77 Mind-Blowing Sex Ed Stories From Around The World



sexedweek

Health

You told us about your sex-ed classes — the good, the bad and
the nonexistent.

Posted on April 21, 2017, 14:01 GMT

Sex ed can be really
different depending on where you go to school — from state to
state, country to country, and in public vs. private
schools.

We
asked the BuzzFeed Community
to tell us what kind of sex ed they got, and we heard from
hundreds of people from all over the world.

Of course, no individual experience should be taken to
represent a whole state, province, country, religion, or
culture. But here are some of the things readers shared with
us about their sex-ed classes: the good, the bad, and the
nonexistent.

1. “It was done in a very secretive
manner, as if it were a meeting of Dumbledore’s army.”

Warner Brothers / Via giphy.com

“We learned about periods in middle school (only for
girls). It was a workshop in the closed school hall done
by a popular sanitary-pad company, not an effort by the
school — they gave us their brand’s pads at the end.
It was done in a very secretive manner, as if it were a
meeting of Dumbledore’s army. No one spoke a single word.
We were just shown a short film about what causes periods
and the myths associated with menstruation.

Everyone talked in hushed voices with their eyes down
after it was over. We were warned strictly that we
couldn’t talk about what happened once we were out of the
hall (especially to the boys) and were asked to hide
those pads given to us in our bags (which we had been
asked to bring with us to the hall). There is a huge
stigma in India with menstruation and sex.”

—Apoorva, 18, India

2. “That purple dildo in the hand of a
59-year-old female teacher still gives me nightmares.”

“The biggest thing we learned about was how to use
protection. That purple dildo in the hand of a 59-year-old
female teacher still gives me nightmares. Consent was a big
thing too; we learned about the different ways to say no.
Shame it doesn’t always work.

Same-sex relationships were not something we studied AT ALL.
As a lesbian, I have no idea what it’s all about. I know how
to not get pregnant, but I don’t know about STIs and all the
actual important stuff. On the lines of consent, we were
taught that consent only really applies between a man and a
woman, which isn’t true. There weren’t really any lessons on
that, and when I did actually ask, I was told not to get
‘silly’ ideas into my head.”

—Trixie, 16, United Kingdom

3. “I remember watching a video of
hedgehogs mating.”

“For some reason they taught us about some animals mating. I
remember watching a video of hedgehogs mating and it was
narrated by that British guy, David Attenborough I think. In
grade 9 we learned about protection, consent, sexuality. I
remember there was a box of dildos our school had in some
closet and we learned how to put condoms on them.”

—Anonymous, the Netherlands

4. “We learned about the pH levels of
the vagina and semen.”

@badge_bomb / Via instagram.com

“I went to an all-girls school, so we definitely weren’t
shy to ask questions. They sold pads and tampons in the
tuck shop, which you definitely wouldn’t have in a co-ed
school. We didn’t learn the kinds of ‘practical’ things
you see in the movies (think cucumbers and condoms), but
it was definitely thorough. The thing that stands out
most to me now is that we learned about the pH levels of
the vagina and of semen, which is unusual, but
fascinating.

I think because we were learning theory about the
mechanics of sex, they weren’t bothered about teaching
safe sex for homosexual partners, or the joys of
masturbation.”

—Molly, 30, South Africa

5. “I can’t recall ever talking about
sexual orientation or gender.”

“In grade 9 gym we did a few classes of sex ed. To be honest,
I remember absolutely nothing from them. I wonder if it’s
because I am gay and they weren’t relevant to me.

I can’t recall ever talking about sexual orientation or
gender or any of that jazz. Obviously schools need to preach
gay is okay! 🙂 🏳️‍🌈 👭👫👬 ”

—Anonymous, 29, Canada (Ontario)

6. “We didn’t learn much, except
premarital sex = hell.”

“We didn’t learn much, except premarital sex = hell (I went
to a convent school). We didn’t learn that the penis actually
made contact with the vagina. We were just taught about sperm
and eggs, and I remember wondering how they got together.”

—Shaziya, 26, Sri Lanka

7. “I only remember all of the kids in
about seventh or eighth grade being stuffed into an
auditorium, and being shown horrible pictures of genital
warts.”

@missderegalde / Via instagram.com

“I only remember all of the kids in about seventh or
eighth grade being stuffed into an auditorium, and being
shown horrible pictures of genital warts, and the
teachers telling us about weird fetishes and how normal
they were. (For example, being turned on by raincoats —
try taking that seriously when you’re in seventh grade.)

We didn’t learn that consent is key.”

—Amine, 22, Denmark

8. “Graphic images of STIs … made me
feel as though if this ever happened to me, I would be
ashamed or disgusted to get help.”

“Abstinence was really pressed onto us girls. I felt like we
were being scared away from sex, being shown graphic images
of STIs with the whole class shocked in disbelief at an image
of genital warts. This made me feel as though if this ever
happened to me, I would be ashamed or disgusted to get help
or tell my sexual partners, because of the way we were shown
such graphic images and made to feel dirty if this ever
happened to us.

Sex education or health stopped in year 10, at age 15, which
I also think is wrong, as some girls are having sex and some
will start having sex. I think I learned most things about
sex to an extent, but I think consent needs to be taught more
in boys’ and girls’ schools.”

—Anonymous, 17, New Zealand

9. “They showed us videos of abortions
so we would be scared.”

“They didn’t talk about sex, and the only thing they taught
us was that using contraceptive methods such as a condoms was
a sin. Also, they showed us videos of abortions so we would
be scared and practice abstinence.”

