Last night, my nine year-old son and I were watching the Simpsons, and there was a pun involving an erection.


The Son: Mommy, what’s an erection?
Me: Gasp.
Me: Um, let me see in what context. [rewind to see. Yup, it means what I think it means.] Gulp.
Son: You don’t have to say (he’s seen my face, and is worried he said something wrong).
Me: No, it’s fine. An erection–deep breath–is when a boy or man’s penis gets hard.
Son: Oh. Oh, I’m sorry. Oh. Okay. [he is now way more embarrassed than I could ever be].

So, yeah, my first foray into the Facts of Life. And, since I was stuck on what topic to write about today, kind fellow Twitter-er Andrea Pickens suggested I talk about teaching sex in the Regency.

Uh . . . basically, country-born kids who weren’t idiots could figure out, through observation, that their parts worked similarly to the farm animals around them (and perhaps gave rise to the first utterance of “hung like a horse?”). But what about city-raised or particularly obtuse kids?

Then, perhaps, it was up to the parents.

I learned about the machinations of sex through reading my mom’s salacious books. The Regency Miss (or Mister) didn’t have Rosemary Rogers (or adult magazines) to help, however, so then it was up to the same sex parent to explain. And you can bet that some parents didn’t explain at all, either because they were embarrassed, or didn’t care, or whatever.

Can you imagine what would happen the first time?

We’ve talked about it before, but given all this, it seems as though our heroes and heroines, if they’re virgins, know a lot more than they likely would have. But then again, it is romantic fiction. If it were literary fiction, perhaps the author would show all the awkwardness and fumbling; we just show the bliss.

Who explained it all to you? Or did you read about it, like me? What is the silliest sex myth you’ve ever heard?