Separation of Sex and State – Why A Libertarian Sex Ed does not Work


There is a general notion among the libertarians that society would be much simpler and better if we didn’t have all that pesky government interference.

That the sum total achievement of one man exceeds that of the group, that somehow the group holds us back. To which I say that the Libertarians have a very narrow view of human endeavour and also labour under the assumption that they are among the elite.

Let’s take Penn Jillette for example, I like his magic, not his politics. The libertarianism he espouses would work fine for Penn Jillete since he is wealthy and this brings stability and affords him the privilege of wealth and the power associated with it which would be respected in a society based on minimal government interference. In this he can guarantee he plays the market to his advantage since he can afford the price.

Libertarians assume they will always be on the top of the pile no matter what and that society is holding them down from their true heights. Not “society costs money to exist and the richest can pay more for it’s upkeep, while you may not see the benefit of minimum wages, meat worker safety law and the reason for delineation between investment and personal banking nor the rationale for securities legislation then you will forget that no man is an Island and that such short sightedness has lead to falls in standards and falls in the economy since this is not a meritocracy but a system that encourages raw greed.

So it’s bizarre to see an anti-sex education tirade from a libertarian. But if we read further it’s a Christian Libertarian. So the reduction of government rules is mainly so that the majority can push their views as the norm.

I don’t think public schools should teach kids about abstinence. I don’t think they should teach kids about condoms. I don’t think they should teach kids about birth control pills, or virginity pledges, or sex before marriage, or sex after marriage. I don’t think they should teach kids about any of the things on this poster:

Because the libertarian notion is that this somehow interferes with parental education of sex.

Now my point is this, most of us are not sex positive and I bet even I would feel awkward talking to my kid about sex as would my kid feel awkward about talking about it with me. While I can teach him stuff he would be one of the lucky ones.

There are many parents who feel so awkward they never teach their kids about sex and there are some parents who are so misinformed that they may teach their kids the wrong things or worse add religious teachings to their sex education.

Now the problem with this standpoint is it assumes that none of these things are worth teaching about. Really? We let our kids drive cars only after licenses but refuse to make sure they understand what the basics of sex education is? For many of us growing up, sex education boiled down to a muttered warning about Father John. Do you really want kids to learn about sex from

1. Their idiot friends (and let’s face it, we were all idiot someoone’s idiot friend once and gave out bad advice despite being dreadfully under-qualified)

2. Porn (because you know a lot of the things we enjoy sexually are derived from porn). Imagine a young lady’s first book on sex was 50 Shades of Grey. Okay, non-standard sex is “fine” but the book is an idealisation of such a romance and comes without safety precautions. That is part of sex education.

3. People themselves have some daft ideas about sex and they will teach their kids this. Best example? A GLBT kid with fundie parents is not going to have the best sex education.

Oral sex, sexual fantasy, touching each other’s genitals, anal sex, vaginal intercourse, grinding, masturbation — those all appeared on “teaching material” for a sex-ed class at Hocker Grove Middle School in Kansas. They claim this was actually part of an abstinence program, and that the photo is taken out of context.

Sure but why are we not allowed to discuss sex. This just seems like a juvenile complaint  about them using the dirty “v” word.

Personally, I don’t need context. I don’t think public schools should be teaching kids, one way or another, in any context at all, for any reason whatsoever, about any of those things.

Why? 1 in 3 women has tried anal sex, making them the LARGEST group of people engaged in sodomy. How do I know this? Research. We just asked people.

Now it may be horrid to think about but our kids are going to have sex at some point. Not all of them are capable of the rigours of binary fission.

Now people are often astounded when I say “use a condom for anal sex” or the “point of lube” and “why anal sex is not a dangerous or bad thing if done safely”. Why? Because they never thought about this. They learnt about anal sex from porn and they never see the prep done for the cinematic version.

Do you think these kids are going to learn about that from conservative parents? Nope. They are going to go out there and possibly hurt themselves.

You may not like the icky sex talk but kids need it. It’s also why kids need to know about menstruation and puberty changes.

I don’t think anyone should be sending their children to government buildings to learn about the perils or pleasures of intercourse or masturbation or sodomy.

I don’t think government schools should teach kids about sex.

We should go back to the days where sex education was left up to the whims of parents resulting in places like India where sex education was not part of the school curriculum and where we still have to sit adults down and explain that condoms stop diseases.

