What Did You Learn In Sex Ed? 8 Men And Women Share What They Were Taught In School About Condoms, Pregnancy, And STDs
When I was 12 years old, a special speaker came to my Catholic school class. Her purpose? To teach sex ed. I was expecting to learn how to put a condom on a banana, or to see gross pictures of STDs, like how you always see in the movies. So I was understandably perplexed when she walked in, and placed a small box on the table before her. It was a perfect gift box —wrapped in the most beautiful blue and green polka dot wrapping paper and adorned with shiny ribbon.
“Now, I’m going to pass this around the class, and each of you are going to take a piece from it.” The beautiful, perfect gift was passed around to all 20 members of my class. We had fun, especially the guys, who were especially enthusiastic about tearing at the paper. By the time the box reached the end of its journey through my class, it was a tattered, destroyed, mess.
She picked up the box dramatically. “Who wants this box? Any of you?”
We all shook our head No.
“Ladies”, she said in a solemn voice. “This box is you when you have sex before marriage. A ruined gift that no man will ever want.”
She then proceeded to pass around binders full of horrifying photos of rotting, diseased genitalia. "This," she told us sternly, "is what happens when you have sex before marriage. Condoms or birth control won't protect you. And you won't go to Heaven anymore. "
I left the class so scared sh*tless that I didn't masturbate for three months.
Looking back on it, the sexual education I received at Catholic school was pretty twisted and backwards. We were taught that female sexuality was shameful, that procreation was the sole purpose of sex, and that if you have sex you'll get pregnant and die.
Sadly, my experience with sex education happens all too frequently around the country. The topic of sexual education in the American school system has received much media attention and has been the heated topic of progressive and conservative political rhetoric. A call for sex education reform is stirring as critics point out the gaps in the current sex ed requirements, which vary by state. I talked with eight men and woman to see what they took away from sex ed in their respective schools:
1. *Carrie, 19, Catholic school:
"We were told that if you had sex you would get pregnant and die."
2. *Jamal, 25, public school:
"I guess I had a health class that included a section on sex ed. Use a condom, diagrams of male and female gentiles with different parts labeled, and a handful of other things."
3. *Winston, 20, Catholic school:
"We had a sex-ed class in eighth grade. The teacher was one of the mom's on the PTA, and she was vehemently pro-life and pro- abstinence. She told us that condoms and birth control don't work, and that even oral sex was a sin against God. At the end of the course we took a quiz about the development of the fetus."
4. *Ally, 26, public school:
"We were taught mostly about abstinence and STDs. I heard a lot of schools taught people had to put on condoms (banana style) but that would have never happened where I went to school (in wake county). "
5. *Lana, 22, private school:
"I never had any type of formal sex education."
6. *Sierra, 20, charter school:
" We learned like nothing. It was all about abstinence. And we learned the stds. But like no one ever taught you how to put on a condom or stuff like that."
7. *Zach, 20, public school:
"I learned that ["the only way that's 100 percent likely to make sure you don't get pregnant or get an STD is to stay abstinent"]".
8. *Krysten, 19, public school:
"I never really had a sex ed class. The closest we got to learning about it was when I was in seventh grade and we were discussing puberty."
*Names have been changed
If you'd like to take a trip down memory lane, watch the sex myths you believed as a child below (and subscribe to Bustle's YouTube page for more videos):
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