Sextion: Oh, the memories of high school sex ed…


High school sex ed was the best. You got to sit for hours and be talked to about, well, sex. And the best part? You didn’t have to learn about it from your parents (might I remind you of the awkwardness that comes with learning about how babies are made from the two people who made you?). Sadly, I still hold a bit of a grudge against the more conservative-minded parents who kept my school’s sex education programs from the full glory they could have been. We got a lesson in basic anatomy, a brief overview of birth control, and then a heavy dose of abstinence. Nothing to the extreme of “If you have sex, you will get pregnant…and die,” but I was never given the opportunity to put a condom on a banana, and I’m still—and will always be—bitter about that.

However, the point of my writing today is to celebrate the awkwardness that was everyone’s first view into the world of sexuality. Whether your parents forced you to read these books, or you had a health teacher whose name was  “Ms. Humphrey” who performed a sperm dance, sex education was decidedly terrible and delightful at the same time. And whether you were taught in an abstinence-only eduction program, played condom volleyball, or played the penis game (yelling “penis, Penis, PENIS!!!!” louder and louder until everyone was supposed to be comfortable), at least one of our writers on Blog can relate. So here we have our bloggers’ memories on some of the most comically nostalgic topics covered in our sex ed classes:

The Birds and the Bees:
I went to a non-denominational all-girls school for my whole life, so they tried to make sex ed super holistic and progressive. Turns out that actually talking about condoms and orgasms and STDs is trickier in an all-girls situation, where adolescent boys are little more than a vague and abstract concept. Sex ed feels perv-y for any preteen, but it felt
especially weird when it was about this phantom opposite sex.

A boy in my high school sex ed class once asked our teacher what would happen if you poked a breast with a needle. As if milk would come out…
-Margaret Snatcher

In Hebrew school, our rabbi asked us at what age we thought we should lose our virginity and everyone said after they got married, except this one girl who was said, “Seventeen.I think seventeen is the right age.” And then everyone agreed with her. The rabbi had nothing to say after that.
-Monica Bruinsky

My teacher casually gave us dice as we were walking into class and told us to try 12 rolls and then write down what numbers we got. Then he stomped to the front of the room and said “IF YOU GOT A FOUR OR SIX YOU’RE PREGNANT. IF YOU GOT A TWO OR FIVE YOU GOT AN STD. THAT’S SEX WITHOUT A CONDOM.”

Breast and Testicular Self-Exams:
I got a lot out of my high school health class. I genuinely learned a lot of really useful information about anatomy, condoms, lubricant, STDs, and homosexuality. The rest of my class, on the other hand, may not have been as into it as I was. I’m pretty sure that if you were to ask my friends about their sex-ed experience, the only thing they would
remember was the size of the woman’s nipples in the breast self-exam video. They looked like chess pieces!
-Monica Bruinsky

And then there was the opportunity to anonymously ask your teacher questions. Here are some that were asked in some of our classes:
-How far can a man ejaculate?
-If you have your period and go swimming in the ocean, will a shark smell it and chomp off your vagina?
-How many calories does semen have?
-Is it possible for a penis to get “stuck”?
…and our personal favorite:
-Why does my girlfriend smell like hotdog water?

Everyone has had a different experience in health class. Maybe not everyone had such a great time as Monica and I did. After all, I was always that one girl who was more than happy to march up to the overhead projector and label all of the parts of the male anatomy, and Monica has spent more than one occasion dressed up like a pack of birth control pills, but I’m sure everyone has some pretty great moments that stick out in his/her mind.

In all seriousness, the disparity between sex-ed in high schools across the country is quite drastic. Some schools go as far as teaching their students about oral and anal sex, while others won’t dare to talk about anything beyond abstinence. So if you think you’re lacking in any sexual knowledge because of your sex ed background, know that there are many groups on campus happy to answer your questions. Talk to Brown Health Ed or shoot SHAG an anonymous text message. Email or check out to the plethora of events being organized by SHEEC for SEX WEEK (but more about that next week!)

Love, Mags

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