Friday, May 17, 2013


The UGGs are on, and so is the cardigan. Melbourne's gone cold.

Today I taught at a girls' school - a group of Year 8s - and it was fantastic. They were great, I was great. Sorry, can't help the hubris but you gotta own it, don't you? When I finish a session that's gone well (I'd say 99% of them) it's like I imagine a stand-up comedian coming off stage after nailing a show. The high is immense; the feel-good of having done good work, connected with the audience, gotten the laughs where you wanted to, had them thinking where you wanted them to.

At Year 8 we teeter on the edge of explicit stuff, keeping it just this side of confronting. We keep it to the theoretical in a way, and try to deal with what they are facing, realistically, in their lives now and within about 6 months or so. Some will be starting to be sexually active, most won't. Some will have partners they kiss and cuddle with, some won't. For me, today the session was more about 'what's it like growing up to be a woman?' and what are some of the things we have to think about. It's good to get their opinions and responses, invite them to think about what some of the choices they might have, and might have to make. Body hair is a simple one. How do they feel about shaving and waxing? At that age, it's not quite about vulvae yet, it's about legs and armpits. It's not about us standing up and telling them what's what either.

One question that I ALWAYS ask groups when oral sex comes up with (or we bring it up): Is oral sex 'real sex'?

And no one ever puts up their hand to agree.

They don't count it as real sex, which it isn't if you think real sex is only intercourse. But then, I ask them, how do gay or lesbian couples have real sex? If you only count it as penis in vagina sex, then how do other people lose their virginity? If they don't have a life-time of penis > vagina sex.

Interesting questions, all of them.


And in other news, there is no other news. Let's call it publisher three has asked for an extra week. Publisher one (the one who LOVED it and is now in turmoil with the 'internal stuff') my agent hasn't reported anything from, other than that she was trying to find out if there was still any hope for my book. She doesn't hold much hope herself, she said, but there's still a chance, I guess, we haven't had a no. Publisher two is one from the original group who passed and apparently has been asking again. So that's it. No YES, one sniffing, one asking for more time (do not know if this is a good sign or a bad sign)


and one silent.


I am as understanding and at ease as Naomi Watts in Club Silencio in Mulholland Drive. The good thing is: wine, fish & chips tonight, plenty of writing time over the weekend and into next week AND then next week also, me and old chicken-foot Clokesy head off to Hong Kong for five days. Nice.

And GO CATS. Geelong and Collingwood play tomorrow night. 3/5 of our household is COLL; 2/5 are pro-Geelong people. Interesting.


suze2000 said...

I read a dirty book as a child (I know... shhh! I think Mum never found out) in which a character wrote in her diary about losing her virginity on a blanket under the stars and the multiple assignations for sex afterwards. The mother who found the diary was more shocked about the lover in question turning out to be a woman than the girl's teacher. Anyway, I agree that oral sex is a sex act, but I don't think that's IT even for lesbians, and we know that gay men don't stop at that, so I tend to agree with the kids that it's not "real" sex. The other thing is, at their age, there's soooo much pressure about losing virginity/not losing virginity and everything in between, the distinctions on sex acts would be very black and white for them.

Sorry about the lack of news on your book. I feel embarrassed to ask as I possibly should know this, but is it your first (publishable) book or should I already be able to find you in my local independent bookshop?

Anonymous said...

Well, I think part of the role of an educator sometimes is to make students think about why the things they think are black and white aren't so much. If oral sex doesn't cut it, what is it that lesbians can do that is "real" sex? Does "real" sex mean with a penis? Does it have to be in a specific orifice? I had a similar discussion with someone about this topic once and argued them down to the farcical position that "Even if a woman had oral and anal sex thousands of times (but no vaginal penetration) she was still a virgin. But if she was to open her vagina with, say, a speculum, and the tip of a penis was to pass the outermost threshold (without making physical contact) and then immediately withdrew, that would constitute loss of virginity". Obviously this is silly, but I think it also helps to show how silly it is to try and define things like "real" sex; which is something youngsters probably should be having a good think about if this seems important to them.

And I think Melbs is presently a book-publishing virgin. Which is part of the excitement at the moment, no?

Also, who ended up celebrating after the footy, the 2 or the 5?

Anonymous said...

I think the most recent Oglaf is somewhat relevant.

That, and I just like sharing Oglaf comics with people.

suze2000 said...

Your penis-speculum image makes me snicker. I'd love to close a cold speculum around that penis and show men what it feels like. No, I don't believe "real sex" means with a penis, especially in regards to girl on girl. But I imagine SOME sort of reciprocation must be involved before I'd consider it Real Sex. Oral sex can be very one-sided (how many BJs have I given compared to what I've got back?), so I guess that's one of the reasons why it could be dismissed as Not Real Sex.

Anonymous said...

Now you've got me snickering. I'm thinking about how much some blokes sook when it comes to one-finger prostate examinations.

Oral sex can be completely reciprocal, so long as the height difference isn't too great. But also, any form of sex can feel one-sided and nonreciprocal, with the other party "going through the motions". Something you may have experienced once or twice, no?

Melba said...

Hi Suze, no remain unpublished novel wise... here's hoping soon some news.

Interesting back and forth about sex, appreciate the contributions. Real sex can be very one-sided and is so with young ppl especially, research shows it's increasing a lot (compared to slight increases over time in rates of intercourse) female > male more than the other way around (but that's probably not new). Bill Clinton tried to argue it wasn't real sex as in 'I did not have sex with that woman' - poor Lewinsky. I remember feeling sorry for her when that whole thing exploded, she came off badly and he... well, he's fine.

Off to teach Year 7s this morning - babies!

Melba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
little hat said...

The bit that made me laugh in these excahnges is the image of "when the whole thing exploded..."

Great teachers, and to join you in calling it like it is, I was one, are great communicators and great provocateurs. I used to love watching my (year 4)9 year olds get excited about topics we covered. I used lots of drama games and drawing. I can remember that feeling after a great lesson.

As for Geelong - oh well you lose some and I gain some. I refer to the Lions and the Dons.

Melba said...

Thanks Little Hat. Also I meant to say in my last post above, 'oral sex' not 'real sex' in the first mention, as in 'oral sex can be very one-sided...'

Just to clarify, you know.

Anonymous said...

If young people are taking their cues from porn, then I'd say it's to be expected.

My understanding is the only people who perform cunnilingus in pornography these days is women.