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Friday Fun Question: What Kind of Sex Ed Did You Receive?

March 28, 2008

My high school did the anatomical review, told us the names and about the embarrassing awfulness (that’s what they were trying to convey, anyway) of several sexually transmitted infections, and then we watched a Molly Ringwald movie. It was kind of, “Here is a standardized representation of your parts. It doesn’t look much like what you really have. Be afraid, be very afraid.”

But then, I had a health teacher who told the whole class about how she had to talk to some kid in one of her other classes about washing with soap, and went on an on about how the poor kid was stinky. We also got bags of product placements from Doritos and tampon and pad companies in our gym class. Argh.

So, what did you get? Comprehensive sex ed? Anything in addition to the names and infections? Abstinence-only?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Eucritta permalink
    March 28, 2008 3:10 pm


    Oh, good grief.

    I’m a few days shy of 50, and was in the first cohort in my town (Berkeley, CA) to have sex ed, I think it would’ve been in 1970 or 1971. What we had: anatomy, genital health and hygiene (including, among other things, info on kegel exercises that had us all blushing furiously), intercourse (skimmed over quickly, but at least it was there), conception (with a cartoon about Ellie Ovum and Sammy Sperm I’ve never forgotten), pregnancy & birth (including a graphic film of woman giving birth that gave all of us the heebie-jeebies), methods of contraception and how to use them properly (the barrier methods were mostly demonstrated on clinical models, the transparent plastic ones that doctors used back then to show how to place a diaphragm or where an IUD went, but we did have the notorious condom-on-a-banana demo too), SDTs (though specifically just syph and clap — nothing on chlamidia, genital herpes or warts), and then, just to wrap it up I guess, a series of films on dating etiquette. Which had to have been made in the 50s and had us all rolling in the aisles.

    We made fun of the class back then, but when I hear what passes for sex ed these days, oh, man.

  2. March 28, 2008 3:24 pm

    Thank you for delurking to share that! Your sex ed sounds much more comprehensive than mine. We never had any demonstrations such as the condom-on-a-banana, and I’m pretty sure the teacher would have fainted if she had been asked to do such a thing.

  3. March 28, 2008 10:29 pm

    I went through sex-ed in a couple of different places, near Pittsburgh, PA, and near Charleston, WV. I also attended the last couple years of high school in Abilene, TX and can tell you what the people that I know said they went through, this information is from multiple people of multiple political backgrounds. As some background on when this was, starting around 10 yrs or so ago for the earliest information, I’m currently 21.

    Pennsylvania had very comprehensive sex-ed in my opinoin. The information was both accuracte and fair. They discussed everything from just what is sex, std’s, prevention of pregenancy and std’s. Emphasivsed abstience but made sure we knew what the other options were. In West Virgina the sex-ed was pretty much the same. Though Pennsylvania provided more information on the actual body, West Virgina kinda glossed over that stuff.

    Texas, my friends said they were pretty much told be abstinent if you aren’t here are some old cruddy films to scare you into not having sex. I actually took a quiz with some female friends, testing knowledge of female birth control devices (note I am a male). They had heard of just one or two, whereas I knew pretty much all of them. It was really shocking to me, that as a male I knew more ways to prevent them from being pregnant then they themselves did. Granted the three friends I were talking to weren’t sexually active, but neither was I at the time. It was a really weird moment.

  4. March 29, 2008 9:39 am

    My mother left a Christian book about reproduction on my bed when I was 11 or 12. I didn’t learn a thing from my Christian school except that pants and dancing were the tools of the devil because they put lustful thoughts in men’s heads. 🙂

    My two year old already knows the names of male and female anatomy and where babies grow and how they come out.

  5. March 31, 2008 10:26 am

    We watched videos called “Dear Diary” and “Am I Normal” in 5th or 6th grade. “Dear Diary” involved a pre-teen girl in a dressing room of a department store commenting to her friend that one of her breasts was bigger than the other–the nosy saleslady came in and explained puberty to the 2 girls. “Am I Normal” featured a boy at the zoo and a zookeeper explaining sex and puberty to him.
    In high school we had pretty comprehensive sex ed, including making a chart that rated about 6 different kinds of condoms based on the info on the box–lubricated, spermicide, ribbing, reservoir tip, colored, flavored etc. We also got to feel breast and testicle lumps in silicon models and had a woman with HIV come to speak to us. Of course, most of the really helpful/insightful stuff I learned about sex was learned from my cabin mates at my all girls summer camp (and then my college friends) with some Judy Blume, Seventeen magazine, and Cosmo thrown in for good measure.

  6. April 3, 2008 2:53 pm

    I blogged about this a while ago. My sex-ed was/is all over the map. Parents: excellent. K-2: nonexistent. Grades 2-6: exemplary. Junior High: atrocious (one day only, sex-segregated, pictures of illnesses and no information on mechanics). High school: Apathetic, sparse, presented in “health” class complete with “miracle of life” movie. College: optional, but awesome (BDSM 101, Sex Toys 101, etc.).

    All in all, I turned out seriously well-informed, but that pretty much all took place before I turned 12. Everything after that seemed to be directly conspiring against any sort of real knowledge until I got to college.

  7. May 7, 2009 4:47 am

    I think I was 10 years old when they started that in our school, albeit with a lot of protest from the parents who didn’t want their children to be exposed to “vulgarity”. It was a temp explaining male and female body parts by making sketches on the blackboard, with giggles all around the classroom. Hilarious!

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