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Monday, November 03, 2008

THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS OF VIRGINIA 


I nicked the idea for this post from Annie Slammers.

She informed us that teachers are apparently going to be forced to provide SEX education for primary school children.  This is of course only right: teachers should be founts of all human knowledge and should be replacement parents as well as acknowledging the fact that they are always wrong and are entirely responsible if every child in Britain doesn't end up at Harvard or Oxford.

In the real world (ie., among human beings rather than politicians or shady members of think tanks) children learn about Where Babies Come From in a very random way, I would guess. Has it ever been any different?

At around the age of five I asked my mother why I ended up being born, and where I came from. She told me that I grew from a seed.

For the next couple of years I assumed I had been bought from a garden centre. I couldn't be bothered to ask any more questions.

I didn't find out the real and awful facts until I was about eight. A Ladybird book (The Perfectly Hideous Human Body And Its Many Malfunctions) gave me an idea of the miracle of birth and vaguely insinuated that some sort of ghastly change would take place in my mind and body within the next few years. I wasn't too frightened though - not yet, at any rate.

One of my friends probably considered herself more worldly wise than the rest of us. She asked me if I had heard about SEX and told me that a woman had a vajeena and a man had a pennis, but beyond that she was pretty vague, and couldn't tell us why this was important or relevant to SEX.  A lot of sniggering was involved, though.  

Every girl in my class had a massive and obsessive crush on Marc Bolan, but I'm not sure if any of them knew if he had a pennis or not and, if so, what he would be able to do with it.

We had a couple of *SEX education* lessons tagged on to a weekly class with a health visitor who wore long orange false nails and pretentious reading glasses on a chain. The first of the SEX education lessons described the way wasps created a new generation of wasps. The next class told us how babies grew inside a laydeee.

After that, we were on our own. I casually mentioned after the second class to my mother that I knew what periods were, but it was okay, as I wasn't planning to start mine until I was fifteen because they sounded horrible and painful.

My mother decided there and then to tell me the truth and nothing but the truth. 

Why I wouldn't have any say in when my periods start and yes, they were absolutely horrible. 

How I SHOULD NOT GET PREGNANT AT ANY COST UNLESS I WAS MARRIED OR MY PARENTS WOULD BLOODY WELL MURDER ME, AFTER THEY HAD DISOWNED ME

How people make babies by ... shudder ... GETTING NAKED TOGETHER.

The whole thing upset me so much that I cried for two and a half hours.

A couple of years later, I chanced upon a book my parents had called Love Without Fear, written by one Dr Eustace Chesser. My dad had told me that this book was considered "controversial" at the time of its publication because the author advised (married) couples to use contraceptives.

Still, it gave me an informed view of SEX compared to everything I'd heard or read before. Indeed, I wasn't afraid or frightened of SEX now - it just sounded boring. Well, the bits of the book I could understand, at any rate.

I'm sure that Mr (Mrs?) Chesser suggested that the best SEXUAL position was "half seated, supine therewithal". How many (married) couples followed this advice?

Masturbation could apparently be avoided by following a low salt diet and by not using "the old fashioned type of sewing machine".

A woman, apparently, wants to be "taken on her wedding night."

"Even a woman who wears a shoulder baring gown at a party will be afraid of being seen naked by her husband for the first time."

"To the virgin bride, the erect male penis will seem ENORMOUS!."

Okay, cancel the bit about not being frightened any more.

My secondary school decided not to give us any further SEX education until we were shown a fairly uninformative film when we were thirteen. 

Everyone in our year was gathered in the assembly hall. I was pretty blase about the whole thing, but there still seemed to be a few kids who were shocked by the grisly truth.

One kid started crying. On seeing a sketchy but clinical diagram of a pennis being inserted into a vajeena, two kids fainted.

The people who work for government think tanks should really take this approach. Want to reduce teenage pregnancies? Look at the way it worked in the 1970's. Those films put kids off SEX for a few years at least.

If they managed to get hold of a copy of The Joy Of SEX - or, indeed, Love Without Fear, it would put them off SEX for life.

Result!

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Comments:
These posts always seem to attract a lot of comments, so I thought I better add one. Unfortunately, I know nothing about this topic.

wv - glest - part of the female anatomy that no man has ever seen.
 
I can show you, Vicus.
 
MJ - You would have to amputate it first, though.
 
Snirk. Guffaw.
 
Whh? I completely missed the bit about Laurel and Hardy.
 
'I couldn't be bothered to ask any more questions.'

Brilliant. You were the kind of child I approve of.
 
Ha! Yes!

One night my mum left a leaflet about periods on the kitchen table for me to see the next morning - put me of my breakfast? Oh yes. Did I have any questions? she asked later - what do you think!

