The sex ed offered at my high school was far above the grade that most students are entitled to in this country, which is something that makes me seethe with rage. I have pretty mixed thoughts about single sex education and my high school in particular, but after making it through six years at an all-girls school I will tell you one thing: the sex ed I received at that single sex looney bin was incredible, and most of it happened outside the classroom.
I took health class for a whole semester in ninth grade, in which we covered–among other things–drug education, eating disorders, a live birth video, body image, and reproductive health. The sex ed was completely clinical–after the first day when our health teacher told us a funny story about a girl being uncomfortable with the word “vagina,” I never heard another euphemism come out of her mouth. As a result, I have exactly no trouble using clinical words for anything sex related at all–it’s called a vagina so I’m not going to call it my lady garden. The curriculum was detailed and expansive–one day we were shown what a rape kit entailed. We passed around a speculum, and nobody got nervous and dropped it. We were shown every single method of birth control known to man and how to use them, and nobody giggled. I did try to make a paper airplane out of a dental dam, though, but that was just for laughs. Obviously, it didn’t fly.
Sure, the curriculum itself wasn’t dependent on my high school being an all girls school–my high school was progressive, secular, privileged and private, meaning that the school had the freedom to teach sex ed according to their own curriculum, had the financial resources to effectively teach, and a liberal student body willing and wanting to learn. But I can’t say I would have had the same experience at a coed school.