By Deonna Kelli Sayed
“Come to the kitchen,” Ibrahim says. “I want to show you something.” My 13-year-old son towers over me. A thin layer of newly sprouted moustache sits above his lips, which are now shaped in a comical twirl.
“This is Day 1,” he says, as he turns the kitchen faucet to a trickling stream. He opens the valve a bit more.
“And by Day 3….” The water is full speed now, splattering against the dirty dishes in the sink.
He is explaining menstrual flow to me, his mother, and he is proud to know such secrets. This is after he provides a short explanation of why a woman bleeds every month. Don’t tell me why, I challenge him, tell me how she bleeds.
“The thing inside peels off skin….”
“You mean, the lining of the uterus sheds?” I offer.
“Yes! That is it. It sheds,” he says, as he continues narrating the journey of ovum to unfertilized blood flow.
The conversation started when I asked him what he had learned in sex education that day. He is the only Muslim in his mixed gender class, enduring an abstinence only curriculum that promised not to discuss masturbation, sexual intercourse, or homosexuality.
“What is there to talk about then?” I inquired. He shrugged and muttered that one can’t get into too many details as both girls and boys are in the class. And yet, they teach a vagina song, and not one about the penis, because perhaps the vagina is more complicated, he speculated.
It is all complicated, I say, this love and sex business. Continue Reading…