Back before you had “The Talk” or “Found Your Dad's Magazine Stash," sex was a mystery. Anatomical misunderstandings, confusing euphemisms, and irresponsibly prudish parents led generations of America's youth to have ideas about sexuality more bizarre than anything you could possibly see on a webcam.
It was a little uncomfortable, but we asked a wide group of well-adjusted adults to share their strangest misconceptions about sex from childhood. Here are the results.
“I thought sex was when a woman made you a sandwich after rubbing the bread on her breasts.” - Marty, 34
“Sex was when mommy and daddy rubbed their butts together.” - Jordan, 29
“I imagined one big sperm came out, the way a baby does.” - Travis, 33
"I went to a sleepover in middle school and was told to imagine that the girl I had a crush on was represented by the living room couch. Then I proceeded to 'have sex' with her by belly flopping from the arm of the couch onto the pillows (presumably her body). Yep, that's definitely what sex is like." - Jason, 31
"Basically I thought you just put your weenus in the girl's belly button while you kiss her, then her belly button starts massaging it, sort of like a wet shiatsu massage machine." - Andrew, 33
Literal blow jobs
“I used to think a blow job entailed, quite literally, a lady exhaling air onto genitalia. Which doesn't sound altogether terrible?” - Matthew, 34
There's a lot to learn from Freddie Prinze Jr.
"In early middle school I used to really like this move called Down to You starring Julia Stiles and Freddie Prinze Jr. I probably shouldn't have been watching it at that age, but I did. So at one point Julia tells Freddie Jr. (the two are dating and in love) that she 'slept with' another guy at a party (who happened to be named Jim Morrison, but that's beside the point). He then gets really angry, she's all sad and apologetic, there are lots of tears, they break up.
"I remember being super confused about this and thinking, 'All they did was sleep together! Why is it such a big deal??' I thought she literally meant sleeping, like I was envisioning them in a bed just sleeping next to each other. Like they got tired at the party." - Rachel, 23
“I understood the concept of penis in vagina, but assumed you had to stuff it in flaccid, like Play-Doh into a mold, then bump together until you peed at the same time and magically the baby was made. Also, being proactive about contraception from a young age, this is the same reason I always flushed the toilet if there was already pee in there. Not trying to have any toilet babies, ya feel me?” - Devendra, 27
"I thought the vag was located exactly where a guy's penis was and that it was a permanently open circular hole, located roughly 3in south of the belly button and completely covered up with pubic hair. Then you just put the penis in and wait a few seconds while an invisible cloud of sperm went into the ever-open hole. This is all after you pushed open the pubes." - Morris, 34
"I thought that once I had masturbated it meant I wasn't a virgin anymore and somehow my parents would find out and be PISSED." - Daniel, 31
Between the sheets
"My mom told me that my then-stepfather peed on the bed and she rolled into it and that's how my little brother came to be." - Juan, 40
Like a virgin
“I asked my mom if Madonna invented sex. She said no, and continued driving the minivan.” - Harrison, 28
“I was terrified of becoming pregnant as a kid, and I don't mean being worried about having one in the future, I mean me as a little kid carrying a baby. I thought you just had to want one and if you asked for it you'd be pregnant. This caused much anxiety.” - Jennifer, 29
Private baby holes
"In my childish research I concluded that babies came out of some private hole. I thought the birthing process was just like going to the bathroom. That's extra embarrassing since I am a girl and should have understood my own anatomy a little better." - Sara, 23
“I remember hearing my friends make jokes about [semen] in fifth grade and having a vague idea of what it was, but I thought it was mustard colored and had the same sticky, elastic consistency as chewing gum.” - Jess, 30
Just stick it in
"Anatomically I knew what went where, but I thought that you just stuck it in and then laid there; I didn't think you moved around or anything. I didn't even consider that there was some sort of goal, so my version of things made total sense." - Taylor, 26
Sleeping isn't sex
"I grew up in a super-conservative home, so I originally thought sex was when you slept in a bed with a boy. Just sleeping. Every time I had to share a bed with my brother, I was terribly afraid of spawning mutant children." - Bridgette, 21
What masturbation isn't
"For some reason I thought masturbation meant sucking our own dick, which I told to all of my friends. Later my sister corrected me, and I had to break the news to my friends that I was wrong." - Christopher, 28
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