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SEXtember: Birds and the bees, according to children

WHAT did you understand about sex while growing up? Children, when left to their own imaginations, could get it very wrong. Joyce Naomi shares her hilarious introduction to the birds and the bees and some of the consequences which were much less of a laughing matter. 

Sextember-birds-and-the-bees

For all the progress we have made to become the modern world we live in today, it’s funny how sex still remains a largely taboo topic within Asian households.

When it came to the birds and the bees, my parents went with the typical “you’ll understand when you’re older” rebuttal. Unfortunately letting children come to their own conclusions about what sex is and where babies come from can lead to some interesting assumptions and faux pas.

When I was 12, all the girls were huddled up in a specific room where we were introduced to the concept of menstruation – and even though we were taught about sexual reproduction in the most clinical way possible for science class, I still had a pretty naive idea on how the actual deed was done.

For instance, I thought that a virgin meant a woman who was barren since Virgin Mary was the only virgin I knew.

While I knew the insertion of the male genetalia into another person was necessary for sexual reproduction to happen, I thought that such an act could happen so long as you slept on the same bed with the opposite gender. The fact that sex was also commonly referred to as “sleeping with” someone only served to justify my 15-year-old deduction.

Like most Asian kids, I eventually discovered what sex really was through TV and friends. This, on hindsight, wasn’t the best source of information because TV tends to over glorify sex. It brands sex as the end-goal of any guy attempting to pick up a chick, shames the 40-year-old virgin (as evident by a movie with the exact same name), and perpetuates ideas of what makes a person ‘hot’.

The lack of understanding as to what sex really is has some serious ramifications. I have witnessed many friends who struggled with anorexia, bulimia, inferiority complexion (myself included). The list is endless.

Shielding your kids from media with remotely suggestive content or using the ‘you’ll understand when you’re older’ line is not the best way to tackle the birds and the bees.

While it is always going to be awkward for parents to do ‘the sex talk’, I really do think there are benefits to educating children when they are young, and cultivating healthy attitudes towards sex: Sex is beautiful when it involves two mutually consenting adults who completely trust that the other will not judge them for their sexual preference or go anywhere beyond what the other isn’t comfortable with; and yet, sex is not the be all and having plenty of sex does not necessarily lead to great relationships or marriages either.

Aside from understanding where babies really come from, I do hope that my future kids have a well-rounded foundation about what sex is, or at least a strong enough foundation on which they can constructively work out what their friends, the media and the world think about sex.

Got a funny story to share involving sex misinformation? Let us know in the comments below! (You can leave an anonymous comment, we won’t tell!)

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  1. For years I thought oral sex meant talking dirty, and didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. Also once found myself embarrassed after being informed that “condom” is not short form for “condominium”.

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Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

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