Like that when you have sex with someone, you’re having sex with everyone they’ve ever had sex with.

It was held in a special unit of our 7th grade health class when I was 13. Parents had the option to pull their kids from that unit, but my parents wouldn't have. Besides, I was very emphatic about wanting to take that class so I could learn about sex.

I'm sure my school district and its teachers, parents, and administrators were doing the best they could within the Texas state laws, and still are. Maybe the curriculum, which is chosen by a council of mostly parents, is the best option that fits the laws. (FWIW, the county that my district primarily covers was one of the few in Texas that went blue in the 2016 presidential elections.)

I fully bought the abstinence-is-the-only-way message from ages 12 to about 15. I didn't ask many questions, because I assumed I was learning everything I needed to know. But now, 14 years later, it's painfully obvious that there were some glaring gaps in my sex education. These are some of the lessons that curriculum actually taught me — and what it didn't.

Abstinence is the only way to 100% protect yourself from pregnancy.

Abstinence is the only way to 100% protect yourself from pregnancy.

Sure, this is true. And it's Texas state law that all public schools hammer that point home.

But as a 13-year-old, it would have been helpful to know about other birth control options and how effective they are, where you can get them, how to use them, and how they work.

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Condoms have an 18% "typical-use" failure rate.

Condoms have an 18% "typical-use" failure rate.

Also technically true. And also a requirement per state law: "If included in the content of the curriculum, teach contraception and condom use in terms of human use reality rates instead of theoretical laboratory rates."

Sounds kind of reasonable, right? But it really meant that we heard condoms were unreliable. Think with your teenager logic. Why use a condom if it barely works anyway?

Turns out, condoms are actually up to 98% effective when used consistently and correctly, which includes checking for holes, avoiding oil-based lubes, and wearing them for the entire time. (You could also read the fine print in the condom box, but remember, teenager logic.)

Like I said, I bought the abstinence-only line — I wanted an A in Health class, and I hadn't kissed anyone yet, so condoms seemed irrelevant. A few years later, when I should have used protection, I wasn't comfortable telling any adults that I was experimenting with non-abstinence. And (seriously) I didn't think condoms were going to be effective, anyway.

safeinthecity.org / Via youtube.com

A heterosexual, married family life is obviously what everyone wants.

I LOL at the idea that a Texas middle school circa 2003 (the year of Lawrence v. Texas) might acknowledge the existence of anyone who wasn't cisgender and straight, especially in a sex ed unit. And obviously everyone's going to get married one day. Why else would the handbook emphasize that they teach "the skills, character, and commitment to remain abstinent until marriage"? (Oh, right, state law.)

On a related note, this recent worksheet from a high school sex ed class (in my school district) asks students to "list your top 5 qualities in the opposite sex" and to "guess what the opposite sex top 5 desires in you."

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