Raise your hand if you remember this book (or at least some variation of it):
That’s what I thought. It caters mostly to the ten-year-old crowd – right around the same time you probably saw “the movie.” You remember the one I’m talking about. It was that time in elementary school when the girls were shepherded off to the library to learn all about “Aunt Flo,” and the boys sat in the auditorium learning…well, I don’t know, exactly. I wasn’t there. I do know that at the end of the movies every kid was sent home with an information packet and a travel-size deodorant. Because kids get smelly.
And from that point on, health class was never quite the same. After learning about our own bodies, we eventually got into the good stuff. The Sex. Duh. I really wish I remembered that particular class explicitly, but I don’t. Lord knows why I wasn’t paying attention. It wouldn’t have been the first time I’d heard about it, though. I had friends with older siblings – I knew what was up, more or less. But here’s the thing: even after these well-structured health classes at, what I can look back on now as, an appropriate age, I was still scared.
Yes, you read that right: I was scared of sex.
And, okay, yes, that should be fairly normal for a middle schooler (at least back in my day), but this fear lasted a little past middle school. It may have lasted into high school. And by “may have,” I mean it did. “I don’t ever want to have sex,” I’d say, “I just want to, one day, have a baby.” Some of my friends (especially the older ones) would look at me with eyes that said, One day you’ll understand. And one day, I did.
But that’s beside the point. This all came rushing back to me, recently, after, not only sex education being a campaign issue, but also seeing this headline the other week, England adopts compulsory sex education, and reading that “children as young as five years old will be taught some of the basics of anatomy and relationships.”
My first reaction was, “Oh.My.God.” But now I wonder: would I have been as scared of sex if I’d learned about it so early? Or just completely de-sensitized to it?
I really have no way of knowing, but five does seem a little young. Just a tad. Ten-year-olds today already know more than I did at that age (and possibly more than I did in middle school). If the trend continues, teaching sex ed younger and younger, my one-day kids may end up teaching me.
Talk about terrifying.