My So-Called Sex Education

Cross-posted with permission from IPPFWHR.

Editor’s note: Abstinence-only sex education is prevalent in Texas. In particular, in the Rio Grande Valley area of the state, where the author attends school, integrated sex education is not common. The area also has high rates of teen births in a state that is already fourth in the country in terms of teen birth rates.

When it comes to sex education, I can’t really say much since I wasn’t taught anything besides what I learned in biology. My teacher talked about ovaries and sperm, but left out the process of sexual reproduction. There’s only so much a biology class could teach me, and it didn’t tell me about sexual urges, attraction, or needs.

Sex-education programs are rarely mentioned at my high school, so students have to find out about things themselves. To this day, I haven’t taken any sex-education classes in school. I learned most of what I know by asking my parents questions. Asking your parents about sex is probably awkward for most kids, but it wasn’t really for me. I’d rather ask my parents than a teacher or a doctor. The question I asked the most because I didn’t fully understand was, “Why?”

Now, I wonder why teachers don’t want to explain anything to teens. Is it because they’re afraid sex is too serious to talk about? Or maybe they don’t know the answers to our questions either? It’s as if my school doesn’t want students to know why we can’t control some of our actions and urges, like erections and masturbation, or about the birds and the bees. But it’s not like any of these are secrets to keep from high school students.

Maybe adults at my school think we already know what we need to about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and that we should always wear a condom, no matter what. But I really doubt that’s the case since last year three girls at my school became pregnant while having sex with their boyfriends at school.

I hear a lot of incorrect information from my classmates and friends. I’ve heard you grow hair on your palm if you masturbate even once. I’ve heard that coming into any form of contact with a person who has an STI will pass it on to you. The most popular myth I’ve heard is that being homosexual is contagious.

Schools should not only hold sexuality education classes for students, but also form an assembly at some point in the school year for us to talk and learn about these things. Some kids are embarrassed to ask anything. So, the adults should have a teen help with the presentation and ask the questions they hear most in the hallways.

Even though some of us can talk to our parents, all teens need to be taught about all aspects of sex, not just about biology.

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  • LoveAndLight

    Many teachers want to make students aware; to teach them about sex education – answer the students questions with honesty. Many teachers are really teachers because they care about their students, and they want to help them grow into mature and responsible adults. However, I am afraid that many parents do not want their kids to know this information, or there are religious beliefs that come into play, or how MUCH do you tell the students. Some students might be offended, some may not want to know…I remember my sex education classes – if you didnt wish to participate, you could leave the classroom. Now I am a teacher, and if it were up to me, I would teach the truth to students. You want to know, you are in a place in your life where SOMEONE has to answer the hard questions, and if your parents won’t then I will. Ignorance is not bliss…if you are of age, then you should know what to expect and what to look for. Ignorance is pre-teen pregnancy, std’s, low self esteem, sexual promiscuity, and not making informed decisions. This world is not as innocent as it once was, and kids are growing up faster than ever. Knowledge is power.

  • fiona64

    Back when I was in school, comprehensive sex education was taught as part of health class. It blows my mind to see the kind of nonsense that passes for education: “just don’t do it” is woefully inadequate.

    I have taught 20-year-olds how to properly use condoms and explained to them why some of the beliefs they held (some of them cited in this article) were factually inaccurate. It is mindboggling to me that someone could reach the age of majority and lack such basic information … and yet, that appears to be the case.

    • Savpunk

      Same for when I was in school, circa the 70s and early 80s. Plain talk and plain facts about our bodies, reproduction, birth control, STIs, and anything else we needed to know. And we were given comprehensive drug education, before Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No! the War On Drugs, and DARE came along. I couldn’t believe what moronic crap my daughter was being taught (or not) a few decades later when it came to sex and drugs. Downright lies, in some cases, half-truths and scare tactics in others.

  • Anon rust

    Well … since the Texas educational system isn’t going to address these questions, start a group that meets after school. Have some decent scientific websites on hand, too, for reference.