Sex Ed: we should have some

I have a new roommate this semester who is very sweet and naive. She knows a lot about France and dietetics. Sex, not so much. My roommates and I have answered many questions that she has. My favorites include:
-What is S&M?
-What is an orgy?
-How do a tall guy and short girl have sex?
-How do horses/elephants have sex? (the answer involved a stick figure rendering by me)

I can only chalk these questions up to her living a very sheltered childhood. I think/hope she understands the basic understanding of what sex is, but this is not an uncommon problem. My health classes spoke about sex in very veiled terms and I never had "the talk" with my parents (although once in a while my mom would randomly say something blunt, so in no way was I ignorant).

But really, would it hurt to improve the sexual education of our children? I'm all for advocating abstinence, but I think people should understand how their bodies work. A lot of what I've learned about sexuality comes from television which then compelled me to look things up (the internet or otherwise). It's such a huge part of a person's identity to leave a mystery. We are taught how babies are made, but what about the getting there part?I wish somebody would have sat me down or in a health class explained the mechanics of it all so I didn't have to find the information on my own.

I belong to the LDS church, which certainly doesn't shy away from discussing its importance. But what is it that we're talking about exactly? Veiling the language so much and never discussing what actually happens can be detrimental. I've heard horror stories (I'm sure they're pretty rare) of girls who feel violated on their wedding night because chastity had been drilled into their head so much. Lack of education also leads to unwanted pregnancy and STD's. This shouldn't be happening.

I think parents and teachers should be more willing to talk about sex and sexuality with children. It's leaving kids to try to figure out something very powerful and sometimes overwhelming on their own. Wouldn't a better route be to create an environment where they have access to accurate information and feel comfortable asking questions? This benefits anyone who at some point in their lives is going to have sex. It's such a big deal, people should know what's going to happen, how to protect themselves, and how to control pregnancy--in and out of marriage. It's someone's own choice as to whether or not they have sex and when, but they shouldn't remain uneducated about the choice.

I really shouldn't be explaining to another college student some basics about sex. But then again, I had to find this information on my own, and that's something we should fix.


  1. I agree so many times over. Having grown up and attended public schools in Utah, I think my exposure to sex ed was particularly insufficient--the extent of it was a one-hour presentation in my eighth-grade health class by someone from the Pregnancy Resource Center of Salt Lake. What did I take away from this guest lecture? Lots of moralizing, a pen that said "Abstinence: Wait for Sex. Because I'm Worth It!" and a brochure entitled "Keep Your Pants On!" featuring a closeup of a padlocked chain through the belt loops of some guy's jeans.

    What this means is that I too had to learn most everything on my own--not much of a problem for a kid not easily deterred by uncomfortable subjects and very familiar with encyclopedias, search engines, and slang dictionaries.

    And while we're on the subject, why not put this confession in public form? In addition to what I found in outdated encyclopedias, much of my early sexual knowledge came from reading borderline pornographic Harry Potter fan fiction (most of it atrociously written) on the internet.

    Anyway, this made me the unofficial expert among my friends, despite my lack of actual experience and my mom's awkwardness about any conversation related to sex (she never gave me the talk either), and I've since had sex talks with a number of roommates and engaged friends. (A particularly memorable one involved two roommates running away screaming and locking themselves in a their room after I explained oral sex.) The point of all this being that that's ridiculous. I'm convinced that we'd be better off if we'd be upfront and candid with kids about sex.

  2. I grew up in Buffalo, went to public school and to my knowledge, we never had a sex ed class. Ever! I don't think we were allowed to have them back then--they were too controversial. A few weeks later and our class had it's first pregnant member. I remember her walking through the hallways, off to the side with her head down while everyone pretended not to look at her stomach.

    This was about ten years ago though, and to the best of my knowledge, they just offer abstinence courses now. I just got one of their quarterly newspapers and they want to institute uniforms. Truly, they know about the hot button topics that really matter.

    Everything I know about sex, I learned from my aunt's medical journals and then off the internet. If and when I ever have kids, I really don't want them learning the way I did--because let me tell you, you click on one wrong link and you'll find yourself scarred for life.