"So," said Dr. Jennifer Long on a sunny afternoon in the year 1962. "Tell me why you've come here today."
Jack and Jill sat in chairs opposite the doctor's desk, side by side.
Jack said, "We were hoping you could help us."
"What would you like help with?"
"We've been married for a year and a half. We'd like children. Our parents want grandchildren. They keep asking if Jill is pregnant, but she isn't. They said we ought to go see a fertility specialist."
"I see. OK, first things first. You have been having relations regularly?"
"Relations?" asked Jack.
Husband and wife looked at each other uneasily. "Um, what are sexual relations?" asked Jack.
The doctor maintained her neutral demeanor with some effort. "Sexual intercourse."
The two continued to look at her blankly.
"Where a man's penis delivers semen inside of a woman's vagina."
The two looked at her with wide eyes. "I'm sure I didn't hear that right," said Jack.
Jill just looked at her with mouth agape.
"It is necessary in order to have a baby."
"It sounds obscene. And incredibly gross!" said Jill.
"Um, what's a vagina?" asked Jack.
"It's a thing women don't discuss with men," said Jill, nose in the air.
Dr. Long noticed that the two were sitting with arms and legs crossed, angled slightly away from each other.
"What does marriage mean to you?" she asked.
"That's obvious," said Jack.
"We live together, and sleep in the same bed at night. We go places together as a couple and socialize with other couples."
"I cook for him and keep house, and he works to make money."
"Do you ever hug or kiss?"
"Sure, we sometimes have a quick hug and kiss in the morning before Jack leaves for work, and at night when he comes home," said Jill.
"Um, when you share a bed together, do you ever face each other?"
"Sometimes, though our knees bump into each other then," said Jack.
"Do you ever spoon? One facing the other's back."
"Oh, yes, we do that sometimes," said Jill. "He sometimes puts his arm over me."
"Does your chest touch her back?"
"Do your bodies touch lower down, like the fronts of your thighs against the back of hers?"
"We did that a few times," said Jack. "But it wasn't good."
"How wasn't it good?"
"Well, I'm not sure I want to talk about this, um, in front of Jill."
"If you want to have a baby, this is the sort of thing you'll have to talk about with each other."
"When I hugged her that way, sometimes my, um, you know, male organ, um..."
The doctor noted a frown form on Jill's face.
"Sometimes it changes."
The doctor said, "It gets long and hard, perhaps?"
"Um, yes, that's it. And it's embarrassing. I didn't want Jill to know, so I made sure the bulge in my pajama bottoms didn't touch her. I've been scared to ask -- is that swelling normal?"
"Oh, yes, that's normal. That's one of the steps that needs to happen to have a baby. Jill, when you're hugging Jack's back or he's hugging yours, do you ever notice any sort of change in your private parts?"
Jill looked away, slightly pink. "I was taught not to talk about female things in front of men."
"With a husband and wife it's different. They need to talk about their private parts. Especially if they want to have a baby." That wasn't strictly true. What they really needed was to do things with their private parts.
"Well, yes, I have sometimes felt a bit uncomfortable down there."
"Perhaps a little warm, or tingly?"
"Um, yes, that's one way to describe it."
Jack looked at her with interest.
"Have you ever seen animals mating?"
"No," said Jack. "I've heard people mention it, but I never knew what they meant."
"Me neither," said Jill.
Dr. Long sighed inwardly. Just how clueless could two people be?
"Well, OK, here's the story. You know how babies sometimes look partly like their father? Not just their mother? Did you ever wonder how that works?"
"A little, maybe," said Jill.
"When we animals -- in this way we humans are just like the animals -- want to make babies, a part of the father has to go inside the mother's body."
"Yes, I've wondered about that!" said Jack. "But I never knew how it worked."
"It's through this act of sexual intercourse. All women have a vagina, which is an opening between the legs with a tube extending up inside the body."
"They said babies came out of some opening -- is that the one babies come out of?" asked Jack.
"Yes, it is. But it is also essential to getting a baby started."
"You know about your vagina, Jill. Where you put a tampon, for instance?"
"I've never used tampons," said Jill.
"But you are aware of an opening down there."
"Well, the urine and monthly blood have to come out of something, obviously," she said, looking very prim.
