Near the end of my son’s fifth grade year, parents received a paper telling us that the kids would have sex education in the last two health classes. We could opt to remove our child from the sex education classes, but I didn’t have a problem with it. Frankly, I was more worried about the teacher than the kids.
I think I have a pretty innocent view of what kids should think and say. When I was a kid, sex education classes didn’t begin until freshman year of high school. I remember sitting there, sporting a mullet and wearing my Motley Crue t-shirt, laughing and joking with the rest of the class. I knew very little about sex but had to act like I did so I didn’t look inexperienced. Looking back, I have a feeling most of the class felt the same way.
I imagined my son’s sex education classes being a long, monotone film on how the sperm fertilizes the egg. Something designed to bore them out of ever wanting to have sex. But things apparently got more descriptive than I expected, because when my son arrived home from school that afternoon he informed me that penis size doesn’t make you any more or less manly.
Wrong. After his revelation on penis size, my son informed my wife and I that “having your balls rubbed feels good.” Again, I bit my tongue, and asked who gave this information, the teacher or a student. He said a boy in his class asked about it, and the teacher confirmed that ball rubs feel good. My wife and I nodded seriously as he told us, but as soon as he left the room we burst out laughing.
But he was just beginning.
His next surprise was that he now knew what a dildo was. I have to say, this one shocked me. We’d somehow veered very, very sharply away from the sperm fertilizing the egg. I didn’t really believe he knew what a dildo was, so I asked. He gave a perfect fifth grade description, saying it was shaped like a ding-dong.
I wasn’t very happy, because anyone who is innocent enough to say ding-dong should not know what a dildo is. Of course, I wasn’t angry with him. I asked why the teacher gave this information, and he said a kid in class asked about it. The same kid who knew about ball rubbing.
When I was a kid, we learned things the old-fashioned way – on the playground. I assumed it would be better to learn about sex in a classroom, where the sensitive questions that children are bound to have could be dealt with delicately by an adult. But I had no idea that 10-year-old kids would be discussing vibrators, dildos and ball rubbing.
I don’t really blame the teacher. It sounds like she handled the questions as professionally as she could. But I did wonder why the boy wasn’t sent to the office to learn about what is appropriate and what is not. I was told that he had been to the office, several times, for using this type of language. Apparently, the principal believes in “alternative consequences.” I don’t think they’re working.