When I watched Hocus Pocus as a child, I became very confused about the part where “a virgin” needed to light “the Black Flame Candle.” I asked my mother what a virgin was, to which she replied, “It’s somebody who likes people but not that much.” And that was that.
This explains why Clueless‘ best line made very little sense to me.
While growing up, I always knew that there were “private parts” that you weren’t supposed to show anybody. I knew kissing people was not allowed, but I also knew that I couldn’t wait to be able to do so. It confused me that people seemed to believe this could lead to trouble.
One day, at a fairly young age, I watched GoldenEye and saw that scene where Xenia is trying to have sex with James Bond. (She was also strangling him with her legs in another scene, but I’d rather not go into that aspect because it would probably open up an insight door I don’t want to look inside right now.) I wound up rubbing myself on a pillow for a while, which felt good, but I was completely perplexed as to why I wanted to do it and what exactly was going on in the sex scenes of that movie that made me feel so…weird.
Eventually, I came across some porn popups on the Internet sometime around fifth grade. I would seriously just click popups for hours — I was a strange kid, I know — trying to figure out why these people were doing what they were doing. It was like being given a pie chart with none of the pieces labeled; I had no clue what was called what, except I knew I liked boobs and that the men in these videos were a little scary. I finally asked some kids at school and it was explained more explicitly to me. Tada! Now Sam knows about sex.
We learned about sex in varying ages, at varying stages and with varying results. Here are our stories, featuring accidental viewings of hardcore pornography in elementary school, awkward car rides and so. much. pee.
I got the sex talk at an early enough age that I convoluted the details in my own brain, and I had to get it again because I was caught explaining it to other kids completely wrong. I specifically remember telling A BUNCH of my friends that sex was when the man and the woman peed on each other, and whoever got the most pee on them got pregnant. Only it was usually the woman on account of the fact that the man had a much more effective apparatus, ergo his peeing skills were much greater. You know, NORMAL STUFF LIKE THAT.
A girl who lived down the street told me that “the boy puts his wiener in the girl’s vagina and pees,” which isn’t totally off. I didn’t figure it out until many years later, but sometimes I still freak out and wonder if someday I’ll find out I’ve been doing sex wrong and there should be pee involved.
[Ed Note: There is a lot of pee in these stories.]
I don’t actually remember having “the talk” with my parents, but my mom bought me one of those like “My Body & Me” books or something when I was very young. I learned the most about sex from my best friend’s sister, who was six years older than us. She was more about telling us how to give blowjobs instead of “this is how to have safe sex.” And then on my first day of high school, my dad drove me to school. He told me that if I got pregnant, I was keeping the baby and we’d all raise it as a family. That was a very awkward car ride.
I was four. My friend came over for a play date and told me the basics of making a baby. As the family story goes, I thought about this quietly for the rest of the day, woke my mom up in the middle of the night and asked her point blank if a man’s penis goes into a woman’s vagina to make a baby. She said yes. The rest was history. Since I was four when I found out, I don’t think I ever thought about sex before that day.
I feel left out because I honestly don’t know if I had a moment! I never cared about it and then one day I just knew? I have some kind of robot brain?
I think I was maybe 8 or 9 and I was playing Barbies outside with my younger cousin and older cousin, when my older cousin decided to shatter our innocence and tell us exactly what sex was because she had just learned about it. We obviously immediately went inside to tell our moms what we had heard. Then I think I forgot about it for a while until my Catholic school told us it would send us to hell.
I always kind of remember knowing about sex and what sex was. Not because my parents explicitly told me what it was, I just can’t remember a time not knowing what it was. I guess you can say the time that I most positively knew what it was was around 7-8 years old when all the TVs in the house had HBO.
I had just gotten my white, Sony Trinitron TV for Christmas and was excited to be able to fall asleep to it. One night, after a movie played on HBO, the show Real Sex came on. Just from the opening scene and music I knew this show was not meant for my age group. I quickly turned the volume to 4 and proceeded to watch. I remember the episode perfectly. It was a camp where people could go and walk around naked and have sex with each other. I specifically remember that the sign into the camp was “WEL-CUM”, with drippy liquid drawn beneath the “cum” part. I then watched people have group sex for the following 30 minutes and that’s pretty much when I 100% knew what sex was.
Looking back, my parents weren’t too worried about me finding inappropriate TV late at night and never supervised my nightly TV shows. I turned out okay so I guess it didn’t matter too much.
In conclusion (yes, this is a history report of sorts, and I am basically a seventh grader leading a Powerpoint discussion), everyone learns at different rates and via different routes. It’s important to remember that you are (probably) not super weird with regard to your sexual discoveries. The best thing you can usually do is to laugh about them and, on occasion, ponder how they have affected your present sex life. I, for one, have never been able to play as Xenia in N64 GoldenEye ever, ever again.
Photo: Hocus Pocus (1993).