The Birds and the Bees

Nathan Pensky would like to talk to you about being a man.


Knock, knock!

Son, have you got a minute? It’s time we had a talk, man to man. I’m sure you’ve heard your friends at school talking about, you know… sex. And as your father, it’s up to me to lay out the whole disgusting business. I don’t like it any more than you do, but let’s just power through this, okay?

I know how teenaged boys are, with their locker room talk. “Who’s the girl with that butt over there?” and “What’s she got in her shirt, that one?” But there’s a lot more to touching butts than giggling with your friends afterward about who’s got the best butt to touch. There’s a lot of responsibility, too.

You see, when two people love each other, and they decide to become intimate — I mean, you have the interne t, so there’s no point going into graphic detail. But there are some things the interne t doesn’t show you. No, really, there are! Like shame. Shame is all a part of it. You just ride that shame through, and never talk about it to anyone. That’s what sexuality is all about.

It’s also important to have standards. Find the right person. Your friends are going to have a lot of ideas about what is best in the getting of sex partners. But don’t listen to them. You don’t want the girl with the thingies. You want the girl with the best, you know, what’s-it-called. Brain and personality. Those are more important than the butts and everything else.

Just don’t let your penis tell you things. You be the boss of your own penis.

Also, I should say I would definitely, totally not be horrified if you wanted to have sex with guys instead of girls. Or people of the male gender? Is that how you say it? Basically, if you like to touch or rub penises that aren’t your own, you should know that your mother and I are behind that activity 100%.

I’m going to assume you know all about condoms and why they’re important. So there’s no need to talk about any of that, ever. Just make sure you don’t screw that up, because you can easily ruin your life. Again, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by saying exactly how you can totally, utterly ruin your life, so that your mother and I will never forgive you. But just know that you can, if you don’t get the part about condoms exactly right.

But also, have fun! These are the best years of your life, so make the most of them. Get out there! Make mistakes! Spread your seed! I mean, not literally, because that’s frowned upon.

So yes. Responsibility. And respect. You should always be respectful of your sexual partners, whether they be ladies or gentlemen. And God, no, I don’t mean “gentle” that way. That’s racist. Or not racist. You know what I mean. When you have sex with people of any gender, or proclivity, or according to a certain local custom, you should treat them with the respect that you would show your own grandmother.

For instance, if a girl (or a guy-person, the ones with a cock) asks you to “be rough,” you should work out what that means before you get to actually doing it. Rough sex can be a beautiful thing. Or not “beautiful,” but a thing that makes you feel bad and wrong but in a good way, too. But people sometimes have different ideas about what the words, “rough” or “wheelbarrow-style” mean. It’s okay! Figure out which “wheelbarrow” you both are thinking of and just close your eyes till it’s over.

Do you have any questions? Things are a little different now than when I was young, but I’ll do my best. Apparently there’s something called “fisting” now? I’ve done some research, and it seems horrifying, but there are pamphlets and videos you can send away for, if that’s something you’re interested in. Techniques. Please don’t have these pamphlets sent to our house.

I’ve gone a little off the map here. Also, your mother wants you to get a haircut. We’re doing family pictures this weekend. Wear a turtleneck. Those hickies are upsetting.

Photo courtesy of the Nationaal Archief

Nathan Pensky is a writer and editor living in rural Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter.