“Did you father teach you about these things?” the voice on the other end of the receiver questions.
“No,” I respond. My dad wasn’t around and as a result did not teach me anything, I pensively utter to myself in the silos of my brain.
This year, I am teaching health and I am preparing to teach my all male class about the male body. The part of the class that excites me but also causes reoccurring apprehension is the anonymous questions that the students will write and I will answer. Here is a wonderful opportunity for the young men to ask another man questions that they undoubtedly have about the changes in their bodies, hormones, and thoughts. I am honored that I will be able to help them understand their current or soon-to-be-currrent experience. This fact also worries me.
When I think back to my schooling of sexual knowledge, I can only remember one memory. In my middle school, we had sex education classes, I believe, every year. I am sure I cannot remember because I was not overly active in these discussions. In fact, I shied from most conversations about sex at that time because I was embarrassed and uncomfortable with it. I only remember the eighth grade sex-ed class. Mr. Woody, the drama teacher, explained and showed us, a small group of pubescent males with varying levels of sexual knowledge and experience, that putting on a condom was similar to the proper way of putting on a sock; one had to roll it down. Thus, when I think about putting on condoms, his pale white foot and that black church sock (slang for the thin socks worn with dress shoes) that he diligently rolled until his foot was covered dominates my memory.
Outside of that, most of my knowledge about sex came from some not so trustworthy sources: older male friends or acquaintances, rap lyrics, and myths about what sex “should be” heard and shared in various conversations held by different aged people with different experiences. My mom did have the “talk” with me once and we also had a moment about condoms while watching a sitcom while I was a senior in high school. Other than that, no real formal sexual education.
Where did you learn about sex education? Who taught you? Are you satisfied with the lessons that you learned then?