—Gabriela, 22, Peru

10. “My sex ed was so sex-positive that
I think some people — on the asexual spectrum, for example —
might have felt pressured to have sex.”

@cynicalheavens / Via instagram.com

“I had sex ed three times: fifth grade, seventh grade,
and ninth grade. I was very pleased with it. It was
always co-ed and included the biological and anatomical
facts about sex, as well as practical advice for sexual
health. It was inclusive of same-sex relationships,
although not of other non-normative sexual practices.

Honestly, my sex ed was so sex-positive that I think some
people — on the asexual spectrum, for example — might
have felt pressured to have sex.”

—Maureen, 20, US (Michigan)

11. “Until I was in my twenties I never
knew what a normal, healthy penis looked like.”

“Until I was in my twenties I never knew what a normal,
healthy penis looked like. To be honest, I didn’t know what
my own vagina looked like until then either. I had never
looked, and the photos we were shown in sex ed were of
infected body parts.

It ended up instilling a sense of shame about it — that
somehow everyone was dirty and ugly there, and no one should
talk about it or be too open about it. It took me years to
become comfortable in my own body after that, and even longer
to be able to relax with my partner and just enjoy being
together.

We were not taught about condoms or birth control. There was
no mention of any type of sexuality other than straight. We
were taught that virginity was a gift, and once it was given
away you could never give it to someone again.

I’m a Christian. I actually ended up waiting to have sex
until I had dated the man who is now my husband for a long
time. We waited until we knew for sure we wanted to get
married. We didn’t wait for marriage, but I waited for him.

So when I say that sex ed back then was a joke and a crime,
I’m not just a liberal whatever it is people like to call
other people. Those adults failed us, and a lot of my
classmates ended up pregnant or becoming teenage fathers. I’m
sure a lot of them ended up with STIs. And I know a LOT of
them ended up like me: very, very confused and ashamed about
the whole thing.”

—Sarah, 34, US (Texas)

12. “They never said homophobia was a
value, but they preached it a lot.”

@justseeds / Via instagram.com

“I went to an all-girls Catholic school. We didn’t have
explicit sex education. Nobody ever called it that. We
learned about the very basics of male and female anatomy
in biology courses. We had classes where they would
‘form’ (or shape, if you will) us as humans. The point of
these classes was to instill values they considered
important, including of course abstinence and homophobia.
Well, they never said homophobia was a value, but they
preached it a lot.

We had a book that I remember somewhat vaguely, but it
touched upon homosexuality as being abnormal and a result
of childhood trauma, having absent fathers, or ‘being
dressed as a girl when they were little.’ Yep.”

—Anonymous, 21, Ecuador

13. “We were taught lots about
menstruation. For like…three years.

“We were taught lots about menstruation. For like…three
years. We learned about what safe sex was and the importance
of it. We were shown pictures of STIs that are forever
scarred into my brain.

We learned nothing about if you were LGBT, nothing about
consent. I would say these are huge gaps.”

—Anonymous, Bangladesh

14. “I learned males and females can be
raped and be rapists.”

“We were taught the definition of rape — I learned the
‘cup of tea’ analogy. We also discussed
the mental trauma that can stem from it, as well as resources
to get help. I learned males and females can be raped and be
rapists.

Ultimately, it was stressed that the only way to prevent
pregnancy was through abstinence.”

—Drew, 20, US (Pennsylvania)

15. “I remember specifically spending a
whole lesson in a class debate about the importance of
women’s sexual rights.”

@lovelylittleadventures / Via instagram.com

“I attended an all-girls Anglican school and so I was
surprised when our teacher said to us: ‘Girls, I’m not
here to tell you not to have sex until you’re married — I
know that the majority of you will have sex, so I’m here
to answer any questions you have about sex.’

Our teacher created a question box. Any questions we had
we placed anonymously in the box. It allowed the teachers
to dispel any rumors we all thought to be true
(apparently balls don’t actually turn blue — shocker) and
also engage with real-life examples.

I remember specifically spending a whole lesson in a
class debate about the importance of women’s sexual
rights. Topics ranged from abortion to ethical issues
regarding the Pill to how to deal with sexual advances in
the workplace.”

—Natasha, 17, Australia

16. “I didn’t even know there was a pill
form of abortion until last year.”

“We learned what STIs were called, and about the Pill and
condoms, and the menstrual cycle.

We didn’t learn what an IUD is, that it’s an option, what
having an abortion involves (I didn’t even know there was a
pill form of abortion until last year), how to deal with
things like thrush or yeast infections, UTIs, how to have
safe and healthy sex with someone of the same sex, about
people who are intersex, etc.”

—Sophie, 18, Ireland

17. “We got lanyards that said
‘Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.'”

“They basically told us to not have sex, showed us pictures
of STIs to scare the shit out of us, and made us sign a
contract to remain abstinent. Then we got lanyards that said
‘Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.’

As a health/sex educator now, I do the opposite and talk
about sex positivity. It’s important to show that it’s okay
to have sex and that it’s okay to not. Whether you are having
sex or not, discussing healthy communication and consent is
such an important first step. Then from there, I think people
just need to know how to have fun, safe sex (which means
talking about protection, forms of birth control, STIs,
anatomy, so on and so forth).”

—Jack, 26, US (Arizona)

18. “They talked a bit about
pronouns.”

@plannedparenthood / Via instagram.com

“I learned the basic anatomy of both females and males.
We learned briefly about STIs, and the school gave us
free condoms. We even had an organization called Skeiv
Ungdom (which roughly translates to ‘gay youth’), and
they talked a bit about pronouns and that they had a camp
each summer where gay teenagers could hang out.

