Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

A teacher points to a diagram of female reproductive organs projected on a screen in a classroom in a scene from <Human Growth>, an education film on sex education shown to students in Oregon junior high schools beginning in 1948. (� CORBIS/� CORBIS)
A teacher points to a diagram of female reproductive organs projected on a screen in a classroom in a scene from <Human Growth>, an education film on sex education shown to students in Oregon junior high schools beginning in 1948. (� CORBIS/� CORBIS)

Sex Ed

Top sex lessons, in and out of school Add to ...

BerBer Xue, 15, Toronto, high-school student

Berber Xue from Toronto.

What I learned about sex in school ...

"I think when it really started was in Grade 7 health class. We pretended to know nothing so our teacher wouldn't be appalled. It was a very detached explanation of the sexual reproduction process."

... and outside of school

More Related to this Story

"I never had any formal 'birds and the bees' talk. I think the first time I really [got]the concept of sex was when I was watching The Red Violin with my parents. [They]didn't move fast enough to shield the sight of Vivaldi copulating with a girl while playing the violin feverishly."

Sam Gallagher-Bishop, 18, Winnipeg, university student

What I learned about sex in school ...

"My first sex education class was in Grade 5, [when]a large majority of the boys had already been exposed to pornography. ... The entire thing was so disconnected and confined to a textbook that I viewed it as tedious and didn't pay attention. [This]isn't to say that the course didn't make it seem like there was a slew of terrible and agonizing diseases out there waiting for me."

... and outside of school

"I come from a fairly conservative family where topics such as sex education are shied away from. ... My first instance of learning about sex that I can remember was in Grade 2. I was at the playground and my friend came up to me and asked if I knew what a 'boner' was."

Gillian Lanyon, 24, Toronto, strategic planner

What I learned about sex in school ...

"I think our first sex-ed class happened in public school in Grade 6. It was mostly puberty-focused, but taught the basic plumbing of sex. ... Schools are a natural place for [sex education]to take place. I hope sex ed in Canadian schools never resembles that of the U.S. Abstinence-only education only serves to spread STDs and perpetuate the poverty cycle."

... and outside of school

"Everything I learned about sex and morality came from 90210. Who doesn't remember Brenda giving it up to Dylan on prom night and having zero regrets because she waited for the right time and place?"

Agostino Scafidi, 27, Montreal, musician

Agostino Scafidi

What I learned about sex in school ...

"My sex education experience in school was very minimal. I remember one instance when the school nurse demonstrated on a wooden penis how to use a condom. ... We didn't ask many questions; we were kind of shy about the whole thing but nobody admitted it."

... and outside of school

"At around 12 years old a friend showed me a porn film that he managed to get his hands on. ... When I got access to the Internet, I was exposed to more porn, but I also had an interest in sex columnists, psychologists. So I basically sought out the facts on my own out of my own curiosity."

Darren Gawle, 38, Vancouver, carpenter

What I learned about sex in school ...

"My school conducted the first-ever sex-ed class in its history when I was in Grade 6. [A movie]said 'masturbation is a natural way to explore your body and find out how it works,' but they never explained what masturbation was, and it was a few years before I found out. No discussion of birth control or where to obtain it. No discussion of STIs."

... and outside of school

"[My mom]got a book out of the library called something like What's Happening To Me? which she went through with me. I'd forgotten completely about this until I found out that this book was the basis of an influential obscenity ruling by the Canadian legal system in the mid-1970s."

Duane Burnett, 45, Sechelt, B.C., actor/photographer

Duane Burnett.

What I learned about sex in school ...

"I really don't remember us having sex education class. I have a visual of a classroom, some nervous laughter and a really badly made 8-millimetre movie, but I don't know if it was a dream or a TV show."

... and outside of school

"It drove me to a near nervous breakdown trying to save myself from finding myself attracted to the same sex. I booked myself to see a psychiatrist. His advice [was]that it's totally normal, but that there was something very new and highly dangerous out there killing gay men; they weren't quite sure what this AIDS thing was, but I absolutely must practise safe sex."

Dennis Yanke, 56, Kitchener, author/speaker

What I learned about sex in school ...

"I do not recall any conversation about love or lust, just diagrams of reproductive organs and how they worked. ... We boomers have continued our parents' habits of doing a poor job of communicating the whole concept of sex being part of a committed relationship versus a recreational sport."

... and outside of school

"My intimate knowledge of sex came [mostly]from the girls I dated as I learned how to please them. As an adult I coached hockey for 15 years and remember interrupting several change-room conversations and learned some new information from the Grade 8 boys who talked about 'rainbow parties.' "

Special to The Globe and Mail

Follow us on Twitter: @globeandmail

 

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories