Public School: A Glimpse into My Sex Ed Experience

All school-taught sex ed classes in the United States fall into one of two categories: comprehensive or abstinence-only.

Sex ed has been and continues to be a controversial topic amongst US citizens, mainly due to the government’s multi-million dollar funding for abstinence-only education, and unfounded concerns about comprehensive sex ed classes leading to a rise in premarital sex acts.

schoolbusComprehensive Sex Ed

This teaching method covers the changes in the body which occur during puberty, preventing unwanted pregnancies, STDs/STIs, relationships, contraceptives, abstinence, gender and human sexuality. This was the teaching style supposedly implemented by the primary and secondary schools I attended.

Abstinence-Only Sex Ed

This format has strict guidelines about content including the concept that: “a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity; and that sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.” It invariably excludes contraception. Currently, a strict abstinence-only sex education laws are in effect in 23% of our nation’s public schools.

Sex Ed Starts at Home

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As I mentioned in one of my very first articles for the Condom Depot Information Center called, ‘Is This Vibrating Massager Spelled with an “IE” or a “Y?”’ my sexual education began at home, and my father unabashedly and frequently bought condoms in front of me.

It all began when, at a very young age, my parents set aside some time, sat me down in our formal living room, and explained human reproductive anatomy. Afterwards, they gave me a heteronormative breakdown of what they consider sex to be: when a man and woman love each other, he puts his penis in her vagina, and sometimes this act makes a baby.

This simple (albeit omissive) statement put me lightyears ahead of the other schoolyard kids, who were either blissfully ignorant about sex, or were floundering to piece together the various details about it they had picked up from media and older relatives. Granted, this was before the advent of internet porn— so access was limited to adult shops (who carded) or your older friends’ or parents’ porn stashes.

Public Schools in Florida: Less Than Stellar Sex Ed

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As fellow author Sam and I discussed while hosting our last #SexTalkTuesday, what was lacking in my home and school sex ed experience was a comprehensive overview of: the act of sex, the many risks of sex, gender identity and various types of human sexuality.

Having gone to four different public schools in Florida in the 80s and 90s, what I did receive was a VHS presentation of sperm entering an egg and the resulting birth, and a lecture about how to, “continue looking good for your man as you age,” which included a thorough demonstration of ancient bust enhancement exercises and comparing our heights and weights to the Body Mass Index chart. Talk about body shaming and misogyny!

To be fair, one school did include a putting-on-a-condom and self-breast-check assembly, but with thousands of kids packed into an auditorium, it wasn’t exactly a close-up, hands-on demonstration. Condom materials, sizes, expiration dates and storage were not covered.

Additionally, I heard an utterance of: any other kind of sexuality other than hetero, masturbation, abortions, adoptions, alternative contraception methods, the details about menstruation (I didn’t even know tampons or TSS were a thing), STDs of any kind, consentoral sex, anal sex, manual sex, lubricants, sex toys and all other types of reproductive health concerns (yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infections, Fordyce spots, etc.). That’s a whole lot of important and life changing information, which I was left to learn on my own from the library and from my various doctors.

The Awful Aftermath of Inadequate Sex Ed

Being primarily self-taught and learning from trial and error is not without its pitfalls. However, I’ve somehow managed to remain child-free and incurable-disease-free after my many, many years of sexual escapades. Had I not been such a curious perv in my youth, gobbling up sexual health information like a starved Rottweiler, I would’ve had a much different outcome– like my many female friends who dropped out of my public junior high and high school after becoming pregnant, or my public school-educated friend who is currently battling cervical cancer from HPV, or my many public school-educated friends who now have to disclose their genital herpes to every new partner.

My own panic driven freak outs and my friends’ less than ideal outcomes from sex without proper sex education and contraception has encouraged me to do this job to the best of my ability. While I’m not a Sexologist, I do my very best to gather accurate and scientifically-founded information and to inform anyone who wants to know more about safer sex about my findings.

Based on the so-called comprehensive sex education I received, I never judge others for their lack of knowledge or mishaps, as I empathize greatly with their plight. Maybe you don’t know what a dental dam is. Maybe you’ve never heard of the female condom. That’s OK. We’re here to help supplement your sex ed. So, inquisitive improperly educated readers– ask away! Reach out through Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter or directly through our website, either anonymously or not, and we’ll hook you up with the facts, and share some wisdom from our own personal experiences.

Sex Positive Sex Ed Resources for Parents or Expecting Parents:

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Sex Positive Sex Ed Resources for Young Adults:

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Source: [Wikipedia, ABC News]

About Condom Depot

The Condom Depot Learning Center provides free safer sex ed and has recently been resourced by Men's Health, Go Ask Alice, Her Campus, LifeHacker, Scarleteen, Bustle, Madame Noire, Jezebel, Vice, Stallion Style, aPlus, Sex Talk Tuesday and Adult Sex Ed Month.

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