It’s really very simple. How much sexual guidance and instruction should the government offer our kids? None. What percentage of your child’s government education should be comprised of sexual enlightenment? Zero percent. How many times in a given school day should the phrase “genital touching” be uttered by a teacher to a classroom of students? Less than once. Actually, let’s be safe and say zero.

Why?

This, my friends, is the Great Compromise. Instead of arguing about WHAT the schools should tell kids on the subject of sex, let’s contemplate the possibility that a collective, government-controlled, mass produced and disseminated ”curriculum” about sex and intimacy isn’t necessarily the best way to handle such a profound and personal subject.

No it’s not. This is not a compromise, this is in effect the schools refusing to partake in a vital part of social and preventative medicine. I want you to tell me on which government curriculum does sex not come with intimacy or indeed respect? This is a made up fear. What if the government teaches our kids to wear pigeon costumes while having sex? Wouldn’t that be terrible! We must eliminate the mechanism by which those dastardly pigeon fanciers will claim our children.

This is a loss for a good and healthy sex education since many third party sex educators exist and they are often religiously biased towards abstinence and pro-life settings which doom hundreds if not thousands of young kids to caring and raising children they are not ready for with insufficient education and with reduced opportunities.

This is not a profound and personal subject, this is sex. You may want it coated in roses and be all coy about it but frankly I grew up with medical textbooks. Sex is a big deal for a lot of higher plants and animals. This is basic health, basic biology and basically how we all got here. To not teach this is foolish, this would be like my education when younger where the nun just skipped over the biology chapter on reproduction not because she was embarrassed about willies but she was embarrassed about how little she knew about sex and how awkward it is to deal with. By comparison my old English Teacher who taught our PSE classes was NOT embarassed about sex and we learnt a lot including things like compliance and consent.

Important things.

I’m not saying that we should put censor bars over the penis and the vagina in the anatomy textbooks (or in books of Renaissance art, for that matter). I’m also not saying that high school biology teachers should tell their 16 year old students that a magical stork drops the baby off on momma’s porch. And I’m not saying that students shouldn’t learn about the facts of human reproduction when the subject comes up in science class.

So you just don’t want a specific PSE class because it hurts the feelings of idiots who think that learning how sex happens will cause teenage pregnancy? I find that not knowing how teenage pregnancy happens causes teenage pregnancy.

I’m saying that the schools ought to treat sex the same way most people think it ought to treat religion, and for the same reasons. The “keep religion out of schools” folks will argue that schools should not endorse a particular religion. They shouldn’t condemn or condone the teachings of any particular religion. They shouldn’t encourage kids to be religious or irreligious. They shouldn’t incorporate religious orthodoxy into the curriculum. They shouldn’t ask kids about their personal religious practices. They shouldn’t have “religion classes.” They shouldn’t advance any religious agenda. They shouldn’t attempt to influence the religious beliefs or practices of the students.

Except this is incorporating religious orthodoxy by halting the proper education of children and not competing against systems designed to spread false information. This is no different from stopping the teaching of biology because creationists get insulted.

In these ways, we should “keep religion out of schools.” However, the reasonable ones will certainly be quick to acknowledge that the FACT of religion shouldn’t be censored or avoided. You can’t very well give your students a comprehensive understanding of western history without discussing Christianity. You can’t provide a well rounded education about literature without introducing the Bible, which is the most influential and widely read piece of literature in the history of mankind. You can’t teach about art and avoid religiously inspired paintings and sculptures. You can’t talk about contemporary Middle Eastern conflicts without introducing Judaism and Islam. You can’t teach the history of Asia without Hinduism, or Buddhism, or Taoism.

Actually if you can understand Indian history with minimal understandings of Islam and Hinduism, western history is no biggie without learning the cut and thrust of Christian theology.

But the way you handle such religion is important too.

Religion will inevitably be a part of many other subjects, but it shouldn’t be its own subject, and schools should never attempt to teach kids how to feel about, or what to do with, religion.

Actually it should be it’s own subject. I think American Schools should have a Religious Education class where the world’s major religion’s core beliefs are taught so that all may have an appreciation for different religious viewpoints rather than the Jesus Fest that seems to be American Education (looking in from an outsider).

In that sense, and only in that sense, can you make a coherent “keep religion out of schools” case. And it’s in that sense that I make my case for keeping sex out of schools. Anatomy will come up in anatomy classes, and reproduction will come up in science classes, but that’s where it ends.

“Comprehensive sex education” is a sham and a joke. It’s also more than just a little creepy. If an adult in ANY OTHER CONTEXT came up to your child and tried to strike up a conversation about ”self-pleasure” or “oral sex,” you’d likely have … uh… “words”… with him, and then words with the police.

