Hey…. so I’m a little distracted today. Over at Mad Art Lab (and subsequently everywhere else on the internet) Ryan is wearing his Slave Leo costume, a male version of Slave Leia. It’s pretty amazing.

So I thought we’d talk about sex.

When I was in high school we had comprehensive sex ed. It was helpful and informative, but even as good as it was, it still emphasized abstinence and wasn’t so much “sex ed” as much as “don’t get pregnant ed”. So everything we discussed assumed we were all hetero, cisgendered, and always would be.

Then, for some reason, my evangelical geometry teacher felt that she needed to inform us of the Truth About Condoms… which is that they have holes large enough to let sperm and HIV through and that “at a conference of sex educators” no one said they’d have sex with someone who was HIV+ even with a condom. Which… what? Who would walk into a conference of sex educators and me like ‘OH YEAH? WHAT ABOUT AIDS AND CONDOMS? CHECKMATE, ASSHOLES! I’M BLOWING THE LID OFF OF THIS SHIT AND EVERY KID WHO TAKES GEOMETRY IN HIGHSCHOOL WILL LEARN THE TRUTH! Or at least some kids who take geometry at one high school anyway. This is going to be huge!”

So even with a reasonably decent, and comparatively excellent, sex ed program, there were so many… um… holes… in the information. I mean, I guess when you’re talking about a sophomore level health class, you can’t be expected to cover all of human sexuality, but there would have been plenty of information that we could have used that was at least ass helpful as “a condom fits down an entire yardstick, see!” (That demonstration did not in any way make me more likely to use condoms, but did make me infinitely less likely to fornicate with measuring devices.)

I would have liked to be told that the amount that I like or don’t like sex is an exact measure of how much I enjoy sex and nothing else. It doesn’t make me smarter or uglier or worthless or impressive or likable. Or maybe that there isn’t a prescribed sequence of events during sex… that you can skip “bases” and still hit a “home run”…. and that there are bases after the bases that still don’t have to come in any order… and until there’s an infield fly rule, baseball is like literally the absolute worst metaphor for sex ever. Or that “sex” isn’t limited to penises going into vaginas. And you don’t need to love or even know your first partner (or any subsequent partners), and that’s not a big deal. And that sex is sometimes awkward and boring and you can talk about things you like and the conversation about what’s going to happen doesn’t end with “do you have a condom?” And that consent is a BIG FUCKING DEAL and there are no shortcuts to getting it and that there’s no good reason to want one… because sex without weird tricks is more likely to be fun for everyone and thus more likely to end in more sex for everyone.

And that STIs are just like any other infection. And you don’t need to be more ashamed of having herpes than any other communicable disease. And that no one is going to actually die if you accidentally have sex during your period.

So many things to learn.

What do you wish you were told when you were young? What advice would you give kids? Do you think your sex-ed was adequate? Do you think your sex-ed helped or hindered your sexuality? And hey…. how about that Slave Leo?

Featured image Angela Clayfield

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.

 

Elyse

Elyse

Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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49 Comments

  1. Avatar of carolw
    February 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm —

    OMG, sexy Slave Leo. I’ll get to the AI after I clean the drool off my keyboard, but not in an objectifying way AT ALL. He was also a sexy Doctor. :)
    What my high school sex ed didn’t teach me could fill a book. My health class was “taught” by a coach, so there you go. I think we had a very basic sperm-and-egg-makes-a-zygote film strip, but nada about birth control, sexuality, consent, etc. Needless to say my classmates and I were clueless. We figured it out from John Hughes movies and in the backseats of cars, and on buses on band and choir trips. This was the 80’s, long before Google. We were a mess, and learned from our mistakes. Kids today (shakes imaginary cane) have it so much easier. Even if their classes suck, they have the internet.

    • Avatar of marilove
      February 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm —

      Is it any easier, though, really? Now we have the problem of TOO much information, and of course ?WRONG information — as the saying goes, just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s true. Kids ?have messages coming from every which way — including the right-wing trying to share misinformation. It ?still happens. So many of those stupid and dangerous Christian “pregnancy centers” which are really just anti-choice ?clinics will act like they are legitimate clinics, but really aren’t — they put tons of incorrect information on their sites, and it’s not always easy to determine what the organization REALLY is.

