How did you learn about sex?

How did you learn about sex, and how did your early sex education affect your enjoyment of sexuality later on? Please post your comments.

Here’s my story from “My Sex Education,” Chapter 3 of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty:

It was 1955, and I was twelve, with budding breasts, when my father–an obstetrician/ gynecologist–sat me down and handed me a pamphlet about the “facts of life.” The language was vague, with references to pistils and stamens, very little about penises or vaginas, and certainly no reference to the clitoris. The only fully developed information was about how the egg in the woman was fertilized by the sperm from the man, leading to pregnancy. My father sat quietly as I, embarrassed and confused, read the pamphlet.

“Do you have any questions?” he asked when I finished.
“No,” I lied.

I did have one burning question, which I asked my best friend: “How does the sperm get from the man to the woman?” That itty bitty fact was nowhere in the pamphlet.

My friend, oh so much wiser, told me, “He puts it in her.”

Not only was “how” omitted from my introduction to sexual information, but also “why.” Over the next few years, I was taught what not to do (sex or anything that could lead to it) and what awful things could happen–after all, my father saw lives ruined by teenage pregnancy. I was never taught why people want to have sex and how fulfilling it can be.

I was totally unprepared for the excitement and delicious pleasure of my urges a few years later.

Here’s what a few of the Sexually Seasoned Women I interviewed said about their Early Sex Ed and Experiences:

I was reared in a home where one did not talk about sex. When I first had sex at nineteen I felt guilty because I was raised to believe it was something for married people. However, my guilt did not stop me. I justified it by becoming engaged. (Melanie, 64)

In the 1950s, when I was a teenager, few of us had intercourse due to fear of pregnancy as well as the taboos placed on extra-marital sex by society. However, I loved “heavy petting” and had terrific orgasms with digital stimulation and squeezing on men’s thighs–or on horse back or fence railings! (Phoebe, 64)

I came out when I was twelve years old. I was oppressed by the times and I came from a violent family. I created my own little private world where masturbating was a way I’d feel comforted. I had my first sexual experience at fourteen with an older woman, twenty-one. I felt that was going to be my life, that I would be a sexual person. (Claire, 66)

I was brought up in a rural area in the 1950s, when sex was supposed to be forbidden, but several girls in my (very small) high school became pregnant. Then I had an affair with a married neighbor from age sixteen to twenty, and sex became a major focus, although I still excelled in school and got scholarships to college. I am very satisfied now, and no longer searching as I was. (Tina, 61)

When I was young, I was very affected by the abuse I suffered as a child. I hadn’t coped with the molestation even though I had a very active sex life. I was always fearful and held back. I grew up without boundaries. You don’t know your own body. It belongs to someone else. I was always so confused about sex. (Monica, 60)

I was raised in a very repressive environment. Everything about sex was labeled bad and forbidden. French kissing was a sin, kissing over ten seconds was a sin, masturbating was a sin. Birth control was also a sin, and so I became pregnant after my second sexual encounter. (Susie 60)


  1. Gettin Kinky w/ Chia on January 19, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Because my mother had been through so much in her own childhood, she made sure that she taught me all about all aspects of sex. I was as prepared as i needed to be because of her early guidence. Check out my new blog, sexual education.
    -Chia, 22 years old

  2. Ray, age 63 on February 2, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    My Sexual History

    I was born in 1943. Somewhere between October 1955 and February 1957 I somehow landed up playing with my penis until some white stuff shot out of it. I imagined that I had made some discovery of medical significance – something along the lines of if one can get rid of this stuff by this method it would be healing action. I’m not kidding!

    When I got engaged we decided to have a pre-honeymoon honeymoon to resolve any potential problems. At the first attempt I could not get an erection. The rest of the three-day weekend worked well – about eight times in all.

    The first two years of marriage were idyllic during which time we probably made love (had sex?) 300 times – then the children came. After this our physical relationship nose-dived and eventually petered out completely after thirty years, during which time we probably had sex another 500 making about 800 in all. (It’s now 2007. Our last encounter was September 1997).

    I can’t help thinking that it’s only the biological clock that drives some women to sex – once they produce offspring their sexual role is virtually over as far as they are concerned. I think most married women (once they have children) probably only engage in sex simply to appease their husbands from time to time.

    During my sexually active period in my marriage I managed to bring her to a climax during about 95% of our encounters – always before me. Perhaps during a couple of dozen we climaxed together. There were probably half a dozen which were wonderful beyond words.

    Towards the end of our physical relationship she complained that I took to long to come so I frequently just stopped after she had climaxed.

    In 1983 on my first visit to the UK – a business trip – I found out about cunnilingus, of all places on pictures on a ruler in a stationery shop. I absolutely love it but my wife hated it. I must have managed to persuade her to indulge me about ten times in all.

    In 2001 I had a prostate scrape and ever since then I have retrograde ejaculation. It’s difficult to masturbate as I cannot get a full erection.

    During last year I started writing erotic fantasies. Researching erotica on the net I finally realised how little I know about sex and that I can therefore certainly not write about it – not even from my very limited encounters. My fantasies are obviously also limited by my knowledge.

    What I’ve written are short stories which are a combination of fact (not much experience here though. I have, for instance, never experienced fellatio. In fact, it was not until my thirties that I really understood what fellatio is.) and fiction. I’ve been able to experience things in the writing that I could not – and certainly would not have wanted to – experience in real life. It is interesting that almost every story revolves around mature, married women.

    I have found the writing very cathartic, having written nearly 100,000 words in nine months.

    This history is my last act in my encounter with the erotic genre. I cannot believe that I was so arrogant and so stupid to think that I could write about a subject I know nothing about.

    Some of the stuff I’ve read on the net – particularly those written by women – frighten me, particularly when dealing with things like BSDM, which I’ve only come across now as I researched erotica on the net. The same with vibrators and sex toys – I’ve only now seen them on the net.

    Hopefully I have now closed the loop and the wounds and – having hopefully come to terms with and accepted my total inadequacy around sex – can now leave my sex bogey behind forever.

  3. Anonymous on January 20, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    In the early 1960s, my mother handed me a pamphlet that I soon concluded was inappropriately negative. (For example, it recommended that I learn judo to throw any boy that made a pass at me. I have always utterly detested any mixing of desire and violence.) The pamphlet left me in the dark about how sperm and egg came together. That I learned 2-3 years later from overhearing a whispered late night conversation in Girl Scout camp. I grant that the truth about intercourse would have been hard to communicate in that more prudish era.

    I should add that, on most matters sexual, talking with my mother was fairly good value. From age 14 onwards, she simply assumed I could understand whatever was on her mind. I always did, but only thanks to reading I did on the sly. My mother never put me down and her replies to my questions were civil albeit quite Christian. But she was not warm to my mixing one on one with the opposite sex until I graduated from college. I resented that then, but can now see where she was coming from.

  4. Melissa age 60 on September 19, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    I was handed a book called “Growing Up” that discussed more about animals and fish. I thought that sperm swam across the bed (parents faced each other) and somehow made it into the mother. There was 1 short paragraph that dealt with humans, and I quote…”…only humans do it in a more loving way…”

    My parents were very prudish and refused to discuss anything that had to do with sex or body parts. My mother’s constant put downs made me very insecure and not very confident in my own sexuality. She had absolutely no idea how to discuss sex with me or answer any of my questions or make things easier for me when I didn’t even know what questions to ask.

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