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The Inheritance of Sex-Ed

Sex-Ed, through the generations - an inheritance from a father to a daughter.

At the age of 11, I learnt about masturbation in one of the many sex education books that my father had brought me. He was afraid that I would grow up with misplaced notions and misconceptions about sex and sexuality, and wanted to ensure that I learnt early and learnt right.

Over the years, we have had several conversations about sexuality, boys and changing bodies. In one of those, he told me about his discussion regarding masturbation with his father and grandfather.
This poem is about that –

My grandfather

a married man
with a quiet wife
a solemn face
and rich eyes
tells his son
that masturbation
will make him weak.

My great grand father

a man who was left behind
whose wife ran away
later married a widow
who also died
a lonely man
tells his grandson
that nature is perfect
and pleasure is too normal
to be avoided.

My father

all of fourteen
with his curious eyes
darting from his father
to his grand father
just sits and smiles.

After few lifetimes,

my father
with mirthful eyes
tells me this story
and raises his hand
to the divine
and says -
thank you. thank you.

Zainab Kakal is a poet.

Image source: Jean Paul photography.

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