      • Avatar of Displaced Northerner
        February 12, 2013 at 9:06 pm —

        Slightly OT but to your point- have you seen the documentary 12th & Delaware? It’s amazing and a scary window into the world of the pregnancy center. I strongly recommend it to everyone- no matter where they stand on abortion: http://www.12thanddelaware.org/

        • Avatar of Displaced Northerner
          February 12, 2013 at 9:27 pm —

          Ignore the above link- it’s yet another ploy by the asshole pregnancy center to discredit the abortion clinic. Here’s the IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1548865/

          • Avatar of marilove
            February 13, 2013 at 10:14 am

            Thank you! I will look into it. I tend to avoid docus that make me want to cry though, hahaha.

            Funny, too, that you were fooled in these comments. See? They are fucking jerkwads, I gotta say. Ugh! :)

  2. Avatar of Robert Parolin
    February 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm —

    slave leo and hannah solo.. awesome idea for a couple halloween costume? YES

  3. Avatar of Bjornar
    February 12, 2013 at 3:57 pm —

    I wish I’d been told that I need(ed) to be more social. Other than that my adolescent knowledge level was pretty good.

  4. Avatar of Ryan
    February 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm —

    My sex ed was actually pretty good. They covered biology, contraception, disease, and consent. What they omitted was any real mention of sex that wasn’t penetrative, vaginal sex. TV seems to have the same problem. You’re either kissing or fucking.
    A song about the consequences by the incomparable Garfunkle and Oats:

  5. Avatar of marilove
    February 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm —

    I was lucky and grew up on the California side fo the AZ/CA border and the K thru 8th grade school (200 students — my 8th grade class had 12 students, no lie) was still open when I was that age (It was closed after 9/11 because it is so close to the Parker Dam). It took over an hour by bus to get there, but becuase it was in California and not Arizona, we had more advanced sex ed. I remember learning a TON about AIDS — and this was the early 90’s! We had a gay, HIV+ speaker come in once. My classmates and I went and did “speaking tours” to teach others about AIDS and other STIs. It was great.

    But that school is long closed, and so now students are bused across the river to the Parker, AZ schools … which are like, 10 miles away instead of 40+. Haha.

    There wasn’t (and isn’t) a close high school on the CA side, so all CA high school students went (and go) to Parker High. I remember a VERY brief sex-ed class taught by one of the gym teachers. I remember it was really stupid, and I remember it contradicted a lot of info I had learned just a year or two prior in 7th and 8th grade. Oooh, Arizona.

    I grew up in a weird area.

  6. Avatar of Noadi
    February 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm —

    By sex ed standards mine wasn’t bad. It covered contraception, STD prevention, encouraged testing (though a bit too much on the “if you think you’ve been exposed” rather than the “this should be a routine part of your healthcare” that I think it should be), masturbation is something most people do, proper way to use a condom, no means no and you shouldn’t pressure someone into any kind of sexual activity (yes means yes is better but this was the late 90s). The bad? No discussion of non-heterosexual sex or gender variance, still too much emphasis on abstinence, no discussion of non-PIV sex beyond it’s risk or safety with regards to STDs and pregnancy, and no discussion of female orgasms beyond “women have them too” (I wondering why wet dreams for boys were discussed but not for girls when I knew I sometimes woke up having an orgasm, I spent years thinking that I was weird in this way).

    And for the love of all that’s good, PLEASE will sex ed start encouraging the use of lube and dispel the myth that if you aren’t making enough naturally that you either aren’t turned on enough or there’s something wrong with you. Of all the things I’ve learned since highschool sex ed (including all the kink I’m now into) discovering lube was the biggest single revelation when it came to getting the most physical enjoyment out of sex.

    • Avatar of marilove
      February 12, 2013 at 4:44 pm —

      YES! The discovery of lube! Greatest discovery ever, even if I can only use one or two types due to irritation.

  7. Avatar of blaisepascal
    February 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm —

    The only thing I remember about sex ed in high school was that our teacher was not happy that, despite her requests, the school board wouldn’t allow her to show actual birth control methods and devices. The best she could do was to show a commercially-prepared sealed display with a condom, an iud, a pill container, etc, I was surprised that such a thing existed.