But we learned little to nothing about sex! Not how long
it normally lasts, that you physically NEED foreplay, the
different bases, that you should pee after sex, that your
vagina can look different, different kinds of birth
control. And we basically didn’t learn shit about gay
sex.”

—Reign, 16, Norway

19. “Sending nudes, social
media.”

“We learned about attraction, sending nudes, social media,
sexualizing, menstruation (taught to both genders
separately), cyber attacks for sexual abuse, sexual abuse (by
family members, neighbors, and acquaintances), reproduction
(it was vague), love and lust, consent, rape, how to call for
help.

We didn’t learn about STIs, homosexuality, LGBT,
contraceptives, and other protection methods, or the actual
process of reproduction.”

—Anonymous, Singapore

20. “I didn’t learn anything about how
safe sex for gay men works.”

“I was taught abstinence was the only sure way to prevent
100% of unwanted pregnancies and STIs. They did not mention
anything comprehensive. I learned almost everything (rather
inaccurately about some stuff) on the internet. I learned
that gay men can’t get pregnant. That is important to know. I
mean, duh — but they mostly stressed about pregnancies.
Another thing: Get tested for STIs frequently and tell your
partners if there is something wrong.

I didn’t learn that sex is a healthy part of life as an adult
until I was an adult. I didn’t learn anything about how safe
sex for gay men works. They barely cover heterosexual safe
sex at all, except abstinence.”

—Brendan, 19, US (Arizona)

21. “I went to a Catholic school, and
saying the word ‘sex’ was a sin.”

@bedsider / Via instagram.com

“We were taught that the best contraceptive method is
staying a virgin. I went to a Catholic school, and saying
the word ‘sex’ was a sin. Even my health teacher, who was
supposed to give us the sex-ed class(es), and who was a
DOCTOR, would only talk about syphilis and HIV. And the
contraceptive class… Ugh. The Pill is not a form of
abortion, clearly, and neither is the morning-after pill.
But for them it was. Which is not only stupid, but NOT
TRUE, so basically they were lying to our faces.

I wish they had taught that sex and love go together.
They would refer to it as an impulse, but they would
never talk about the nice part. I lost my V-card when I
was 17 (and yeah, I was still at that school), but I
didn’t do it until I was completely sure I was in love
and with the right person. I still am, by the way, and I
don’t regret it at all. I think I’m mature enough to know
what I’m doing.”

—Ana, 19, Argentina

22. “It was just anatomy and science.
That doesn’t help you in the real world.”

“We just learned the anatomy of male and female reproductive
parts, menstruation, and how a child is conceived. The X and
Y chromosomes and stuff.

We didn’t learn any of the real things: STIs, protection,
consent. It was just anatomy and science. That doesn’t help
you in the real world having sex.”

—Ritika, 22, Nepal

23. “We didn’t learn that discussing
things about sex IS healthy.”

“We were taught that sex is a taboo and should only be
discussed when two adults are married or engaged. Sex is
against God’s will and should just be done for the sake of
procreation. People who engage in sexual intercourse at a
young age or out of wedlock are either sluts or perverts. Sex
shouldn’t be discussed freely because it will make kids more
curious to ‘experiment.’

We didn’t learn that discussing things about sex IS healthy.
Engaging in conversations about it makes it easier and more
comfortable to understand why people place too much or too
little significance on it. People have different reasons why
they engage in sexual intercourse.”

—Anonymous, 24, Philippines

24. “We were supposed to learn how to
put a condom on a banana, but I must have been out that
day.”

Broadway Pictures, SNL Studios / Via giphy.com

“I remember we were supposed to learn how to put a condom
on a banana in eighth grade, but I must have been out
that day. I still feel that I missed out.”

—Anonymous, 40, US (Georgia)

25. “When their bodies are entwined,
coitus occurs, and the swimmer (she refused to call it sperm)
enters the woman.”

“We had the ‘school doctor,’ who looked ridiculously sweaty
and nervous, talk to a small group of 11th-graders (all
biology students, FYI) about how ‘when a man and woman love
each other they lay together. When their bodies are entwined,
coitus occurs, and the swimmer (she refused to call it sperm)
enters the woman and then fuses with a woman’s ‘yellow body’
(the ovum) and then fertilization happens, and in nine months
you have a baby. (All this was said while violently rocking
in her chair.)

We didn’t learn about contraception, STIs, basically
everything that is relevant.”

—Anonymous, 21, United Arab Emirates

26. “Sex education in our school was a
priority, which is quite surprising because I am in a private
Islamic school.”

“I’m still in school and in my final year. Sex education in
our school was a priority, which is quite surprising because
I am in an private Islamic school, which is run by a strict
Islamic council. We’ve been taught about abstinence, birth
control, the risks of unprotected sex, and consent.

We haven’t learned about the fact that there are different
kinds of sexualities and people. There hasn’t been a mention
of the LGBT community — it’s in fact treated as an
unmentionable.”

—Salmaa, 16, Zambia

27. “I was homeschooled … I wish my
mom would’ve taught me that sex was my choice.”

@pleasurepie / Via instagram.com

“I was homeschooled and grew up in a very Christian home.
There was no sex ed. I didn’t even know sex existed until
around age 14. When I asked my mom about it at that age,
she told me I’d learn about it when I was a grown-up.