No, because the context is important.

If a random stranger touched your child’s genitals then you would call the cops right?

So we should ban paediatricians. Random strangers touching children, making them take their clothes off and giving them sweeties? Something’s rotten here!

Or you know you are trying to go “Teachers Talking About Sex Education Is No Different From Child Molesters” and that really does not work.

I fail to see much of a difference.

This is a problem with you, not the system.

The schools are in a pretty enviable spot here. They can institute a certain policy, and if the policy fails they can turn around and blame the parents. This has become a tried and true strategy throughout our society.  Just blame the parents. Bad parents! Bad parents! Bad parents! Keep screwing up and ruining generations of children with your corruption and ineptitude, and if people start to complain, simply repeat that refrain. Bad parents!

Actually it’s the stupid libertarian concept that school income should be linked to performance so halting education of children and the start of teaching to pass a standardised test changing people who educate kids from teachers to people whose job it is to cram education into children’s brains without any rationale as to why they should know these things. There is no organic education because people like the OP have thought that education should be about Reading that’s separate from Writing that’s different from Mathematics.

Many parents cannot encourage their children. Many have jobs that they need to do and so cannot spend time bridging the gaps created by such a rigid education system.

I was blessed with an education for the point of education. Why did you learn Latin and Greek, no reason. Why did you learn to play a sport? No Reason! Violin? No Reason. Calculus? No Reason. French? No Reason. These existed solely for my pleasure. School was made a joy for me because it was a place where I had a supportive education where I was encourage to be inquisitive and learn.

And American kids do not have access to that sort of thing and many kids in the UK do not have such access because we keep thinking that scores are the final point of education rather than the person created by the education.

My parents believed in education so encouraged me, I know kids whose parents didn’t care if they studied or not and I know it makes a major difference.

So as “comprehensive sex education” has become more commonplace, and as the schools’ message about sex becomes more progressive and permissive, we can look around us and see what’s happening:

Out of wedlock birthrates continue to climb, now pushing 40 percent as a national average. 110 million men and women have STDs. The divorce rate remains tragically high, tempered only by the increasing number of young people who have sworn off marriage entirely. Kids turn to porn at younger and younger ages. People in general are less capable of finding and maintaining healthy romantic relationships. Over 250 thousand people are raped or sexually assaulted every year.

Oh my Pearls!

110 million men and women in the USA have STDs? That’s 1 in 3 people… No they do not that number seems pointlessly high, stupid and designed to scare.

Really? 1900s called, they want their fear of bastards back.

Stable family units are not created by marriage, a marriage is just a government bond stating that you want your relationship recognised for benefits. The social aspects of marriage are entirely bounded in culture. You can be just as good a parent outside marriage as within it. There are monetary benefits but frankly marriages fail not because of sex education but because both women and men are empowered and so unhappy marriages are more likely to end.

Kids are watching porn? So what? Kids saw porn when I was a kid too. I saw my “first pretty scantily clad lady” (I was classy, it was Gillian Anderson, explains why I think gingers are cute) when I was 14 and clearly remember going “phwoar! what the hell is this! This… this is a girl! Girls are not icky!”

Seriously? Kids got hold of porn back when the only way to see a naked lady was after a 5 minute wait for a download and even when a naked lady was a filched Playboy.

And rape and sexual assault has probably fallen. But the report rates have risen.

It’s a grim picture, to be sure., and I certainly don’t blame it all on the schools. You can’t pin something like this on any one culprit. But, at the very least, our mission to give kids a “progressive” government sex education doesn’t appear to be accomplishing desirable results.

One can easily compare the rates of these issues between areas with abstinence and comprehensive sex education and the clear trend is that these issues are a bigger problem in conservative areas with abstinence only sex education.

Sex-ed proponents will joyfully celebrate the decline in the “teen birth rate,” as if the statistic immediately indicates a positive cultural development. In reality, it CAN be a good sign, but consider that a million babies are aborted every year, and this is one way that some of these teens escape being a “teen birth rate” statistic. Also, some studies will absurdly compare teen birth rates from SEVENTY YEARS AGO to current rates. Sure, there were more “teen births” back then, but do you know what else was more common? Teen marriage. The average age for a woman to get married in 1940 was 21. That means many of these teen births occurred within the context of a loving marriage.

Really? A pro-life libertarian? And does this genius think that parental sex education, limited as it is will stop the abortion rate and stop the teenage pregnancy rate too? OR you know, we would see an increase in teen pregnancies and abortions.