  8. Avatar of audpicc
    February 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm —

    I actually had pretty good sex ed in the clinical sense. It was the late 90s in California. They told me about reproduction, puberty and the differences between boys and girls and how to have safe sex. What was awful was the gender divide. They separated the girls and boys and taught us girls about our periods and boobies and pregnancy, and they taught the boys about masturbation and condoms. They emphasized consent with the girls – that our sex was something special to give to someone special and to choose that person carefully. I doubt the boys got that same fucked up objectification-disguised-as-consent talk.

    At the time I had questions about masturbation and oral sex and NEEDED to know that it was ok to have sexual desire and that my body was ME and not a thing to be given or tarnished. I needed to know that trans people and non-binary people and queer people existed, and that the lack of positive role models was a fault of media, not of those people themselves. I needed to know that its healthy and constructive (and fun) to play with gender and that gender is not some oppressive immutable force.

    Instead of all of that, when I asked “what is oral sex?” I was told: “oh its just something homosexuals do”.

  9. Avatar of Siveambrai
    February 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm —

    I went to a Catholic high school so we didn’t really get much sex ed. Pretty much most of the knowledge was covered in religion class and it boiled down to sex will kill you and then send you hell. We were also told that if you had sex (but avoided contraception like a good girl) and got pregnant you would probably be expelled from the school. Sadly my “talk” with my mom when something like, “You know you can always talk to me about anything.” which I ignored because I had figured the basics out by myself.

  10. Avatar of marilove
    February 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm —

    ” that our sex was something special to give to someone special ”

    The female sex is something special to give to someone? Yick. I’ve never, ever, ever liked the way girls’/womens’ sexuality is described. My sex is not a gift, dammit! (I know this wasn’t your intention, just a pet peeve of mine.)

    • Avatar of Noadi
      February 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm —

      Agreed, very icky. I’ve always appreciated that my mom did her best to counter those messages by stressing that sex was something people shared with each other not something given by one to the other and that I should have sex before marriage but to wait until I was ready. Not that I didn’t hear that nonsense from other people, repeatedly and at length, but I’m glad I had that dissenting opinion. Feminist moms are the best.

    • Avatar of audpicc
      February 13, 2013 at 12:25 am —

      Oh I agree – apparently my sarcasm didn’t come across! The whole notion of female-choice and virginity is super misogynistic and objectifying, just to be clear.

      • Avatar of marilove
        February 13, 2013 at 10:15 am —

        Oh, no, your sarcasm did come across! It’s just a particular pet peeve of mine, especially when it comes to sex ed. ICKY haha.

  11. Avatar of tattooedg33k
    February 12, 2013 at 5:13 pm —

    My high school sex ed wasn’t horrible. I don’t remember anything being ridiculously wrong. I do remember giggling a ton when my teacher had problems inserting a diaphragm into this see-through plastic vagina thing.

    I did have the shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitiest “college” level Bio class. It was an intro anatomy class at a small branch campus of a bigger university. The class was taught by a baptist preacher. You can imagine how good this class was. The catalog description said the class was supposed to go over all the systems of the body, which… you know… includes the naughty bits. But when we came to the reproductive system part of the class he said , and I stress this is VERBATIM, “Y’all know how them peepees & ‘ginas work.” This was at a branch campus of an accredited state university. Blech.

    • Avatar of tattooedg33k
      February 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm —

      Oh, and I forgot to mention, that was the ONLY thing he said about the reproductive system.

  12. Avatar of victoriadashtwenty
    February 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm —

    My high school taught me that abstinence was 100% effective. This is complete and utter bullshit. That’s like saying barriers are 100% effective because broken condoms aren’t barriers anymore and therefore don’t count.

    Abstinence is a condom made out of good intentions. It fails all the time, so you might want to actually have a real condom handy if you’re going to practice it.

    I don’t understand how adults that have experienced sexual attraction all their lives can say something as silly as abstinence is 100% effective. I first experienced sexual attraction at the age of, I think I was 27. I was an adult with a degree and a job and my own place and a car and a leather relationship that I valued very much. All I had to do was have a conversation with my owner and I could have easily avoided a whole lot of hurt feelings and the consequences that followed. It took this very attractive young lady all of three sentences to convince me to have sex with her.

    Really, people are expecting teenagers to handle this better than I did? Ted Haggard had a lot more to lose, and he couldn’t do it. The President of the United States is so responsible we trust him with the nuclear launch codes, but he couldn’t do it. But when it comes to a fifteen year old kid we’re so certain they can handle it that they should bet their physical health on it rather than have a plan B?

