Do you remember the first time you learned about doing it? There’s a good chance you were sitting cross-legged in front of your television set, mouth agape.
A recently released survey done by AVG Technologies has revealed that by the age of 10 years old, most children today will have already had their first “birds and the bees” talk with their parents. This is significantly earlier than previous generations. Part of that quick jump to those squirmy conversations is because of how readily available “sex talks” are literally everywhere else — TV, books, movies, music, and of course, porn. You can’t turn on Netflix without also, invariably, learning about blow job techniques or Kegel exercises from your favorite sitcom characters.
Yesterday, Bitch Media proposed an apt question: what has pop culture taught us about sex that we never learned in the classroom? Starting a #PopSexEd hashtag, they sourced the internet for sex lessons that only scripted television and novels could have given them. Personally, Sex and the City introduced me to the funkier shades of semen, and Ben Folds bestowed upon me the complicated truths of dealing with an abortion. And from the looks of other posts on #PopSexEd, it would appear there are a few common themes: Samantha Jones, Meg Ryan, and Judy Blume seem to be the foremost professors of our collective sexual education. Body image issues, agency, the proper order of the “bases,” and sexual tension remained at the front of fictional conversation. These cultural gurus’ teachings might have been a bit less accurate than what we learn from the not-so-comprehensive, fraught American sex education system, but, in reality, that doesn’t make them any less influential. Culture soaks into everything we do, even how we get laid.
Here are some of our favorite #PopSexEd lessons from Twitter.
What role did pop culture play in your sex education? What specific shows, songs, books, or movies had an impact on you? #popsexed
— BitchMedia (@BitchMedia) June 18, 2014
First (and only for a long time) reference to abortion that I remember was Dirty Dancing–we all know how that ended for Penny. #popsexed
— Allison Quantz (@AllisonQuantz) June 18, 2014
— Laura Flynn (@msmightyflynn) June 18, 2014
— Not that kind of Dr. (@jurZeegurrrl) June 18, 2014
— Madeline Ashby (@MadelineAshby) June 18, 2014
Ugh, Judy BLUME. #popsexed
— Social Contagion (@dumbsainted) June 18, 2014
Roseanne was the first time I remember a lot of topics being broached on TV – racism, class, abortion, sex, domestic violence. #popsexed
— Teddy Wilson (@txindyjourno) June 18, 2014