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This is a huge question considering that Maya was raped when she was eight years old. When she was younger than eight, Maya used to speculate on what sex meant,
"Because of the kinds of news we filched from those hushed conversations, I was convinced that whenever Reverend Thomas came and Momma sent us to the back room they were going to discuss whitefolks and "doing it."
Soon after, Maya is raped which perverts her innocense and her childhood. The rest of the book involves, in part, various complex issues over he sexuality.