Last year, ABC News ran a report about how sexually transmitted infections are on the rise “at an alarming rate”. And it’s not just here in Australia, it’s happening all over the world in other developed countries, too. It caused me to wonder, “Did they go to Catholic schools, too?” Because when STIs go up, it comes down to two things – complacency and a lack of education.
I spent my formative years at a Catholic girls school, and while overall, I found it to be a great experience, I’m going to be honest with you – they taught us sh*t all about sex.
To top it off, my parents weren’t much better either. Until the age of 15, I thought a “hooker” was someone who hung curtains.
It all started after I saw Pretty Woman at way too young an age. There’s a line in the film about Julia Roberts’ character being a “hooker”. When I asked my dad what the word meant, he told me to ask my mother. (Classic dad move.) Mum freaked out and told me it was someone who hung curtains, and my young, innocent mind didn’t think to question her.
It was only in high school when I told my friends we had a hooker coming out to our house to install some new curtains that I found out the truth. I turned bright red and my friends understandably spent the rest of the day laughing at me.
I think I was in Year Nine when we had our first sex ed lesson at school.
"The only safe sex is abstinence," started our physical education teacher.
"Having said that, we're going to watch a video..."
The video was graphic. It was a real-life recording of a teenage girl, not much older than us at the time, giving birth. I can still remember it vividly. I can remember her screaming and writhing around in pain, while her boyfriend - a 16-year-old with a greasy mullet and a wheezing cough - sat in the chair next to her bed eating hot chips.
And then the baby came out. At this stage of my life, most of what I knew about childbirth had come from Hollywood. Generally speaking, a woman with a full face of makeup and perfectly coiffed hair would let out a couple of screams and moans, before a perfectly clean two-month-old baby was placed in her arms.