Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Some Thoughts on Sex Education

Over at Alternet today, there's an article entitled "Sex Ed in the Bible Belt", which is about the author's experience with abstinence-based sex education.

My reply contrasted my own experience with sex education with that of the author and follows below:

My junior high and high school sex-ed classes were in the early to mid 70s in New Jersey. The junior high classes were sex-segregated and dealt mainly with the biological facts of reproduction.

In high school, however, it was in mixed-sex classes conducted by the football coach and the emphasis was pregnancy prevention, not abstinence. It was assumed that we would be having sex before we were married, though some attention was given to encouraging us to wait until we were mature enough to handle it.

I remember one class in particular where the coach couldn't stress strongly enough how useless the "withdrawal" method was, telling us that people who used withdrawal were usually more commonly known as "parents".

Abortion had recently become legal when I was in high school, and this, too, was addressed in the classes, with the emphasis being that consistent use of birth control would make this option unnecessary.

Questions were encouraged, no matter how frank, and were answered in an equally frank manner.

The issue of love and relationships as how it related to sex were covered in a separate family living class.

I'm glad I grew up when and where I did and was fortunate enough to receive a comprehensive sex education.

The only topics not covered in what would be considered in an adequate manner today would have been the topic of STDs, which were still commonly referred to as "VD" back then. But, to be fair, AIDs did not yet exist at the time and what STDs that did exist could be cured with a trip to the doctor, so what education we did receive on STDs was adequate for the time.

What was your experience of school sex education?

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