“Don’t have sex — because you will get pregnant and die.”
Coach Carr’s famous line from Mean Girls may have premiered more than 12 years ago, but sadly, variations on his backwards, fear-mongering sex-education tactics are still alive today.
Currently, only 24 states in the U.S. require sex education to be taught in public schools. And when sex ed is taught, the curriculum is often not comprehensive — meaning: it doesn’t cover sexual decision-making, healthy relationships, or how to use contraceptives — even though research has shown that abstinence-only sex-ed programs don’t work. So while Mean Girls is a go-to comedy for movie night, the reality of abstinence-only sex education is nothing to laugh at.
But even for those of us who were lucky enough to receive comprehensive sex ed, there can still be that giggly, awkward factor when you put a group of high school or middle school aged people (or adults, for that matter) in a room together to talk about sex. (Side note: It’s 2016 — how messed up is it that a person has to be “lucky” to be taught crucial information about their bodies, contraception, STIs, consent, and healthy relationships?)
In a perfect world, talking about sex would be a comfortable experience at any age. After all, humans are sexual beings and sex is a totally normal, natural (and enjoyable!) part of life for most people. But unfortunately, a lot of society isn’t quite there yet. Plus, let’s face it: Sex ed can be horrifying.
Want proof? We asked R29 staffers, readers, and friends to share their most cringe-worthy sex-ed moments. From embarrassing slip-ups to straight-up misinformation and some of the most sexist nonsense we’ve ever heard, these moments taught us that people’s not-so-great sex-ed experiences fall all over the spectrum.