I wish my mom would’ve told me that sex was my choice. My
first and second boyfriends broke up with me because I
wasn’t comfortable doing physical things with them. Since
then, I’ve always felt like I owe my partners something.
I’ve done things that I didn’t want to do, and I wish my
mom had just taken the time to teach me my worth instead
of trying to hide me from the world.”

—Hannah, 20, US (Texas)

28. “We were never told about consent
because the school just assumed that we would only have sex
inside marriages.”

“I went to a super-conservative Catholic school in
super-conservative rural Perthshire, so all we learned about
was periods and puberty. We were split into boys and girls,
and the girls had to have talks on the fact that men get
erections, which really freaked us out considering our
background.

We weren’t even told that sex existed. We were not allowed to
learn about contraception or safe sex or any form of
relationship that was not heterosexual. We were never told
about consent because the school just assumed that we would
only have sex inside marriages.”

—Ellie, Scotland

29. “I thought that it was simple: Just
put that thing onto that thing and keep it there.”

“They taught basically everything — the period, how
babies are made, and also how the pregnancy goes, step by
step.

What didn’t we learn? Kamasutra, IDK. Also how to ~actually~
do it. I thought that it was simple: Just put that thing onto
that thing and keep it there.”

—Sophia, 18, Mexico

30. “It was a really nice class —
everything went so naturally, and I was almost not
ashamed!”

@marmalademange / Via instagram.com

“I studied in private schools my whole life, so I really
don’t know what sex education is like in public schools
in Brazil. But I remember having my first contact with
sex education when I was 10 or 11. The science teacher
started asking us about what we already knew about sex,
then she explained what it was and gave us some books.
Each one of these books had a different way to explain
all these things, and some of them were really creative!

After this, we wrote some questions that were still
remaining on some pieces of paper and put them in a box.
The teacher picked some and answered our questions. It
was a really nice class — everything went so naturally,
and I was almost not ashamed!

When I was 13 I had another class, but it was more
focused on anatomy. I didn’t have any class teaching me
how to put a condom on a banana or something like that. I
think we had something like this in our books in high
school.

One thing that should receive more attention is the issue
of consent.”

—Marina, 22, Brazil

31. “I remember a lot of girls on their
periods jumping into swimming pools.”

“I remember a lot of girls on their periods jumping into
swimming pools and very detailed visuals of what vaginas and
penises looked like anatomically. At one point, we had to
watch a vaginal birth.

I went to a Catholic school, so we didn’t learn about
contraception. No morning-after pill, no condoms on
vegetables, no nothing. We weren’t taught about the ups and
downs of using contraception, consent, masturbation,
understanding your own body, the hypersexualization of
society, and particularly girls at a young age, the problem
of internet porn, sex for pleasure, or anything involving the
LGBT community and the kind of relationships they had.

This is all VITAL in today’s society. The more isolated you
are from it, the more likely I think you are to get into a
bad situation.”

—Niamh, 20, United Kingdom

32. “We had a writing-skill grade for
the anatomy of the penis.”

“The boys and the girls were separated and talked about the
stuff we were concerned about. We learned every anatomic
thing, but also about safer sex and the whole range of
sexuality. The thing I remember the most is that we had a
writing-skill grade for the anatomy of the penis.

We didn’t learn so much about abuse, or what to do if someone
comes too near.”

—Martina, 22, Switzerland

33. “I had a teacher who taught us how
important the clitoris was … but our principal pretty much
told us to forget it.”

@sharon177 / Via instagram.com

“We were taught the basics on human body, what is the
vagina and the penis, some of the most popular STIs, how
to put on a condom, how babies are made, and just pretty
much that. Once I had a teacher who taught us how
important the clitoris was because it was only for
pleasure, but our principal pretty much told us to forget
it and only have sex after marriage. Or never.”

—Giulia, 18, Brazil

34. “Wear a condom, abstinence is
effective, don’t get STIs.”

“We learned: wear a condom, abstinence is effective, don’t
get STIs.

We didn’t learn: how to get condoms, how to put on a condom,
where to get the Pill, what the Pill does to your body, how
horrible pregnancy, labor, and birth are, and that sex before
marriage is okay.”

—Megan, 17, South Africa

35. “What about actually acknowledging
that there is more to sex than physical intercourse between a
man and a woman?”

“I went to a Catholic school, and just once a woman came to
give us a one-hour sex talk over three consecutive days. The
first day she emphasized the difference between friendship
and love (insisting on not having sex with anyone just
because we were in love… WTF?). The second day she
explained the male and female reproductive organs and gave us
extensive info about the period. The last day she tiptoed
around sexual intercourse (heterosexual, of course).

What about the differences between sex and gender? What about
contraceptive methods and techniques to use them? What about
actually acknowledging that there is more to sex than
physical intercourse between a man and a woman?”

—Lidia, 22, Spain

36. “Because of school sex-ed classes,
I’m an expert on how exactly straight people have
sex.”

@sexgeekdom / Via instagram.com

“In fifth grade we had ‘know your body.’ We did basic
anatomy, and then the girls and guys split off. I don’t
know what the guys did, but we learned about our periods.
In eighth grade we had real sex ed — condom
demonstrations, STIs, consent, etc.

Because of school sex-ed classes, I’m an expert on how
exactly straight people have sex. I’ve had to learn
almost everything else for myself. (Thank you,
internet.)”

—Callie, 16, US (Massachusetts)

37. “Basically, we only learned about
the reproductive system.”

“Basically, we only learned about the reproductive system.
They barely touched the subject of sex, if at all. It’s a
shame that people here have so many misconceptions about sex
and sex education.

