Open Thread: Sex Ed

by | June 6, 2011
filed under Politics, Sex-Ed

Reading the 24 Hours I came across this story: “Canadian Ignorant about HIV: Survey”, which discussed the results of a recent natural study that revealed only 50% of Canadians believe condoms to be effective against HIV transmission, when they’ve been shown to be 80% effective in stopping HIV transmission between heterosexuals.

I was surprised at the number too so I thought it was a good opportunity to have an open thread on sex ed.

I had my first sex ed class in Grade 6, for which my school brought in a local public health nurse. She also did sessions for classes in grades 8 and 9 at my Junior High. She addressed a range of issues, including same-sex sex, the use of dental dams for oral sex, and the normalcy of masturbation. In Grade 7 sex ed was part of our science curriculum and was taught by our teacher, who treated heterosexual sex as normal. In High School sex ed went from being part of gym class (a couple very awkward sessions where the gym teachers would put us in a room and show us videos like “Captain Condom” and one about a boy concerned about his penis size), to being part of Career and Personal Planning. I found the sessions run by the public health nurse much more honest, open, and useful than the ones teachers were forced into teaching.

So what was your experience? Some questions to start things off:

1. Where did you get most of your sex ed? (School, parents, friends, on your own on the internet?)

2. If you had sex ed in school, what was it like? Who taught it? Anything particularly memorable?

3. Were there particular topics that weren’t covered?




  • Devyn

    Mine was pretty pitiful. It was exclusively heterosexual, but it didn’t say much other than use a condom to avoid pregnancy. Which, given that I was still developing a sexual identity was pretty useless, I was no where near having sex. Sex ed should talk about puberty and everything, and must include all forms of sex. It also should include stuff on gender identity.

  • Carla

    Cool idea…I only had sex ed from teachers in science and PE, but my mom also used to bring home books designed for teens on puberty, periods, etc… from the time I was 11 or so. I kinda agree that it might’ve been better to have a nurse do it…I think my teachers were scared they’d get in shit from parents so they wouldn’t talk about anything other than straight sex for procreation, plus condoms and a little bit on AIDS.

  • E. Cain

    I went to a pretty progressive school, and we had our first sex-ed class in 4th grade. It was actually taught by one of our classmates’ mothers, who was a doctor and also a lesbian.
    So, it definitely covered more than just heterosexual sex. But too long ago to remember more specifics…

  • Taryn

    I can definitely remember them demonstrating how to put condoms on bananas, but not much else that was helpful in school. At my Unitarian church one week they brought in someone from an AIDS organization and she blew up a condom and rubbed oil on it until it popped, which was a pretty effective way to get us to remember not to use oil-based lubricants with condoms.

  • Frankly, the most thorough sex ed I got was the whole “HEY GUESS WHAT YOU’RE ABOUT TO START BLEEDING FROM THE CROTCH!” talk that they gathered up all the girls for in fifth grade. We also got a mixed-gender presentation, also in the fifth grade, on how if everybody had sex with two people, we’d all end up with AIDS. WOO ABSTINENCE ONLY EDUCATION!

    My high school sex ed was limited to STI pictures (in ninth grade) and a highly clinical but essentially useless unit in biology on reproductive anatomy. We had to be able to describe hormone cycles, but there were no banana condoms and actually not even a discussion of fetal development. I guess that the schools thought that if we knew that a human fetus looks exactly like a turtle embryo (as I learned in COLLEGE freshman biology) until over halfway into development, abortion would seem like fun times.

  • Andi

    I had a similar experience to Rachel. It was all about periods and puberty and basically just trying to make us think sex was evil or really scary. Luckily we didn’t have to look at STI pics though-gross!

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