A million babies aborted each year? Really? A child is viable after 24 weeks in the USA because of medical technology, before that it is unlikely to survive and if it does it will have undergone severe birth asphyxia causing a variety of issues. Most of the aborted babies are barely a few weeks old in development.

And all those abortions are not down to teenagers. Mostly it’s women of a young age who are not ready to care for a child due to personal, economic and social reasons. And you may say that’s selfish but frankly the end result is better care of children and control of populations that isn’t via poverty starvation.

And the average woman in 1940 never got to go to University and certainly  could not hold down the same jobs as men or be respected in those jobs if they did. They were expected to stay at home and care for babies. Don’t look at the 1940s as some Golden Age of America. They were not.

The more relevant statistic to analyze is out-of-wedlock births, regardless of the age of the woman. In that particular race, we crush the competition. And it’s not even close.

So what? A signature on a government paper does not make you a good parent. That ceremony is great and a part of many people’s ideas of romance but it does not make them good at being a parent.

Parents are incompetent and incapable of teaching their children, and the schools will save the day! We’ve been hearing this for years, yet the schools haven’t saved anything. They’ve only exacerbated the problem, but they escape scrutiny because it’s more popular to keep the fingers pointed at those pesky parents.

What problem? The problems are reduced teenage pregnancy, increased age of marriage and more control over women’s reproduction in the hands of women? These are not problems. No one sees them as problems. Only strange men who have rather bizarre fears that society has gone down the drain since the highly moral days of 1940s which were the golden age of equality among all men (Unless you were not white. Don’t be silly, I said men didn’t I? Women and non-white people never counted as men remember).

Teenage pregnancy kills, it is linked directly with worse health outcomes. And in those days out of wedlock children did occur but they were ostracised and shunned. And yes there were no abortions in the 1940s.

There however was something called a Dilation and Curretage. It’s a method of abortion but it has other uses. And a lot of women seem to have had that procedure. There were also what we colloquially call “Coathanger Abortions” and these don’t fit into any statistic.

These were so common place that the main driving force in the legalisation of abortion in the UK was to protect women and give them safe abortions and reduce the death toll to the coathanger abortion.

It’s true that some parents aren’t willing to talk to their kids about sex, or they are but they aren’t very good at it. So what? The schools are even less competent, and it isn’t any of their business.

Actually it is. The point of a school is education and sex needs education too. Saying it’s not their business because sex is personal is nonsensical. By that logic we should not educate children about healthy diets either because food and poop is personal too.

Aside from the strictly anatomical matters and the purely scientific aspect of human reproduction, it is impossible to discuss sex without attaching a set of moral lessons to it. Unless you’re a robot with robot children, when you teach your kids “about sex,” you’re also teaching them what sort of attitudes and perspective they ought to have on the matter. This is a good thing when you are the parent and they are your offspring, but when you are a teacher in a government school, and they are other people’s kids, it’s highly inappropriate. You are trespassing onto territory where you don’t belong.

No, no it’s not. Saying that gay sex is not morally bad is not a moral judgement so much as resetting the perceived morality of being different to the norm. And yes, we do impart moral codes in school. It’s why secular education is so important since the religious moral codes come with moral judgements that are not considered moral in secular society.

You mean you don’t teach kids how to be good people in your schools? Mine did. The libertarian may scream 1984 at me but I will point out that I have actually read 1984 and there is nothing wrong about teaching your children a good sense of morality through schools. Just one that’s divested of religious involvement. There is a difference between “Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods but Me” and “Give your seat up to the elderly”.

Religious conservatives want the dissolution of proper sex education in schools because it benefits their dialogue of unopposed education. There is an assymetrical education of children with regards to “third party” education methods. I speak of “Sunday Schools”. These are in effect a religious class outside of the normal class and without a secular and scientific approach to some topics, the Sunday School is the only place where they would get an education.

Do you know why many young girls risked death to have an abortion?

Because teenage pregnancy is bad and no one would give them an abortion and they were alone, scared and no one was willing to give them secular information. So they risked the coathanger.

Many lived, many were badly hurt and many died.

Let parents teach the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” of sex, and let churches moralize and sermonize about it. The government has no role here.

Yes it does. It’s simple. I am well aware of the lapses of education parents have with regards to their own sex education. Please don’t tell me they are superior to proper sex educators. I know sex educators for adults and I know there is a major sex educator boom among the sex positive crowd among changing attitudes to both sex education in adults and attitudes towards sex workers.

