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Humping U
By Kristin Newman

I never liked getting help with my homework. I don't know whether it stemmed from being an only child who spent a lot of time figuring out things on my own, or whether it was due to the great luck of realizing early that I was born smarter than everyone else. But I would rather get it wrong a hundred times before finally finding the right answer than get it right the first time with instruction. And so, while many people learned about sex in one fell swoop via an awkward yet well-informed lecture, I chose the slightly less efficient route of piecing together Everything I Know About Sex over about twenty-five years, relying on nothing but my keen observation of the world around me. Which turned out to be kind of like teaching yourself how to sail by walking across a desert.

Early Education, Years 0 - 6

The journey started with Jason, who was my best friend in the zero-to-six portion of my life. He lived next door in a house that I was not allowed to enter due to an eclectic array of Jason's relatives, none of whom were his actual parents, purportedly raising him in between shotgunning Coors Lights and filing for disability. Jason had a toothbrush at my house, which my dad made him use before driving us to nursery school, and a weight problem that my mom tried to counterbalance with baggies of carrots and celery that she handed him as we headed off.

One day, Jason's happy home was visited by a new family member -- Jason's cousin, a worldly eight-year-old number made over by her large-haired mother to look like a tiny transvestite. ("It's never too early for body glitter!") Jason and I thought she and her multi-colored eye shadow were beautiful, and one day, in the midst of an afternoon mud-pie making session, Jason delivered some news:

"We humped."

I put a final acorn "chocolate chip" on my mudpie and looked up. "You what?" I asked. "We humped," Jason repeated. "You know what humping is, right?" "Yeah," I scoffed. "But tell me what you think it is."

So he told me. And he was pretty much right, it turns out, save a couple of details. For one, Jason told me that a man and a woman must "hump" for EXACTLY two minutes if they wanted a baby. This misunderstanding, I suspect, came from overhearing a complaint from a female family member regarding the duration of an inadequate humping she had participated in, but this is just conjecture based on, well, subsequent experience. Anyway, Jason gave me the scoop, and while it turned out, mercifully, that the humping that he and his cousin had participated in had been of the fully-clothed, play-acting variety, the cat was now out of the bag.

So, that was it! Now I knew it all! Anyone, related or not, could put some things in some other things for two minutes, and then babies were born. But, it turned out my education was not over.

Secondary School, Years 7-13

The next few years brought a patchwork of new and exciting pieces to my ever-expanding quilt of humping knowledge. One would think that the dry-humping cousins would be the most upsetting piece of the story, but that would not be true. My grandfather's testicles burst into the picture in the late seventies via an accidental sighting as they poked out of his far-too-short Dolfin shorts. No sooner had I shaken off this experience than I walked into a conversation about how my other grandfather, post-prostate surgery, had had a pump installed in his very own set of gray, shriveled fellas so that he and Grams could hump well into their eighties. So, okay, two new pieces of information: pubic hair turns gray, and some people like this humping business so much that they want to do it with each other forever.

Now I had to know more. Jason's description of things, and the sight of what I would be humping if I did hump into my golden years, made me think I had not gotten the whole picture. So, being the intellectual giant that I believe I previously mentioned I was, I turned to literature for a more thorough understanding.

First, I went to my aunt and uncle's copy of Joy of Sex, which I hid in their bathroom so that I could study the pencil-drawn renderings of exuberant, undergroomed humpers. This shed some light on what must be so fun about this whole thing -- it was like gymnastics! Floor routines, but for couples! I loved Mary Lou Retton! Encouraged, I did some further research, and came upon a new twist on the old theme: the discovery of page 354 in Flowers in the Attic, which did the public service of teaching nine-year-olds that incest is actually super hot. (So Jason was right!) I rounded out my readings with a much passed around, dog-eared copy of Judy Blume's Forever, which covered more traditional acts of love like naming a boyfriend's penis. It was while pitching ideas for what my friends and I would, once we were out of fourth grade, name OUR boyfriends' penises, (the current Duran Duran craze led to lots of Nicks, Johns and Simons) that my Girl Scout camp counselor decided both Forever and I should maybe be sent on home.

"Show me the rule against reading!" I shouted as they called my parents. "My mom was right when she said the Girl Scouts are a paramilitary organization!" I yelled for good measure.

So I had learned the mechanics: I knew what went where, and how you could do it rightside up or upside down or in a hammock or with a couple of friends or, if you had spent your blossoming years locked in an attic, with a sibling. The point being that by the time my parents, in hour eight of a road trip, turned down the Crystal Gayle, adjusted their visor mirrors so they could make eye contact with me, and asked, "Kristin, do you have any questions about, you know, sex?" I was informed enough to snort "No," and go back to quietly fantasizing about getting fingered by John Stamos.

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