I think everyone needs to understand the concept of consent,
respect, and boundaries. People need to know about sexual
abuse. Communication in sex is important. Also, we need to
have realistic expectations of sex. We shouldn’t base sex on
porn or erotica.”

—Patricia, 18, Indonesia

38. “The basic source of info for me and
my friends was the holy internet.”

“LOL, we had no sex-ed classes. In fact, the topic was
avoided and was only studied by students who took bio as a
compulsory subject for their GCSEs. The teacher skipped the
chapters about reproduction, STIs and all. It was considered
a social taboo.

The basic source of info for me and my friends was the holy
internet.”

—Anonymous, 14, Pakistan

39. “I feel that I had the best sex
education in the world.”

@iudecide / Via instagram.com

“I went to a religious school (Protestant), but it was of
the flexible and conscious type. We talked about sex very
often, and you could ask teachers about measures to
prevent pregnancy or STIs. Abstinence was always
recommended to us, but they knew that not everyone was
going to do it, so condoms and family planning were
common in counseling.

I feel we were very lucky children: Sadly, not everyone
in the country has access to such rich content and
education. Many do not know the consequences of sex
because they were not taught. Many of the girls who marry
young do not know how to avoid a pregnancy at their age
(usually between 14 and 18). There are few schools that
talk about the issue openly because the Catholic church
has a lot of power. I feel that I had the best sex
education in the world.

Now I go to a public school and I noticed that the only
people who have sex education are those who take nursing
classes. The others do not — they are only told that sex
brings pregnancies.”

—Meralis, 16, Dominican Republic

40. “They knew they couldn’t tell us not
to do things, but a big focus was on how to be safe.”

“We learned so much important stuff. The importance of ‘no.’
The importance of life choices, contraceptive methods (this
was an all-girls school). Respectful and consensual
relationships, responsible drinking and drug use.

They knew they couldn’t tell us not to do things, but a big
focus was on how to be safe while doing things — how to take
care of a drunk friend, etc.”

—Anonymous, 15, Australia

41. “Sex ed for us at our Christian
school was signing a ‘contract’ to say we wouldn’t have sex
outside of marriage.”

“Sex ed for us at our Christian school was signing a
‘contract’ to say we wouldn’t have sex outside of marriage.
The teacher refused to discuss the matter further, and we
weren’t allowed to leave class until we signed our paper. A
few of us refused to sign, not because we believed in sex
before marriage, but because our decision for or against had
nothing to do with anyone else and wasn’t something we were
prepared to be forced into.

We weren’t taught about consent. At 16, my boyfriend took
advantage of me against my will and made me believe it was
his right to do so because I had led him on. I didn’t realize
until years later that this was not okay. But if I had been
taught about sexual consent at school, I believe I would have
had the understanding and confidence to say no and mean it.”

—Anonymous, 24, New Zealand

42. “I think the only thing they taught
us was how to put on a condom.”

@ricardnegron / Via instagram.com

“I think the only thing they taught us was how to put on
a condom.

I think boys should learn everything about a girl’s
period — what happens in the body, how it happens. But I
think this should start at home first.”

—Anonymous, 24, Uruguay

43. “The teacher wouldn’t even say the
word ‘penis.’ This was my senior year.”

“I remember that on the pictures of the human body, they had
censored the breasts on the women and the crotch on both. The
teacher wouldn’t even say the word ‘penis.’ This was my
senior year.

It was simply assumed that no one was having sex. We had
extensive purity seminars. One of my friends, who was 17,
thought that she could lose her virginity from a tampon. So
honestly, learning anything would have been a plus for the
students.”

—Katie, US (North Carolina)

44. “That having a baby as a teen would
ruin my life, but if I had an abortion I would be emotionally
scarred.”

“In middle school I was taught that having a baby as a teen
would ruin my life, BUT if I had an abortion I would be
emotionally scarred for life and wouldn’t be the same ever
again.”

—Nikki, 17, Canada

45. “The only information we were given
on STIs were taught by stuffed toy viruses being passed
around the classroom.”

@meronhudson / Via instagram.com

“I remember there being a box of replica penises — all
skin colors and sizes and a box of condoms. ‘Choose a
penis and choose and condom, put it on.’ The only
information we were given on STIs were taught by stuffed
toy viruses being passed around the classroom. Each toy
had a tag and a leaflet, which we were told to read, then
pass the toy on to the next student.

We were never told that condoms have a right way to go
on, or how to avoid ripping or puncturing them when
opening the foil or putting them on.”

—Cathy, 22, England (Leicester)

46. “I got a blue Hershey kiss and I got
gonorrhea.”

“The classes were separated by gender. We got ‘ATM’
(abstinence ’til marriage) cards and we also got different
kinds of Hershey kisses that represented diseases or
pregnancy. If you got a certain color it meant you had that
disease or you were pregnant. (I got a blue Hershey kiss and
I got gonorrhea.)

We didn’t learn how to use a condom.”

—Katie, 16, US (North Carolina)

47. “We were all 15 at that point and
already knew what sex was.”

“In France, it’s part of a subject called environmental
science. We had at least two hours of sex education. The
problem is, we were all 15 at that point and already knew
what sex was. We mainly spoke about the reproductive system
and not how reproduction is done. But they still gave
everyone free condoms.

And they didn’t fucking talk about how to put on those
condoms, so guess what? One girl got pregnant at 15.”

—Léa, 20, France

48. “I am now a midwife so it obviously
made an impact on my life.”

