Oh! Oh! Listen to my story!

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When people find out you are a sexuality educator, they immediately want to tell you the one thing they remember from their sex ed class oh so many years ago. Or, at least this has been my experience. I love hearing stories so I often indulge them.

Recently, a colleague shared her fond memory. It went something like this, “My first day of sex ed, our gym teacher taught the class. She got up in front of the room, smiled at us all,  and said she wanted us to know she had sex all the time, all day long, with everyone she meets, and that she thought sex was a good, pleasurable thing.”

The teacher went on to explain that in her definition of sex it meant any type of contact with another human being – high fives in the hall, hugging, shaking hands – you get the picture. My colleague reports being grossed out, along with her classmates, worrying about germs, and never wanting to shake hands with that teacher ever again.

I believe this teacher was attempting to demonstrate a broad definition of the term ‘sex’ and trying to explain that many people have a variety of definitions for what they consider sexual activity. Maybe she went on to discuss boundary setting, asking your partner for consent and what they like/do not like to do – one can only hope this was the trajectory of her lesson plan.

Now I’m curious to know the impression I am leaving on my students. What one story will they carry in their hearts forever and talk about twenty years from now from our class time together? And, please, please, please I hope it isn’t like the memory above!

So I asked them. I’m sure I say or do something that they will make fun of in years to come, but they didn’t share that this time. I think they were too focused on content and not so much on impressions that they will remember later in life.

Here are two responses to this exit ticket:

  • Male student: I will remember that condoms are very important and that if your partner says, ‘oh, don’t worry, you’ll be fine…THEY ARE WRONG.’
  • Female student: A highlight of all of the classes for me is to never be ASHAMED of your body! I will always care about my body and protect it.

Ok, not a bad start.



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One Response


Not a bad start at all! I have almost no memories of my sex education classes in school. I think the story you shared goes to show that a little cognitive dissonance can go a long way.

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