When I was five, these two brothers down the street used to take me behind Mr McLachlan’s garage so we could drop our pants. One was four, the other six. They wanted to touch dicks together and sort of floppily slap them back and forth. They eventually cut me out of the circle jerk because mine was always getting hard and we’d have to wait for it to go soft again. They only wanted to slap floppy dicks. It’s the first time I remember being turned on.
I taught myself to jerk off — twice. For years I used to bunch my duvet together into a “person” and hump it. I nearly died the first time I ejaculated. Not from pleasure but from fear. I had no idea what it was. I humped my way through early childhood until I was fourteen. We had a dial-up modem and the family computer was in my room. I found homo stories online and one talked about using your hand to pull your foreskin back and forth over your head till you came.
I tried on and off for over a year with no success until I realized that the reason it hurt to pull the skin like that was because I was cut and had no foreskin. No one told me I was cut. My own mother taught me my penis was called a dinkle-donkle. I tried jerking with lube and almost lost my mind. I ditched the duvet.
I learned to suck dick with a guy from school on the night of the Quebec referendum. I hated it and threw up all the way home. Later someone else showed me how to do it and like it. Now I do it and love it and teach others to do it too.
My first boyfriend and I got hammered and taught each other how to fuck when I was 17. I taught myself how to deep throat from reading a guide book and practicing on friends last year. This summer a friend and I stopped in the middle of fucking so he could piss in my ass and it tipped off this ongoing water sports thing. And last week a buddy showed me how crazy it feels to get fucked and whipped at the same time.
All this is in stark contrast to my sex ed classes in junior high with Mr Walls, the phys ed / health teacher who moonlighted as a youth group leader at a local evangelical church. Mr Walls taught us that everything — everything! — led to grey frothy discharge. Heavy petting? Grey frothy discharge. Pre-marital sex? Grey frothy discharge. Unplanned pregnancy? Grey frothy discharge and the wrath of Jesus Christ on your head forever and ever to boot.
Unfortunately for Mr Walls, Phil Donahue did a special on this bogus abortion video being shown in health classes with clips of faux-fetuses piled up in back alleys on the very same day that Mr Walls showed said video to my class. I mentioned it to Mum, who sicked Abortion Nancy on the poor born-again bastard.
Abortion Nancy is an old family friend who worked at the local abortion clinic. When parents complained about the fetuses-in-back-alley video, the school admitted the holier-than-thou sex ed teacher may have been a poor choice and offered to balance it out by having Abortion Nancy guest present in Jim Walls’ health class about genuine pregnancy options. That was a fun day.
Last week the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS) reported the results of a national survey in which 88 percent of respondents expressed support for adopting standardised sexual education in all Canadian elementary schools. And it wasn’t just double income no kids (DINK) couples tipping the balance either — households with children are 84 percent in support.
At the high school level, 97 percent of Canadians support standardised sexual education. Monique Doolittle-Romas, Executive Director of CAS called on “all provincial and territorial governments to end the current inconsistencies and inadequacies in educating our nation’s children and youth about HIV and AIDS.”
Because that’s the missing piece of the puzzle, isn’t it? Those two brothers and the masturbation stories I found online and my pal who pissed in my butt — they’re all great teachers. But we’re in the midst of a sexual health epidemic in which two new Ottawa residents learn they’re HIV positive each week and the rate is rising. Put in context, our provincial government’s decision to leave sexual health education up to the whim of school boards, principals and proselytizing teachers seems downright irresponsible. Gay men are still carrying the heaviest HIV burden in Canada. Grey frothy evangelists and bullshit fetus videos need to be held to account.
Doing online sexual health outreach in gay chat rooms for the AIDS Committee of Ottawa, multiple men ask me every day about the risks of oral sex. They genuinely have no idea. (It’s low risk.) If not at home and not at school, where do we expect men who have sex with men to learn the facts essential to our survival? Lifesaving health information should not be optional and should not be left to teachers’ discretion.
With sexual health curriculum already under the microscope in Ontario, it’s time we demand standardized, evidence-based, and explicit sexual health education for queer and trans children in every school in Ontario — with an eye on the picture nationwide.