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I Just Read it for the Articles
by Stefi Sparer
“Here is a penis,” my psych professor says happily as he clicks his power point to a textbook drawing that clearly labels every last detail of the male genitalia. “Full frontal,” he notes before clicking away, “That’s always good. Makes things more interesting.” A few kids snicker, and the rest pretend to be serious and very concerned about the sexual organs.
I feel very much like I am back in sixth grade, except that instead of Nurse Brown giving me a talk about how the penis is inserted into the vagina to make babies and masturbation is for sinners, it’s my Jason Segel look-a-like psych professor.
Sixth grade sex-ed wasn’t nearly half as exciting as I wanted it to be since my friend Kimberly had already told me all the good stuff about sex back in first grade.
“The man puts his penis in your vagina,” she states matter-of-factly, “And then you’re pregnant. That’s how I got my sister. After my dad did that to my mom.”
“Oh…” I feel like I’ve been initiated into a secret club. I figured I was one of maybe three seven-year-olds who knew what sex was.
We’re sitting on the pink rug in her bedroom staring at a Hustler we stole from her older brother’s room. I am constantly looking over my shoulder just waiting for her mom to bust in.
“I don’t think we should be doing this…” I say.
“It’s fine,” she answers me, flipping the page to some girl on girl action.
Just then, her mom pops her head in and notices us gawking over a naked red head doing some freaky stuff to a blonde. “Ah,” she sets Kimberly’s clean clothes on her bed, “What are you two doing?”
I panic and, thinking quickly, turn the magazine to a page without a dirty picture, not realizing the trite error I was about to commit as I say calmly to Mrs. Romaine, “We were just looking at the articles.” Needless to say, my parents laughed about this for years. Every now and again, they still bring it up.
“What happens when you’re sexually aroused?” my professor asks and 50 heads look down at their notebooks or the wall or their hands. I admit I am one of them. I furiously scribble in my notebook, pretending that the definition of “arousal” is completely new to me. Arousal? What the fuck is that? I try to make my face say.
“Yeah, you guys,” he laughs at the silence, “Don’t tell me because then I’ll know you know!”
One girl gathers her courage, “Um, there’s lubrication?” she says quietly.
I am so happy she answered on the class’ behalf and took one for the team that I want to hug her.
“What’s an orgasm?” he then asks and is met with the sound of a pencil tapping against a table and a cough. “Look guys,” he sighs, “If I have to explain this than you probably have never had one.”
There’s something difficult about admitting you know about sex when you’re a virgin, nineteen, and have a good-looking man standing in front of you asking you to shout out things like “the vaginal walls part and lubrication occurs”. And here I thought I wasn’t shy.
In sixth grade I didn’t seem to be. By age twelve, I already thought that I was superior to all of the kids who still watched Barney at my school. I watched Seinfeld and considered myself much more cultured, often telling off other kids who would ask me things like, “Who is your favorite character on Fraggle Rock?”
“You should be watching Friends,” I’d say, “The story lines are far more complex.”
When the Human Growth and Development class came around, I rolled my eyes and explained to my friends that even though I was partaking, I already knew what a penis was and I could give them at least five different names for it.
My professor skips through a few slides until he reaches information about the Kinsey study. “So,” he steps back to admire his power point, “92 percent of men in the study admit to masturbating. What happened to the other eight percent?”
“Lying…” some boys mumble.
“Yeah, seriously,” my professor observes. “62 percent of females admit to masturbating. What happened to the rest of them?”
“Yeah, lying,” he shakes his head yes and sighs, realizing we’re not going to make this as much fun as he’d like it to be. “Eleven percent of men admit to anal sex,” he points out. One kid cackles. “Anal sex. That’s always fun right?” He continues.
A faint laugh is heard from the back, and I admit, I release a small giggle, but the rest of the class sits as though they’re watching Shindler’s List.
He clicks his power point off and admits defeat, “OK, we’re done. Have a good weekend.”