Learning about sex for the first time can be both embarrassing and confusing. Not only is it tough for you as adolescent, but for the adult burdened with the task of teaching a group of pubescent students.
Here, sex ed teachers reveal some of the weirdest misconceptions people have had about sex.
I used to go to a really religious school. The girls there believed that no one actually enjoys sex, it's just the media telling you you do.
So I had one girl who honestly believed that she couldn't get pregnant if she didn't have an orgasm.
Had one boy who thought humans basically stopped growing pubic hair in the 1980's.
Believed you could get AIDS by being gay. Not having unprotected intercourse, but just homosexual.
My friend goes around to high schools to give talks and answer questions about sex as a teacher to 16 year olds. A girl began to cry once and told the teacher (and the whole class) that she was a hermaphrodite. After calming her down and explaining it all she agreed to answer more questions for those curious. Turns out she was just talking about her clitoris and thought it was a penis. Needless to say, my friend handled it well, but the girl probably had to change schools.
In college, I was an RA (resident advisor) meaning I had to enforce or ignore rules with the women on my floor, offer counsel, watch students for signs of problems, etc. I reported to the RD (resident director) who was not a student and like the dorm "mom."
I went to a SUPER conservative Christian college in a fly-over state. It's a college that has now been in national news for what the new administration is doing, forcing it to become even more conservative. They're basically churning out teapartiers like that is the only purpose of the college.
There were many home schooled/super sheltered students who chose this college. Some of them were great, some of them were super awkward and had really weird ideas about how life/physics/weather/people work due to their very conservative upbringing.
One of my freshman girls started pounding on my door after curfew one night. I freaked out, thinking she was ill or something really serious.
She came into my room, flopped down on my bed, and blurted out "I THINK I'M PREGNANT!"
Being one of the aforementioned super sheltered home schooled kids, she had just acquired her first boyfriend. They were rather adorable together.
I was stunned at her proclamation and started to ask her questions. Mainly, I wanted to know why she thought she was pregnant.
Eventually, she calms down enough to explain that she and her new boyfriend had held hands for the first time that night and their hands were sweaty.
They had held hands and their hands sweated.
She, being extremely sheltered, had never been told how reproduction works. Her parents had convinced her that any physical contact was sinful, she thought she was being punished for holding hands with her boyfriend.
I start laughing, which makes her panic even more, then explain she cannot get pregnant via sweat and hand holding. I explain to her that she needs to learn how her body works.
I contact my RD and we have a meeting where the RD and I basically give this 19-year old the birds-and-the-bees talk for the first time in her life.
A few months later, my RD tells me that the student's parents caught wind of this, called the college to complain (their reasoning was that if she knows how sex works, she will then have sex.) RD told me the dean basically shut them down, saying that the student was an adult and implying they were super irresponsible to NOT teach her these things.
The student and her boyfriend married after college and now have four really cute kids, so I can safely assume that they figured out physical intimacy beyond hand-holding.
Taught in a school in Boston. These kids asked the best questions. "Doesn't anal cause cancer?"
I'd ask, what can HIV lead to? "Does it lead to blue waffle? I don't want to get that!"
"Will Plan B work faster if you snort it?" Good times...
I am a registered nurse. I was conducting a pre-op interview on a teenager who was going to have surgery. She was there with her mother (probably in her late 30s/early 40s), and I was asking basic health related questions -- past medical history, surgical history, allergies, etc. At the end of the interview, the teen (looking kind of embarrassed), asked me "how many holes do we have down there?" I answered "women have three." Just then, the teen looks at her mom and exclaims, "See mom, I told you!!" And the mom looks confused and asks, "are you sure it's three?" I tell her, "yes, women have three - vagina, urethra, anus - and men have two." The mother goes, "men have two??" I was shocked...
Long story short, I had to draw them a picture of female and male anatomy to drive the point home. They thought that women urinate from their vaginas... I can see how the teen could be confused, but the mom was too!
