On Sex Edith by Edith Zhang

When I was ten, I saw a penis for the first time

It was a diagram in my health textbook
I was innocent like a blank piece of paper
with the male reproductive system pasted onto it
because that’s what I learned in middle school.

But like most aspects of middle school, I tried to forget it all

Sex Ed was full of people asking questions like
Isn’t a wet dream just when you wet the bed?
How exactly do you put on a condom, not that I’m planning on using one, but like, how?

When I was eighteen
I went to a frat party
And somebody grabbed me from behind

Now I forgot most of what I learned in sex ed
But I think he had what is called a ‘boner’
But knowing what it’s called did not help me in that situation
Because despite
Acing every genitalia test we got
I’m no sex expert
I have slept with

Stuffed animals
Still order happy meals
Still get hit on by overachieving middle school boys
All I know is diagrams
And how to put a condom on

A banana

And that having sex makes babies
And I don’t want babies
But this feeling still is really appealing
And I don’t want to tell you to stop
Even though I know I’m going to regret it in the morning

That’s what happens when you hit puberty
Or rather, when puberty hits you
In the face,
With a hammer,
While screaming
I’LL EFF YOU UP

Your body changes and you feel awkward and sad
Or your body doesn’t change and you feel awkward and sad

When I was five
I thought porn was shorthand for popcorn
that horny meant
with horns
and balls were for pokemon

My best friend was the boy next door
We used to lie on his creaky old hammock swinging side by side, until we were synchronized, going through the back and forwards, ups and downs together
To a five year old that’s called marriage
Love wasn’t defined by kissing, grinding, dating, or sex
It was just having somebody to share snacks and trading cards with,
I think sometimes we forget that not everything changes when you get older
Sex isn’t necessary to make love
Slugs can have sex
And I think we’re at least more complicated than slugs

I love my friends, family, tumblr, cats, dogs, ice cream, Harry Potter, comics
If loving is so easy for me why is sex so hard?
Why did I feel so easy when he got hard?
Do I even want to do this?

I have so many questions
That I cannot ask a teacher
The only way to learn is to do it
When the time comes
I hope I’m mentally prepared

I won’t cheat
But mostly
I’ll be sure I’m ready



Edith Zhang
University of Michigan

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