I remember when my mom sat me down to explain how babies were made. It was Christmas Day and there was a new, tiny rodent running around with our two, supposedly male guinea pigs. My mom knew this was her chance to tell me how that happened.
“So Speedo put his penis inside Gizmo’s vagina,” she explained, but it was absolutely horrific to imagine. First of all, I had only heard a penis be called a weiner and a vagina a coochie. I remembered innocently seeing a penis in the bathtub with my male friend, washing sand off from the beach, and I thought he had a useless shriveled finger between his legs while my own coochie was an endless pit of mystery. Those were two body parts that, in my judgment, should never go near each other. The stork story or even immaculate conception made more sense for reproduction than sexual intercourse. Up until this Christmas, I thought that if someone wanted a baby they could just pray for one and it would appear. It was baffling that combining privates was responsible for the perpetuation of the human race and I had half of that recipe.
My mom insisted I not tell anyone else this secret knowledge. It was as if I had just cracked the Da Vinci Code. What other sacred riddles of the world would reveal themselves to me as I got older? So far nothing else has really come close to the enlightenment of first learning the birds and the bees. Access to such knowledge gave me status among my second-grade classmates, many of whom would ask me to tell them my powerful secret, but I had sworn an oath. The other kids who knew would give me a wink from afar as if we were in a secret society together: The Society of the Sex-Knowers.
This unspoken club lost its mystic aura when we all reached puberty and the mystery became common information. But then, the onset of high school gave many of us firsthand knowledge of sex, not just as a concept but as an act. This revived the Society of Sex-Knowers, but membership now involved participating in the mystery. Some members of the club were applauded, others berated. We all wanted to know what it was like to join it, but yet, we looked down on the girl in first period English who boasted that she’d gone “all the way” before.
I wasn’t in the Society of Sex-Knowers until I graduated high school. Before I could officially become a member, imagining the feeling of sex continued to be as mysterious as when my mom first sat me down and told me about it. What did it feel like? Why was everyone so obsessed with it? Was it really that good? Part of me was upset that I had ever learned the solution to the reproduction puzzle. After I knew, there was no going back and suddenly it seemed to be what everything in life was about.
Even in college, I sometimes wish I could return to innocence. I would be completely unaware of why there are animalistic sounds pounding from my housemate’s room. Suddenly I would no longer read into the sexual subtext of daily life. I would be frolicking through a field of undefiled sunflowers. Without sex, I would be writing something more blissful than this horny column. Without sex, I would be free.
We can regain this innocence by looking at sex through fresh eyes. We can realize how absolutely strange it is that we want to put a fleshy finger in a meat pocket. Acknowledge we have this juice inside of us that, if it gets inside someone else, can make a whole new person. Never let that become normal.
Anya Neeze is a student at Cornell University. Comments can be sent to [email protected]. Boink! runs during alternate Sex on Thursdays this semester.