Beyond the Classroom Learning Lessons for Life in High School

It’s About Time
In high-school we learn about the world around us using mathematics and science. We learn how to express ourselves through art. Yet, when it comes to something that is with us from birth until death, something that can be so profoundly beautiful when understood or profoundly destructive when approached in ignorance, we are at a great loss. Lets talk about sex- no, lets learn about sex.
True, there is the one-week blip in grade nine gym class where we look at some pictures and are told blatantly incorrect information about sex. The G-spot is the clitoris. All penises and vaginae look the same. Sex can cause STDs and now we are experts at putting a used condom on a tennis racket. Actually, the G-spot is not the clitoris. All penises and vaginae (or more accurately, vulvae) vary a great deal in appearance and we’ve actually correctly named STDs STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infection). As for tennis rackets, they cannot become pregnant or contract STIs. How do I know? I read a textbook entitled, “Understanding Human Sexuality”. Unfortunately, this was only possible after a purchase from the Waterloo University bookstore.
To call this a “course” or “unit” within our high-school education is a gross over-statement. It is infeasible to cover any aspect of human sexuality in a one or two week period. How then, is a teacher able to cover sexual anatomy, sexual orientation, sexual behavior, sexual disorders, contraceptives, menstruation, sexual changes throughout the life cycle- and that’s just to name a few! Not to mention that a gym teacher should not be expected to know and keep on top of sexual information. We have science teachers to teach us science, we have math teachers to teach us math, we have English teachers to teach us English. We need human sexuality teachers to teach us about human sexuality. A sex education “unit” in a two-week period is simply not good enough.
Why is human sexuality so important to learn about? Humans’ sexual development starts in the womb and continues as a child becomes curious of his or her genitals. Its existence is made obvious in early adolescence when puberty begins its journey. Sexual interest and desire increases and suddenly the person is experiencing feelings he or she perhaps do not understand. This boy or girl may be able to write you a beautiful sonnet, or solve a mathematical problem, or describe to you photosynthesis, yet this person can not understand the changes in his or her own bodies as this person goes from class to class and day to day.
Young people deserve the right to sexual knowledge. Having a mandatory high-school human sexuality course is crucial to the understanding of ones self. With teenage years being one of the primary times of sexual development teens need sex education. Without the knowledge sex can be a confusing or even frightening experience. With the knowledge it can be enlightening and beautiful.