Sex 101

A Recent Study Says Parents Want More Sex Education in the Schools. Where'd You Learn Your Sexual ABCs?

Louis Mazzarella
Age 41
Resides Bronx
Occupation Jewelry designer

Should schools include less or more sex education? More, and as early as possible. Fifth grade is not too soon. I remember a kid in my class running around and shouting "masturbation"— Sister Patricia had to take him out in the hall and tell him that he shouldn't be throwing the word around in class. She was an unusual nun in that she didn't make him feel bad or sinful.

How explicit should it be? Young kids can be told about condoms, and by ninth grade, classes should include explicit photos, a doll, or a model of very specific anatomy.

How did you learn about sex? By running around with my friends. By the age of 12, I had a little girlfriend. We would make out in the hallway and I'd touch her little breasts.


Nitya Khanna
Age 21
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Student

Should schools include less or more sex education? Sex education's important, but I think there's a real correlation between being taught about sex and becoming more sexually active.

How explicit should it be? I think it should all be framed in science. In fifth grade, you study simple biology. In seventh grade, you start studying about fertilization and anatomy.

How did you learn about sex? In high school it was more about how our bodies were changing than how to have sex. In boarding school, though, we did work on a science project where we tested the strength of a condom.


Charles McCantz
Age 19
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Student

Should schools include less or more sex education? More. People start to explore both their own bodies and other people's at 15 or 16. Actually, make that eight or nine.

How explicit should it be? It should be age-appropriate but clear and direct. If you keep information hidden, it perpetuates stereotypes. In elementary school, you could handle homosexuality by saying, "Later, you may end up liking girls, and other people may end up liking boys."

How did you learn about sex? My mother was very straightforward with me. When I asked, she answered. And it wasn't with a story about a stork.


Hawkins
Age 19
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Student

Should schools include less or more sex education? I think parents should be in charge of educating their kids about sex. It shouldn't be put in the hands of teachers.

How explicit should it be? It depends on the grade. When I was in fourth grade, my friends and I had hysterics over lectures with titles like "What Is a Boner?" Young kids think anything having to do with sex is hilarious when it's taught by an adult.

How did you learn about sex? Experience. You get thrown in and you figure it out.


Jouya Rastegar
Age 18
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Student

Should schools include less or more sex education? There should be more of it and it should start earlier. Instead of starting in fifth grade, start in third. It can be a broad discussion about hormones.

How explicit should it be? Even though in ninth grade we were still laughing when someone used the word penis, we knew what was going on. I don't think you need diagrams.

How did you learn about sex? My older cousin. By the age of seven I was an expert.


Isadora Starling
Age 20
Resides Brooklyn
Occupation Musician

Should schools include less or more sex education? More, because as a culture we're having more sex and a lot of it is happening at a younger age.

How explicit should it be? Because there are kids as young as 10 who are having sex, the standard how-to-put-on-a-condom demonstration, using the banana or the cucumber, should happen in fifth grade.

How did you learn about sex? My cousin told me everything when I was four.


Emanuele Braico
Age 35
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Photographer

Should schools include less or more sex education? We should leave it up to parents.

How explicit should it be? Most kids are very aware already.

How did you learn about sex? In southern Italy, where I'm from, life is very different. Girls can't go out by themselves after 10 p.m. All the same, I picked up everything I needed to know.

 
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