  13. Avatar of James Fox
    February 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm —

    The only recollection I have from a sex ed. health class in the mid 70’s involved a lot of slides of infected and sore covered penis’s and vaginal areas sporting warts or herpes sores. And while I think there may have been some mention of condoms and birth control I’m guessing the whole presentation was aimed at causing fear, encouraging some future event called monogamy, and making everyone feel uncomfortable with their own bodies as well as the body of anyone they might be dating. I’d already discovered my mom’s copy of “Everything you wanted to know about sex, but were afraid to ask” and “The Joy of Sex” so I knew they were lying and hiding all the good information.

    • Avatar of marilove
      February 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm —

      Aaah yes, the stimatization of STIs, always good times!

    • Avatar of greenstone123
      February 12, 2013 at 6:36 pm —

      “the whole presentation was aimed at causing fear, encouraging some future event called monogamy” HAHA!

      I think I must have seen that same video, but during the nineties, in BASIC army training. Our Drill SGTs, to their credit were embarrassed to show the required video. At times it was hard to make out what the sores and such were even attached too.

  14. Avatar of amm1
    February 12, 2013 at 7:11 pm —

    Sex education in Ye Olde Days:
    I came of age before sex education (for kids, for anyone) was anything more than a controversial debate topic, and my parents couldn’t bring themselves to talk to me about it either. The technique in those days was to leave a book on the subject around the house where the kid was likely to pick it up. Since my brothers and I were compulsive readers, they could rely on me reading it, but (along with everything else) it also so effectively sent the message that sex is something one cannot actually talk about in words that 45 years later I still can barely make myself talk about it. My ex-wife was the one who had to explain things to my sons.

  15. Avatar of SamBarge
    February 12, 2013 at 7:25 pm —

    When I was a senior in high school, I was part of a “natural helper” pilot program. Basically, the school recruited juniors that were school leaders and trained them to be fem/mentors for freshman during their final year.
    We were trained in all forms of contraception and the transmission of STDs (seriously, we were like public health nurses with that shit) and we talked about homosexuality and had our eyes opened to the shitty world of heteronormativity. It was great but there were still at least 2 people in my group who weren’t comfortable coming out for years afterwards. So, maybe not great enough to counter the culture we were in.
    There was completely no recognition of trans/cis gender issues though. It wasn’t even spoken of and it seems like a poor excuse to claim “it was 28 yrs ago!” but my niece was part of the same program more recently and I was pleased to discover that they are including trans/cis gender awareness in the program now.
    Anyway, after the boot camp training on sex, birth control, STDs and consent, we were assigned to a group of freshman who could come to us with any problems/questions/issues. They got the slides and diagrams in health class and then they got a slightly older (but very knowledgeable, I can still recount the success rates of various forms of bc) student to ask questions they might have been too embarrassed to ask in class – if they had any. It was a bit like a big sister/big brother program and it had the wider benefit of helping freshman settle into the school. I think it works great – they’re still using it, so I guess no one is complaining.

  16. Avatar of RobertL
    February 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm —

    Condoms are very effective – but only if you have them handy. I think that they should teach kids to buy, have and own condoms. Keep some in your bedroom. Take some with you when yo go to social events. If everyone did that then there would be very little excuse not to use them.

  17. Avatar of Displaced Northerner
    February 12, 2013 at 9:24 pm —

    I’m another product of the Catholic schools through grade 8, so needless to say we got nothing. I had a required health class in high school, but I don’t remember learning anything at all related to sex ed. A friend of mine is a health teacher who is passionate about teaching comprehensive sex ed- her position in middle school was just eliminated (as in, health is no longer taught in the middle school). When her students heard the news, many of them wrote to the superintendent about the valuable education future students would be missing out on- full of awesome anecdotes of removing stigma and dealing with STIs. Reading their letters was both moving and infuriating.

  18. Avatar of bubblewrap74
    February 13, 2013 at 12:40 am —

    I would have liked to have been told that if you get an STI (which may be totally asymptomatic) it could cause infertility if it messes up your fallopian tubes enough. Which could cause a lot of expense and heartache in terms of trying to conceive.

    • Avatar of marilove
      February 13, 2013 at 10:16 am —

      This has been in every sex ed class I’ve taken! “If you have sex and get HERPES and you will not be able to have kids!!” Except it’s not useful information; it’s just used as another scare tactic.

