John Oliver on the brutal state of sex-ed in America

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Ugh. And I was having such a good day.

I asked a group of college freshman once whether or not they’d had sex ed. The answer was – enlightening. And frightening.

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The sad thing is that there are Youtube educators like Laci Green that teach sex education in a more comprehensive way than I ever had in high school.


Not sure that Google is really your best bet for birth control information, but then, it might still be better than what some kids are getting in school.

The bit John Oliver did a couple of weeks ago on food waste was also very good.

Every once in a while, I realize that growing up in Connecticut was basically like growing up in a different country.

We had sex ed at school. It was medically accurate and listed several varieties of birth control (but no demonstrations). Then one of the biology teachers took it on himself to do an additional chapter on human reproduction, so if you were in his biology class you got the relative failure rates of different forms of contraception, with an emphasis on the fact that a combination of condoms and a separate spermicide were probably the most effective physical contraception, far more effective than condoms alone. He demonstrated condom use (I think on a broom handle), but we didn’t get a chance to try it ourselves.

The most comprehensive sex ed I got was the one run by a collaboration between the local UCC, Baptist, and Episcopalian churches. They ran a several week sex ed seminar during the summer, every 4 years (mostly kids from the congregations, but I think sign-ups were open to the general public). I went when I was nearly 13, because my parents decided that was better than waiting until I was almost 17.

We rolled condoms over a fake wooden penis. We got to look at diaphragms and sponges. People who had HIV and AIDS came to talk to us in a serious, frank, but not scare-mongering way. We had a night where several gay people discussed sexuality and coming out. All this happened in the basement of a hundred-year-old Baptist church. This was in the 90s! It also totally demystified sex for me. It didn’t make me become sexually active quicker than any of my friends… in fact, the medical starkness with which this information had been delivered made it easier for me to resist pressures to do things earlier than I wanted to.


giving kids the actual information and being frank about it is best, it won’t stop everyone but will make plenty go meh, okay no rush for that and those that don’t wait probably way way more likely to do their best to not become parents.


The statistics are pretty clear–kids are stupid, but not that stupid, and if you give them real information, they make better decisions. So anyone who thinks not giving kids real information is going to produce better results is, well, completely wrong. And possibly more stupid than their kids. The ones they had at 16.


The worst thing about John Oliver’s show is that it makes it highly improbable that he’ll ever come back and take over for Jon Stewart.

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I felt that way at first, but I think he is doing so much more with his own format than he could have within the Daily Show’s.


But is that really sad? When an institution is failing to keep up with current information and the needs of people, isn’t it a good thing that the information is available elsewhere? What I try to impress upon kids is the importance of developing the skills to research what they need to know. They can use this anywhere, whether they have a school or not. I think more resources and dedication to existing schools would be prudent, but they are not the only way to teach and learn in a connected world.

Sure, its great that internet resources are available that put your standard high school class to shame. The fact is though, kids spend a lot of time in school. It would be nice if that time wasn’t wasted and students/parents didn’t have to make up for the failings of the education system themselves. There are only so many hours in the day after all, and that a comedy show is giving more comprehensive sex ed than some high school sex ed classes is indeed sad. It shows that we don’t value intelligence in this country, and don’t value giving our children the best education possible in general.

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Sure some people don’t. But I doubt if you or I are included here.

Then people need not take for granted that school is necessarily the best possible education, thus resigning themselves to waste time there.

More and more, I’m of the opinion that conservatives the Religious Right and their conservative electees don’t really care about the health and safety of their children, and instead want to make sure those dirty sex-havers are punished with STDs and unwanted pregnancies. If they cared even a little, they’d look at the facts and turn a complete 180 on abstinence-only education.

As it stands, the biggest cause of abortion in this country are the conservatives religious right themselves through their campaign of misinformation and “purity” whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. They care more about intact hymens than they do about girl’s and women’s health, and they need to be condemned for it whenever they go on the warpath to tear down sex-ed or defund Planned Parenthood.


I’m friends on FB with lots of old high school buddies and ex-girlfriends. Many now have teenagers of their own and I see occasional posts asking for movie ideas suitable for their families. A common caveat goes something like: “I’m ok with movie violence but no sex stuff.”

I want to crack up cause I remember most of the girls as being pretty freaky back when we were all teenagers ourselves when all we thought about was getting laid.


But the whole neurotic, sex-negative, chastity tradition is only one of many. People can just as easily be “conserving” the tradition of annual town orgies, open marriage, or any other practices. Conservation is only as stupid as the values and goals which people choose to cling to.

You’re generally correct. I specified the religious right and their electees.

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Not all religions are the same. It flips the script on them and causes fits of apoplexy when people assert their rights as “conservatives” who are pro choice, pro education, who help their kids get laid, and call BS on their racist, sexist BS. I don’t identify as conservative myself, but I can have fun citing sex-positive traditions which go much further back than their misunderstood tropes.

I think we both know that American conservatism isn’t about preserving such traditions.

They tell us exactly what they are trying to conserve all the time: racial inequality and bigotry, gender inequality, attempts to embed religious doctrine and religious favoritism in our law, wealth and socioeconomic inequality, and generally an ideal of “the good old days” that never really existed.


Fixed it for you. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: