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When should students learn Sex Ed?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Canterpiece, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. Batman

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    I had sex ed in grade 9. They split us into girls and guys for it. The only thing we really did was label the different parts of the male reproductive system and get told that abstinence is the only way not to get pregnant. And this was in the girl section of the class.

    We didn't really talk about contraceptives other than briefly looking at a condom. No mention of vaginas or masturbation or non-heterosexual sex or consent. And this was 2012! Small towns man

    I also remember the instructor making a sly comment about how women don't even like sex :rolling_eyes:
     
    #21 Batman, Jan 21, 2019
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  2. beenthrdonetht

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    My (school) sex ed was as bad as y'all's. (Except for @Linning, those Scandinavians are exemplary in many ways.) And as noted, any attempt to improve things just whips up a vocal minority who will shout it down.

    My real education? I just looked up "sex" in the card catalog (old-school) at the library. Interestingly enough, both the city and school libraries had perfectly matter-of-fact books on the topic. Guess I have some sensible librarians to thank. (Try, try hard beenthrdonetht, to avoid raunchy librarian jokes!)
     
  3. BMC77

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    I can't say when sex ed should start...but I'd say at least some basics should be covered no later than the end of elementary school.

    In my case, I had an appalling lack of information... By the end of 6th grade (1980s), my mother gave me a very basic talk along the lines of "a man and a woman fall in love, get married, and when they want a baby..." Better than nothing, I guess...but a lot of important details were left out.

    A few things I wished I'd learned a lot sooner than I did include (but aren't limited to):

    • Erections are normal. I was having lots of erections about that time, and had no idea what was happening. It would have been nice if I'd been told it was normal.
    • I wish I'd understood attraction better. And it would have been nice understanding that guys can be attracted to other guys. I remember seeing a guy my age nude for the first time when I was about 13 years old. It was an overwhelming experience...but back then, I didn't understand what was happening, or why I felt the way I did. I might have figured out "I'm gay" a lot sooner than I did.
    • It also would have been nice if I'd heard at some point that masturbation was normal.

    I didn't have sex ed in school until 9th grade. The school had it in 7th grade, but my mother opted not to have me take it. I think she might have been concerned that 13 was too young. I can appreciate how she felt...but I also think it was the wrong decision. 9th grade sex ed was mostly about reproductive system. There was some talk about birth control and STDs.
     
  4. Andrew99

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    No later than 7th grade. Also they should be educated about gay sex as well.
     
  5. Hawk

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    I had sex ed in either grade 7 or 9 (or both). I remember learning about all the different kinds of protection, female and male, the anatomy, and how to put a condom on a banana.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with students learning about reproductive parts when they're younger. If they were to learn about sex ed in elementary school, I don't think it should be from a reproduction aspect, but moreso "this is what your parts are called." I think a lot of parents will say hoo-hoo instead of penis or vagina. It's not a bad word, but society has to make sex talk a weird and taboo subject.

    I do think parents and/or teachers should teach the relationships (same and opposite), reproduction, safe sex, and bodily changes to students when they're 12-14, as they're going through those changes during that time. However, I don't think sex-ed has to stop at grade 9, I think a person or school could teach students more as they enter high school as they're more mature and they'd be less likely to giggle at words like "penis", and they'd probably be more receptive to learning about it too.
     
  6. Melancholy

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    Totally. The overall approach needs several tweaks - unless changes have already been made in the UK? I was taught sex-ed around 2008-2010 and I have no idea how much, if anything, has changed since then.

    Mine was in year 6/7 (around ages 10-12). Like many people here have said, it was the biology of how bodies work, body parts, puberty, reproduction and why people should use contraception and how to use it. I can't remember anything about relationships, consent, different sexualities etc. but the teacher let people write down any questions we had at one point and put them in a box. The teacher read them out loud and answered them to the whole class (although the "class" was literally a couple of people in that science set.) Other than that, there was maybe an assembly or two on online safety and the like.

    From what others have said here though, it sounds like what I got was decent enough in comparison - hearing about encouraging abstinence sounds like a joke.
     
    #26 Melancholy, Jan 29, 2019
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  7. BMC77

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    Perhaps a good idea.

    9th grade was the end in my school district. Partly, I think, because they tied sex ed to health classes, and the last health class was in 9th grade. But it might be argued that perhaps it would have been beneficial having additional sex ed later in high school. Problem is...that could be controversial. Also schools have so many requirements now of what they must do. I could make an argument that they could stuff a special one week sex ed unit into the time scheduled for social studies. Would losing a week of US history be a real problem? But the state might not agree. Parents who hate sex ed definitely wouldn't agree (especially since they'd likely be "America First! Make America Great Again! Isn't Trump the best thing ever?!!!!!" types, who'd want the full year of history, preferably emphasizing how great America is).

    As for giggling at the word penis... I don't recall that from 9th grade health, but maybe it's a memory flaw (this was 30+ years ago). There were some moments of immaturity, though. One memory: some girls started giggling: "[BMC77] has nocturnal emissions." (Yes. They specifically targeted me. It wasn't the only time they targeted me, one way or another. If I weren't gay, dealing with those girls through 9th grade would have made me gay. LOL)

    I have a feeling, though, the real immaturity was in 7th grade health. I missed that, as I said above, but I'm guessing now the maturity level could have been appalling. One kid in my health class looked at down at his lap. And said something like: "It's coming up, and dripping with sperm!"

    I have to wonder if the PE teachers didn't positively hate teaching the sex ed unit in 7th grade health classes.
     
  8. BMC77

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    Not surprising that a city library would have good books. They should have a wide range of books to cover all sorts of topics, and sexuality is an important topic.

    School library, on the other hand, could be more iffy...depending on the community and the school. I also would worry more about schools possibly having out of date books. (A real worry when talking about contraceptive technology. Or possibly STD issues. If my high school had had, say, books that were 10 years old, they wouldn't have any information about HIV/AIDS.)

    I'm not sure how bad my high school's library was...but, in general, the library was poor. I can imagine them having a sexuality book that talks about the "exciting new invention of a thing called a 'condom', which might prevent pregnancy and disease!" LOL
     
    #28 BMC77, Jan 29, 2019
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  9. Joe2001

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    I think it has to be taught around the age of 13. Kids aren't active at that point but are old enough to learn the info.

    My school (Catholic private school) never taught us a thing about sex education, except for reproduction. I had to learn everything myself.
     
  10. Bobsleigh1

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    I feel like it should be taught earlier than most seem to, and certainly needs major improvement.

    I didn't go to school publicly for very long at all so I kind of just taught myself everything on the subject when I was about eleven through my own online research because I was curious and wanted to be educated on things like this that are undoubtedly going to effect me in a big way.
    That way I was able to get multiple opinions and see the topic from a thousand different angles, I could also select who I was getting the information from and decipher what to trust based on who I trust, and now I know the things I actually need to know and, on top of that, feel personally confident and comfortable with it all. Being legitimately curious also meant I listened and took in the information properly and would actually apply it. AND I got to do it all when I felt ready and I felt like it was necessary for me to know for present day and future reference! Rather than having the info forced down my throat too early or too late by someone who is either wrong/teaching it badly or who I'm not going to feel like listening to (and with privacy! It's a weird subject to begin with, who would want to learn it in a room filled with their peers who may or may not be unfriendly about it? But that's a little harder to adjust for schools, I suppose).

    So, yeah, from what I've heard, schools should definitely improve on all fronts; kids should be taught when are ready to be (with a maximum age, of course, don't want to be too late), and definitely earlier. Luckily, I think it worked out pretty damn well for me.
     
    #30 Bobsleigh1, Jan 31, 2019
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  11. Lee65

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    I was taught the basics of sex ed in 7th grade (first year of junior high). I was 12 at the time. I already knew most of what was taugh, though, because I had read the entry about human reproduction in the encyclopedia set my parents had. I think because the onset of puberty is starting earlier for so many kids now, sex ed should begin before age 12. How much sooner depends on the individual kid. Because age is only one measurement & consideration of their readiness to learn. Some kids today are (or at least, seem) intelligent & mature beyond their years. Maybe they're old souls or something.
     
  12. BMC77

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    Yes. I wish I'd had better information at age 12 than I did--it would have helped me understand what was going on with my body.

    They might have started some sex ed earlier than I probably said earlier in this thread. I now recall that in fifth grade, our class was separated by sex, and watched films. The boys' film wasn't memorable--I think the only thing I recall was the talk about using deodorant as you grow up. But I'm now wondering if girls didn't get at least some information about periods. While they likely didn't get full sex ed, at least they might have gotten something to help them understand their changing body, which was more than I could say. Oh, wait! I did learn my arm pits would start stinking as a teenager. LOL But I think I probably knew about that problem (not personally, but it's not like I'd never seen a deodorant ad, or didn't know my parents had deodorant in the bathroom).

    Yes, this is ideal.

    Problem is...schools are designed as an assembly line for education. The ideal is to have everything standardized. Everyone studies the same exact thing at the same time. So Joey might benefit from learning at 11, because puberty will hit him at 12, but Timmy won't see puberty hit until 15, and will find the word penis hysterically funny until he's 13. But the school mandates age 12, anyway, because it's the most efficient choice for them.

    I've noticed at that as well.

    I certainly have been impressed by some of the younger posters on EC over the years.
     
  13. Blackrainbow

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    I got taught intitial sex ed when I was 11-12 (e.g. Male and Female reproductive parts, how babies were born.) Then when I was maybe 14-16, about consent in sex, and how to put a condom on a model full-scale penis. (There was like six of us to a group rolling this thing on.) We got shown one video with the vague implication that it was okay to be gay, and that was about it. I came away with no clue about what sex actually entailed for anyone with a partner of any gender, other than penetrative male/female sex. I'm Scottish and since the likes of abstinence only education isn't a thing here, I know it didn't have it bad at all by the standards of the other posts I've been reading through. Still, it wasn't so much sex education as pregnancy education, and even then it was incredibly basic. It might be uncomfortable to teach kids anything more, but at the bare minumum, same-sex relationships/intercourse shouldn't be treated as an incredibly rare possibility that no one should think about unless absolutely neccessary, and there should be more information about other contraceptive methods.