My reproductive organs, as far as I know. (Click to buy the Happy Uterus on etsy, and then email me and tell me why in the world you did that.)

Hey ladies, are you being kept in the dark about your health?

My reproductive organs, as far as I know. (Click to buy the Happy Uterus on etsy, and then email me and tell me why in the world you did that.)
My reproductive organs, as far as I know. (Click to buy the Happy Uterus on etsy, with or without “egg” and “flow,” and then e-mail me and tell me why in the world you did that.)

I remember being in the fifth grade. It was a great year for me. It was the last year I was really popular.

One day, we got separated from the boys and put in a room. The light was turned out. A tape was popped into the VCR. The teachers disappeared to the back of the room. The tape started.

The tape told us our bodies were going to go through A Lot of Changes. Among these changes would be body hair, liking boys (I was way ahead on that one), and, of course, Your Period.

There were some images of a teenage girl running through a meadow, some close-ups of hairy armpits, and that was it. The state of Texas considered us duly informed about Our Changing Bodies. We were allowed to go to recess.

Around the same time, my mom sat my brother and me down in the living room, put a tape in the VCR, and left the room. I don’t remember anything about the tape except a guy who I thought was Fonzie playing some kind of musical instrument while singing a song called “Penis is the Proper Word.” I am not making that up. (If you want to view it, here it is, but please be warned: it is the most hilarious thing you will ever see.)

That was the last time my mom mentioned sex to us. If you call that mentioning sex.

Now, I’m not saying that too much information about sex is a good idea. I was a virgin until after high school, but my good friend had a mom who told her everything about sex, and she had a baby at 17.

Truth is, information about our reproductive health is different from being taught sexual positions in grade school.

At age 11, I had very vague ideas about what a period was. I knew it meant I would bleed once a month, and that’s about it. My grandma was at our house when it happened. As I was hustled off to the bathroom, I remember Mamaw saying, “She’ll feel better now.”

This mystified me. I would feel better? Really? For the record, I’m still waiting to feel better.

In high school health class, we got the usual drill – “the uterine lining is shed blah blah blah” – and then one day we were ushered into the auditorium where a dynamic Mexican man gave us a talk intended to (a) convince us he was our “homeboy” and (b) make us scared to death of sex. This consisted of giant projected images of diseased genitals accompanied by harrowing explanations given in a hip, “with-it” fashion.

I didn’t learn anything else about my menstrual cycle until I started having lady plumbing issues in my 20s. Even then, I learned little bits and pieces, but the whole process never really came together for me. No one ever mentioned the follicular phase, the luteal phase, ovulation, or how hormones were involved. Even when I was prescribed progesterone cream, they didn’t tell me which days of my cycle to use it. I used it incorrectly for months before I discovered and fixed the problem myself.

A couple months ago, when my husband and I started trying to conceive, I began learning about timing ovulation, but I still was confronted more with a hodgepodge of information than with a coherent explanation of the entire cycle.

I am a member of a group called New Wave Feminists. We are reclaiming “feminism” from the people who have corrupted it. We like to talk about what we are for, not so much what we are against. So instead of being against abortion, we are for the sanctity of life. Instead of railing against pre-marital sex, we give a big thumbs-up to hot marital sex.

We are not down with artificial birth control, but we are so down with the natural functions of our lady plumbing.

But why do we care so much about it? And what does it have to do with abortion?

Moreover, if we haven’t learned how our bodies work from teachers, parents, or doctors, how can we learn it?

Join me tomorrow, and I’ll tell you.

  • Basset_Hound

    Dear Kristen…..

    You are an articulate woman with intelligence and integrity. I’m sure you and your husband have a wonderful relationship and that you would make excellent parents. Years ago, I had a close friend who struggled for years with infertility. I pray that your and your husband’s efforts to conceive a child will prove fruitful (pardon the pun).

  • 3 letters: N.F.P. Go get ’em girl.

  • Useing natural timing is a good way to end up with a kid when you do not want one, my good friend has 5 unplanned children in a 2 bedroom home
    , because God will take care of her birth control if she uses his method… 5 kids later she is using B.C now, because she has finally realized what free will means. Where can I find a pro life feminist group who is also pro condoms? Honestly I love you girls, but as a married woman who enjoys hot protected marital sex, if anything happens to my husband I will go back to having hot protected pre marital sex. Oh and guess what, my high school health class was awesome when it came to explaining sex, cycles and how it all works. I explained things to my mother that she didn’t know, and very few of the kids in my grad class who took that class ended up pregnant, the ones who did were the boozers, can’t blame that on the school. Anyway, if you really knew me you would know I am anti public ed, but I have to give credit where credit is due, and Mrs. Egdburt rocked our health class, it was one of my favorite subjects.

    • Was your friend using NFP or the rhythm method?

    • Bubbalouwee

      I love the folks who raise large families and place a much higher priority on God and human life than material possessions. I also like the idea of God planning children instead of human beings playing God and planning their children. Now days, people can check out sperm donors and egg donors and practically design their own baby. I thought Hitler and the Nazis were extremely bizarre, but modern day USA is even more bizarre. And modern day USA uses human embryos for research and discards many human embryos after trying to manufacture babies through invitro fertilization. God is the creator of life and human beings should NOT be playing God.

  • TexanGirl

    NFP! is great!

  • I’d really prefer people with your experiences influencing what goes on in Bible Belt sex ed than the status quo for sex ed, which, for the most part, is an un-regulated sticking of kids’ heads in the sand. Continue with the abstinence prioritization, fine. But sneak some real science in there, too. It sounds like you were disappointed with the lack of real science in your own state. And on that, we might agree.

  • Amy

    I really appreciate the way you talk about this. I was ten or older before I wanted to know anything about this, and (due to my mom faithfully homeschooling me for 7 years), I did not have to sit in a crowded classroom and have to say “male anatomy” words out loud. I am still very reserved when talking about sex, despite the sex-saturated conversations I often hear at school. Who wants to eat lunch while a group of people is discussing who’s done what with who and whether or not oral sex “counts”?

    Anyway, my mom has always told me that I can ask her anything, and she has provided me with solid resources to look at if I want to. They’re not pornographic at all and make sense. I opted to take an online food and nutrition class instead of a standard, co-ed, health class… I just figure that I don’t need to know all of the specifics of sex since I’m not married.

    Just curious—what do you think of school programs that promote awareness of HIV/AIDS (I don’t have a problem with them) but that also teach about how to put on condoms and use dental guards? I’m talking at the high school age, by the way. (I avoid the presentations like the plague—no way am I holding up a sign and reading it out loud if its talking about condom use and using the male anatomy word. Way outside my personal boundaries.) I think kids should be responsible, but do you think that it’s helpful to kinda promote abstinence ant then say, “Since you won’t keep that virginity vow, here’s how to do __________ to stay protected while you do ___________ with someone”? (I found a sticker in our school bathroom that said, “Virginity pledges break more often than condoms.”)

    • Amy

      And I meant that I don’t mind learning about HIV/AIDS but dislike the other aspects of the presentation. And I am not opposed to learning the scientce behind things, but I think our society has turned sex ed into “how-to” ed and teaches the attitude of, “It can’t happen to me,” rather than responsibility. Just to be clear. But I like what you’ve said a lot.