      It all reminds me of DARE!

  19. Avatar of Jack99
    February 13, 2013 at 1:30 am —

    In the early sixties, they forgot to tell you that it was FUN!

    • Avatar of Jack99
      February 13, 2013 at 1:37 am —

      Elyse, “there would have been plenty of information that we could have used that was at least ass helpful ”
      Awesome Freudian slip! Tee hee!

  20. Avatar of scribe999
    February 13, 2013 at 2:01 am —

    Late 80s, early 90s, my schools were pretty progressive. We had a comprehensive review of sex, sexual activities that a politician might not consider sex when they are caught doing them, and general health-related stuff, in various segments of the year for the 6 years I was in a public school (not sure what my Catholic school would have eventually taught us if anything had I stayed).

  21. Avatar of dodobrd
    February 13, 2013 at 2:18 am —

    I had sex ed in 5th and 6th grade in Washington state. I vaguely remember it being okay; they told us about birth control methods and their effectiveness, STDs, feminine hygiene products, and they had one of those anonymous question boxes. I don’t really remember too much because I was 11 years old. Then I moved to Arizona, where my high school taught abstinence-only and brought in this random lady to teach it. I now suspect she was from a religious organization, but she obviously was not allowed to mention religion in the class. She told us how she had a horrible experience with abortion which she claimed caused her subsequent breast cancer. Then she realized she was a bad person for having too much sex. It was all very heart-wrenching and convincing for a group of 15-year-olds. Then she made us all sign pledge cards to keep our virginity intact until marriage and gave out those “I’m worth waiting for” stickers. The one person in class who asked about condoms and other birth control options was completely ignored, and if I remember correctly she got sent out of class once for “being disruptive.”

    Arizona is an asshole.

  22. Avatar of victoriadashtwenty
    February 13, 2013 at 5:39 am —

    Actually, come to think of it, I had a really good sexual education. The high school sex ed class was crap, but I did get a very good education as part of a Leather relationship. My owner and I didn’t have sex, but we did do activities that had the possibility of transferring disease. During this relationship, I had sex with someone I didn’t know very well and didn’t use a condom. My owner was not happy about that. She got the contact info for the other woman I was dating (The one I slept with didn’t pursue a relationship) and arranged a meeting at a coffee shop.

    We negotiated my punishment. Firstly, since it can take up to 6 months for HIV to show up, I had to wait 6 months and get STD testing before I could resume playing with my Domme or having sex again. During that time I had a long list of very specific rules, restrictions, and responsibilities and mandatory sex education was a big part of it. I left that meeting with a notepad that had notes like “August 3rd – Hand Holding” and “August 17th – Kissing(no tongue)” and an instruction to add that information to my calendar in pencil.

    My sex education was really good. The woman that I had started dating was not only well qualified to teach sex ed, but she was transgender like me. She reviewed all that stuff I should have learned in high school, but she added in a lot of stuff specific to being a trans woman. She quizzed me on STDs. We had a very embarrassing session where we reviewed the proper way to put a condom on and practiced it on a fake penis. We talked about the way people fetishize transwomen as exotic. We talked about the differences in the dynamics of dating heterosexual men, gay women, bi and pansexual people and, of course, other transpeople. She gave me some messages I really wish I’d gotten in high school.

    Some women have penises. Many women don’t like their penises because their penises cause them dysphoria. Many women don’t like their penises because they are often forced to defend their identity and they feel pressure to conform to the dominant narratives about transwomen offered by the media and the gatekeepers. Many women are happy with their penises and enjoy using them for sexual pleasure and that is okay and does not make their identity less valid. That’s really important. Education about trans people in school shouldn’t just be about what trans people are and how cis people should treat them. Trans students need sex ed too.

    My Domme also assigned me some papers and gave me some pop quizzes on the risks of all the various kinky activities I did or was interested in. We covered everything from fire safety to the proper aftercare for a piercing I was considering. I had always done my research, but I was much more thorough when my failure might have meant another week before getting my cuddling privileges back. That part of it was instructive too. I got a lot of practice saying “no” to things REALLY wanted to do with people out of respect for my primary relationship. “I’d love to hold your hand, but I’m on restriction. I can hold your hand next week!” “I can kiss you, but I’m in a D/s relationship and I’m in trouble so I can’t go further than that right now.” That was good practice for making better decisions in the future.

