Columns, Features, Sexy Mac

Bringing Sexy Mac! Sharing misconceptions about sex and puberty

Sex is… complicated. Sex is confusing and messy and honestly a strange thing to conceptualize when you really think about it. I mean, how does it really work? Bodies and puberty, too! There’s nothing really straightforward about how we develop, grow and what our bodies do. On top of all of that, our sexual health education system in this country is so variable (and honestly so bad in some cases) that people often have a lot of gaps in their knowledge about sex, bodies and puberty when they’re kids. On a lighter note, though, all of this confusion, complexity, and lack of full understanding — plus a little naivete from being young — can lead to some pretty funny misconceptions. Here are some sexual misconceptions your past and present classmates have shared with me:

“I thought that when actors kissed in movies the editors had used special effects to make it happen (because you only kiss the person you’re married to!)”

— Aidan Teppema ’18

“I thought protection was an absolute waste of time and money, since the only reason you’d ever have sex was to have kids.”

— Sam Gleason ’18

“I didn’t understand that erections were a thing, and so I didn’t understand how a penis could get into a vagina, because aren’t the angles all wrong? Like do the two people in question have to lie on their backs with their heads at opposite ends of the bed and then shimmy towards each other and hope everything works out?”

— Kate Garrett ’18

“When I was around four, I used to think that babies nursed from their mom’s belly buttons, so I used to walk around with my baby doll’s mouth on my belly button.”

— Ari Jahiel ’19

“My mom 100 percent told me that the song ‘Hollaback Girl’ was about a woman who didn’t arch her back during sex. I believed her until college and it gave me some wild misconceptions about sex. Not even sure where she got that idea.”

— Miller Shor ’19

“I asked my mom if my little brother, Matthew, was going to come out of her mouth.”

— Chris Boranian ’19

“Definitely thought menstruation was like a two-second thing that happened at a very regular predictable time every 28 days.”

— Anna Caroline Stuligross ’19

“In middle school, a boy told me a ‘douche bag’ was a used condom, and I had no reason to not believe it. Around high school graduation, I was so confused when some girls were talking about how to use them. I mean, wouldn’t that be against the point?”

— Makaya Resner ’19

“I thought for a long time that boys could masturbate but that girls couldn’t!”

— Lilia Morgan ’19

“I thought that when you got a period, all the blood would come out at once in one single heavy stream instead of gradually over many days.”

— Hallie Kircher-Henning ’19

“My mom told me that you could only get pregnant if you had gotten your period … and I got my period really young (nine) so I thought at any moment I was going to become pregnant.”

— Deirdre O’Keeffe ’20

“Throughout middle school I thought ‘oral sex’ meant just talking.”

— Lucy Beers Shenk ’19

“I was told babies come out of butthole. Vagina isn’t a wor(l)d.”

— Toan Thanh Doan ’19

“It took me an absurdly long time to realize that sex was pleasurable/fun/anything more than a very straightforward, almost medical procedure that people engaged in when they wanted a baby. When someone finally broke it to my naïve teenage self that actually, sex is something many people enjoy, I was shocked because it was basically the equivalent of being told some people get pleasure out of getting a CAT scan.”

— Charlie Mangas ’18

“I thought the term virgin referred exclusively to the Virgin Mary (I’m Jewish, so bonus), and so when asked, I told my sixth grade classmates I wasn’t a virgin because I wasn’t her.”

— Rafi Schneider ’17

For me personally, I used to think that “touching yourself” meant literally just that: making contact with your own body. I didn’t understand the scandalous nature of the phrase or why creepy 13-year-old boys would ask me and my friends about that. I think that sex and bodies and puberty can be fun and funny and kind of awkward, but somehow still manage to make us laugh at ourselves. I appreciate everyone who contributed to this article and love your openness and willingness to participate.

Until next time, Macalester. Keep it sexy!

by Molly Lloyd

mlloyd@macalester.edu

October 13, 2017

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