The government is invested in the health of people and sexual health is just one of those things. HIV, Hepatitis, HPV, Chlamydia, Herpes and Syphillis are health issues and a lack of comprehensive sex education puts people at risk for these diseases. The fear of god doesn’t teach people safety in sex.

There are no should/nt of sex. As long as sex is between consenting adults without any lasting physical harm or outright unsafe practices, I am for it. And part of being for it is educating people and making sure they are safe.

This subject belongs to parents. It is their domain. If they shirk their responsibility, then I feel sorry for their kids. Still, public schools are not surrogate mothers. Lazy, selfish parents might want them to be, but that doesn’t change anything.

So this is not about ensuring that kids are safe, diseases are controlled and people are not hurt by stupid sex urban legends but an entire article designed so that you can feel superior over fucked up kids? This is what I call “Honey Boo Boo” mentality.

See we look at Honey Boo Boo not out of curiosity but out of a perverse  pleasure of knowing we are superior and that there is someone we can sneer at.

It’s like a live streaming video of a Panda Enclosure. Only instead of a Panda we see a stereotypical Redneck we can feel better about.

So while progressives take the Ten Commandments and the crucifixes out of the schools, I’ll come in right behind them and clean out the condoms and the birth control brochures. And then we can meet in the parking lot and swap. I’ll take my religion home to my kids, and they can take their sexual permissiveness home to theirs.

They aren’t the same thing.

I can categorically prove that my condoms halt the spread of HIV while praying to Jesus has effectively doomed vast numbers of Africans to HIV infection (thanks to the Catholic Foot Dragging over Condoms for more than 20 years!). One is a scientifically valid method of safer sex, the other is a system of belief in a convoluted plan for a human scapegoat for mankind’s sins to a non-existent mythological deity from the Middle East.

The fact of the matter is religion is not allowed in school according to the rules of the US constitution while Sex Education is because it’s education over a part of life. I also think kids should be taught about drugs, domestic violence, rape, consent, cooking and basic economics.

Meanwhile, the schools can stick to the ABCs and 123s, and we’ll all be better for it.

No you won’t. You will effectively have a generation of wildly varying sex education.

Let’s diverge a bit here. The only moral stance comprehensive sex education takes is that the GLBT are normal and not freaks to be punished by hellfire by a god. This is not a remarkable stance but one that provides great succour to children who are born GLBT who are told every single day by religious groups that they are broken, sinful and dirty. And this is just one little voice that exists from the establishment that is rooting for them. And it may change the world a little. It changed mine when one of my friends came out of the closet as gay and later said he was Bisexual.

Had I not had such an education it would have been easier to fall into the trap of thinking that “oh, he is just another bender, let’s hit him to assert our masculinity”. Had I not been introduced to Tchaikovsky, Stephen Fry, Alan Turing and Freddie Mercury, my idea of a homosexual would have been some stereotype constructed by religious fundamentalists to make us fear the GLBT. Oh the Gays are all paedophiles, Lesbians want to destroy all men and the Trans are just freaks! Bi people are the worstest of all!

All that is simply not true, it is made up by people who have very superficial knowledge about the GLBT and part of our education system has been to impart moral codes. Whether it is the simple notion that all man is equal, irrespective of melanin or that the GLBT are human beings who deserve to find love and happiness and make terrible jokes about being married just like all us straight people.

And if that is too much for your robust and vibrant religion? Then your religion is the one that has a problem with them. Not society.

The only reason we have to say that Homosexuality and Abortions are not evil is because of the program of misinformation that exists which is designed to demonise both practices based on religious bias and make people acceptable targets to blame for society’s ills.

What you want is for us to stop fighting the hate t hat children have to endure day in and day out. These children are tormented and told that they will burn for eternity. They are bullied. They are even kidnapped and “straightened out” by barely trained religious bigots.

And then they kill themselves and we blame their “gayness” not the toxic world which we create?

So that is why we take a moral stand and tell these kids they are “normal”. We should not have to take this moral stance but we do because the general dialogue pushes discrimination as the moral action.

And if ABCs and 123s are key so is knowing the Birds and the Bees.

Comments

  1. smrnda says

    The libertarian argument that parents, not schools should teach kids about sex and that if the parents fail, well, sucks to be those kids really can be extended to any area. “Come on, do you want SCHOOLS teaching kids to read? Handle money? Interview for jobs?” A major reason why we have government funded education is so what kids learn is not limited by what their parents are able or willing to teach them.

