Discovering the Birds and the Bees

In elementary school - and into the first half of what is now called middle school - I was rather naive about sex. By the fourth grade, I had certainly heard of sex and had even been introduced to some of the more colorful words for having sex by various classmates, but I didn't know what it involved. I didn't really understand any of that until the sixth grade.

In the fifth and sixth grades, my school showed all students health videos that discussed puberty and the changes adolescents went through during the process. These videos also covered basic sex education, strictly from the standpoint of how sexual reproduction in humans work. The boys and girls were taken to separate rooms, and a video tailored to the respective sex was shown in each room.

When I saw this video as a fifth grader, I didn't think much about it. All the changes in boys never really bothered me. And I followed how the sperm and egg together make a baby. It was all very interesting and academic. I mentioned that we had watched the video to my parents that evening and nothing more was said.

However, I somehow managed to remain clueless as to how the man's sperm got to the egg in the woman's body in order to fertilize it. (I've often wondered if the video shown to the fifth graders actually left out that detail.) Indeed, it never even occurred to me to wonder how it happened.

When I watched the video the following year, however, I caught that missing piece of the puzzle. In fact, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember sitting in shock as the diagram of the man slowly approached that of the woman on the screen and it showed his penis slowly enter her vagina. The idea of doing such a thing left me speechless.

Apparently, my shock and discomfort was visible, because a couple of classmates made commented on my reaction and even chuckled. I suspect that they were amused that I was just realizing what they had known or figured out some time ago. I'm not sure they realized, however, that I was also repulsed by the thought of doing such a thing.

Now that I knew what sex was, I couldn't imagine doing it. I couldn't imagine even wanting to do it. It seemed like a terribly foreign idea. It seemed wrong. And I was painfully aware that I seemed to be the only guy in the class that felt this way - or was at least willing to let others know or unable to hide it from them.

At the time, I just assumed that my reaction was due to the fact that I simply wasn't ready to have sex. After all, I was a good Christian boy, and it would be many years before I would get married. So I figured that this is just something that may change as the time comes. And I suspect there was some truth to that theory.

However, I'll also note that I now suspect that my reaction was also partly due to the fact that I was gay. The simple fact of the matter is that sex with a girl was something I was never interested in, and I think I knew that on some level back then. After all, I was much more fascinated by the idea of sex with another boy when I found out that such a thing was possible.

Unfortunately, I didn't find out about that until I was in the eighth grade. Until then, I remained in a somewhat uncomfortable sexual limbo.