Content warning: don’t read this if you don’t want to read about childish misunderstandings of how sex and genitalia work.
When we received sex education in Year 3 (ages 7-8), I had a few subsequent misconceptions. (Poor word choice, maybe. Misconstrue…ments? Is that a word?) A lot of them didn’t get cleared up until Year 6 (ages 10-11) and 7 (11-12). For starters, I thought puberty was ‘buberty’ because I never saw it written down until Year 6.
For some reason, I was afraid of pooing too hard and shitting out my vagina. I don’t mean pooing out of my birth canal (though that would be extremely grim); I mean actually pooing my mutton tube out of my body and having it land in the toilet. No idea why I thought that, apart from perhaps that a vagina looked vaguely like a poo in the diagrams (which also didn’t accurately convey that an unoccupied vagina lies flat and isn’t a constantly-open void).
They told us that sperms are microscopic (something that didn’t get through to a fellow pupil in secondary school, who thought sperms were tadpole-sized), but not that they are conveyed in a liquid medium and are emitted only upon ejaculation. I thought men constantly exuded a miasma of sperm wherever they went, and that because the sperms were microscopic they’d drift through the air and float everywhere. I was scared of sitting anywhere a man had sat or walking where he’d walked, in case I got pregnant.
Later I learned about sperm being suspended in liquid, but because they didn’t properly tell us about ejaculation and wanking, I assumed that people who donated sperm had to have a needle inserted into their bollocks to extract the sperm. Kind of jealous that half the population can donate gametes for science just by wanking into a cup instead of by surgery. The closest I’ll get to tossing off for science is if they repeat that experiment with a woman flicking her bean in an MRI scanner.
I had to get all my information on menstruation from my mum and from books. Sex education taught us only that the uterus grows padding, then sheds it if unneeded. I assumed that meant I’d piss it out. From internet anecdata this seems to have been a common misunderstanding. It’s interesting that the birth canal is mentioned but its separation from the urethra isn’t made clear – and that ‘vagina’ is used for the whole cunt and not just the birth canal. Did they think learning ‘vagina’ and ‘vulva’ would be too hard for us?
I don’t remember learning anything about cocks, even though my schools’ sex education was never gender-segregated. I think I was about 18 when I learned penises have muscles, for example (and was then disappointed to learn that most penis-owners can’t make them go like meatspin under their own power).
I don’t remember where I learned about the existence of the clitoris (might have been Year 7). I certainly wasn’t taught in school how big the clitoris really is and that it isn’t just the nub. I was pretty angry when I found that out – pleased to have learned something new about my body, but angry that this information had been kept from me. I’ve also only very recently learned that cis women have prostates (formerly called Skene’s glands). You could argue that we don’t really need to know about these things to have sex, but it’s too fascinating not to tell! The ‘seam’ on the underside of a cock is effectively fused pissflaps that developed differently – like a caterpillar’s munching jaws morphing into the butterfly’s proboscis. That’s amazing. Why wouldn’t they tell us this?