A Glorious Awakening: Everyone Fucks

There will be time to go back and talk about early
childhood, but I’ll start with my first conscious awareness of sex between

I was walking with my friend Carol outside my old Brooklyn elementary school, P.S. 169, when she asked me
if I knew how babies were made.   I had
just devoured a great big greasy slice of pizza and her question made me
queasy.  I was 11 years old and puberty
was making a loud and early entrance in my life.  Yet though I was noticing boys more, and was
filled with romantic fantasies based on the novels and movies I’d read, the
mechanics of baby-making eluded me.   I
was content to leave it that way.  Even
then, I knew I didn’t want children. 
Still, once she raised the subject, curiosity got the better of me.  “How?”

I almost threw up when she told me.  I felt outraged, even personally insulted
when she reported that a man put his thing in a woman’s thing. 

She may have even used the right words for those things but
at the time, those words were so shameful to me, that I didn’t hear them.  All I heard was the impossible: that my kind,
handsome father put his disgusting dirty horrible thing into my evil mother’s more
disgusting dirty horrible thing.

“No!” I choked, “Not my father!” 

It had only been a year since I’d first looked up the word
“penis” in a dictionary at my sister’s house. 
I’d seen the word in a book and had been unable to figure out its
meaning.  When I asked my normally
voluble brother-in-law about it, he turned ten shades of red and handed me the
dictionary before running out of the room.  
His weird reaction only sharpened my interest in penis.  Unfortunately, the dictionary shrouded the
definition in such baroque medical language that I wasn’t really clear on its
meaning until a fifth-grade teacher finally solved the mystery in a biology
lesson about fish reproduction.  

Obviously, I was not raised sex-positive.  My parents instilled a deep fear in me of
anything unsanitary, with an emphasis on the germ-infested pit of ordure that
was “down there,” and forbidding any discussion whatever of everything below
the waist.   As my mother would later
explain, “Nice people don’t think about that.”

The complete lack of conversation about sexuality or
genitals, and the vague dread around the subject, only provoked me to try and
fill in the gaps and find out what was so dreadful about it.  This, of course, led me to reading and to
watching other people’s romantic adventures, and quietly thinking about it for
myself.    Which naturally led to me having
a very different attitude about sex from my family’s, despite my early training
to fear and loathe everything related to it.  

Once the shock of Carol’s revelation wore off, and despite
my initial revulsion at the thought that my parents did something so freakishly
unsanitary together, I began to come around. 
Since that was how you made babies, and since there were children
everywhere you went — I mean, even your own parents and their parents were
children once! – it could only mean one thing. 
Everyone was doing it.  Even dead
people once did it and now their children and their children’s children were
doing it too.   They were all
fucking.  It was amazing! 

If everyone did it, if respectable
Jewish people like my parents and grandparents did it, perhaps there was more
to this fucking thing than I’d ever imagined.  

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