John Oliver Takes On America’s Absurd Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Programs

by Samantha Baumgartner

Having sex is completely normal. I have it, you may have had it (and it’s totally okay if you haven’t), and the person sitting next to you probably has too.

You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, Samantha, it’s the 21st Century, duh it’s normal.” Unfortunately, sex is still as taboo as it was when we were growing up. Don’t believe me? Watch John Oliver dish about sex ed classes in schools right now:


The negative stigma around pre-marital intercourse dates back to prehistoric times, and though all Neanderthals are thought to have died off, some still exist today – there is no other logical explanation for keeping these ancient views around.

Oliver plays an assortment of cheesy, hard-to-watch videos shown in classrooms around America, including one with abstinence speaker, Pam Stenzel. She says – or rather shouts – in a short clip, “If you have sex outside of one, permanent, monogamous – and monogamy does not mean one at a time, that means one partner who has only been with you – you have sex outside of that context and you will pay. Boys, if there’s a girl throwing herself at you, if she’s the one pressuring you for sex, if this is a girl that’s dressing in that manner that’s saying not only to you, but the rest of the world, ‘Take me now,’ I’ve got a little word of advice for you: run from this girl, run! I did not say walk away slowly, I said run from her!” 

It doesn’t take a genius to point out everything wrong with her verbiage, especially when she implies girls who dress less conservatively are essentially harlots. This isn’t even the worst of the videos Oliver shows.

In one abstinence video, a woman is compared to a dirty, used shoe, because having sexual partners prior to marriage makes a human being washed up and undesirable. In another, featuring a very young Jonathan Banks, a woman’s period makes her incredible at bowling.

Though theses videos are a huge part of the problem, the entire system is flawed. Oliver explains that the sex education you receive depends wholly on where you live – only 22 states mandate sex ed and “only 13 require the information presented be medically accurate.”

It is in a human being’s nature to want sex, and usually this desire starts at a young age. If we aren’t educating middle and high school students properly, the risk of unwanted pregnancy and disease goes up. Instead of placing the negativity on sex, we should place it on what happens if we don’t go about it properly. Whether conservatives like it or not, sex is going to happen: Being horny is normal, get over it!

What I imagine sex ed is like in some classrooms.

Thankfully, Oliver understands the lack of videos with proper guidance, so he enlisted Laverne Cox, Nick Offerman, Jack McBrayer, and even Jonathan Banks to create a hysterical yet informative sex ed video. Let’s hope it starts popping up in schools nationwide.

Original article via JEZEBEL


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