At school we had films on VD & contraception. And I went a bit fainty during both.
 
SEX used to be part of the science curriculum.
I made the topic last as long as possible as I had their full attention for once.
 
I wonder where you can get one of those old fashioned sewing machines..?
 
My sister asked her what homosexuals do in bed.

My mother told her: "One man puts his penis up the other man's bottom."

My sister ran screaming from the room.
 
I used to think that the vajeena was located on the nipple, as that was clearly the rudest part of the lady's body. Well, if milk could get out...

It made sexual intercourse sound like an awfully precarious business, though. A lot of... balancing would be called for. Also, the lady would have to lie halfway down the bed, and hence be in danger of smothering.

Perhaps someone could invent some sort of double-ended funnel device, I mused.

It's really no wonder I turned out the way I did.

(Word verification: thatch)
 
I recall three things from sex education classes in primary school:

1.) Wondering why the boys and girls got split up (they were on to something there).
2.) The mandatory VHS of naturists playing volleyball (I've been off team sports ever since).
3.) The local vicar inflating a condom and letting it off like a balloon to fly around the room (literally the best thing ever).

Tim - your sister is not alone.

Betty - did it not occur too you to ask where in the garden centre you were from? I mean, were you a hardy periennial or a bulb, for example?

WV: 'afwee': bad smelling piss
 
I remember my step father slinking up to me with a book, that he said he had found 'helpful'. I did read it and one of the gems I picked up from it was not to get stuck in a routine with sex.
A couple of years later, when I finally 'got my gal', I took the advise and used a different position for the second shag. I bet she thought she'd somehow stumbled into bed with Casanova!
 
This post made me laugh, it reminded me of my 'sex ed' years ago and you are right, The Joy of Sex book was enought to put you off.
 
The "titty wank" makes sense now that I've read Mike's comment.

And would someone please make Oprah stop saying vajayjay?
 
I hate to speak ill of the late-lamented, but Marc Bolan WAS a penis.
 
Ooh, Marc Bolan. Little girls always love camp men don't they? Non-threatening, see.
 
Vicus - I don't know anything about the topic either. I make a point of writing about things I don't know about.

MJ - is it on display in your avatar picture?

Vicus - ... and send it through the post.

Del - I'm still at the snirking and guffawing stage, unfortunately.

Arabella - Laurel and Hardy will be featured in an upcoming post. The photo on this post is of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Annie - problem is, my tendency to not ask questions led me to be an academic failure. Well, that, along with my complete stupidity of course.

Beth - when I was little I asked my mum why there were adverts for sanitary towels in her magazines. "Do you want to know the truth - DO YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW?" she said in a threatening sounding voice, so I said "no" because I was too frightened to hear THE TRUTH. That's probably what she wanted me to say.

Kaz - I've used a similar approach. A post about sex is guaranteed to get lots of comments, right?
 
Ziggi _ I know! I've always wondered about the, um, "old fashioned type of sewing machine". Our old manual Singer couldn't possibly produce that kind of side effect ... I don't think.

Tim - face it, regardless of someone's sexuality, after a couple of years in a relationship, everybody does the same things in bed. Dribbling in their sleep, mumbling nonsensical gibberish in their sleep, breaking wind, having to get up to go to the toilet at three o'clock and waking the other person up ... it's a level playing field then.

Mike - there are some occasions when the lady does have to be halfway down the bed, hem hem, so I've heard. The nipple thing sounds horrendous. For about a year after I found out about the facts of life I became morbidly obsessed with death and kept thinking about the number of adults I knew who smoked and would therefore DEFINITELY DIE of lung cancer. I think it was some sort of reaction to delayed shock. Er, anyway ...

Boz - the mandatory VHS of naturists playing vollyeball? That sounds as if it would be trauma inducing. I didn't have to suffer that, and I'm from the 1970's! All we had to put up with was getting the cane every day and going on cross country runs in the rain in January! Was the local vicar drunk? As for the stuff about the garden centre, I didn't really look into that in much detail, being six years old. I wasn't interested in border plants or biennials at that point.

Tom - your step dad sounded pretty enlightened by most standards. Well, by my standards actually. Is there more than one sexual position then?

Little Old Me - yeah, The Joy Of Sex ... those awful, hairy hippies. No wonder the clean cut and short haired look came into fashion again soon after it was published.

MJ - should she say emmjayjay instead?

Murph - ... and a particularly small penis he was too.

Annie - I used to have a crush on David Jones from The Monkees when I was four. I looked almost exactly like him at the time and was probably a bit taller than him.
 
"the photo is of the Blue Ridge mountains" ....the trail of the lonesome pine etc. I'm not completely barking you know.
 