@bedsider / Via instagram.com

“From age 8 until 16 I had a form of sex ed every year in
my public schools. It was tailored to our age, so it
started off with puberty and was very realistic about
people having sex and being curious about sex from a
young age — not just saying that you should not have
sex ’til you’re married. We learned about anatomy and
puberty, reproduction and sex, and consent to a small
degree, and got answers to questions like ‘Can I get
pregnant swallowing cum?’ and ‘Can I get STIs from anal?’

I am now a midwife so it obviously made an impact on my
life. I think that honestly more content was needed on
consent and what is actually needed for proper consent.”

—Lauren, 27, New Zealand

49. “The people who have penises were
taught about that. But the people who have vaginas were
taught nothing.”

“I went to a small Christian school. We were told not to
kiss, and most definitely nothing even close to actual sex
education. The people who have penises were taught about
that. But the people who have vaginas were taught nothing.

I learned nothing. I ended up finding out online and on
Tumblr. Lucky for me I’m asexual, so I don’t have to worry
about that!”

—Ash, 21, US (Georgia)

50. “The emotional aspect was somewhat
neglected.”

“In the last year of high school we got really detailed
education about contraception and STIs. However, the
emotional aspect was somewhat neglected. Religion class (in
my case, Catholic) was more oriented on consent. However, my
religion teachers were quite liberal and were motivating us
not to do it because of peer pressure, but because we care
about someone (and if possible, wait until marriage).

Gay sex was not discussed either in biology or religion
classes. When asked, my religion teacher only explained that
the Catholic Church doesn’t support that type of
relationship, but that the same rules are there for everyone
(do it because you want it, not because you are forced).”

—Anonymous, 30, Croatia

51. “The drawings of sexual organs were
not very accurate or clear, which led to me being unable to
identify my clitoris until I was 17 or 18.”

@vulvinchen / Via instagram.com

“It was mainly focused on the biological aspect,
reproduction, and (the prevention of) STIs. We were also
taught about birth control methods, but I know now that I
learned a lot of fake facts on emergency contraception
(which was talked about as a solution after ‘a mistake’).

I didn’t learn about consent, about the emotional part of
sex, and about celebrating and enjoying your sexuality in
whatever way you want to. I also didn’t learn about
non-straight sex, and we definitely didn’t learn about
people who fall outside the binary. We were basically
only taught about the ‘regular’ vanilla sex and nothing
else. So we were left with many questions. Also, the
drawings of sexual organs were not very accurate or
clear, which led to me being unable to identify my
clitoris until I was 17 or 18.”

—Clara, 23, Belgium

52. “We were taught that women on their
period are a pain in the ass.”

“We were taught: 1) That women on their period are a pain in
the ass (the male teacher said this to all the boys in the
classroom and completely ignored the girls). 2) That there
are free condoms at every UMO (youth guidance center), but we
never talked about female contraception. 3) That porn is bad;
you should never watch porn.”

—Saga, 17, Sweden

53. “Don’t ruin 60 years of your life
for six minutes of fun.”

“I remember back in the eighth grade, girls and boys were
taken separately into our school’s auditorium. We were taught
about contraception, and the man who was teaching the class
said, ‘Don’t ruin 60 years of your life for six minutes of
fun,’ and to this day, I find it hilarious.

We were also only taught about sex that one time. Nobody
would mention sex otherwise.”

—Ushma, India

54. “We were constantly told
contraception (yes, even condoms), abortion, and in-vitro
fertilization are grave sins.”

@plannedparenthood / Via instagram.com

“We had two to three bouts of sex ed throughout the
12-year learning process, with a priest, nun, religion
teacher, etc. We learned basic anatomy and boys and girls
were split up to talk about periods and…I’m not too
sure what the boys discussed. We were constantly told
contraception (yes, even condoms), abortion, and in-vitro
fertilization are grave sins. So is sex before marriage,
being gay, and masturbation.

The scary part is that due to the changes in government
(right-wing party taking over), now it’s even worse and
going downhill. Thank god for the internet.”

—Pikkah, 19, Poland

55. “I teach it now.”

“I teach it now, at a public elementary (K–8) school that is
part of the Toronto District School Board. The province
controls education and introduced a new elementary health
curriculum (that included new sexual health guidelines) in
September 2015. This curriculum is fairly progressive.
Obviously there are still many areas where we could improve.

Consent is explicitly taught as part of our sexual health
curriculum. We also start early outside of health class by
using the word ‘consent’ when helping very young
(kindergarten and up) children navigate social situations
(‘Did you ask for her consent before you pulled that toy out
of her hands?’). This way they understand what consent means
BEFORE they hit puberty.

We talk about gender and sexual orientation as being on a
spectrum. I try make sure that my students understand that
all parts of those spectrums are ‘normal.’ In addition, our
social studies curriculum requires us to teach about LGBT
families, and we use learning materials that include
representations of LGBT people. If I support a gay kid and
their bigot parent gets mad, I will be protected by my
principal, board, and union. The school staff I know are all
very supportive of LGBT rights. I’m not sure if this is true
of other boards in small towns, though.

Obviously we teach about puberty, STI prevention, birth
control, anatomy, and the science of sexuality. I cannot
fathom how any respectable education system would not teach
these basics.”

—Elizabeth, 38, Canada (Ontario)

56. “We didn’t learn that sex is not
just penetration, it’s way more complex.”

@lovelylittleadventures / Via instagram.com

“We learned about condoms and other contraceptive
methods. We didn’t learn that sex is not just
penetration, it’s way more complex.”

