Whenever I think about teaching my daughter about the birds and the bees, I get a little panicky. Not because I think sex is a taboo subject, but because I am adamant that she gets all of the facts and none of the scare-tactics sex education classes taught me. In fact, the myths about sex your kids are learning in sex ed will stay with them forever. It took me a good five years after graduating high school to learn that pre-cum can't get you pregnant, let's just be honest.
To be fair, I think sex education is getting a little better. A recent survey found that 66 percent of people think kids should be taught about birth control in sex ed class, while only 15 percent thought they should be taught about abstinence. Another 66 percent of the survey-takers thought that the best way to prevent teen pregnancies and STDs was to provide students with a sex ed class that covers the various birth control options available.
But that doesn't mean your kids aren't going to hear some of these 15 myths about sex in their sex ed class. According to the LA Times, one school district in Mississippi used a piece of unwrapped candy, passed around the room, to show teenage boys how "dirty" a girl is once she's been sexually active. Pretty archaic, right? In fact, there are some states where sex education isn't even required, and according to the Guttmacher Institute, as of March 1, 2016, only 13 states are required to be medically accurate when teaching kids about sex and HIV.
So when you're handling sex education at home, keep in mind that your kids might be hearing these 15 sex myths and basing their entire sexual experience on them.
Myth 1: There's No Such Thing As Safe Sex
Super common, especially in areas where abstinence-only sex education is prevalent. While, yes, the only way to 100 percent guarantee that you will not get pregnant or contract an STD is to remain abstinent, there are plenty of ways to be safe about sex. Condoms, birth control, practicing oral sex instead of penetration, etc. Safe sex exists.
Myth 2: Everything Gets You Pregnant
Literally, everything. In high school, a friend of mine raised her hand and asked our teacher if you could get pregnant from oral sex. The instructor didn't bat an eye and said, "everything can get you pregnant." Cue all of us being absolutely terrified of coming within ten feet of a boy.
Myth 3: Abstinence Is The Only Morally-Correct Option
Another favorite in the abstinence-only crowd is to teach your kids that having sex is immoral and that abstinence is the only morally-correct option. Not only does this make teens who are already sexually active feel like they are worthless or dirty, but it puts an incredibly negative light on sex.
Myth 4: Masturbation Is Not Acceptable
To be fair, sex educators don't often just say that masturbation isn't acceptable, but some refuse to cover it at all in sex education.
Myth 5: Sex Is Only A Biological Urge
Basically, your kids are being taught that sex is only there to make a baby, and that's it. Archaic sex education programs don't cover the facts about sex being pleasurable, a way to be intimate with your partner, or its role in life beyond procreation.
Myth 6: Having Protection Available Means They Will Want Sex
Newsflash: Teenagers already want sex. Having the necessary protection doesn't make them want it more, but it can keep them safe. They're going to have sex regardless.
Myth 7: Men & Women Feel Sex The Same Way
There is little talk about orgasms or the differences in the way men and women experience sex. Which probably explains why I spent the first few years of my sexually active life thinking something was wrong with me because I never had an orgasm.
Myth 8: Any Contact With Sperm Could Lead To Pregnancy
Did your boyfriend cum on your leg? Those sperm can swim to your vagina. Did it get on your jeans? It's going to bleed through and gravity is going to make it roll into your vagina. Did he have some on his hand an hour ago and now he's got his hand in your pants? Welcome to motherhood.
Myth 9: Condoms Are Not Effective
I heard this one so much in sex ed. They might be willing to pass out the condoms, but they'll just keep telling you how ineffective they are and how you're going to get pregnant anyway, so why not just abstain from sex? According to Planned Parenthood, myths about condoms, like the one about HIV passing through microscopic pores in the latex, have been recited in Congress and put in a third of the country's sex education programs.
Myth 10: Virginity Is Defined By Penis & Vagina Sex
A huge debate topic in high school was if you were still considered a virgin if you'd had oral sex or had a partner use their fingers to penetrate you. The best thing you can teach your kids is that virginity is subjective, but that it's not defined purely by a penis penetrating a vagina.
Myth 11: Sex Is Between A Man & A Woman
There was no mention of gay or lesbian sex when I was in sex ed, and it doesn't seem much has changed. According to the Huffington Post, three states in this country are required to share only negative information on sexual orientation.
Myth 12: You Can Definitely Get Pregnant From Pre-Cum
Do you remember hearing about pre-cum? It was the most terrifying thing ever. Not only was sex off-limits because you could get pregnant, but so was even touching a penis that had pre-cum on it. According to Planned Parenthood, it is possible to get pregnant from pre-cum, but unlikely, making this a myth you need to educate your kids about.
Myth 13: Pulling Out Is Never An Option
Look, people are going to have sex even if there's not a condom, so teaching them about the withdrawal or "pull out" method is necessary. Planned Parenthood states that when it's done correctly, the pull-out method can be effective at preventing pregnancy. Of course, it doesn't keep you safe from STDs, but as a form of birth control, it can be part of the education.
Myth 14: Only Girls Are Pressured Into Sex
So many bad videos full of dorky actors with terrible haircuts, but the sex ed videos all had the same message — boys will always pressure girls into sex. While it's important to teach your daughter that she can say no if she wants to, it's not just girls that are pressured into sex. Teenage boys may feel like they have to keep up with their peers or have a girl trying to talk them into it. Consent is not based on gender — it's for everyone.
Myth 15: Your Gentials Will Be Ruined With Sex
I know you remember those pictures of penises and vaginas full of STDs. Scarred for life. If you have sex, your vagina or penis is going to be ruined for life is all I got out of those lessons.