How We Learned About Sex

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Every college student knows what sex is; many have even had the pleasure of enjoying it… but most learned the basics of sex well before their college years. Whether it was from walking in on their siblings, hearing about it in sex ed, discovering a porno stash or getting “the talk” from their parents, everyone learned about sex a different way. To get the low-down, CM asked a few college students how they first learned about the birds and the bees:

“I learned about it during sex education in 5th grade. Before that I didn’t even know the vagina existed. As a kid I was under the impression that the penis went in the butt since I knew of no other hole down there. In retrospect, I was a retarded child.” — Maricela Gutierrez, Senior, UC Berkeley

“I learned about sex from one of my friends in elementary school. We were talking about girls and he said he wanted to have sex with one of them. I didn’t know what sex was, so he explained it to me, including how to do it and where to do it.” — Osiris Hernandez, Senior, San Jose State University

“My 12-year-old best friend had a pregnancy scare, and when she told me the news she explained what sex was to me and how it worked.” — Olivia Fry, Freshman, Arizona State University

“When I was about eight years old, my friends and I would play in a forest that was near my house. One day we were walking through the forest and we stumbled upon a car with steamy windows, and one of my friends said, ‘I think those people are having sex!’ I asked what sex was and he said, ‘It’s when the guy puts his thing down there into a girl’s thing.’ At that age we believed girls had cooties, so we all thought it was really gross.” — Oliver Fjätström, Senior, UC Los Angeles

“I learned about it from my babysitter. I was about ten years old and she had just started high school. I asked her what it was because I had heard my friends talking about it in school, and she explained how things went down. I didn’t really understand it at first, but then I had sex-ed and got my facts straight.” — Mark Riviera, Junior, University of Illinois

“I first heard about sex because I overheard my older siblings talking about it with their friends, but they wouldn’t describe it to me when I asked them what it was. Then my mom gave me a book about sex called Growing Upthat she had given to my siblings when they were younger. The book had drawings of penises, vaginas and everything!” — Barbara Galleti, Senior, Diablo Valley College

“I found out about sex when I discovered my dad’s porn movies and proceeded to watch them.” — Ian Birdwell*, Sophomore, San Francisco State University

“I found out when I was seven. My friend told me, ‘You put your privates with a boy’s, and then it makes a baby!’ I didn’t believe her. I just pictured two people pressing against each other and a baby just appearing between them.” — Ashleigh Carr, Sophomore, Sonoma State

“I was in 4th grade watching a video about genitals and sex with my guy friends eating popcorn.” — Hayden Mcdevitt-Kuntz, Senior, UC Santa Cruz

“I heard about sex when I was a little girl, but I did not really understand what it meant until I was about 14 years old. My freshman year of high school we had to take a health class, and we spent about three weeks learning about sex. Our teacher had all kinds of pictures and diagrams, and she went over STDs and how to practice safe sex. She even had us practice putting on condoms by using bananas! I also think seeing movies and hearing stories from my friends helped me learn the ropes.” — Susan Saks*, Senior, UC Riverside

For those of you who still have questions, please refer to the following videos:






*Name has been changed

Senior > Communications and Chicano Studies > UC Santa Barbara

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