How to fail sex ed

One of the wonderful people who teaches comprehensive sexuality education in our church sent along a link to a post on Imgur headed: “Two years ago today, my then 14 year old sister got suspended for submitting these answers for her sex-ed class. I’m so proud of her.” Then there’s a photo of a worksheet titled “Objections to Condoms.” Kids were supposed to come up with possible responses to various excuses for not using condoms.

So, for example, one of the excuses for not using a condom was: “Condoms are gross; they’re messy; I hate them.” To which this creative girl replied: “So are babies.”

Condoms are messy -- So are babies

Mind you, a couple of the replies are just plain unconvincing, e.g. — Excuse: “I’d be embarrassed to use one”; reply: “Look at all the fucks I give.” Yeah, whatever.

But some of the replies, while very snarky, just might actually work in the real world, e.g. — excuse: “I don’t have a condom with me”; reply: “I don’t have my vagina with me.” This is not a good response to put on a worksheet that a public school teacher has to read; but a snarky early adolescent girl who needs to use a little humor to get through to a boy might find that reply useful.

This brings up an interesting point of educational philosophy. A core element of my educational philosophy is to start where the learner is. Some early adolescents learning about sex and sexuality may be most comfortable using snark and f-bombs to talk about sex. Of course we want to move them to a more reasoned form of discourse, a way of speaking that will allow them to talk about sex with potential partners openly, humanely, and with emotional intelligence. But we may have to listen to their f-bombs for a while before we get them there.

3 thoughts on “How to fail sex ed”

  1. I’m with you. Actually, I think a girl who is bold enough to answer “I don’t have my vagina with me” on her test might be more likely to actually stand her ground than someone who parrots back the kind of answer the teacher is expecting– less likely to cave to peer pressure.

  2. Laura Lee, yes. While some of her responses are clearly inappropriate, she was 14, and that shouldn’t be a big surprise. Can we start where she is as a learner, helping her to hold on to her strengths while helping her move beyond some unhelpful behaviors? This is what good educators do.

  3. I like “Look at all the fucks I give” for the same reason. A 14-year-old girl who says that is practicing standing up for herself to someone who’s very hard to stand up to: a teenage boy in the throes of desire. He’s embarrassed to use a condom? –Too bad. This attitude will serve her well in ensuring that not only sex, but other relationship issues abide by her terms.

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