What Was Sexuality Education Like for You?

IWHC asked this question to a bunch of sexual and reproductive rights advocates and colleagues. Check out their answers below and come back tomorrow for the second installation.

I was living in Taipei, Taiwan at the time. I was in 7th grade. They separated the boys and girls and taught us about periods which most of us already had. I’m not sure what the boys were taught. I don’t remember anything about sex explicitly.

Shiuan Butler

Sex Ed for my school was horrible pictures of various STIs and STDs affecting male and female genitals. Yet there was no mention of condoms or how to prevent these, abstinence was not even mentioned. This happened senior year of high school after many of us had already begun experimenting with sex. For some of us older siblings told us to use condoms, or birth control. I shudder to think about students in high school and middle school not receiving comprehensive sex education. Something I hope to change throughout the years. All options matter.

Vicky Hummel, Pennsylvania, USA

What I most remember was that girl’s weren’t supposed to ask questions.  Everyone assumed the boys were horney and they asked questions about the average size of a penis or how long sex lasted and all of the girls would giggle.  Also I remember watching long slideshows of STIs and thinking how I never wanted to have sex.  We got pulled out of class to stare at pimpled and tortured genitals for about two hours.

Catherine Weingarten, Pennsylvania, USA

My top memory from my sexuality education from high school was the detail they went into regarding the most common STDs and their symptoms…even including pictures. It’s actually how I was able to identify when I had an STD myself (not sure I want that to be shared on the website haha) But, I thought it was pretty bold, seeing that it was a private, Catholic and we were unmarried teenagers (so to discuss the effects of sex before we were technically supposed to be having sex, according to the church). However, unfortunately, I don’t remember very much discussion of sexual rights in my sexuality education.

Caitlin Mitchell, California, USA

I remember learning that sexuality does not mean Sexual Intercourse. I was made to believe [sexuality] only to do with having sex. But my views changed after I received a comprehensive training as a peer educator on sexuality education from Girls’Power Initiative (GPI)

Comfort Ikpi, Nigeria

One response to “What Was Sexuality Education Like for You?

  1. We didn't get "sexuality" education – we got "sex" ed: all mechanics, all biology. First round, they separated us by gender and told us about menstruation and basic "where babies come from." Five years later, we had co-ed sex-ed. More details on "where babies come from" and the mechanics of the male sexual organs. (because who cares about women's sexual organs, orgasm, pleasure, etc., right?) oh and some basic mechanics of pregnancy. almost nothing on STDs (that's what they were called). This was just as AIDS/HIV was becoming a public health threat, and it was still a "gay disease." (makes me queasy just to type that awful phrase.)

    Absolutely nothing on consent, rape, gender, transgender, LBTQQIAA (most of the terms didn't even exist then), female autonomy and pleasure, sexual intimacy, sexual acts other than female-male intercourse. We did get a nod toward abstinence though!

    Sheesh! no wonder I've struggled with sexuality.

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