"Actually, they come out of different places. The urine comes out of a tiny hole, but just behind it is a hole that is larger -- or potentially larger. Nature has equipped us women with this tube for the exact purpose of welcoming a man's penis into our bodies."
She looked back and forth between Jack and Jill. She hoped they weren't going to faint.
"When the penis is long and hard, it can push its way into that tube. Semen then comes out of the tip of the man's penis. When he withdraws his penis, the semen stays behind, and that's the part of a man that starts a woman's baby."
Husband and wife both looked like they might throw up.
"It is perfectly natural. In fact, both women and men are designed by nature to find this activity pleasurable. Most men and women want to engage in sexual intercourse, once they find out about it." She might have added, "which most do before or during puberty, after which they think about it constantly."
Husband and wife looked at her with furrowed brows.
"Now, at any given time a vagina isn't necessarily able to receive an erect penis comfortably. It is much better if the woman is sexually aroused, for instance if the area is rubbed gently for some time beforehand. This causes fluid to be released so the vagina's surface is more slippery. Lubrication."
"Like monthly blood?" asked Jill.
"No, it is very different. When you felt yourself getting a little warm down between your legs, that was the first step in that process. It starts happening naturally when a man touches you."
"Is this semen you mentioned another name for urine?" asked Jill.
"No, it is different. I presume Jack knows what it is. It is whitish and thicker than urine."
Jack looked blank.
Dr. Long sighed out loud. "Here's your homework before our next session."
"We need to come again?" asked Jill.
"If you want a baby, yes, I think that would be wise. You need to go to bed with your lower parts exposed, both of you. Jill, explore with your fingers until you find your vagina. Other than your anus, it's the only hole you could get your finger into. Then you ought to press your fingers gently between your legs outside your vagina, kind of like this." She demonstrated with her fingers in the air. "Pay attention to what feels good, and do those things. You should notice feeling warmer down there, and if after a while you slide your finger into your vagina a little, you should notice it being wet. Do that for about ten minutes."
Husband and wife both looked horrified. Should she go on? Maybe suggesting intercourse would traumatize these two.
"Jack will likely notice his penis getting long and hard."
"I'm supposed to let him watch?" asked Jill, incredulous.
"Yes. If it doesn't get hard watching, he can use a light stroking motion. Then Jill, you should gently touch his erect penis to get a sense for what it is like. And you should guide Jack's finger to your vagina so he understands a little about what it's like. Push his finger a little inside the vagina. Then report back to me next week on what happened."
"But that won't give us a baby," said Jill.
"No ... but you seem so uncomfortable that I thought we should take this in steps."
"No, we can take it," said Jill. "Tell us how to make a baby."
"OK, if you both feel comfortable with it, Jack can slide his penis into your vagina as I mentioned."
"That sounds kind of awkward and difficult. I'd have to be awfully close to her before my, um, penis would come near this 'vagina' you say is between her legs," said Jack.
"Yes, you need to be very close. Your pelvises will be right up against each other, touching."
A pale Jill looked at Jack. "I think we'd like a second opinion."
"That's fine. Or you could ask your friends or parents, and they likely also know the basics of how to make babies."
At the second session, Jack and Jill seemed to want to make small talk indefinitely. Dr. Long had to interrupt to get down to business.
"So, did you try the homework I mentioned?"
"Um, well..." said Jack.
"Sort of," said Jill.
After a brief silence, Dr. Long said, "Say more. You don't have to do this at all, of course, but if you don't figure out this process you will never have children."
"Did your penis get long and hard when you lay naked next to Jill?"
"Um, yes, but it felt embarrassing. Kind of dirty and crude."
"Did you touch it, Jill?"
"Yes, I did. I agree with Jack -- it felt dirty and crude -- and very big."
"And did you rub yourself for ten minutes?" asked the doctor.
"Yes, I did. I guess it got wet. But I felt gross. That whole part of me is dirty and disgusting."
"Well, the general area is involved with excretion, but this is a special way of using it that is beautiful and natural. The vagina is different from the urinary opening and anus, even though it is very close to them."
"This 'vagina' also has its monthly discharge, which is even dirtier and more disgusting," said Jill.
Dr. Long had a sudden fear. This couple didn't have much common sense. "Was your vagina discharging at this time?"