—Kevin, 26, El Salvador

57. “We were taught the basics.”

“We were taught the basics on anatomy and general information
on STIs. We weren’t taught about the importance of consent
and the fact that being gay is okay.”

—Kate, 17, Greece

58. “They offered a ‘health’ class, but
since I took a cooking class I didn’t have to take
it.”

“They offered a ‘health’ class, but since I took a cooking
class I didn’t have to take it. At the time it wasn’t a big
deal since I had decided I wanted to wait until marriage to
have sex. Now, however, I’m in a serious committed
relationship (going on four years), and even though we only
fool around, I feel like there are things I don’t know.”

—Brittany, 22, US (Indiana)

59. “We had to know the different STI
signs and how they are curable (or if they weren’t).”

@sexetc / Via instagram.com

“We had to know the different STI signs and how they are
curable (or if they weren’t); the different forms of
contraception — pills, condoms, and so on; how you put on
a condom; exactly what happens when the sperm goes in the
vagina, from entering and getting to the egg; male and
female reproductive organs and how they function; the
different parts of the reproductive organs.

We HAD to know all of this. I probably forgot something.
I was 13.”

—Mariell, 19, Sweden

60. “It was entirely explained by the
teacher without using the words ‘sex,’ ‘penis,’ or
‘vagina.'”

“It was entirely explained by the teacher without using the
words ‘sex,’ ‘penis,’ or ‘vagina.’ I don’t even know how.

What we weren’t taught: Sex is not something disgraceful. If
it were, marriage shouldn’t make it suddenly okay.”

—Akash, United Arab Emirates

61. “Our education was too focused on
abstinence.”

“We learned about the female and male reproductive systems,
and protection measures: condoms, pills, etc. We didn’t learn
about sexual consent. Our education was too focused on
abstinence.”

—K, 24, Malaysia

62. “We were told to chew up Cheetos and
spit them in a cup of water, and then were asked if we would
want to drink someone else’s cup.”

@femthoughts / Via instagram.com

“We had no actual explanations of how sex worked or how
pregnancy happens. We were told to chew up Cheetos and
spit them in a cup of water, and then were asked if we
would want to drink someone else’s cup. Of course
everyone said no.

That’s when they explained that you were the Cheeto in
others’ eyes if you had sex before marriage. This is not
a joke.”

—Anonymous, 26, US (Indiana)

63. “The chewed-gum analogy.”

“I attended a small charter school for eighth grade, where
there was one ‘talk’ with all the female students and the
male school owner about abstinence (he mentioned the chewed-gum analogy). They also had a
Christian performance group visit for a school assembly,
which compared dance partners with sexual partners.

This group promoted waiting until marriage, and afterwards
admitted they were all married (and that they were between 17
and 20 years old). I rejoined the town’s regular public
school system after that.”

—Anonymous, US (Arizona)

64. “Tear off pieces of a rose to
represent losing pieces of yourself to sex.”

“I took sex ed my sophomore year. We spent around three days
on abstinence. We did a lot of activities like the rose
effect (tear off pieces of a rose to represent losing pieces
of yourself to sex) and the blanket game (cram as many people
into a blanket as possible to show how having sex with a
person is like having sex with everyone they’ve had sex
with).”

—Maddie, 18, US (Pennsylvania)

65. “Your virginity was compared to a
nice hot pizza.”

@pointylittlethings / Via instagram.com

“What I remember most about my sex education was the
pizza analogy. Essentially, your virginity was compared
to a nice hot pizza, and having sexual contact with other
people allowed them to eat slices of your pizza. At the
end of the pizza story, our teacher would always remark,
‘Now, do you want to give your future husband a nice hot,
complete pizza? Or, would you rather give him a cold
pizza with slices missing?'”

—Anonymous, US (New Jersey)

66. “One girl who’d already lost her
virginity (before most of our peers) started crying and had
to leave the room.”

“My county has abstinence-only policies. In the eighth grade,
they separated us by gender and a private Christian company
came in and gave us ‘the talk.’ I don’t remember talking
about contraception, birth control, or the emotional side of
becoming intimate, but we did get the pregnancy and AIDS
scare tactics. I distinctly remember when they pulled out a
chocolate bar and we had to pass it around; at the end, they
told us to treat our bodies like the chocolate bar because no
one in their right mind would want to eat a chocolate bar
that everyone had their hands on. One girl who’d already lost
her virginity (before most of our peers) started crying and
had to leave the room.

What didn’t we learn? Oh my god, so much! Sex for LGBT kids,
what genderqueer and intersex mean, a frank discussion about
protection and STIs, etc. I actually was able to deliver a
presentation to the school board with a group of peers on
introducing comprehensive LGBT policies, especially since
Southern states have higher rates of HIV amongst queer men.
Of course, good ol’ Virginia has some pretty archaic sex
education laws still, so that was a NO.”

—Emma, 17, US (Virginia)

67. “The ‘puppy slideshow.'”

“There’s this slideshow they like to show every health class
that’s called the ‘puppy slideshow’ where they show you a
couple of slides of dogs and then immediately change the
slides to the nastiest of pictures of various types of STIs
and after a few slides, there would be another dog slide and
it went on for the entire class period. Probably one of the
worst days of health class that we have.”

—Caitie, 17, US (Idaho)

68. “I was in an area where religion
seeped into our school. (Legal? No, but it happened.)”

http://@sex.icecream / Via instagram.com

“We didn’t have sex ed. At all. I was in an area where
religion seeped into our school. (Legal? No, but it
happened.) So abstinence-only was the assumption, though
we never had any sexual education whatsoever. We also
weren’t taught evolution. Go figure.

