Critical Conversations: Sex Education

Filed under: Teens, Development/Milestones: Babies, Day Care & Education

No, don't get too excited. I am not going to talk about the fifth graders who decided to have sex when left unsupervised for fifteen minutes. Though, at some point, I might. No, the topic for today, Boys and Girls, is Sex Education in the schools.

I happen to be in the camp of, "Please teach my children about sex in the schools so I don't have to do this." However, my school district has not complied. In fact, it has alarmingly not complied. This year, my thirteen-year-old son announced that he had had sex education classes during Health at school. I know this school district-- having taught special ed briefly-- and I wasn't allowed at that time to teach Harry Potter. So, when it came to the announcement about sex ed, I was suspicious.

"Oh?" I asked him. "What did you learn?"

He showed me this little credit card he had signed, swearing to abstain from sex until he was married. And his little plastic, white bracelet that said, "I'm worth the wait."

I looked him straight in the eye. "You know, you don't have to do that," I told him. He shrugged and said, "I know."

I asked him, "Did they talk about how to have safe sex?"

Sam: "Um, not really."

Me: "Do you know how to have safe sex?"

Sam: "Use a condom."

Me: "Okay, good. And what age do you think someone should be the first time they have sex?"
Sam: "Um, twenty?"

Me: "Good. I think that is a good age. Now, do you know where you can buy condoms?"

Sam: "Um, not exactly."

Me: "You can get them in the grocery store. They are over by the pharmacy. And you need to buy them, even if you are embarrassed to buy them."

He told me that they had told the kids at school that relationships wouldn't work out if people cohabitated before marriage, because cohabitation simply meant they weren't committed. I said, "Well, Dereck (his step-father) and I lived together before we got married. So, do you think that is true? Don't you think maybe that is a bit of an oversimplification?"

We have already had talks about how babies are made and about puberty. I also bought my kids a good, sensitively written, well-informed, and age-appropriate book about puberty, so they understand not only what is going to happen to their own bodies, but also to girls' bodies.

Every once in awhile, I check in with my him about how things are going. His voice is changing; he is getting taller, and he has a smattering of acne on his forehead. I have told him how to change his bedding when he starts having nocturnal emissions. I haven't noticed any suspiciously long episodes in the shower or bathroom. But I try to keep our conversations frequent enough that they are comfortable, casual, and not a big deal.

I am glad that my son told me that he was having "Sex Ed" at school. SO I COULD FILL IN THE BLANKS. My use of quotes there is deliberate. I am quietly seething and planning a letter to the school about how archaic, dangerous, and ineffective their curriculum is.

How do you feel about sex education in the schools? What do you want your district to do?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.