5 Surprising Places I Learned About Sex

Illustrated by: Anna Sudit.
I was born in the early ‘80s, which means I came of age right around the time that the internet was going mainstream. As a kid, and even through a lot of my teenage years, the internet was still something of a fringe interest. Some people had it, but certainly not everyone; and since going online still required tying up the phone line, it was a lot harder to do in secret, away from the prying eyes of parents.

Which may explain why — unlike today’s youth or even people just a few years younger than me — I didn’t learn about sex from the internet. There were no late-night porn viewings or frantic Google searches for whatever confusing term I’d heard on TV; I didn’t grow up going into sexy chatrooms and exploring scenarios with strangers (I should probably note here that, for the bulk of my Wi-Fi-free teen years, using the internet required being in a room directly connected to my parents’ bedroom, or being at one of their offices; as a risk-averse kid, I decided the danger of searching for sex info under those circumstances held little appeal).

But just because I wasn’t watching porn clips or scrolling through sites like Scarleteen, that didn’t mean I was completely in the dark about sex. So how, exactly, did I learn about sex in those days before the internet? Well, a few different ways, which I’ve outlined ahead.

The gap between what we learned in sex ed and what we're learning through sexual experience is big — way too big. So we're helping to connect those dots by talking about the realities of sex, from how it's done to how to make sure it's consensual, safe, healthy, and pleasurable all at once. Check out more here.