She felt relief. "Good. You should put off these things and only do them during the parts of the month when there is no blood coming out. During those times the vagina is perfectly clean and suitable for a penis."
Jack said, "The idea of putting my penis into her vagina ... God, it sounds obscene just to say that ... it seems impolite -- violent even. A violation of her body. And she is so sweet and I wouldn't want to hurt her."
The couple turned to each other and gave forced smiles.
"This act is kind of special. You should try to stop thinking about it in terms of these parts of your body and how you think of them normally. You can think of it as a specific thing nature has arranged for you to do to make babies. These parts are designed to fit together. Jill, do you feel like Jack's penis inside your body would be a violent invasion?" She regretted it the moment she'd said it.
"Well, yes. I've always been taught that those parts of me are private, not to let anyone else see, certainly not a man. And to touch -- heavens no! And to ... invade ... it really does sound very impolite and even violent. An invasion. This is what rape is right? Horrible, horrible rape?"
"If the woman is not willing, then it is rape. But if she is willing, it's just sex. And it's how you make a baby."
"One more thing," said Jack. "If I did manage to put my penis inside Jill, what would I do to make this stuff ... what's it called?"
"What would I do to make this semen come out?"
"Ah, you can practice that separately, on your own. If you grasp your penis with your hand and rub up and down like this..." She demonstrated with her hand in the air. "First your penis should get hard, and then if you do that motion for a while, paying attention to what feels good, the semen is likely to come out all by itself. That's called ejaculation. It will be accompanied by an intense good feeling. The whole thing is called an orgasm."
"And Jill, you can also practice by yourself in advance if you want. If you rub yourself as I said, paying attention to what feels good, and keep going, you might get an intense good feeling too -- your orgasm."
"But that's not required to have a baby?" she asked.
"No, it isn't."
"Good! So we can skip that part."
"Your good feeling isn't required -- but Jack's is. Jack, after semen has come out, your penis will shrink back to its normal size. It will take some time before your penis will get hard again or able to ejaculate. So if you do that exercise, I would wait at least a day after before attempting intercourse."
"OK," he said cautiously. "So you said something about putting our pelvises really close together?"
"There are different ways to do this, but I'll tell you the easiest. Jill, you lie on your back with your legs spread wide apart."
"Naked?" she asked, frowning.
"Yes, naked. Completely naked. And do this after you have rubbed yourself for a while to make yourself wet. Then Jack, you move up on top of her."
"With my head down at her feet?"
Dr. Long summoned all her professional gravitas to keep from giggling -- which in these circumstances could easily proceed to hysterical laughter. "No, like you're hugging. Hopefully your penis will be long and hard. You then arrange so your penis is at the opening of her vagina."
"What if I can't find it?"
"Well, Jill can grasp it gently and point it at the right place. Oh, and Jill, with your other hand, you could hold the flaps at the entrance to your vagina open so they aren't in the way. Anyway, Jack, once the tip of your penis is at the opening of the vagina, press gently forward. There may be some resistance, so keep pressing harder. Before too long, the tip of your penis should slide into her body. It might hurt her a little the first time, but it won't last long."
Jill looked alarmed.
"It's part of making a baby. All women go through it once. If the penis doesn't slide in easily, try adjusting the angle of your pelvis, Jill, or the angle you press in from, Jack. Got it?"
Both nodded reluctantly.
"So, Jack, then you press your penis in and out like this..." She demonstrated the motion with the curled fingers of one hand receiving the index finger of the other."
"Move back and forth? That's very disrespectful -- obscene!" said Jack.
"Well, give it a try. If you do that, it is likely that before long, you will get that intense good feeling and semen will spurt out the end of your penis."
"So that's how I know we can stop?" he asked.
"Yes, once the good feeling subsides you can withdraw your penis again."
"Will that hurt, when the semen fires into my vagina?" asked Jill, gulping.
"No, that part will not hurt you. You probably won't feel it at all."
Jack sighed. "So we do that and it will make a baby? I think we could manage to do that, Jill, right? Just once?"
"Oh, to have a baby you should do it over and over again."
"Right then? You said before that once the semen comes out he can't do his part again," said Jill, triumphantly, as if she had caught the doctor in a lie -- that this was all a mistake and they could then discover the dignified, polite way to make a baby.