The Birds and The Bees: Literary Style

Thankfully, my parents never sat me down for ‘The Birds and The Bees’ chat.  Instead, they wimped out and let a motley crew of Gym teachers do the dirty work for them. 

Little did they know, I was waaay ahead of the game. Everything I wanted to know (and some stuff I didn’t!) about sex was gleaned through reading. It started innocently enough with fellow New Jersey-ite and famed YA author, Judy Blume.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was a rite of passage for girls in my fourth grade class back in 1983. The book made breasts and monthly visits from the ‘period fairy’ seem like the hottest commodities in town. Looking back, I just laugh darkly, thinking how little we knew.

By 6th grade, someone had purloined a copy of Blume’s Forever from an older sister and the book made the rounds. Entire sections were highlighted and notes were written into the margins in girlish scrawl. We learned that boys name their packages! Eeek!  Worse yet–we were supposed to touch said packages! Would the horrors never end?!

By 8th grade, I was on to the big leagues.  Judy Blume was for amateurs–I was reading Jackie Collins and certain sections of The GodfatherV.C. Andrews did her best to introduce me to incest and other heinous acts, while Collins provided such graphic detail when it came to sex-scapades that my cheeks are turning pink  just thinking back on Hollywood Wives

So, am I alone in my literary sex education or are there more of you out there?  It would make me feel better to learn I’m not a freak, so lie if you must.

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14 responses to “The Birds and The Bees: Literary Style

  1. I followed exactly the same path as you – I read all the Judy Blumes and then all the books by Virginia Andrews!

    I also read all the Sweet Valley High books to find out about relationships (but don’t tell anyone!)

    I got almost all my information from books!

  2. The lady I babysat for read Harlequin romances – whew. Was that a learning curve.

  3. I read lots of natural history books.

  4. I also read Judy Blume. By the time I was “mature” enough for it, it was that time between “belts” and “adhesive”.
    (side note: anyone know if they revised the book to reflect The Great Advances in Feminine Protection?)

    I snuck V.C. Andrew into the house as well as other novels with shirtless men on the front. The library was down the street and I’d constantly be questioned on the maturity of the material.

    Oh, and dad had a stack of National Lampoons. Funny, they disappeared shortly after my hormones started going bonkers.

    nat says: i do know that they updated AYTGIMM to reflect the changing times and feminine products.

  5. LOL, my mom (since I didn’t live with her) wimped out and threw a book at me right as I was getting ready to board the flight home. I will say this – it was VERY informational.

  6. Hahahahaha! This post made my day! The joys of being a third grade kid with and eighth grade reading level…

  7. I started out in 4th grade with Wild Orchids by Karen Robards and never looked back.

  8. Holy cow! Did my mom raise YOU too?! Sounds about right. I remember all of these books!

  9. I don’t have to lie! These books are exactly where I received my sex education classes as well! I remember a friend of mine and I going to the library after school to sneek reads of Forever because we were too embarrased to go to the library counter and actually borrow it! Ahh, the memories..

  10. I read Peyton Place in middle school. It’s seared on my brain.

  11. Yup! That sounds about right. 🙂

  12. These all sound scarily familiar. I was only chatting with a friend the other day about whether Twilight will be the Flowers in the Attic of the current generation.

    And Sweet Valley High! What naive thoughts about what high school would bring were inspired by these.

  13. Hah, I’m too old for young adult books to have given much in the way of revealing details. Howe-v-e-r, my mother’s reading material did yield exactly what I needed in 6th grade … “Coffe, Tea or Me” had a sex scene I must have read over and over, and one of those popular-in-the-sixties sex manuals provided all the details I needed!

  14. Ooh, this brings back memories. My sisters were all over Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High, but I’m with you.. Judy Blume and VC Andrews, definitely, my teachers. Also, Sidney Sheldon haha. At fifth grade, reading about women being raped by other women in prison, that was eye opening.

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