Monday, December 28, 2015

Why Middle-Schoolers Need Real Sex Ed, Part One

    Common Stereotype: Teenagers think about nothing but sex.
    This is false.

    Common Stereotype: Teenagers think about sex an awful lot of the time.
    This is true.

    I’m pretty sure I think about sex a lot less than most of my friends. In fact, I repeatedly entertained the notion of sitting at a different lunch table when Erica kept bringing a book of old-timey insults, slang, and the very strange concepts that started some of these sayings. Let’s just say that ancient Romans came up with many, many perverted ideas, and leave it at that.
    Why can teachers not remember what it was like to be a teenager? I don’t know. The fact is, though, they can’t. And all the science in the world can’t quite measure up to the thoroughly bizarre mind of a middle-schooler.
    The health curriculum is utterly stupid. At least, anything even remotely sexual is taught in a stupid fashion. Really, the whole curriculum is a repeat, from year to year. Maybe three weeks of material in our one quarter a year of health is new from last year’s. So while I don’t yet know what they’re teaching us this year, nearly all of my friends are taking health second quarter, and, at some point or another, have complained about it. And all their complaints are awfully familiar.
    Eighth grade is supposed to be the year where Sex Ed actually teaches about sex rather than the reproductive systems and feminine hygiene. This year is supposed to be the year where we “learn” how babies are made (yeah - if there’s anyone in the eighth grade who doesn’t know at this point, I’ll eat my binder), where we learn about sexual harassment (myth busted), and where we get to see a video of a baby being born (myth confirmed!).
    Many of my friends were discussing the “sexual harassment” lesson during lunch. And no, it wasn’t the sort of thing that would make you lose your appetite, though there have been plenty of conversations along those lines that have forced me to develop an extremely strong stomach. (Never ask your friends anything about Game of Thrones….) I questioned my friend Helene about the lesson, and she explained. Apparently, and please remember I am not an eyewitness (though I will get to take health fourth quarter, same curriculum, and I’ll bet you can guess what the vast majority of my blog posts will be about then), students discussed a text conversation between a girl and a boy. She texted him, What do you like doing after school besides playing basketball? He responded, Making out. I don’t remember all the examples, but they were basically along those lines - just something suggestive said by a friend. This appears to be what they count as sexual harassment. So, while my opinion may very well be disproved when I actually suffer through the course, it appears that the teachers have, yet again, suddenly gone all squeamish right when they get to something interesting. Sigh.
    The thing is, this generation gets some disturbing stuff. Movies, TV shows, websites (<cough>fan fiction<cough>), which, as I can guarantee from experience, one doesn’t need to actually see to hear about.
    In detail.
    As much as this sucks, it is pretty much unavoidable. It’s about as easy to eradicate in a middle school as bullying. And I’m sure glad they haven’t tried, because they would fail at least as spectacularly as they have with bullying, and it would only involve more assemblies and counseling lessons chock-full of uselessness.
    Health teachers don’t know just how little innocence a good deal of us have left. And I’m pretty sure that some of the lesser-known things our generation accepts as normal would still shock most adults.
    I am not saying this to prove that I at least have experience in something over teachers, though the fact that I do does still give me a small jolt of satisfaction, however illogical (since it would hardly be my choice field of expertise). It is simply true.
    So I say, bring it on, health teachers. You are the squeamish ones, not us. We can take whatever diluted version of the truth you deliver.
    Actually, I am questioning the ability of the male participants to hold it together when they see the childbirth video.
    But other than that, we can take it.

1 comment:

  1. So true, that the school acts as though the students are bubble-wrapped. But, please consider this alternative to dopey teachers being the reason.
    In many cases, the school has to tiptoe around -anything- to do with sexuality, not for the kids' sake, but to avoid nastiness with the parents of their students. You know what I'm talking about here - the parents who think that giving their kids real information about sex and birth control is just leading them down the path to a life of sin and corruption.
    As for childbirth, I had trouble with that as the dad of said child. Prep your phones for video of the tough guys losing it. :-)
    As usual, well written and interesting.