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Can you pass a grade 8 sex ed test?

My two 14-year-old boys are finishing up their sex ed module today. As an OB/GYN I’m very impressed with the breadth of the subject matter. Their public middle school devoted four weeks of science classes to sexual education. I asked my kids if everything they learned made them more or less interested in sex. Obviously this is an n of 2, but they were less interested. They learned that curiosity is one reason kids engage in early sexual activity and now they have zero curiosity in sex because, like most 14-years-old who feel they have learned everything, THEY are now the experts.

The month-long program started with the teacher asking about comfort level discussing sex and genitalia. The kids were asked about conversations they had at home to gauge their comfort level. Oliver shot his hand up first and loudly proclaimed, “My mom is a gynecologist and she wrote about her vagina for the New York Times.”

“Excellent,” said the instructor. “I know I can call on you first.”

The curriculum didn’t just cover body parts and infectious diseases, and birth control, it was also consent, peer pressure, coercion, sexual orientation and gender. They also discussed substance abuse. I learned there are 15 steps to put a condom on correctly. I said, “15 steps?” in disbelief, and then they proceeded to lecture me on consent, checking the expiration date, how to open the package and so on.

So much awesome, especially the confidence to lecture me about it with no giggling.

Last night we reviewed their pre-test. As a highly experienced test taker I have warned my kids over and over again that the pre-test almost always has the same questions as the test so learn the freaking pre-test questions and answers by heart.

As we reviewed the questions again in the car on the way to school I wondered how many people can answer these questions? If we think this is what a 14-year-old should know, well, then everyone should.

So I present the pre-test questions for my kids’ 8th grade sex ed class.

How many can you get right?

Sexed1

 

Sexed2

externalgenetalia2externalgenetalia

Discussion

21 thoughts on “Can you pass a grade 8 sex ed test?

  1. This is awesome and I’m eager to try it (and also have my husband try it). Can you post the answers somewhere?

    Posted by Jennifer | December 21, 2017, 1:48 pm
  2. When are you going to give us the answers? Seriously. I have a fourteen year old that is clearly severely undereducated in sex education.

    Posted by Erin Ruff | December 21, 2017, 1:51 pm
  3. Please and thank you.

    Posted by Erin Ruff | December 21, 2017, 1:51 pm
  4. I’m so happy for these kids’ education! It means a lot to me personally as the tween-kid who had the “no-education-is-safe-education” Christian private school, and the queer high school kid who was completely left out of the sex-ed discussion. I’m so glad this school teaches consensual sex, safe sex, the various types of sexual relationships and partners out there, and seems to bring everyone to this roundtable. Just reading this test gave me hope for a safer world. Thank you for sharing this, Dr. Gunter. 🙂

    Posted by Ama | December 21, 2017, 2:06 pm
  5. Heartfelt thanks for this post, Dr Jen! This is the best! How marvellous if it becomes the norm to give this education/test in all schools.

    Posted by Patricia | December 21, 2017, 3:09 pm
  6. Wow! This is the kind of sex education all teens should be getting!

    Posted by Danielle Lescure | December 21, 2017, 4:07 pm
  7. Wow, that’s thorough! my own sex ed classes were less so, but then I’m 41. (And mine were fairly decent)

    Posted by Demodocus | December 21, 2017, 4:37 pm
  8. What a wonderful school your boys are attending! Many if not most of the questions stumped me – a 71 year old mother of four. My sex-ed, I think in 7th or 8th grade at a public school in Marin, never got close to the education your sons have had. I tried asking my mom some questions, but she always got too flustered – sweetly naive. Thanks for your post!

    Posted by Cathy | December 21, 2017, 6:24 pm
  9. Awesome. Just totally awesome. This from a great grandmother who was taught none of this but hopefully taught my own kids.

    Posted by Phyllis Fawcett | December 21, 2017, 6:49 pm
  10. This is so awesomely refreshing to hear!!! At least ONE school is properly educating children about sex!

    Posted by Laura G. | December 22, 2017, 3:23 am
  11. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Allies.

    Pansexual, Poly…
    Demisexual, Romantic…
    non-binary, gender non-conforming…

    Gender and Sexuality Diversity is what a group of us are going with. It’s not about those people over there, it’s about all of us to varying degrees. In a British survey, asked to place themselves on a scale from 0, completely masculine, to 6, completely feminine, only 2% of 18-24 year old men chose 0. It’s not clear from that report whether any of them chose 4-6.

