Distaff distortions

Dear Readers: Last week we were treated to the childhood sexual misconceptions of my male readers—a shocking number of which involved piss. This week it’s the girls’ turn. …


My grandma on my dad’s side liked to come in while I was sitting on the toilet, doing number two, and tell me, “That’s how your mommy had you! One day — poop! Francie came out!” I guess she thought it was cute or something. When I was done, I would stare at my own poop while it swirled around the green ceramic toilet bowl of my grandma’s toilet, feeling vaguely disconcerted. —Francie Fuckin’ Freaked

When I was about 7, my older friend Annie told me that the way a man and a woman had sex was that the man put his middle finger inside the woman’s belly button and twisted from side to side. That’s why they called it screwing. This really screwed me up because when I would sit on my dad’s lap he would sometimes rest his hand on my belly and absentmindedly put his finger in my belly button. When another friend told me the truth about sex, I was totally grossed out. I told her that she was lying and proceeded to tell her about belly button sex. —Belly Button Creeps

Growing up I heard the term “screwing” to describe fucking. As I had only ever seen a penis when it was soft and it had looked quite large to me, compared to the small place between my legs where it was to go, I thought it was called screwing because you had to somehow “screw” the penis around and around to get it in there. I spent many hours puzzling over how this would actually be done. Did she rotate on top of him? Did he somehow manage to turn it around and around while staying in one place? Just how did a man manage to screw that big soft thing into such a small tight hole? —Strange Tales of Really Interesting Embarrassing Situations

I discovered masturbation when I was in the fourth grade, home from school with nothing better to do. It soon became a regular after-school habit. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I just knew it felt damn good. What really scared me, though, was my aroused, engorged, and very tender protruding clit. Not knowing what it was, but fearing I was harming myself, I went to my mother’s biology textbook (she was a teacher) and looked through the parts on the human body. Of course no sexual or genital organs were included in this high school text. What was pictured was the large and small intestine. Ohmygod! I thought I was mutilating myself, and my intestines were coming out of my body. Each time I came, I tried to push my “intestine” back into my body. It scared the shit out of me, but didn’t stop me from masturbating. —Child’s Play

When I was around 8 years old I asked my mother what a homosexual was (she had called our neighbor one). She told me that “homo” meant “same” and “sexual” meant “sex.” So I thought, “Oh my God! I am a homosexual because I touch myself! This is awful! I am going to hell!” A year later I asked my mother how homosexuals had sex with each other. She said, “Through their rectum.” But she must have scratched her nose while she said it, because I thought she was saying that her nostril was the rectum. Since I had NO CLUE what a rectum really was, I was horrified once again. “Oh my God!” I thought. “That must hurt like hell!” So for years I thought that gay men were weird and disgusting because they fucked each other’s noses. I was so relieved when I realized they were butt-fuckers and not nose-fuckers. I was also relieved to know that I was a homosexual not because I touch myself but because I like to touch other women. —No Objects Shall Enter

I have two funny stories about sexual misconceptions. The first one is not exactly about sex, but close enough: When my brother was about 15 years old, he was well aware that girls had periods. However, I think he watched a little bit too much TV, complete with maxi pad commercials with demonstrations. He thought that women’s periods were blue, like the liquid they would show being poured into pads to demonstrate their absorbency! He’ll never live that one down.

Another one is from when I first became a teenager. My friend and I were trying to figure out exactly what handjobs were, since some of the boys had been tossing around the term. (I had visions of rubbing a guy’s penis back and forth furiously between my hands, as if to start a fire.) An older, more experienced girl explained, “Well, it’s kind of like getting that last bit of ketchup out of the bottle. It’s the same kind of wrist movement.” This was back when glass bottles were more popular than those squeeze ones. Even though I’m in my late 20s now, I still can’t help but laugh if I see someone giving a handjob to a glass ketchup bottle in a restaurant. —The Mave

My mom, in that super-calm instructive voice she used to sound extra-casual, told me, “A man helps a woman to have a baby.” She also said that “a man puts his penis inside a woman’s vagina.” So I spent a lot of time imagining a man and a woman on the operating table in the hospital, both flat on their backs, their legs scissored around each other. I figured the man’s foreskin must form a suction cup that attached to the baby’s head and helped to pull it out. —Ann

When I was 13, my girlfriends and I met these older guys (in their late teens/early 20s) and went back to their house. I had a crush on one of the cutest boys in the group. When we were alone talking he asked me if I knew how to make a guy “come.” I said yes. Excitedly I said, “You mean we should go out with each other.” I thought he was using some mature way to describe “going steady or going out.” I ran out of the house with my friends when he told me what I had to do to make him “cum.” —Once So Young and Innocent

Dunno how funny this will be to you, but my friends find it hilarious (particularly when they’re drunk): My mother was a categorical man-hater and all my life described how evil they were and how they would fuck you blind and leave you pregnant. So the first time I was naked with a guy wasn’t until I was 22, and wasted out of my mind in order to deal with the fear my sweet mother instilled. So there we were, making out in the darkness of his room, and eventually he asked me to give him a handjob. I was so afraid to even touch his penis he had to gently guide my hand “down there,” and when I touched it for the first time I was completely shocked that it was just oh-so-soft skin. I almost expected it to leap out and attack me. As I began to caress it, I just got so caught up in the moment … I couldn’t help but exclaim in my drunken wonder of this thing I had feared: “THAT’S IT!!??” He was none too thrilled at my comment, not quite getting the profundity of the revelation. —Also Laughing at Myself Now


Just can’t get enough of this “childhood sexual misconceptions” stuff? There are more girls’ sexual misconceptions here.

Next week in Savage Love: Back to the ol’ Q&A.

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About The Author

Dan Savage

Dan Savage is a sex-advice columnist, podcaster, and author, and has appeared on numerous television shows. His sex advice column “Savage Love” first appeared in The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative weekly, in 1991. The column is now syndicated across the United States and Canada. He has published six books...
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