What should be taught: DEBUNK THAT HYMEN/VIRGINITY
NONSENSE, and make it a welcoming and open environment
instead of awkward and repressed, so that young adults
dealing with raging hormones and confusing bodily changes
aren’t fucked up in their twenties still thinking
penis-vagina intercourse is the only definition of sex.”

—Jacqueline, 25, US (Ohio)

69. “Abortion is disgusting and it can
kill you.”

“I learned two things: 1) to draw penises (by myself). 2)
Abortion is disgusting and it can kill you.

What didn’t we learn? Just the basics: that you own a body.”

—Angela, 30, Colombia

70. “Basic but factual info on
STIs.”

“We learned about sexual anatomy, different birth control and
safe sex methods, how to use a condom, and basic but factual
info on STIs. We didn’t learn about masturbation, sex with
disabilities, and non-hetero sex.”

—Anonymous, 17, Hong Kong

71. “The thing I remember most vividly
is how uncomfortable our teacher was. You could watch him die
inside every time a kid raised their hand.”

@thecsph / Via instagram.com

“I went to an inner-city public school in Seattle. I
remember learning a lot about reproductive anatomy but
very little about sex, or safe sex practices. We had
speakers come in who were very clearly meant to deter us
from having sex, but they didn’t outwardly preach
abstinence because the state policy required
‘comprehensive sex ed.’ The thing I remember most vividly
is how uncomfortable our teacher was the ENTIRE time. You
could watch him die inside every time a kid raised their
hand.

We didn’t learn ANYTHING about queer people, pregnancy
options other than carrying the fetus to term, healthy
vs. unhealthy relationships, birth control methods beyond
the Pill and the condom. Honestly, I could go on for
hours about all the things we didn’t learn in our
‘comprehensive’ sex-education class! My teacher was even
so uncomfortable talking about menstruation that he let
all the male students leave and go sit out in the hall
during that section so they wouldn’t be ‘grossed out.'”

—Harley, 22, US (Washington)

72. “Our teacher basically showed us
positions and how we could change them up to make them work
for most people.”

“I had sex education from 9th through 11th grade. We learned
basically everything about heterosexual sex  — from
masturbation to oral sex to penetration. Our teacher
basically showed us positions and how we could change them up
to make them work for most people. We learned about sex toys.

They gave us condoms and flavored ones for each of us
(because it’s recommended to use one during oral sex). We
also learned about the non-fun stuff, aka STIs. They told us
how it appears (or sometimes how it doesn’t) and what to do
about it, and they gave us clinic information to get tested
if we wanted to. People asked questions and there wasn’t
anything weird about it. Basically, we learned everything we
needed to.”

—Zoe, 17, Canada

73. “We only had a class on STIs —
mostly just HIV.”

@sexgeekdom / Via instagram.com

“We only had a class on STIs — mostly just HIV and how
it’s transmitted — and we just got condoms given out. Now
that I’m a peer comprehensive sex educator, I see how
bullshit that is.”

—Natalija, 17, Macedonia

74. “Extensive lectures by feminist
professionals from Planned Parenthood.”

“The sex ed at my high school was very different from what I
expected prior to the experience. I live in an
upper-middle-class suburb of Columbus. It’s so Republican it
oozes into the waterways and we need special treatment for
it. But my mandatory health class during my sophomore year
was like something out of a dream.

From extensive lectures (BY! FEMINIST! PROFESSIONALS! FROM!
PLANNED! PARENTHOOD!) about STIs and birth control to the
effects of recreational drug and alcohol use. Our health
class was the most important class offered, in my opinion.

Tragically, rape and its true form wasn’t a topic for our
class, and I really think that we as a student body could
have utilized that type of dialogue. We also didn’t have any
education on female-to-female sexual contact.”

—Anonymous, 17, US (Ohio)

75. “I remember my sex-ed teacher
looking me in the eye and telling the entire class that
things are not meant to go up the anus.”

“I’m a gay male. I remember my sex-ed teacher looking me in
the eye and telling the entire class that things are not
meant to go up the anus.

Things do go up the anus. Just please take your time and use
lots of lube.”

—Anonymous, US (New Hampshire)

76. “They seemed to be under the
impression that if they refused to address sex, no one would
try it.”

@cousinscollective / Via instagram.com

“I went to a private Christian school that refused to
teach sex ed. They had a strict abstinence-only
curriculum where the reproductive system was barely even
covered in health class once you were a junior.

A girl in my class got pregnant our junior year and was
expelled from the school along with the guy that got her
pregnant. They seemed to be under the impression that if
they refused to address sex, no one would try it.”

—Cecilia, 29, US (Alabama)

77. “They taught us what a pad is and
how to use it. To this day I have no idea what the boys were
taught.”

“They taught us what a pad is and how to use it. This is the
level of ‘sex education’ or anything related we’ve ever
received in an educational institution. To this day I have no
idea what the boys were taught.

We did not learn what consent is, or the importance of
consent, how to practice safe sex, the effects of the changes
in our body (just learning that changes happen is not very
helpful in the long run), birth control, and so many more
things. I’m lucky in the sense that I have the internet,
supportive parents, and sisters close in age who are ready to
discuss and explain such matters, but not everyone has this
luxury.”

—Anonymous, 21, the Maldives

Don’t see your state or
country here? Have another perspective? Let us know in the
comments!

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Lixia Guo / BuzzFeed News



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