  23. Avatar of Giliell
    February 13, 2013 at 7:25 am —

    As a kid my parents made sure that I knew this whole “where babies come from” stuff and that bodies were OK and stuff, but one thing I wished they had taught me was that people have sex when they don’t want to make babies. Somehow I thought that no sex-> no babies, therefore no babies -> no sex.
    Later: the existence of the clitoris and the female orgasm. It took me 32 years to find that out and I didn’t even know that I wasn’t having them because, well, I didn’t know what I was missing.
    And lube, most definetly the existence of lube.

    • Avatar of Jack99
      February 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm —

      Giliell, that’s not unusual and you’ve hit on something really important, namely, each partner should prioritise the other’s needs. I could probably phrase that better, but it’s 4am here.
      It’s so obvious when you think about it, you feel like a fool when you realise that you’ve been doing it wrong all those years!
      I was 20 when the penny dropped, but many men go on in oblivion much longer. It blew me away when a mate of mine with a girlfriend in her 30’s told me, nobody ever made her come before.

  24. Avatar of The Edge
    February 13, 2013 at 8:09 am —

    This is a great topic. I am a college biology professor and I do teach a class that includes information on human reproduction. I’m working very hard to keep up with sexual trends that I am not a part of (especially transgender issues) so that I can intelligently and calmly discuss them with my class. After reading these comments I’ve added a few more topics to my list. Thanks Elyse (and everyone who commented).

  25. Avatar of dxman
    February 13, 2013 at 8:34 am —

    I had a crappy sex ed course at primary school (mostly how babies come about plus condoms) and they gave us some materials. And then we had a few sessions at a local social centre where they showed us pictures of STI-ridden genitals, in literally the *same room* where a few weeks earlier we’d been discussing the harm of drugs. It was like drugs and sex were in one big bag of evil, painful sinfullness. But the main damage was done by my parents – as a devout Catholic whose parents taught NFP, I knew all about uteruses, cervical mucus, sperm, condoms(but only 80% – evil), birth control (99% but kills babies – evil) and abortion (totally evil, worst evil ever). At the same time they instilled in me the notion that any sex apart from (or not ending in) PIV with ejaculation inside the vagina between husband and wife was immoral, unforgivable, damaging, deadly.
    The first time I had sex at 19, I was unprotected and ignorant not because I hadn’t read up on these things elsewhere by then, but because I was torturing myself with all kinds of Catholic guilt. Fuck that.

  26. Avatar of Grand Lunar
    February 13, 2013 at 10:11 am —

    I had a very lousy sex ex.
    My catholic dad did not allow us to attend the school’s presentation.
    Instead, he gave the talk himself. Needless to say, it wasn’t that good, and left me growing up with guilt regarding sex.
    I often viewed it as something nasty, regardless of sex also being described as “god’s gift”.

    Matters weren’t helped when the most in depth sex discussion came from boot camp in Great Lakes. It was mostly about STDs and how to take action against them. I was horrified by what I saw.

    Topping all this is my lack of any relationship with a woman.
    Yes, I’ll admit it; at 33, I’m still a virgin.

    I’m over the guilt factor now. Hasn’t helped, though.

    My advice to kids would be to not get your sex education from people with strong religious bias.

  27. Avatar of Otoki
    February 13, 2013 at 10:18 am —

    I lucked out and had really comprehensive sex ed. I think everyone should have informative, non-shaming, comprehensive sex ed, because even with the education we got there were still kids who didn’t pay attention and derped their way through the rest of HS in terms of their sexual choices. Meh.

  28. Avatar of ursulaminor
    February 13, 2013 at 5:35 pm —

    I got kind of middle of the road sex ed;

    In grades 6-9, we had lots of puberty related and reproduction related education (how babies are made, WTF is going on with you and your weird body right now kind of stuff), which progressed to info that STIs were a thing, and that you didn’t have to go all the way to PIV with a partner if you didn’t want because other activities could be just as satisfying (But hearing my teacher talk about mutual masturbation was a deeply embarrassing experience for me at the age of 13)

