I’ve had the same English teacher for the past two years. He looks like a besweatered Santa Claus with a thing for quirky ties. He’s loud and snarky and tells a lot of stories. He also talks about sex. This is one of two classes in which talking about sex is even remotely acceptable. The other class is my Christian religion class, and when we do talk about it, it’s in a weird, “connect with each other” type of way that won’t offend anyone.
The other week, a student raised her hand and asked, “Why do we talk about sex so much in here?” I was quick to say that it was a part of the human experience and, therefore, a part of literature. Except I didn’t say it like that because I’m goshawful at expressing myself when I speak. Regardless, my response earned me many a disgusted look. I knew that this girl’s question was a reflection of the numerous conversations my classmates had had about how creepy it is that our English teacher “enjoys” talking about sex. I never said anything in those conversations—I say very little at school and wind up annoying everyone when I do—but I always thought that it wasn’t sex that this teacher enjoyed discussing. It was literature. He enjoys talking about books and poems and everything. Also, people enjoy sex. SHOCK. But really, in every classroom in our school, that statement would cause considerable upset.
This one girl I know in my math class often talks about how afraid of sex she is. I once heard a rumor that she thought fingering could get you pregnant. WTF?!? Whether she really was that naïve or whether it was just an act to appear stupid, I was shocked—perhaps more shocked than my classmates were when I mentioned the undertones of rape within The Use of Force by William Carlos Williams, or the subject of abortion in Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants, or that time I mentioned female desire in passing. These instances earned me some stank looks from certain girls and everyone just wanted to move on. Heaven forbid I’m not someone who believes that sperm shoots out of people’s fingers.
It’s like everyone around me has an anti-obsession with sex, and it drives me crazy. It’s like we’re not allowed to talk about it or think about it or else we’re SUPER WEIRD, which is frustrating. SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX. Now let’s move on with our lives, kids. ♦