Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Where does the pollen go?

My chief memory of sex education in school is not the class itself but a Maths lesson which followed. I arrived there late with rather damp hair. Mrs E., the least pleasant teacher I encountered in my school career, demanded an explanation. An explanation that I could not give. Oh, but I can tell you.

It had been the banana and condom lesson. Everyone under forty had one of these, right? Our Biology teacher began by producing a condom which she had allegedly bought in a Czech supermarket; it was bright red, had a painted smiling face and… horns.

We were told about coils, levers, pulleys and variable frequency oscillators and then left to lark about with these (common or garden) condoms we’d all been issued with. We were encouraged to test their strength, but the lesson quickly descended into a contest as to whose condom could stretch to the greatest capacity. This involved hooking them over the taps and filling them up in those huge laboratory sinks. Five or six gallons average, before they exploded. And they did explode. Which was how I came to be so late and wet for Maths.

The talk we had from the Old Girl (former pupil) who came in to describe her pregnancy was of similarly dubious value. She explained that she didn’t want any drugs or to be pushing against gravity, so she had stood at the window looking out on a glorious summer’s day and sipping her herbal tea. The baby then painlessly dropped into the waiting arms of her husband. Hmm.

Actually it was all fairly useless. My parents are not religious or particularly weird, but it was always too early for me to have my questions answered and by the time they might have been prepared to speak, I was too embarrassed to ask. So I didn’t really know what was happening when I started my period, because we hadn’t covered that in biology yet and Mum had sewn me some myth about how it couldn’t happen until I was at least sixteen so there was no need to talk about it yet (I was in fact eleven). Everything else I learnt from shameless older friends and books.

So there is a young lass who’s about to marry a sailor and her mother takes her to one side and tells her, “Now sailors are a funny lot and at some point in your married life, your husband may suggest that you make love the other way. But if he asks you, you must say no, because that is an altogether ungodly practice.”

So the young lass and the sailor get married and after a few months the lass begins to wonder why he hasn’t ever made this request.

“Darling,” she says, “Why is it that you’ve never suggested that we make love the other way?”

“Oh, we don’t want to do that,” he says, “that’s how you get pregnant!”


BloggingMone said...

I started primary school in 1970, so we had a lot of long haired hippie teachers around, who had been students in the late 60ties, when free sexual life was top priority. My sexual education took place when we were second grade and about 7 years old. I seriously doubt that anyone of us understood what they were talking about. My parents were happy "that issue" was dealt with at school. That was it for the rest of my time at school. No condoms, no bananas, no nothing.
When I went to grammar school we had a kind of "partner class" from a special school for physically disabled students. They were the same age and we used to do sports and outdoor activities together and we went on a lot of school trips to spend a few days or a long weekend together in youth hostels. They knew EVERYTHING and my sexual education has taken place in the girls' bedrooms at night time, when we were supposed to be asleep, dreaming of the bees and the flowers. I know a lot of people are sceptical about the use of special schools, but at least their sexual education is state of the art!

Anonymous said...

Ah, I belong to an older generation, and a faith school background at that. Sex educ had only been going a few years, and they really did not want to do it anyway, so they waited until we were fourteen-fifteen (a bit late!) then had sessions, literally, on the birds and the bees.

I mean that: we had The Sex Life Of The Robin. Which, in case you don't know, involves the male getting on the female's back and pressing very hard against her perineal area while coming (illustrated by a line of tiny arrows).

Human sex educ consisted of male and female anatomy (and I am quite sure the clitoris didn't get a look in); that was lesson 1. So we all waited to see how they would tackle Doing It in lesson 2. Which started with the pregnant female and carried on from there. Hey, wait a minute! Ask your parents if you want any more information, said the teacher.

I got my SE from books, mostly, aided by a vivid imagination.

pete said...

It was all buggery and torture at my school. But it wasn't all fun though, there was double maths on thursdays.

The great majority of schools I went to were boarding schools or forces schools and so were single sex schools. The greatest honour in one of the more seedier boarding schools I attended was to be the quickest to a climax!

I honestly cannot remember getting any sex education from the school system. Mine mostly came from watching Danish and Swedish films at the local fleapits.

'Something for the weekend' was quite expensive then, not to be wasted on fruit! Women were real women in those days and didn't have sex with bananas!

I borrowed my neighbour Gwendolines bicycle the other day, she won't get pregnant. Will she?

The Goldfish said...

Mone's experience with the special school kids is interesting - folks I know who went to special school describe a rather cossetted experience, and I had imagined they missed that out altogether.

Charles' missing lesson on The Act is funny - we used to watch videos which had plenty of nudity and graphic diagrams, but when it got to The Act there'd be a modern jazz dance with purple lighting.

Just to clarify for Pete; ours was also a single-sex school and as such, bananas were the best we could manage.

As for the sordid matter of Gwendoline and her bicycle, I suggest you do the honourable thing and marry the girl.

marmiteboy said...

I think we had sex education at our school when we were about 14, or there abouts. We all watched a film from Sweden (calm down Pete, it wasn't one of THOSE films) about a woman having a baby.. There was full frontal nudity though, which was nice.

This was all part of a 'Sex Day', I seem to recall. At one stage the boys and the girls were split up, no doubt to be told different things. I can't really remember what us lads were told about but it probably about our willies falling off if we slept with ladies.