Arabella - well, I am completely barking. Sorry. It's been a long night :(
 
So a virgin bride shouldn't giggle, point and say "where's the 12 inches you promised me?"

By the time we got the big sex-ed lecture at school it was too late - most of us were already self-educated in both theory and practice.
 
Oh god - I was given that Ladybird book - the inner covers showed the puberty process from child to adult - shudders. We had sex education lessons from a lady called Dr White which sent us into paroxysms of red, pimple-faced laughter every Weds morning when we had to stand up and say: Good moooooorning Dr Whiiiite. Visions and whispered lies of her really being the inventor of mattress-sized sanitary towels!
 
My favorite Ladybird book was Cinderella. There weren't any organs but the dresses were lovely.
 
At medical school we got slightly more advanced classes. I seem to remember a video of a curvaceous woman in a white coat carrying a clipboard and a ruler measuring the pennis of a large tattooed man whilst he had a wank. Very enlightening. We also got a video of people in wheelchairs getting it on. I bought my children a book called Mummy Laid an Egg which features a cartoon couple having sex on a space hopper.
 
I'm a grown-up adult of 38 and yet I still found myself totally unprepared for the whole process of lactation. I had no idea my body could or would do the things it's doing. It's like going through puberty all over again.

Shudder.

Ugh.

Brrr.

Etc.
 
Llewtrah - I think I led a more sheltered existence, even if the facts of life film we watched was quite late (we were thirteen). Most of the kids weren't, ahem, experienced in mind, body or soul, as far as I was aware. The only twelve inchers I was bothered about were extended disco remixes, hem hem, cough, splutter.

RoMo - oh God, Dr White's sanitary towels! The horror, the horror! Loops and three inches of extra absorbency! Wearing one of those would really make you feel as though you were undergoing some sort of medieval punishment!

Arabella - the first Ladybird book I had was a very boring one about a brother and sister called, I think, Jane and Paul. I was absolutely convinced that the kindly looking old fisherman on the front cover was my granddad because he looked so much like him.

Realdoc - are you sure the film you saw in medical school wasn't just a porn flick? I don't know how it's feasible to have sex on a space hopper. Surely there would be problems with balance?

Patroclus - well, I've never lactated but I don't feel as if I've gone through puberty yet. I think I'm in a state of denial and the menopause will hit me like a ton of bricks - probably in a week's time. Yikes.
 
Please, someone; tell me I wasn't the only one clicking on all those purple fonted SEX words expecting to be taken to a saucy external link involving (no doubt) the insuperably wonderful Kate Silverton (clad in PVC.....or anything remotely diaphanous, come to think of it....)


xxx

Bob

(..or CLAIRE NASIR...[you'll have to imagine the purple font I'm afraid - I'm crap at word processing, as we used to call it when I were a nipper..)

Wrod vrecififiificatoin: AMSTEL

(You really couldn't mek it up, could you?????)
 
the first time i ever picked up the book 'Joy of Sex' it fell open to the page where the lumpy hippie girl is strutting around in a pair of rumpled looking vinyl boots, a silly grin and nothing else.

this....left scars.
 
Bob - surely when you clicked on the SEX links there were those pictures of Wife In The North dressed as a deep sea diver/an incubus/The Vicar Of Dibley/a mermaid/Just William/Mae West? No? Sorry about that. Maybe it's because I use a Mac ...

FN - the bloke from the Joy Of Sex books had a small deformed foot which he used in a group sex act. I'm sure that finding that out will open up those scars again. Sorry.
 
My unsolicited initiation into the tawdry world of multi-cellular reproduction arrived unanounced on a lovely Springtime visit to the farm of one of my grade one school chums.

I was utterly stupified to see a huge draught horse named Barney attempt to insert his monstrosity into the backsides of the dairy cows who were calmly munching in the pasture and having nothing to do with him.

When I asked my friend's fawdder what Barney was doing, he replied non chalantly en franglais.
"Dat f*cking 'orse eez tryeeng to f*ck dose cows"

My poor Mother had to water down the events of that afternoon and needless to say I was mortified until about grade 7 when my innocent, nocturnal, slumbering began to be interrupted by the succubi on a disturblingly regular basis.

There simply isn't any easy way to break the news other than using lots & lots of scientificky lingo and latin terms..
a methodology which I have used with varying degrees of success on all of my offspring.
 
Mr Copp - yeah, the sight of a horse's erection is terrifying when you're young and er, innocent. Especially so if you're a girl and think that men will be built along similar dimensions ( ... imagine the disappointment when you find the truth out, ha ha). As for the scientific terms - yes, they're much better at making things sound less vile than they actually are. Thank god for Latin, eh?
 
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