Tales of Birds and Bees

By Joanna Walsh

Last night over drinks on a girls night out at the Wine Company, with my cousin and sister-in-law, a bit light in the head, the moody buoyant, we started discussing our first thoughts on sex, when we came to know about “it” etc etc. In retrospect, and hungover, the tales we told each other seem innocent, tragic and appalling at the same time. I knew I had to blog hungover or not.

My story:

I first came to know about sex when I was around ten. A close friend of mine told me who in turn had been told about it by an older boy. So the information had to be valid. I remember shocked and disgusted and yet I found it incredible. At that time Small Wonder was really popular on television and I remember thinking that Jamie’s parents kiss each other, but my parents never even kissed so forget about sex.

In my convent school, in the name of sex education two things were done. One they showed us an anti-abortion film called “Silent Scream” which had girls reeling with disgust and Christian piety. Two they got a nun to talk to us about sex or rather to prohibit us from luring men with our wiles. She said something to this effect, “You know boys are very innocent. They come and tell me, sister sister I need help. I was taking a girl on my bike and she was pressing her boobs to me. Sister sister I don’t know what to do.” She then asked us not to seduce men and that would be a sure shot way of not getting pregnant. This happened when I was 15 and I kid you not!!! It’s hilarious and sad at the same time the kind of things they teach young girls. They taught me to be ashamed of my body so much so that till now I am uncomfortable in male company. They teach you that if a man comes at you it is your fault. (Another blog will have to be dedicated to just this.)

My sister-in-law’s story:

Okay this is very embarrassing and remember I am confessing to it only under influence of alcohol. I know from the the glint of your eyes you are going to blog about it. Anonymous please. Anyhoo I came to know about sex in college. (At this time we had spilled our drinks out of shock.) Yes yes I know okay this embarrassing. No it’s not like I didn’t know about sex sex per say but I had different theories about it growing up. That’s what happens in a small town. No one talks about it. Till college I used to laugh at all the dirty jokes the boys made in class because they perfectly fit my theory of sex. Oh you want to know what I thought. Okay I wouldn’t tell you all because I am not that drunk but initially I remember I heard someone saying that if you lie down even for five minutes you get pregnant. Though now I understand the inherent lesson in this dictum being that even five minutes with a man is enough to get you pregnant but at that time in my innocence and stupidity I thought it meant that a girl can get pregnant if she lies down naked for even five minutes. Of course this is ridiculous now but I really believed it. It is not even that surprising that I believed stuff like this. Our teachers refused to give us sex education lessons, and not only that they were so uncomfortable and prudish that they wouldn’t even teach us the lesson on “feelings” in our moral science class.

My cousin’s story:

Erm. Not as late as college but I came to know about sex when I was around 15. I was again shocked and incredulous. But I remember going through a terrible time as a 14 year old just because I didn’t know what sex exactly is. I started my periods in my fourteenth year. I knew that girls can get pregnant after this. But I didn’t know what impregnates you. So I remember this one time when my periods got a bit delayed. I thought I was pregnant and from that day started my vow to celibacy. No what was that in my 14 year old brain. I thought you get pregnant if a guy touches you. So in school I would not let boys touch me or if they did I would take a very obvious step back. Even at home I wouldn’t let my father and brother to touch me. That’s how paranoid I got. It was traumatic. It was all very logical in my head.

 

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