    It’s also not true that teen pregnancy is increasing. Here is the first graph I got from a quick google search

    http://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/LongDescriptors.htm

    Another article on low teen pregnancy rates:

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db89.htm

    Sure, out of wedlock births *might* be increasing, but who cares? We no longer view this as *objectively bad* – there are economic concerns, but that’s not that it’s *morally wrong* just presents some difficulties. This guy is arguing that shotgun marriages for teenagers is better than waiting to get married until you’re an established adult, and anyone advocating that should be dismissed as an idiot. NO, it is objectively good for teenagers not to get married, and for people to wait to get married until later, and possibly even experiment sexually before then. Early marriage is never a good social indicator. This person is claiming that *these teen births took place within loving marriages” a totally laughable position. Take a look at divorce stats for teen marriages – it’s objectively better to get married later, the stats show that clearly.

    I think another issue this writer has is the inability to conceive of sex education that isn’t FOR or AGAINST anything. Of course, if they’re a Christian it might be that Christians often can’t seem to take a ‘live and let live’ approach to sexuality. Teaching kids safe sex is just making sure they’re prepared if they want to have sex. It does not mean that it’s an endorsement of having sex, and good sex ed programs talk about consent which included not pressuring others to have sex and such. Then again, to Christians even *suggesting that premarital sex is not horrible* is advocating all kinds of immorality.

    I guess as a non-libertarian I don’t believe that the government teaching about sex intrudes on the rightful territory of parents, because I don’t agree that children *are the property* of parents. The ‘government is icky’ is a real American thing, mostly within the past few decades as white, conservative Christians feel that government schools that used to *belong to them* are now no longer theirs, and therefore bad.

    Schools should teach anything likely to be useful, and also end up needing to be social welfare institutions. This guy just resents the fact that schools aren’t teaching his own particular values, but only examining them as 1 of many possible views.

  2. Carlos Cabanita says

    Sex ed is tightly linked with basic science education. That’s one of the reasons religious people don’t like it. When I was 19 I went to college in Lisbon, sowewhere around 1970. My contry was yet under a fascist dictatorship, one with a strong Catholic leaning. I volunteered to teach natural science to a group of adults trying to pass high school exams. The classes were in a popular club, in a working class neighborhood. Somewhere down the program, when I was teaching animal reproduction, I became aware that my pupils didn’t know what a spermatozoid was. So I interrupted normal class sequence to teach several classes on sex ed. The funny thing is that I was still a virgin and most of my pupils were already mothers and fathers. They loved my teatching, but they felt a bit humbled to be taught those things by a kid like me. So they got their revenge taking me to a local bar after classes and teaching me to drink bear. It was a wonderful time!

  3. says

    I’ve long thought that the conservative Christian limited government position is based largely on a desire to be able to harm their own kids, and other people’s kids, while using the banner of religion/religious freedom as a disguise for the real-world damage their ideology is doing. And so, somehow, not educating kids accurately (or educating them entirely inaccurately) is held up as some kind of moral stance that deserves equal rights protection, rather than the horrible disgrace that it is. Yes, they can tell their kids whatever they want. But the secular schools shouldn’t cater to that, treating everything that religious people disagree with as the equivalent of preaching religion in schools. They hold up anything parents do as some kind of wonderful thing, when parents are just as human as everyone else, and parents do wrong things, too. Wrong information doesn’t magically become correct if a parent says it to their child.

    Personally, I’m grateful for sources of sex ed outside of my parents. They never talked to me about sex, but my mother was sensible enough to know that I needed to know about it, even if she didn’t feel comfortable talking to me about it. So, she got me some educational books for teens about the topic. They were basic, and I’ve learned more since then, but I was grateful for this. It prevented me from feeling ashamed of the subject. My school education gave us some basics, could have been better. I’m glad it was there, though, and getting rid of it would have just made things worse.

    Also, I totally agree with this: “Don’t look at the 1940s as some Golden Age of America. They were not.”

  4. smrnda says

    @Carlos

    On what people don’t know who already have kids – In the States, I met a guy who was in his 40s. He was surprised his partner (she was maybe 50) got pregnant, because she was a grandmother. I mean, this guy had no understanding of the connection between menstruation and fertility. Not an unintelligent guy, but I suspected he had been deliberately mis-educated on the topic, and perhaps his partner as well.

    And on teaching – when I was at university, I started telling students that they could meet me at a pub if it increased the odds of them coming to *office hours* once. Whatever works!

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