HelloGiggles Team
May 29, 2015 6:00 am

Sex and sexuality are enormous parts of our collective cultural identity. Sexual depictions are everywhere, unavoidable in our day-to-day lives—some are empowering, healthy and life-affirming; some (still, sadly) demeaning and misogynistic. This is all fine and good for consenting adult humans, but how does this information filter down when we’re kids?

 Even within the strictest households, most kids steal glimpses at a late-night cable TV (your softcore Skinemaxes, your Real Sexes) or peeks at the Playboy in dad’s nightstand. And even if we don’t see naked people actually doing it, there are myriad references, nuances, subtleties, ads, makeout sessions in PG-13 movies all around us that, together, begin to form a fascinating, not-quite-accurate picture of adult sex and sexuality. And all this comes before the more formal “information” gathered from awkward puberty guides and rushed-through sex ed classes taught with decades-old materials.

After a recent conversation in the HelloGiggles office, we decided to ask a group of adults what they imagined sex to be, years before they were actually having it. These are their answers.

After a recent conversation in the HelloGiggles office, we decided to ask a group of adults what they imagined sex to be, years before they were actually having it. These are their answers.

“I thought sex was that you just sat on top of someone and bounced.”

“I thought all women wore matching bras and underwear when they wanted to get it on.”

“I played ‘sex’ once by myself and it involved me putting a pillow under my shirt and rolling over it and then pretending to vomit. (I don’t know.)”

“My idea from pop culture was that all sex only lasted 30 seconds with no foreplay and women regularly orgasmed in like 5 seconds (again, with no foreplay).”

“I confused having a baby with sex—because they both involved groaning. I had a friend who forced everyone who came to her house to ‘deliver’ stuffed animals in her bathtub. We’d groan and say ‘push!’ and then pull a doll out of our shirts. I always felt really weird about it. I’m pretty sure she thought that was sex.”

“Based on one specific drawing in the book ‘What’s Happening To Me?’ I thought that erect penises went straight out and were rigid and you had to have sex on a perpendicular. I thought this until I actually had sex.”

“I thought sex was men peeing inside of women.”

“I thought ‘virgin’ meant you had never kissed a boy. As a result, after an uncle sang that ‘sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G’ song about me and a boy I liked, I screamed at a family function: ‘Shut up! I’m still a virgin!’ I was probably like 7.”

“My mom had a lot of 18th century books around the house, since she’s an English professor. As a result, I thought that men referred to their junk as ‘members.’  Fanfiction did nothing to make me think otherwise.”

“I thought that pre-sex make outs involved widely open mouths that moved back and forth like windshield wipers, but no tongue was involved. I thought this because of the scenes from daytime soap operas that my babysitter would watch (which I would also watch, but secretly from behind a chair because I wasn’t supposed to be in the room).”

“I thought that pre-sex make outs involved widely open mouths that moved back and forth like windshield wipers, but no tongue was involved. I thought this because of the scenes from daytime soap operas that my babysitter would watch (which I would also watch, but secretly from behind a chair because I wasn’t supposed to be in the room).”

“This isn’t sex, but my knowledge of reproductive parts: I thought that men used toilet paper to wipe their penis after they peed. I found out this wasn’t true when my family went camping with another family, including their son, who I had a big crush on. He was going to ‘visit the woods’ when I shouted, WAIT! And rummaged around for toilet paper. I offered it to him, happy to be helpful, and he responded with, ‘Um….I don’t have to POOP’ and somehow managed to make it sound so withering. He walked away and I was left holding a wad of crushed dreams.”

“I thought that penises hung straight down between legs, like where the vagina is.”

“I thought blow jobs were very literally just breathing sexily on a penis.”

“I had no understanding of the mechanics of gay sex and thought that one man put his penis inside the other man’s penis, via the hole where pee comes out. I assumed it expanded, like a woman’s vagina does when she gives birth. Since I didn’t have a firm grasp of the difference between the urethra and vagina and kind of thought everyone’s pee hole could expand to crazy proportions, it seemed reasonable, but at the same time, as painful as childbirth.”

“I didn’t get that penetration occurred in hetero sex. Based on movies/television, I thought people just grinded together/humped in different positions, which made me really confused as to how babies were formed.”

“No matter what, both parties are supposed to just make a lot of noise and it has nothing to do with enjoyment or preference, it’s just part of the deal.”

“I thought masturbation was for boys only. (Then I read an article about it in Cosmo when I was way too young to be reading Cosmo, and basically from there thought that the only way women masturbated was by humping stuffed animals? It was a very Cosmo article, and I still didn’t get what masturbation was.)”

“Sex only lasts ten minutes, tops, every time.”

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