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.
Now sex education classes start in fifth grade. Kids do hit puberty a lot earlier now – my oldest son’s voice changed when he was 10. Back in in ancient times (the 1980s), I was 14 and a freshman in high school before I entered puberty. I remember seeing that first wispy dark hair under my arm and thinking, “Finally!”
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.
Admittedly, I was caught off guard when he said this. My initial response was to make a joke about it, because he left it wide open and that’s what guys do. But I looked into my son’s young face and said, “That’s absolutely right, buddy.” And then I thought we’d move on to math homework.
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.
The following week, things got even worse. At dinner our son stated that girls bleed monthly, which my wife and I actually feel is important for the kids to learn. They sure do, buddy, I said. More broccoli?
But he was just beginning.