Homeschooling Made Education Sexy. Like… TOO Sexy: Ephraim’s Story

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Series disclaimer: HA’s “Let’s Talk About Sex (Ed)” series contains frank, honest, and uncensored conversations about sexuality and sex education. It is intended for mature audiences.

Pseudonym note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Ephraim” is a pseudonym.

*****

I first discovered porn in the library.

By “porn,” though I don’t mean porn porn. I mean porn like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart meant porn: “you know it when you see it.”

Well, I saw it, and I knew it.

How did I know it? Well, I was 15 and got a boner in the library.

That’s how I knew it.

“How on earth did a 15-year-old kid find porn in a public library in the early 90’s?” you might ask. Well, see, it wasn’t really porn that gave me a boner. Education gave me a boner.

I got a boner from a book about sex education.

That’s the funny part of the story. Now let’s go back to the beginning.

I was taught nothing about sex or human anatomy up until that fateful day. My parents were fundamentalist Christians, they homeschooled me to shield me from the corrupting influences of the world (read: sex education in public schools), and they emphasized modesty and purity on a regular basis. Everyone I interacted with, from homeschool park days to homeschool co-op meetings to homeschool Shakespeare productions, was similarly into modesty and purity. Josh Harris was our patron saint… and probably our holy pin-up boy, since I got the feeling most of the girls I knew thought he was hot but never dared to say so.

Consequently, everything about sex and sexuality and hormones and puberty was shrouded in a veil of mystery and taboo. Like, why was I growing hair in odd places? Why did the girls always speak in hushed tones once a month? No one would talk about these things. They were off-limits. They were dirty.

Taboo.

My family often went to the library to find free literature to read for homeschooling. We’d get history books, historical fiction, etc. Anything our mom approved of. Sometimes I’d be allowed to check out some Hardy Boys books or a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book.

During one visit at the library, however, I stumbled across the Sex Ed for Children section.

Oops.

I don’t remember the title of the book. But the book was about sex. And bodies. And…

…and omg it had pictures.

Cartoonish pictures, of course. But oh wow there were pictures of naked bodies. Like there was a penis. And a vagina. And a diagram explaining menstruation. And something about an “egg.”

I… I felt like I had stumbled across the dirtiest thing I had ever read (apart from certain Bible verses, of course, because we all know there are some really X-rated Bible verses out there. Emissions like donkeys, anyone?).

Anyways. I found this book. And everything I ever wanted to know as a kid about sex and bodies was there. Out in the open.

And I got hard.

It’s kinda embarrassing to think about to this day. (Ok, it’s really embarrassing.) It’s weird and uncomfortable. But I wanted to tell it today because I’ve thought long and hard (no pun intended) about what happened and something struck me the other day:

The reason why something so non-sexual like education about the human body and natural changes it undergoes was interpreted as sexual by me was because that very education was treated as taboo.

My family and homeschooling community literally turned education into something dirty. Into a fetish. They unintentionally fetishized knowledge.

So when I had to (secretly, mind you, so I wouldn’t get caught) educate myself, I felt like it was something bad, something naughty. Seriously, how messed up is that? I was raised in such a way that educating myself about my body felt naughty.

Sometimes I think about that fact and it puts me in a rage. Other times it just makes me laugh. Really, most of the times it makes me laugh.

I was homeschooled and homeschooling made education sexy. But not in a good way. In a too sexy way.

Here’s to growing up?

9 comments

  • Well said! Thank you for sharing. I totally agree.

  • Yes, well said. You’re very insightful. Now go out and enjoy the rest of your life without artificial guilt. Let your hormones be your guide: Find partners who enjoy the kind of sex you do…gentle and tender or rowdy and lusty…or both. Just be responsible and use birth control. You can grow old (as I’m doing at 71) with wonderful memories that will always bring smiles and chuckles. (It helped that I entered adulthood in the wild ’60s.) You guys can invent your own memories by dumping this puritanical Renaissance called Christian homeschooling. Good luck and HAVE FUN!

  • I feel sorry that your parents did not educate you about sex. There cannot be that many people who do that. I am a Christian homeschooling mom and I’m going to be teaching my 8 year old about sexual biology very soon. There is no excuse for parents to withhold biology from their children. I really don’t think the majority of homeschoolers (even the Christian ones) are like this. You are talking about a minority of people who are afraid of sex and the sex talk. Most Christian homeschoolers I know simply don’t believe “education” about sex should include introduction to anal sex, fellatio, “safe” sex and all the other baloney without some balance like sex can give you VD! Here’s some photos of weeping sores! It’s not “safe” and it’s not all fun! The public school system is currently introducing 4th graders to anal sex! This is a practice that is highly controversial and is thought by many doctors to be far from “healthy” due to the chance of tears in the intestinal wall which if infected can KILL YOU. Most people, like me, believe kids need a firm education on basic biology, reproduction, puberty and as they get older on risks and risky behavior. This can all be done at home without encouraging risky and dangerous behavior.

    • My public school sex ed included VD info. Lots. And info on safer sex. It wasn’t titillating. It covered the basics, including abstinence and dealing with unwanted sex (but ALL of it was just barely covered). And I grew up on Marlon Maddox’s fear-mongering, so I was pretty disappointed. 😉 So I’m at a point that without hard proof I just don’t believe the scary ideas about what’s being taught out there. I heard ALL of it, experienced none of it. Interesting experience growing up sort of in that anti-public school culture but going to public school the whole time. I homeschool my own kids now, fwiw. But not to protect them from these things- to protect them from stifling and inadequate educational methods, and bullies. And I’m willing to reassess at any point that we need to.

  • I’m curious as to where in the world 4th graders are being introduced to anal sex. I teach in a public elementary school and I can assure you that the subject has never come up in any class! Nor has oral sex or any other type of sex. I’ve taught 5th grade classes about puberty, but that’s about human development, personal hygiene and growing up, not sex acts. For the record, every teacher I’ve ever worked with would be against talking about anal sex with 10 year olds, because it would be deeply inappropriate!!!!

  • Wow, this is so relatable it’s not even funny. My family was not one of the families that is scared stiff of sex, it just never came up. They just weren’t prepared. Homeschooling wasn’t something they planned out, it just kind of happened. It started as a temporary measure while looking for a private school. By the time they actually realized they should address it I had already educated myself, perhaps a bit too much for my age. I devoured sex ed wherever I could find it. I did have a decent education in female puberty and was well prepared for my period, thank heaven, and as the oldest of six I knew fetal development and everything involved except sex. Thankfully, they were willing to learn from their experience with my next sister and I and are doing a much better job with my younger siblings.

  • I wasn’t home-schooled, but I could have written this myself, except that it happened in 4th grade. I attended a conservative Christian school, but we weren’t isolated enough that I could have made it to 15 without learning elsewhere. Nonetheless, at 4th grade I was completely clueless until I found the sex ed books. I was interested in science, and I think the kid’s sex ed section was next to the biology section. While my parents never instilled the sense of sexuality being dirty, I “knew” it was something deeply secret and private, so I intrinsically knew it wasn’t something my parents would approve of me reading about in a public library. Each visit to the library I would go back to that section and read a few more pages while my mom looked at magazines, always careful to be done well before she would come to get me. I still didn’t get it all, though, so being complete nerd, by the age of 11 or 12 I began “innocently” asking indirect questions about sex, hoping to spur my parents into telling me more. Eventually it worked, with the immediate prompt being a question about why electronics cables were labeled “male” and “female.” (Yes, really: I learned about “sex” based on computers as my anatomical analogue.) All in all, this was never really a problem for me, but it will be a lesson to start talking with my kids more gradually at a younger age.

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