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Here's the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole

Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

The Playbook for Kids About Sex

Author: Joani Blank (words); pictures by Marcia Quackenbush Date: 1980 Publisher: Down There Press Discovered at: Community Thrift, 623 Valencia, San Francisco

The Cover Promises: That you should rub this book against your crotch while sitting bare-assed in dad's chair.

Representative Quotes:

"If you can't see your clitoris, feel gently around until you find the most sensitive (or ticklish) spot. That's it! Draw a picture of your clitoris and your other sex parts here."
"That rush of excitement is called and orgasm or a climax or 'coming.' It's pretty hard to describe but it's sort of like: Climbing up the ladder of a long slide and whooshing down. Sneezing after your nose has been tickling. Peeing after you've had to wait a long time to pee."

The history of American sex education pretty much 250 years of grown ups telling kids that kids should never ever do the deeply pleasurable thing that led to those kids' existence in the first place. That hasn't worked. It makes sense then that, at the tail-end of the sweaty, pants-optional 1970s, some open-minded folks tried their hands at a new kind of sex-ed book, one that doesn't cloak our natural impulses behind scratchy Puritan skirts and breeches.

Of course, inspired ideas must also be executed with inspiration. Here's what San Francisco's Joani Blank and Marcia Quackenbush came up with to show elementary schools something left out of most textbooks: what an orgasm feels like, metaphorically speaking.

Here's the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole

Yes, that last one illustrates the blissful release of urinating after holding it in way too long. That feeling is exactly like an orgasm, which explains why you hear such pleasurable moaning in theater restrooms after The Hobbit.

You many not believe kids need to be taught to look forward to ejaculation, but there's still something to admire in Blank and Quackenbush's frank approach. These quiz questions address in direct language a topic kids are often anxious about:

Here's the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole

That we can get behind. Sex-ed should be a safe space with straight talk and no wrong answers, etc., etc. But then there's this, which has hella wrong answers:

Here's the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole

I checked the "About This Book" section -- there is no advice for parents whose 12 year olds find "babies" sexy. And, seriously, if you ever see an old dude asking kids to fill that page out, CALL THE POLICE.

And then there's this:

Here's the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole

Two thoughts on that.

1. The first question I would have asked if someone gave me that page when I was a kid: "Is this something that's likely to happen, like when I write what I want in a letter to Santa, or is it something that's never going to happen, like when I write what I want in a letter to God?"

2. If your kid draws Elmo, CALL THE POLICE.

A previous owner actually filled in some of the answers in my copy of The Playbook for Kids About Sex:

Here's the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole

This is the second time that someone has gone to the trouble to scrawl the word "cunt" in a Studies in Crap find. The first was the back cover of an Anita Bryant record. But that "clit" is a surprise -- that's a word most kids don't come across until they get to their first scene of a screaming religious lady in a Stephen King novel.

The book is also frank about what to do with those rods, shafts, and vag-es. From the two-page spread about masturbation, which is introduced with the question "Do you ever do it any of these ways?"

Here's the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole
Here's the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole

Again, I appreciate the idea that schools and parents should be honest with kids about healthy expressions of sexuality. But maybe it's not a good idea to encourage the humping of playground equipment?

After that, the book gets franker still.

Here's the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole

Or "other sex parts"? If they weren't so hard to draw, I would go for hands.

It's worth noting that the corresponding page for girls advises "You'll probably need a mirror to get a good look."

Whoever owned this book before me did not draw his or her genitals. But the author and illustrator made up for that with plenty of their own!

NEXT: Seriously, do not click through if you're someplace where you could get in trouble for seeing crudely drawn, wholly un-erotic depictions of cartoon kids' genitalia, by which I mean if you're "in America."

 

Here's a case where the kid (or whoever) wrote in this book way back when lays bare its failings. Consider his or her answer to the following question:

Here's the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole

The great failing of this well-intentioned book is that it doesn't make sex and nudity feel more natural for kids. It instead just draws attention to how uncomfortable those topics already are -- how "scary," even. That's especially true on pages like this, where the playful, everyday nudity kids might enjoy at home is explicitly linked to sexual arousal. These pictures would most likely make kids want to wear more clothes, not less.

Your Crap Archivist isn't the only person to find that mix of fun, free nudity and private sexual feelings offputting to me. The book was republished and re-titled in 1983, but the above page was altered so that the kids are fully dressed. That longer, expurgated version is available as a pdf on author Joani Blank's web-site; the edition I'm working from is not. Interestingly, that newer book is targeted to "older" kids; according to the introductory material, this one is for "elementary" ages.

The Playbook for Kids About Sex wraps up with a page telling us all about the authors. It includes illustrations like this:

Here's the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole

If you think something about her face looks familiar, take a look at her nose ... and then think back to when you last squatted over a mirror.

Here's the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole

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Other Studies in Crap columns you might enjoy: You're Nearly There, the Christian sex-ed book that advises you share wet dreams with your parents

Before porn could admit it was porn: 1969's astonishing A Man's Pictorial Guide to Feminine Hygiene (NSFW, duh)

Hey, you could do worse than following @studiesincrap on the Twitter thing.


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