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Sex education paints a picture of a more innocent time

Mum and dad’s house is packed with weird and whacky things from a lifetime of weird and whacky travels. An African tribal mask that scared the crap out of me as a kid so they thoughtfully stored it away on top of a cupboard – the cupboard in my bedroom, where it lurked at night, peeking over the edge with its sunken demon eyes.

A taxidermised piranha fish from Peru that’s extremely cool and I used as show-and-tell right through my primary school years, and then into high school, and even during my early 20s when I brought it out on dates (I needed all the help I could get). A carved Indian ivory elephant which nobody likes because it’s made out of elephant tusk – and worse, it’s in the shape of an elephant, which is like serving up a meatloaf in the shape of a cow.

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And in pride of place on the living room wall, the first thing you see when you walk into the house … a beautiful Sri Lankan oil painting of a naked Sri Lankan man and a naked Sri Lankan woman having passionate Sri Lankan sex. It’s tasteful, it’s Picasso-esque, and it’s enormous – the copulating couple are in a real-life couple-copulating scale of about 1:1. But it was no big deal to me: I grew up with this painting, so it was just part of the living room – there was a couch, a couple of chairs, a coffee table, an enormous woman with voluptuous breasts wrapping her legs around an enormous guy with pert buttocks, and a TV.

Much of my childhood was spent under that painting; I watched Bewitched under the enormous copulating couple. I appeared in family photos under the enormous copulating couple. I had birthday parties under the enormous copulating couple, my friends all staring at the wall, slightly distracted. I thought I was really good at musical chairs but turns out, everyone else had seriously impaired reaction times.

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