    Anyway. Hello. I saw an article of yours in the NYT, thought Hooray!, have read a little here and wanted to say hello, thank you, I love what you write.

    Posted by Clare Flourish | December 22, 2017, 3:48 am
  12. I would need help with the answers, too. As a 50 year-old woman who went to a Catholic school until grade 8, I received a less than thorough education about sex and consent. We had no sex ed in my public high school, although we did have a required “health” class where I had to watch a film of a woman laboring and delivering. (Which made me vow to never go through that myself, and was, perhaps, the best form of birth control!) I’ve had to learn a lot on my own over the years.

    My only tiny criticism of this pre-test is the wording of this statement: One million teenage girls become _____ each year. As we know, words and phrasing are powerful, and this type of statement doesn’t address the active participation of a boy or man in an unplanned pregnancy. I’d advocate to have it phrased like this instead: One million teenage girls are _______ each year, with the correct answer being “impregnated.” Awkward? Maybe. A more accurate reflection of reality? Definitely.

    Posted by Linda | December 22, 2017, 8:57 am
    • Linda,

      That didn’t sound right to me, so I just Googled briefly, and in 2014 there were 249078 pregnancies in the US in women ages 15-19, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-development/reproductive-health-and-teen-pregnancy/teen-pregnancy-and-childbearing/trends/index.html). So I don’t think “becomes pregnant” is what they’re going for. (Dr. Gunter? Do you have the answer key?)

      I suspect that what they intend to go in the blank is “One million teenage girls become _sexually_active_ each year”. Depending on how they define “sexually active” in their statistics, there may or may not be a partner, and/or the partner may not necessarily be male.

      Posted by Betsey Langan | December 22, 2017, 9:53 pm
      • Although, re-reading the question, the way they follow it immediately with the % that are teen parents, I see why “become pregnant/are impregnated” is the obvious answer. If that’s not the answer they were going for, phooey on them for bad test/worksheet design.

        Posted by Betsey Langan | December 22, 2017, 9:56 pm
    • I was thinking the answer might be “sexually active”? The very FIRST thought that came to mind was “pregnant”, though! If that is the answer, then I agree with you; Lord knows we can’t get pregnant alone!!

      Posted by Kate | December 23, 2017, 3:35 am
  13. I need the answers too. For example, I haven’t a clue on the difference between an STD and an STI I really like there being so much material on consent.

    Posted by Star Lady | December 27, 2017, 5:10 am
  14. Wow, this is an excellent test. I give props to this school for taking a scientific and educational method to something that should be taught in such a way.

    Posted by The Shameful Narcissist | December 27, 2017, 4:13 pm
  15. I’m a man in his 60s who was a teacher in Ontario, Canada. I guess, if one were to need to qualify me in some way, I’d invent the term “equality minded enlightened humanist” to fend off misinterpretations of ‘male feminist’. I have several sisters, and have loved and lived with a few pretty natural women, some of whom would be happy to know about your website. In fact, I have a couple of younger female friends who will be learning about it. But what do I think about the test? I’d say it’s geared towards a student body who have been privileged to be among those whose answers are expected to be cogent essay type answers. In a public school environment, teachers would have to dumb down the expectations. It’d be more like a ‘multiple guess’ scenario here. That’s pretty sad, I must admit…but we can always hope somebody will pay attention to the reason there was an “Enlightenment” so many years ago. By the way…I think the article in NY Times from Nov 16 2017 is forcefully terrific, (in some ways ironically funny,) and in all ways a necessary read for most men. Thank you for that illumination on those ideas….I was already a convert. Without getting into ideas the website might limit…I have come to know that there is nothing to equal the sensual joys of knowing all aspects, at all times, and all cycles, of a woman who cares for herself naturally and with respect for her best care….WITHOUT ANY CHEMICALS!

    I wish more women knew and accepted all of what you’ve been sharing. I’m going to stick my neck out and share with a few, surrepticiously. And I’m glad I discovered your work and your website. Namaste!

    Posted by John | December 30, 2017, 11:22 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Can you pass a grade 8 sex ed test? | Dr. Jen Gunter – Second Hand Outrage - December 21, 2017

  2. Pingback: History of Dildos, Celeb Gal Pals, & What We Got Stuck In Us This Year | Sex with Timaree - December 29, 2017

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