I spent fourteen years in Catholic school, so I’m well aware of the subpar sex ed I received. I was taught to be abstinent, and had the good fortune of watching Pam Stenzel videos. However, I wasn’t fully aware of just how shitty it was until the summer before my freshman year of college while chatting with my best friend, who happens to be gay.
He brought up his sex life and mentioned his use of condoms. Perplexed, I asked why he would use condoms since no one was getting pregnant; I had no idea that condoms prevented STDs because I was
lied to told they absolutely could not. But wait, there’s more! At least half of my friends who had the joy of Catholic sex ed were under the same impression. Needless to say I was horrified, but once my horror subsided I decided it was time to investigate the extent of sex ed my friends received.
As I’m sure you can guess (or know from personal experience), MOST stories I heard were negative. Responses to the question “What were you taught in sex ed?” ranged from “lol what sex ed?” to “we got the Mean Girls version.” If you want to hear some pitiful sex ed stories, just ask around, because I guarantee that your friends have plenty of them. With each new story, I lost a little more faith in our education system. It’s nothing short of a miracle that more of us haven’t contracted STDs or become parents.
We’ve been taught abstinence, not safe sex, through scare tactics used by teachers and curriculums intending to frighten us. We’ve been taught to be embarrassed and ashamed of our bodies, our urges, and our actions. This kind of education isn’t education at all, but rather sex-shaming to manipulate kids into compliance with the views of the people teaching it. It isn’t just religious schools that “teach” sex ed this way. Much to my surprise, many people told me stories about their public school sex educations that put Catholic school to shame.
So if a large amount of our youth isn’t being taught about sex in schools, where are they learning about safe sex? Luckily for me, I have a ~cool~ mom who never had a problem telling me anything and everything I needed to know.
However, most teens have to turn to other sources for their information. Common outlets include: MTV, Urban Dictionary, Reddit, and friends who knew what was up…. And we wonder why we have an oversexualized society. The better question would be how could it not be if teens have been getting their info from Tila Tequila and Teen Mom?! Or better still, do administrations really believe that keeping us in the dark means we won’t ever be exposed to sexual material? Does anyone think that learning about the birds and the bees from porn stars is a good idea?
So many questions, but thankfully I have the solution! Brace yourselves for this revolutionary answer to all of our sex ed problems: COMPREHENSIVE SEXUAL EDUCATION! *Students everywhere cheer* *Drumpf supporter vomits* *the Church implodes* but we’ll all make it through, so stay with me. You can thank me later.
About one fourth (although probably less) of the responses I received after asking “What did you learn in sex ed?” were positive. But when they were positive, they were really positive. I’m talking health classes that taught kids all about sex, contraceptives, and pregnancy. You know those scenes in movies where a speaker has the class put a condom on a banana and then tosses handfuls of condoms at people as they leave? That really happens! There was even one school that taught their students about all types of intercourse so it was inclusive to the LGBT community.
Comprehensive sex ed not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. Sexual education programs that actually sexually educate decrease the likelihood of contracting STDs and pregnancy. That super cool progressive school that was inclusive to the LGBT community has their students take sex ed in 5th, 7th, and 10th grades, and guess what? There hasn’t been a pregnancy at that school. Ever.
So why don’t more schools teach this kind of sex ed? What are we afraid of? Kids having sex that they’ll have with or without a sexual education? It’s time we stand up for the sexual education we deserve, because we have the right to be informed about our bodies and how to take care of them.