A Girl’s Awakening

An excerpt from a new Lena Dunham profile:

Dunham developed an intense dread of sex as soon as she learned what it was. From the evidence presented on Girls, it’s unclear whether she’s ever fully gotten over it. “I’d come up with a theory that I thought made a tremendous amount of sense,” she says, “which was that you’d lay next to someone you loved, you wished for a baby and then the sperm and the egg met through the pores of your skin. My friend Amanda was like, ‘No, a man puts his penis in your vagina,’ and I was like, ‘This is the worst thing I’ve ever heard; this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.’

I do remember distinctly the moment this dawned on me as well. I was in a Catholic elementary school, aged 10. We had a class on the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. I listened dutifully and then asked: “What’s a normal conception?” I saw the headmaster’s eyes roll back a little; he sighed; there was always one like me on most classes; and he then launched into an empirical discussion of the mechanics of sexual intercourse and procreation. All because of me! And what I remember about it is that I thought it was completely preposterous. He puts his what in where? It seemed utterly weird. I could maybe accept it when it came to rabbits, I thought on my walk home. But my mum and dad? No way.

Alyssa’s two cents:

In the first season of Girls, Dunham was confronting her childhood fears of having sex. Now the show is daring Hannah to not just go to bed with someone, but to enjoy something she once was scared of and didn’t understand.