Saturday, April 6, 2013

Observations on Sex Education from a College Student

Lately when I got home to the Nam every few weeks, I find things like amateur sketches of boobs and penises on the fridge. My brother had to draw them as an assignment in his Human Sexuality class at Penn State--the professor was trying to get an idea of how familiar students were with the anatomy of their own gender as well as the opposite's.

He also tells me stories of class discussions, much like my college roommate did when she was taking a Human Sexuality class (they're both studying psychology, by the way). So when my dad mentioned the county's teen pregnancy rates, I thought back to those conversations--quite frequently, my little brother was one of few kids in the class who knew information typically considered to be pretty basic. Perhaps most interesting of all is the extensive sex ed my brother and I received in Catholic school. In eighth grade, some women came in for like a three-hour talk on STDs and pregnancy. In high school, we were taught all about the human body's downstairs mixup (I had to label it on a test!) and various contraception methods. We watched things like The Miracle of Life in one class, Philadelphia in anotherWe were taught in detail about abortion procedures, too, and how terrible they are, but whatever.

Now, some people have very strong, differing opinions on sex ed, but I tend to think a lot of parents avoid the subject and kids need to learn somewhere. And the perfect answer may be "no sex if you don't want babies or STDs," but when was the last time telling a teenager not to do something actually worked? I say teach them to make smart, safe decisions, whether or not you agree with them.

I also said, "Hey, kid, write me up some shit about your sex class." Here's what I got.

"Growing up, I always knew sex education should be taught at a younger grade level and be more in depth as compared to what it is now. This semester, I am taking a Human Sexuality class, and after only a few weeks, my stance on early teaching should was strengthened and now I believe it should be implemented.

"Allow me to set the scene. Back when the semester began, my professor went over the syllabus and eventually asked us about previous sex education we had so she could get an idea of what we knew already. A lot of questions my professor was asking had mixed answers from us, the students. I personally surprised myself by how much I actually had even while attending catholic school up to this point (though I will admit, I am still learning things about concerning sex/sex health, even in college). Though I think the one answer that really surprised me was when the question “Was the word ‘clitoris’ ever used?” was asked. I was the only person to raise a hand in response (that I am aware of though since I sit in the first row), and remember, I went to Catholic school. Though for other questions concerning previous sex education, answers were roughly a 50/50, yes/no spilt between the class of approximately 40 students.

I know it is not the other students’ fault that they don’t know or didn’t know. But it does say a lot about how little people do know concerning sex and how much education there is. And simply put: there isn’t a lot."

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