Sex Ed? Still Inconsistent
Most people have to take some form of sex education (or simply “sex ed”) or health class in middle school and high school growing up. To most people, this class serves the vital function of explaining the changes that a young boy or girl is going through. Explaining these changes helps the student make sense of a confusing time in their life. Additionally, sex education also helps to educate young students on sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and how to properly protect themselves from these things.
Now, most people probably had great sex education that taught them factually correct information in an easy to learn manner. However we’ve all heard horror stories of terrible sex ed taught by somebody’s mom that focuses on Christian based abstinence-only education. But those stories are few and far between, besides that kind of stuff only happens in the backwoods of Mississippi right? Wrong. That kind of education is very prominent in a lot of schools and can happen in our home state as well. I should know, I was forced to go through this horrible educational system.
I grew up in Bakersfield, California, a relatively large town at the southernmost point of the Central Valley, right before the Grapevine. Most people only know Bakersfield as “that city I stop to get gas in on my way to LA that smells like cow poop.” Which isn’t all that inaccurate.
Bakersfield is notoriously conservative and extremely religious. Bakersfield’s most recent claim to fame is having the highest rate of meth usage in California, having the largest amount of per capita police shootings in the country, and the highest rate of teen pregnancy per capita in the state of California. You will learn why that last statistic is as I explain this story.
My particular school district was both conservative and religious, but it was also poor. It couldn’t afford to keep the journalism program going yet it found money for the football team. Groups of students would ask you if you would like to join their prayer circle during lunch time. If you said no, they would just pray next to you.
Our district was lacking in funds, so when it came time for the sex ed for the students, the district couldn’t hire a professional teacher to teach the class. Instead, the mother of one of the students volunteered to teach sex ed pro bono. The mother had no teaching experience whatsoever, but she was free so the district took her up on her offer.
The first class began with the “teacher” telling all the boys to keep their hands on the desk where she could see them, because apparently we were so hormone ridden that anatomical diagrams of vaginas would cause us to masturbate in class.
The first few lessons weren’t too bad since the aforementioned diagrams were helpfully labeled so the “teacher” would just point out what each part was called and what it did.
When it came time for the actual sex ed portion, the part that I expected to involve the proper application of a condom and how sex actually works, the “teacher” decided to put her own spin on the lesson plan.
Instead of telling us how to properly use protection, she told us about the story of the rose. You see, your virginity is like a rose, and when you have sex with someone, you give away a petal of that rose. So when the time comes for you to marry your love of your life, all you have left to give is just the thorns, which is hepatitis. So that’s why you should never have sex before marriage, we were told. That, and Jesus would judge you for your sinful lifestyle. I debated asking her what Jesus would say about me since I wasn’t Christian but it seemed clear most of the religious students already thought I was condemned to Hell anyways.
The girls were given a similar story, except it had to do with tape, not a rose. The “teacher” used a piece of tape to symbolize a girl’s virginity. She would go around and stick it to all the football players, which was hilarious now that I think about it, and point out how the tape got less sticky over time. I think the lesson was suppose to be that the more sex girls have the less likely they’ll be to find a husband because they’ll turn into a slut or something. I was too busy staring at the breast diagram to pay attention to that particular lesson.
That was the main lesson of my sex “education:” don’t have sex before marriage unless you want hepatitis and eternal damnation. The “teacher” also told us condoms had a failure rate of 70% so we shouldn’t even use them since they’ll probably break anyways.
We were taught no actual science and none of our questions were actually answered. I distinctly remember the guys in the class debating whether girls had two or three holes in their nether regions and that never got answered. I still don’t know!