Birthday Bash Day 9: Let’s talk about sex, sex education

For complete context about why I’m not having a birthday party for my 27th birthday this year and how you can still celebrate with me, read You’re Invited to My 27th Birthday Bash.

Christmas 1985, Jonathan's first and Erica's third.
Mommy, did Santa bring me a brother? I asked for a sister. (Check out my rocking Rainbow Bright nightie.)

Warning: This post is about sex. It is not about anyone’s sex life, but it is about sexual education and erotica.

When I was a little child, my mom had a medical reference picture book which talked about how babies developed. I assume she bought it so I wasn’t shocked when my brother Jonathan was born. I remember laying on the living room floor, in front of the TV, pouring over the illustrations of what a developing baby looked like inside its mother’s womb.

Besides this, my parents left sex education up to the schools. For three years in public school, 4th-6th grade, I received lectures about the changes happening in my young body. How babies were actually made was glimpsed only long enough so we knew you couldn’t get pregnant via kissing. (Jason informs me that this is what he thought after watching Look Who’s Talking.) After the first lecture, my mom came into my bedroom and asked me if I had any other questions. I told her no. And I guess this made her confident that the school did a good job. Especially when I mailed away for a ‘my first period’ kit that the school had given me a coupon for.

In 6th grade, things got a little more complex. For starters, sexual education was co-ed. Which meant immature boys. I was always a good student, and I remember being so mortified when I had to report 100% on my label the genitalia on this diagram tests.

However, when my period did come later that year, I calmly informed my mother and used the supplies in the kit. My only embarrassment came when we went to my maternal grandparent’s house that weekend, and my grandma and other female relatives made such a fuss over me growing up. (I was the oldest grandchild, and at the time, the only granddaughter.)

For 7th grade, I was moved to a Lutheran middle school, which I’ve already written a little bit about. Lutherans would rather do anything than talk about sex. I may disagree with Garrison Keillor on a lot of things, but he’s often right about Lutherans. The school decidedly did not have anything resembling sex education. The closest we got to talking about our bodies was noting that Adam and Eve covered up their nudity in shame after eating from the tree of forbidden knowledge. (I assume The Karma Sutra and The Joy of Sex was that knowledge.)

Like any teenager, not talking about sex made me that much more curious. My mom had quite the collection of medical books — because she was a sucker for door-to-door encyclopedia sales-students — and I remember pouring for hours and hours over them trying to figure out what sex was. What exactly was an orgasm? Then there was my library card and trips to Barnes & Nobel, which provided me with every flavor of cheesy romance novels. Oh, medieval knights and their “swords.”

Then I discovered Anne Rice, and it was all downhill from there. Say what you will about Rice, I think her characters’ questionable sexual relationships and her desperately in need of an editor writing are better than the thinly disguised Mormon-doctrine of Twilight all the teens read today. Even though at 12-years-old, perhaps I shouldn’t have been reading Rice’s books.

That Christmas, my brothers and I convinced my parents that we needed to get a computer and the internet. Dial-up at speeds that would make you pull out your hair today. And the internet meant Literotica.com and mailing lists for fanfiction: Star Trek, Babylon 5, among other things. You can never have too much John/Delenn schmoopy erotica. Of course, it wasn’t long before I decided to try my hand at writing erotica. I’d already been writing fanfiction before I could put a name to it. Mary Sue was finally getting laid. Only instead of in space, it was in the late ’80s. I even did research on how much apartments in New York City rented during that time.

Being young and stupid, I put my document in a folder labeled “Erica.” I thought no one would take a second glance, sitting there in plain sight. I mean, it wasn’t until about 2002 that my father learned how to properly send an e-mail. (He once asked me how a computer talked to itself. In his defense, he’s an auto-mechanic and that’s what you need to know to fix cars. I told him they spoke in a language of 1s and 0s, and he should just think of it as magic.)

One fateful night, my father stormed into my bedroom, demanding to know how I knew what a blow job is. He’d found the file and read the story. I have no idea what I told my father, but he banned me from the computer without supervision for two years. My father also informed me that he didn’t know what a blow job was until he was 18-years-old. Ah…sorry, you didn’t have the internet or a library card, dad.

I still have a copy of the story I wrote. If you are nice enough, and over at my house, I may let you read it. I still write erotica, only not as much as I used to. I love the expression of female desire that the written word serves much better than video or photography. I’ve given talks about writing sex and why I like. I’ve read explicit stories in creative writing classes. Everyone knows I write erotica, even my grandma; we refer to it as my “not grandma-appropriate stories.”

In my adult life, my super secret power is that people tell me about their sex lives and ask me for advice. They know that I won’t bat an eyelash and I’ll hold their hand and take them to a sex shop. I like conversations and dialog about sex. I like community sex education better than anything I learned in a classroom or from a medical book.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider donating to GeekGirlCon, a convention focusing on geeky women. I’m sure the erotic writers and fanfic writers will represent. I’ll be there if nothing else.

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