Whether in the back of a bus, on their birthday or on their childhood bed, everyone remembers their first time—their first time learning about sex, that is. A familiar story for most pubescent teenagers, the way in which one learns about sex can influence how they think about sex later in life and even dictate how they talk to their own kids about sex.
Two Columbia students—sophomore television major Skyler Daniels and sophomore cinema art and science major Corbin Eaton—retold the stories of their first times learning about the birds and the bees. From a trip to McDonald’s to general confusion on the mechanics of sex, anyone can relate.
THE CHRONICLE: How did you first get “the talk”?
EATON: It was my 13th birthday, and my family had all gone out to celebrate. I wasn’t eating at all because I was really nervous because I thought, ‘Okay, I’m 13 now, I’m going to get the talk.’ I thought it was going to be so awkward. That night, we’re walking back to the car, and I was like, ‘Can we just get it over with?’ My dad’s like, ‘What do you mean?’ ‘Just tell me about sex. I’m 13 now, you have to tell me, right?’ He said, ‘No, I don’t need to tell you this.’ And I was like, ‘Okay. Can we get McDonald’s on the way home?’ Then he told me like a week later.
DANIELS: It was when the school was supposed to tell you how sex works. I came home crying, and my parents sat down and were like, ‘This is it. This is the sex talk. Do you have any questions?’ One of my biggest questions was: I know the ‘stuff’ comes out of the boy, but why don’t the sheets get all wet every time? Where does it all go? Why are you not constantly cleaning up after?’ And my mom looked like she [was] disassociating, and she said, ‘Skyler, the penis goes inside the vagina,’ and I [went], ‘WHAT?!’ She said, ‘How could you possibly have had the sex talk at school and they neglected to tell you that the penis goes inside the vagina? What did you think happened?’ ‘That the penis shot out and you just sat in the juice!’ My mom said: ‘Shut up. Apparently Kansas has failed us. I’m going to tell you how sex works. Right here. Right now. Using my hands as diagrams.’
Where did you fill in your sex education holes?
EATON: Porn. My friends would be in middle school like, ‘Hey, look at this.’ I would just realize, ‘Oh, people are into that, that’s interesting.’ But the talk was very basic—‘It goes in there and then boom.’ I used to think it was just peeing when I was a kid, so I was like, ‘I’m going to drink a lot of water before I sleep with my wife.’
DANIELS: I learned how [Bondage Discipline Sadism and Masochism] works from my mom. My mom got weirdly into “50 Shades of Grey,” … and then I was over here getting mad because … I heard that it was abusive. She sat me down and told me how BDSM works. Inside my head I was like, ‘Mom, please tell me you know all of this because of your prolific book knowledge.’ [But] my mom can’t for the life of her figure out how lesbian sex works. She was like, ‘Is there tickling involved? Where would I even start?’ I was like, ‘First of all, you’d have to take off your acrylics.’ So that’s the one aspect of sex I educated my mom about.
How would you explain “the talk” to your kid?
DANIELS: I would get my mom on the phone.
How has “the talk” impacted your current sex life?
EATON: [Religion] has always affected my view of sex. When I told my mom I lost my virginity—which was at Columbia during a tour because they were giving out condoms—holy sh*t, it was great. She cried. We’re very open now.
DANIELS: Maybe learning how sex works from my mom made sex awkward for me.