13 People on How They Found Out About S-E-X


here is a famous Indian parable about a group of blind men, each of whom has come into contact with a different portion of an elephant’s body — the side, the tusk, the trunk, etc. They each develop a different understanding of what an elephant looks like based on the fraction they have personally touched, an abstract part informing an even more abstract whole.

Though unintentional, it’s the perfect analogy for learning about sex when you’re still a kid. You’re piecing together different pieces of a picture you can’t fully understand yet — an overheard conversation, a movie scene, an explicit yet not entirely comprehensible “talk” with one of your parents, a joke cracked during recess… and, to make matters even more confusing, your collection of pieces might appear to say something entirely divergent from what your friend’s collection of pieces appears to say.

In hindsight, though, that’s what makes the early stages of sex education so hilarious. It’s rife with misinterpretation, startling revelations, horror, intrigue and everything in between. That’s why I asked 13 people to tell me how they first learned about S-E-X (in haiku, because why not?). Read them below and add yours in the comments.

(If you’re in the mood for more, we’ve also written haikus on riskidentity, birth control, sexvirginity, first kisses, giving birth, pickup lines and puberty.)

Slides designed by Emily Zirimis.

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