    Apparently my fellow classmates in highschool got more comprehensive education about birth control and the like (I heard that they had to watch a video of a baby being born, etc.) but at that point I was in the IB program, which didn’t leave time in my schedule for Health class, even though it was a requirement for graduation. We got the Health component out of the way by having thirty minutes once a week in homeroom to cover the entire extent of the class, which in addition to Sex Ed, was also supposed to cover stuff like nutrition, workers rights, paying your taxes, family budgeting and other “life skills”. Somehow they managed to skip the entire sex ed part, which to me, at 16 signaled that the entire school system figured that the IB students were so nerdy that we wouldn’t ever have sex, or at least not in high school (Which in my case, turned out to be true, at least in the high school bit). Probably it was the only part they didn’t actually have to cover so we could graduate, since I am pretty sure people were allowed to opt out of that part of health class for religious reasons if they wanted)

    The result was that when I graduated high school, I could quote you part of the Landlord Tenant act, tell you that artificial smoke flavouring contained carcinogens, and list several way in which too much stress is bad for you, but I had never actually unwrapped a condom and had no idea what a diaphragm or IUD was. I was pretty shaky on a number of things actually, including how hormonal birth control worked. Granted, that other stuff is good to know, but the unbalanced nature of my education in this area kind of left me with the feeling that sex was really risky business, especially to one untrained in the art of BC as I was. I was very lucky my first partner had (and used) a condom before I even thought to ask him, because I would have been way too embarrassed at the time to admit that I wasn’t 100% on how someone would go about using one.

    I seriously would have traded five minutes of demonstration on that score for everything I know about the minimum wage law.

  29. Avatar of Donna
    February 13, 2013 at 9:26 pm —

    You had me at “infield fly rule”. It was only this year that I learned about that.

    As for Sex Ed, I went to a small Catholic high school in the late seventies. I’m just going to leave that there because whut? Thank goodness my mother was totally cool with talking about everything.

  30. Avatar of emmastaf
    February 13, 2013 at 11:35 pm —

    I think the infield fly rule is premature ejaculation. Kind of heteronormative, I know, but much of the baseball analogy is straight cis man-centric. And creepily adversarial, now that I think of it. The woman (straight cis) is on defense. I love baseball and I love sex, but they are not the same thing.

  31. Avatar of Amanda
    February 14, 2013 at 10:30 am —

    I would’ve loved to have learned anything beyond the very basics of human reproductive anatomy. Like, how and why we menstruate, for example. Didn’t learn that until college, which is ridiculous.

  32. Avatar of latsot
    February 15, 2013 at 6:47 am —

    In the UK in the 70s we were shown a film about a boy who had sex, once, (oddly, in a tent) and needless to say impregnated the girl. It didn’t say anything about birth control, the overriding message was sex=pregnancy. What the movie was *really* about, though, was the boy’s life being ruined. It didn’t seem to matter what happened to the girl as her life wasn’t important.
    There was another video about sperm which talk about STIs but didn’t describe the symptoms or say what you should do if you caught one.
    Better than nothing, I guess. My parents *still* haven’t had that talk with me. Maybe I should ask them where babies come from.

  33. Avatar of carolw
    February 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm —

    I’m reminded now of my mom’s “talk” with me and with my brother. To me: “Just don’t do it!” To my brother, in the car on the way to college: “It may be too late now, but if you’re going to do it, for God’s sake, use a condom, don’t screw up your life!” Helpful, no? No. I have no idea what she told our older sister. Probably nothing. I was so innocent. The first time a saw a condom (in junior high), it was green one, in the wrapper, and I thought it was candy.

  34. Avatar of Ryan McFarland
    February 17, 2013 at 2:39 am —

    Thank you for all the comments about what you feel was missing from sex-ed. I’m teaching it now and have the luxury of teaching with very little limitations. We use a curriculum solely for guidance and there are no standardized tests that the kids need to pass. So I have the great job of actually teaching – or, more importantly, trying to get kids to learn. I’m a cynic when it comes to education – there is a huge disconnect between what we’re taught and what we need to learn. I spent way more time with Avogadro’s number than learning how to balance a checkbook. With everyone (that can afford it) able to pull the knowledge (and lies) embedded in the internet out of thin air to their phones and tablets teaching facts is just silly. We need to be teaching critical thinking skills. And I need to be teaching about lube. And sadly, I need to teach the baseball analogy – almost every one of my students doesn’t speak English as their native language… it will help with their understanding of American TV and movies! But seriously, I think I’m on the right track judging by a lot of these comments. Thank you again.

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