Sex Education in the 1970s

‘Round about the time I was in 7th grade, I must have had some questions about sex. We had been exposed to “sex education” in grade school. The girls went into one room and the boys in another. In the girls’ session a teacher stood in front of the class and talked about having a period and then showed a film about having a period and about how an egg is fertilized. I am not sure what they talked about in the boys’ session.

I remember my mom asking me if I had any questions about what I’d learned. I did. I wanted to know exactly how a man got his sperm got into a woman’s vagina so it could fertilize the egg. I imagined a doctor and a large syringe type instrument might be involved. My mom’s response was that she didn’t want to talk about it [1].

She gave me a set of books instead. I was too shy to read them, especially when I saw that there were drawings of naked people in them, so they sat on  my shelf for a few months.

In 7th grade science our science teachers were expected to teach life-science. This time boys and girls stayed in the same room. My teacher was Mr. Ludwig, who was young and quite dashing. He explained how a man got his sperm in a woman’s vagina to fertilize the egg. (The man and woman lie naked together and the man put his penis in her vagina and the sperm came out). My thought? No way. No way did that happen. No way did my parents do that. No way was I ever going to do anything like that. Several of my female classmates agreed with me.

My friend, Cindy was less disgusted with the idea and when she was over one afternoon we looked at the books my mom had given me.

When I started 8th grade, not long after school began in the late summer, the teachers went on strike. Kids were still expected to go to school so we were all gathered in the auditorium and were shown movies. One of the movies contained some adult themes, including discussion of sex. Someone in the film mentioned having sex more than once.

I was shocked. I assumed that you only had to do it once, ever. Like on your wedding night. The sperm that the man put in the woman would wander around her body and whenever she wanted a child, a sperm would fertilize an egg.

My friends laughed at my ignorance and said that you had to do it whenever you wanted to have a baby.

Yeah, I was not so pleased to hear that.

Notes:
  1. although she denied that in later years []

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