Birds and bees business
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THE semi-pornographic lyrical genius of dancehall music, raw expressions in the streets, and general moral debasement on social media would have outsiders believing that Jamaica is on trend with awareness and unorthodox thinking when it comes to sex education, but truth be told, when it comes to sex and sexuality, we’re as puritanical as the English protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Sex education is taboo, those who talk about it are seen as fast and inappropriate, and the result is that entire generations of women and men enter adulthood without the slightest clue about the birds and the bees.

Think this is far-fetched? At what stage of your life did you have the condom conversation or any about birth control, pregnancy, and intimacy? For many people this happens with friends, media, books, or in relationships. We asked people: In which phase of your life did you get proper sex education or education about your body and the birds and the bees? Their responses may surprise you.

Janice F, 43:

I was 21 years old, working, had two intimate relationships under my belt, when a co-worker told me that I had two holes (openings) down there, one for urine, and another, the vaginal opening. So big, big me, who had been with two boyfriends, argued with him, and he told me to look when I got home. To have a man explain female anatomy to me seemed absurd, but he was right. I had been through school and university and became a big woman, and didn’t know this.

Charmaine W, 40:

I thought that if you jumped up and down after intercourse you couldn’t get pregnant, and when that was proven to be a myth after my first child, I then embraced douching as a way to kill the sperm. I wasn’t a teen mother; I had my first child at 23. And no I wasn’t stupid, I attended a traditional high school and graduated with 10 subjects, including biology.

Audrey P, 32:

When I got married there’s a lot I had to Google, just basic stuff about men and women. I blame it all on growing up really conservative, and us both saving ourselves for marriage.

Tamara B, 30:

My experience was kinda different, I read a lot and watched a lot, and my parents were pretty open. But I found that, because nothing was taboo, I did a lot of things with partners that I thought was normal, and that all people did, only to learn that they were not. So in my case I was oversexualised, and that wasn’t a good thing either. Balance is important.

Liz C, 38:

I thought that a woman could get pregnant at any time of the month, and the concept of ovulation confused me as I’m not really a maths brain. My doctor had to literally get paper and draw a calendar with arrows and sticky notes to explain what times in the month I needed to have sex with my husband to get pregnant. Looking back now, I’m a bit embarrassed, but I truly just didn’t understand. That was just a few years ago, in my late 20s, by the way.

Kelly L, 25:

My older sister got pregnant twice as a young woman, and later told me that she was surprised because she thought the pull-out method would work. My parents bought her a book about a woman’s body and that’s how she went on the pill.

ALAISHA THOMAS

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