Post # 62
Agree with everyone who said that comprehensive sex ed is SO, SO important. Without giving out information on how to prevent them, you’re just driving the rates of unintended pregnancy and STIs to epidemic proportions.
I also agree that parents should be involved in their child’s sex education (I learned where babies came from WAY before grade four, though I can’t recall the exact grade; I knew what changes to expect from my body so I didn’t think I was dying when I got my period; I learned what a blow-job was over a dinner conversation at home; and it was my parents who consistently reinforced that “pulling out” is a crock of shit). HOWEVER, I don’t think that parents should be expected to provide that education to the exclusion of that provided by the school (i.e., I don’t agree with “pulling kids out” of sex ed classes). Even I, who had a very good relationship with my parents in terms of the “theory” of sex learned a lot from school (rates of disease, pregnancy, etc.; stats that my parents couldn’t offer, and a non-judgemental — or, to be more accurate — more comfortable atmosphere in which to learn).
ETA: And, just in case it’s relevant, with my COMPREHENSIVE sex education I waited until I was 18 to have sex, and would not have had a problem with waiting longer. That said, I also think it’s fine to have sex whenever YOU think that YOU are ready. I was really nervous because of a bad experience with a tampon, and so it probably “stalled” me longer than I would have otherwise.
Post # 63
I also grew up in the heart of the “Bible belt,” but I honestly think the content of our sex ed at my public high school was pretty good. Health was an elective in junior high that I never took because I was in band and choir, but in high school everyone had to pass a health class, which was usually taken in 9th or 10th grade. We covered everything: puberty, women and menstrual cycles, sex, and yes every type of birth control, and detailed STD information, the stages of pregnancy and birth, and they wrapped into that how to check for breast cancer or testicular cancer. We were encouraged VERY STRONGLY to stay abstinent, since that’s the only “100% effective way of preventing pregnancy/stds”, but we were given all the information, and informed that we could get free condoms at the health department (our school did not supply them). I’ll never forget my health teacher stretching a condom out over her hand and telling us “Now girls, if he tries to tell you it won’t fit, you now know better….” We also watched video tapes of live births, which probably went a long way towards scaring a lot of kids out of having sex for awhile. We discussed in detail the legal implications of sex, including child support, statutory rape laws, etc. (At that time in my state, it was legally considered statutory rape for a 16 yr old to have sex with a 15 year old. Obviously that is CRAZY, but it was actually the law, and I am glad the teacher thought to include that as part of the lessons….) The only problem I had with our program is that it was entirely co-ed, which was mortifying for a very shy, very innocent, 14 year old girl. I don’t think I’ve ever blushed so brightly at any other time in my life.
Even with all of that, we still had a fairly high pregnancy rate at our school–pretty common in small towns in the south; however, it’s also very very very uncommon for girls to get an abortion in that state. So I don’t know if the number of pregnancies was truly higher, but more girls definitely had babies.
I don’t remember porn being mentioned in school–but it was something that was discussed often in our church youth groups. I don’t recall anything about beastiality or BDSM… I didn’t even know what those were until college psychology classes.
Post # 64
I read a really interesting article on this topic on the NYTimes.com today called ‘Teaching Good Sex.’ Really interesting article. I hope that that’s the kind of sex ed my kids get in school. I know I plan to inform them, but it’s so much better if both partners to a relationship have been well educated. It seemed like this class was an eye opener for a lot of the young men.
Post # 65
We talked about Save-The-Date Cards and birth control in biology class but that was about it. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. I was a pretty smart kid- I didn’t need someone telling me how not to get pregnant- that’s what the internet is for!
Post # 66
I think that comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is ideal and that every school should have that. I believe that sexuality education can be taught at every grade level, as long as it is age appropriate and medically accurate. There is a way to talk about it respectfully and helpfully. While I think everyone should wait until they’re emotionally ready to be sexually active, I know that’s not realistic – which is why CSE is ideal as it teaches abstinence as an option. I think sexuality education in America needs a huge overhaul!
I wish more parents out there were like my mom. When she realized that the “sex ed” my school was teaching was not only inaccurate but enforcing gender stereotypes, she pulled me out of it (and then I had to go sit in teh computer lab with the students whose parents thought it was too liberal!!) My mom took over and taught me at home. I’d always had a very open mom, and had the “Where Did I Come From” and “What’s Happening To My Body” books from a young age. I was never allowed to use slang terms for body parts. I know not every parent is comfortable doing this – plus some may not feel that they have the time or knowledge, and some parents may have the wrong ifnormation.
As someone who teaches sex ed, I always encounter students who tell me that they wish they could have taken this class or a similar one earlier. It’s always a little sad for me when I have students tell me if they learned this info sooner they wouldn’t be pregnant/have a child/have an STI. I’m not saying that schools should be teaching bondage, but I do think that they should be teaching CSE. I think people need to know how to protect themselves from STIs, as well as communication and about relationships. I was very comfortable with my mom and she taught me tons of info – however, again, I know not every kid has this. She even taught me how to put on condoms!