Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby!
Written by: Teena Drake
How it all Began!
My first year of teaching eighth grade Science is the beginning of a great adventure, I had a wide variety of personalities and enjoyed each one. As the year progressed one of my classes became especially close and they wanted to each lunch in my classroom on Fridays (or anytime I would let them). Week after week our lunch ‘class’ was growing by leaps and bounds. The students would beg their teachers to let them join and quickly we became one big happy family.
I was amazed at how open they were with me in there. They would talk about their relationships, weekend plans, past weekend activities, family situations, and the list continues. I wish I could have a picture of my face the day SEX entered our lunch conversation! Out of the blue a young lady says, “Hey, Mrs. Drake we are arguing about something can you come over here?”
I politely excused myself from the group I was sitting with and walked over, plopped down, and said, “Sure, what’s up?”
Without any reservation or concern she asked, “If you have sex and the guy cums in ya….you can jump up and down and the sperm will come out, right? It’s a scientific fact aint it?”
I am sure as you were reading this last paragraph you were either laughing or starring at the words/question with your mouth gapping open. I am also sure you are eager to see my reaction.
The silence at that point was almost like thick smog hanging over the room. The group of students starred at me with eager anticipation to see how I would respond. They were not embarrassed, concerned of my embarrassment, or worried about having this conversation! I remember the thoughts in my head racing around like a chicken with their head cut off. I knew I had to respond, but how and why? Why did I have to answer this question? Why would they even ask such a question? So I took a deep breath did not act shocked and said, “Where did you hear that?”
Two of the young ladies said, “See I told you that was not true!”
Still persisting another young lady said, “She didn’t say it wasn’t true, she just wanted to know where I heard it….it is at least possible aint it?”
I responded by saying, “No, it is not true and why are we having this conversation?”
Thinking that my response would give them a clue….I was unsure about this conversation. My first thought was they were just curious. Then I became intrigued with why the question would come about. Was there a possibility eighth graders were experimenting with sex? And if they were why didn’t they know the basics? The questions and thoughts were rambling in my mind.
Of course I thought they would drop this conversation and blow me off, like eighth graders do when they do not want to explain themselves. Much to my surprise, the first young lady looked at me in astonishment and quickly asked, “So, if a girl did this then why didn’t she get pregnant? If you are so sure this doesn’t work why wouldn’t she be prego right now?
At this point I was disturbed she would question my knowledge on the subject. I said, “I promise she may not become or became pregnant that time, but she better not continue this practice or she will be pregnant. The only job for sperm is to swim towards the egg! That is a fact!”
Still thinking in my mind….HA that will end this conversation she will just ponder on my response and maybe ask her loved ones at home. I was WRONG!!!!!! The conversation became explosive. I thought please dear Lord how long could a twenty minute class last!
Thankfully, the bell was ringing and the last comment was, “Mrs. Drake this isn’t over. I need to know some more about those crazy facts. We will talk about this tomorrow.”
The buzz had begun. If one listened closely, you could almost hear the amazement in their voices about her question and my response. They wanted to know more and I appeared to be the target. I remember praying that night…Dear Lord, Help me with this conversation.
I avoided our conversation through lunch because it was Monday. I didn’t hear much about it therefore, I decided it was a quick lesson learned and their entire group had moved on to another topic.
Once again, I was wrong! The same young lady came into my class and announced, “Mrs. Drake I am a walker today and I have more questions for you, so we can have Science, but after that bus rider bell we are having some ‘Scientific Sex Ed’ I need to ask you some questions and I think you have the answers.”
I looked at her, stood there in awe of her bluntness, and peered out to see the rest of the class anticipating my response. I brushed it off and said, “We will see.”
As the class progressed I continually dreaded the thought of what her questions might be, do I need to discuss this with my principal? I was extremely uncertain of what I could say and which direction this conversation could take us.
As soon as the bell rang, here she came and two of her friends. I decided to sit down at one of the tables and listen. It was almost like story time on the carpet with a group of pre-school children. They had all come up with some questions and had put her up to asking them. These questions extended from how a woman becomes pregnant to oral sex. I answered the ‘Scientific Sex Ed.’ questions and if the questions became more moral based or religion based I would explain that is not Scientific therefore, I am not able to answer. They were okay with my response I gave them some places to research and find out for themselves and the day had ended. As soon as they cleared the building I almost sprinted to the office to discuss the situation with my principal. He enlightened the situation quite a bit. This was the first group of students who would not have Sex Education in their curriculum. Apparently the parents had requested it be removed, it was not a tested area, and it didn’t seem to be essential. He continued to explain I could continue to answer their questions as long as it was ‘Scientific’ and educational.
Of course I thought….they won’t talk to me about this anymore. I gave them facts vs. fiction, but they probably wanted to talk more in depth to see if they could embarrass me. (Have you caught on that it takes me a while to figure out this topic is NOT going to disappear?).
From that point forward it was like opening a can of worms. A majority of the students were discussing the conversation, some would ask what we talked about, other students would just listen to the conversations, but they were clued in. Thank goodness my next unit was genetics. This Scientific Sex Education fit snuggly into my curriculum.
Many times the conversations would continue at our special lunch times. I was amazed at how many students were sexually active and did not care that I knew about it. They would allow me to ask questions like does anyone talk to you about sex? Has anyone discussed with you protection from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases? A majority of the time the response was NOOOOOOO! One student said, “I asked my mom about sex and she said sex is bad, sex is a bad word, and if you ever have sex I will be ashamed of you!” she continued, “I just decided not to ever bring that conversation up again!”
A young man explained his parents were explicit when they discussed sex with him and they ended the conversation with I don’t want to ever talk about this again so I hope you understood.
Now please understand these were well rounded, straight A students who had extremely good families. The ones with lower grades and living in different situations would explain, “I have learned on my own or my family told me all about it, but they also explained how if I did get a girl pregnant I would have to get a job and pay child support the rest of my life.”
I could write a book on their questions, comments, and thought process! Maybe that will be my next book, but these students were Sex Education illiterate.
They knew some of the actions, but as far as understanding their bodies and sexuality they did not. The family conversations had been limited and these young people were curious and searching for a cure for their curiosity.
I was too late!