When I was in school, I was second to nobody when it came to cracking dirty jokes. I could find an innuendo in anything – but in very real terms, I didn’t know much about sex or about my own body. The funniest part about this was that I didn’t know how little I knew – at least, not until I started dating people.
I got intimate for the first time with my first boyfriend when I was in class 12. We had been together in a long-distance relationship for almost a year when he came to see me. My parents knew about our relationship and were okay with it. So he was allowed to stay at my house when he came to my city. We spent a lot of time talking, watching movies and getting to know each other’s (and our own) bodies. All of this was very new for me because at that time, I was too shy to even look at my own vagina. Hell, I didn’t even know what a penis looked like.
He was rather amused at my complete lack of knowledge, because unlike me, he had actually received sex-ed in school. Also, it helped that watching porn seemed perfectly natural for boys, while girls were expected to stay the hell away. Regardless, he never made me feel bad about not knowing much and gently guided me through the whole process of exploring my sexuality with him. It was safe, fun and positive – and sometimes, hilariously terrifying.
One morning, I went to his room just as he was waking up and we messed around a little bit. Even though several days had passed since he had come (no pun intended), we had decided not to have sex – mostly because we knew my parents were not comfortable with it. But we really wanted to, since both of us were extremely attracted to each other.
At that moment, with both of us fully clothed and him under a blanket, I straddled him so that we could both imagine what it might be like to actually have sex. Needless to say, we were both very turned on. But, since I didn’t understand much about how sexual fluids worked, I wasn’t sure if his pre-cum had landed on the surface of my vagina. At this point, I feel that I should reiterate that there were at least four layers of fabric between his body and mine. Regardless, the wetness I felt between my legs bothered me a lot for the next couple of days.
At that time, my period was approaching. Usually when I’m close to my period, I experience very strong hunger pangs – a symptom that I had heard was also common among pregnant women. Oops! Over those two days I was very genuinely afraid about what had happened, but I was trying my best to avoid addressing it. Eventually, I voiced my fears to my boyfriend. He told me that it was absolutely impossible for me to be pregnant, but I didn’t believe him.
The day after we had this conversation, my mother started acting very strangely. She seemed angry at me, and I overheard her crying in her room while my dad was trying to console her. The tension in my house was very high – and very soon, a fight erupted between her and me.
Through the tears and the shouting, she told me that she had overheard me talking to my boyfriend about my fears of being pregnant – and she was terrified. So, I told her what had happened. Her expression changed right away. She looked very amused. “That’s all?” she asked.
Apparently, you can’t get pregnant by straddling someone over four layers of fabric.
In hindsight, this is one of those embarrassing and funny moments that I never want to talk about. But every time I think about it, I’m reminded of how I learned about the practical elements of sex. I remember talking with other friends (who were in intimate relationships) about how we were learning the technicalities of pleasure from our (male) partners, and from trashy chick-lit novels. I imagined that my first time would be like the sex scene in “Juno”, with him slipping in smoothly and me gasping at the sensation (hymen -what’s that?). But when it finally happened, it was slow, clumsy and bloody enough to make me wonder if I had started my period.
Back then, I was among the only people in my group who had had sex. So, I felt like I had to share my experiences with every girl I knew, because I kept wondering why nobody had given me a heads-up, beforehand. Turns out that wasn’t such a good idea either because – surprise, surprise – everyone’s bodies and experiences are different. Instead of helping my friends, my warnings about stubborn hymens and bloodied, ‘crime-scene’-esque bedsheets ended up scaring a lot of them away from doing something they really, really wanted to do.
In school, having these conversations quietly with other girls felt completely normal – cool, even, as if we were the Women of the World. We felt like we knew a lot – but really, so much of it was just guess-work. Learning from our partners helped us feel connected to them, but we weren’t aware of the fact that we were becoming dependent on them for information. If my partner had told me that my clitoris was actually a tumor, I’d probably have believed him.
Looking back, because my sources of information have usually been peers (who were as confused as me), or movies like “50 Shades of Grey”, I’ve found myself in so many situations where I felt that something was either wrong with me, or wondered why I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. In that sense, the story of my first pregnancy scare isn’t just a silly story to laugh at – for me, it encapsulates how my journey in learning about my body was largely made up of trials, errors and incorrect ideas that I only addressed once it was too late.
The YP Foundation’s KYBKYR campaign 2.0 focuses on the need for young people to have access to sexual and reproductive health and rights information that is fact-checked, evidence based, and sex-positive. The campaign provides resources that assist young people to advocate for access to comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) with the decision-makers and authority figures in their lives, including family members, teachers, and administrators in educational institutions.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.