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Cum Has 2,000 Calories!?

Monday, May 10 2010 @ 03:48 AM CDT

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Sex (and LIES) According to Right-Wing Moralist Crusaders

By Lady J

For many who grew up in America public Sex Education did a lot more harm than good. When you’re taught that sex is not a recreational activity—unless you’re a disease-ridden whore—and condoms don’t work (if you have sex, you WILL get pregnant). Let’s just say, it’s a lot to overcome.

A few years ago, a grad school friend and I—both educators—were swapping some personal stories. He regaled me with a memory dating back to Catholic elementary school, of an assembly to warn the kids against committing the evil sin of abortion.

When I think of all the sins a prepubescent Catholic-school-educated 9-year-old is capable of committing a few things come to mind: pilfering communion wafers, putting a frog in the holy water, hiding in the confessional, perhaps. Abortion? Not so much.

But, in any event, a panel sat on a stage before the impressionable children: half abortion rights activists, half anti-abortion nun crusaders. Tension among the panel members ran high, tempers flared and, according to my friend, at some point the conversation came to blows, as scores of horrified children looked on.

I may be taking some liberties when I imagine a sister whipping out a pair of nunchucks from her habit as a member of her posse reveals her rosary—a Chinese throwing star where the crucifix should be. Sister St. Bruce Lee takes aim at the pro-choice Jezebel, who is presently beating Mother Superior silly with her own well-seasoned ruler. And all of this in the name of sex education.

As for me, I’d long ago deduced that sex education of the suburban health class variety pretty much destroyed my formative years. In a curriculum that could have only been designed by middle-aged, rightwing moralist crusaders (and, ironically, taught by folks old enough to have been part of the free love movement in the ’60s), we students were ultimately provided with the following messages: Sex is not a recreational activity unless you are a disease-ridden whore. Condoms don’t work: If you have sex, you WILL get pregnant. End of story.

Diseases? Pregnancy?

My parents beat the crap out of me when I spilled milk on the floor! I could not begin to imagine what punishment might ensue should milk spill from my sorry excuse for tits (nunchucks and Chinese throwing star rosaries, perhaps?). To be on the safe side, I decided to stick to blowjobs. Since our Sex Ed program was always preaching against intercourse, but said little in the way of oral sex, I figured it was an easy compromise.

I’d settled into a comfortable routine (save the days I had lockjaw), until my health teacher held one of his infamous meant-to-be-educational Q& A sessions during class. “You can ask me anything,” he’d boast—when it was clear that this sixty-something, overweight, balding health teacher knew even less about sex than we did.

“Is it true that come has 2,000 calories?” someone blurted out.

Everyone nearly bust a gut whooping and laughing as our teacher attempted, in vain, to regain control. Clearly he was angry that anyone would question the caloric content of seminal fluid, although he shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, we’d just finished the unit on exercise and nutrition, during which he’d ingrained in us the importance of burning more calories than we took in. Weren’t we just trying to heed his advice?

You know how a crowd of people will be laughing and talking, and then, there will suddenly be a deafening silence? That unexpected lull appeared to be precisely timed with me turning to my friend and making the following comment: “If come had 2,000 calories, I would be a freaking beached whale.”

I am not ashamed to admit that I relished in the applause that followed, although the teacher never did get around to answering the question.

Since my weight remained stable over the next year or two, I had no reason to change my repertoire. That is, until I had to fulfill my last health credit. The theme for this Sex Ed class shifted from the “You’re going to be a fat, knocked up 15-year-old with visible, terminal lesions all over your nether-regions’ to ‘You’re going to go away to college, be sexually assaulted by a masked assailant who will never be caught, and subsequently be left for dead in a trash-filled alley.” (There was, of course, another variation, in which the aforementioned masked assailant was replaced by the captain of the football team and “left for dead in a trash filled alley” was swapped out with: “And there’s no use reporting it because no one will believe you, and it will only serve to further ostracize you from your peers.”

The messages I was getting were mixed, to say the least: “Don’t have sex in high school, because you’ll get pregnant—but if you don’t lose your virginity soon, it will get taken away by a rapist.” I resolved to get laid immediately, if not sooner. I’m stubborn; I’d rather give something away than have it taken away.

And that’s just what I did. The soundtrack to my deflowering went something like this:

Him: “Ohmygooood. This feels sooo gooood!”

Me: “Oh my god, I’m going to be in so much effing trouble.”

Him: “I’m gonna effing come!”

Me: “I’m gonna be effing grounded.”

Worse, for my first (and only) time with this guy, I’d ascribed to the adage: “Go big or go home.” And big it was. Very, very big. Too big.

I felt like I was being impaled. This was not what I’d signed up for. Entrance to a convent suddenly seemed very appealing… and I’m Jewish. Our health book didn’t cover what to do in this situation—it only told me not to get into this situation to begin with.

I was fairly certain that I felt something ripping, and spent the entire three—maybe five—minutes silently contemplating how I was going to explain to my mother that I needed to make a trip to the emergency room for twat stitches. I was trying to climb over a chain-link fence and I fell?

By the time I graduated from high school, I’d spent years being “educated” on the ills of sex: that one would inevitably get pregnant, contract a deadly disease, disgrace her family, develop a reputation, become a victim of sexual assault. Sex equaled shame and negative consequences (which may or may not have included extra stints on the treadmill to work off thousands of excess calories or labial sutures).

It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I understood sex could be fun, and that, with the proper precautions, it’s something that can be enjoyed outside the confines of a relationship, for reasons other than reproduction. I realized sex didn’t have to go hand-in-hand with morality—and it was often most fun when it didn’t. I learned to listen to my body and assess situations on my own terms, instead of relying my misguided “education” to dictate right and wrong.

As a former high school teacher, I know not all students become as paranoid as I did. Many of my own students could have easily traded places with the rabbits in the science lab, and no one would have been the wiser. However, it doesn’t change the fact that many still graduated high school sexually misinformed or ashamed of what they were doing.

I don’t know what the exact solution is, only that there is a delicate balance that needs to be reached, tempering the current deter-through-fear based program with a positive approach embracing a solid, non-biased understanding of healthy human sexuality.

When I become a mother (which will be no time soon), I know that I will work diligently to counteract any negative or confusing messages my kids absorb from their school Sex Ed programs. To this end, I have already secured a set of nunchucks for an abortion debate reenactment…although until that day comes, I have a few other uses in mind for them.


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