything I had learned that day. For starters, it seemed really inefficient to put all the necessary parts so far away from the mouth.
To her credit, Mom didn’t laugh or dither. She explained that a Daddy had to put his penis into a Mommy’s vagina to make a baby. My reaction to fully understanding the sexual act for the first time?
“Ewww, gross!! I am never, ever going to have sex or a baby. What if he pees in there? Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew!”
@@@This is my entry for week 5 of LJ Idol – open topic. (Give me no prompt and my brain goes to sex. No surprise there.) I'll post a link to the poll on Friday once it is up. Thank you for reading.@@@