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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Sex Ed can go beyond scare tactics

    Sex is great. So why is sex education in schools so terrifying?

    As children, we watch weird videos of others going through “the big changes.” Boys see boy movies and girls watch girl movies. Way to increase the mystery of the opposite sex.

    “My middle school had us watch those movies but I think they were made to show them,” said Danielle Chapey, a speech and hearing sciences freshman who attended Catholic schools growing up.

    In high school, it’s common for sex education to be abstinence only. Well if the birth rate in the Bible belt states isn’t enough data to show that that doesn’t work, then the numerous conversations about sex and backseat experiments in high school should help.

    The only other way that sex is discussed in other schools is as a purely scientific topic, complemented with scare tactics. Herpes, AIDS, pregnancy, oh my! We all know sex is great — there’s no reason to try and convince high schoolers it isn’t.

    A teacher named Al Vernacchio, teaches a class called Sexuality and Society — an elective for seniors at the private Friends’ Central School in Philadelphia. It’s a class that discusses the awesomeness of sex, the definitions of hooking up and the awkward situations female and male students face with their partners, sexual or not.

    Finally, there’s a class that doesn’t make students cringe about something that, statistically, they’re already doing. Having adults scare kids with gross pictures, ideas and terminology does nothing but drive the wedge between students seeking information and adults.

    Teachers can ramble off statistics about pregnancy but not tell the class that 70 percent of women can’t orgasm from vaginal sex only.

    “I would absolutely take that class,” said Lucas Gonzales, a theater arts and history senior. “If you’re teaching health or a sex class, and a student asks questions about having better sex or advice on it, as a teacher, you should be able to answer it.”

    Now, a student’s best guide to how people actually engage in sex is either by becoming a ‘peeping Tom’ or watching porn on the Internet. But, as Vernacchio discusses in his class, porn is a terrible example of real sex; the girl is generally there to do whatever position the guy wants. The boys in his class were confused when they had real life experiences with a girl that did not happen anything like that.

    “But yesterday, when Mr. V. said there is no romanticism or intimacy in porn, porn is strictly sexual — I’d never thought about that,” one of the boys told a New York Times reporter.

    Young men and women should have an area to learn about romance, intimacy and sex that doesn’t involve Googling videos on sex. We all know what results will turn up.

    Talking frankly about sex doesn’t have to be interpreted as encouraging teenagers to have sex. What if they could learn about sex without going through the ‘trial and error’ method? And in no way should children be expected to talk to their parents about sex tips. Starting sexual activity is a good parent-child discussion, but no one wants to hear about orgasms from their mom or dad.

    Sexuality classes that go past the science and dangers of sex should be available to high school students.

    — Michelle A. Monroe is a journalism senior. She can be reached at

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