Volunteered at a teen education program for Planned Parenthood in the late 80s. Had a 16 year old or so girl that had gotten pregnant but swore she had used the pill. Turns out she was inserting the pill into lady parts instead of ingesting orally.
My school started sex ed late and I lived in a more conservative about sex house hold around 7th grade or 12-13ish years old and I had heard from my older brother that you could wrap your dick and have sex with no consequences (i.e. pregnancy). Obviously he meant a condom I did not understand that.
So after the teacher did her presentation mainly on abstinence I raised my stupid 7th grade hand and said what do you have to put your penis in to not get pregnant?
The conversation went something like this
Teacher: What? What do you mean?
Me: Like what material do you need paper or sponge or something?
Teacher: Lets talk about this after class.
So after the rest of the school day I report like a good little boy back to the classroom.
Teacher: You realize this is a serious and very important class to your and the whole worlds future right?
Me: yes I understand, but why did you call me down here?Teacher: Your question in class was very inappropriate and I think you should report to detention.
My mind has been blown at this point. So I go to detention think about all of the things I should have said or done instead. I head home and choose to just ask my brother and the internet instead of sex ed teachers.
I went to a very sheltered private school that did not teach basic sex education. It only went as far as covering puberty, so parents had to fill in the rest. And my mom messed it up pretty badly.
She started by describing the male genitalia > penis first, then balls. But she never said the word "penis" again. Only "it".
"IT gets hard so IT can go inside the vagina" and the whole time having never seen what an adult penis looks like, I assume she's means the balls go into the vagina. And since I'd only seen a baby penis from daycare where the balls actually are bigger than the penis, it made sense. I thought this for several years until a friend cleared that misconception up.
I also was unaware of thrusting. I thought you just put it in a waited a bit.
Was taking a bath when about 8 months pregnant, ex walks in, all color drains from his face and he panics.
He thought the baby's umbilical cord was attached to my belly button and that with my belly button underwater, I was in fact drowning our child.
In 4th grade sex ed a friend of mine raised his hand and asked if it was possible to break a boner like you can your arm. The teacher answered no (I've since learned that you can sprain it). We went the rest of the year thinking our boners were invincible, occasionally running around yelling "super boner!!!"
In high school our health teacher (during the sex ed unit) told us a story of a student, who was now graduated, who was told by her mother that if a boy poked her in the belly button she would get pregnant.
Enter high school, during her junior year she was poked in the belly button by a boy in her circle group. So she slapped him at broke down into uncontrollable sobs. It took nearly half an hour to convince her that NO she wasn't pregnant.
A kid in my health class asked if you could keep sperm, like pets in a fish tank...
During "the talk" at our school one guy asked if one testicle produced girl babies and the other produced boy babies.
I was a Peace Corps volunteer in a certain small sub-Saharan African country where sex education was practically nonexistent, talking about sex openly was a bit taboo, and misconceptions were everywhere. As the sole outsider in my village, I was assumed to be the local expert on everything, from computers to physics to world politics to calculus to...yes, sex.
There were SO MANY myths, but one sticks in my mind because it was so bizarre, so prevalent, and I've never heard it anywhere else: "Semen is the only source of vitamin K, so girls must begin having sex at an early age to get proper nutrition." This was startling for a whole tangled mass of reasons: the cultural initiation rites that perpetuated the myth and coerced twelve-year-old girls to have sex with men twice their age, the inverse relationship between prevalence of HIV/AIDS and the degree of knowledge about preventing it, the enormous cultural pressure to marry young and have lots of babies, and the lack of knowledge about nutrition in general (parents commonly ate balanced meals while their kids were given only a type of corn mash, believing that this was the only thing necessary to help them "grow strong").
Basically, my students were already stunted from malnutrition, facing a lot of pressure to have sex, and laboring under mountains of misinformation about it; but then there was this additional myth telling them they needed to start having sex without condoms as soon as possible so their bodies would develop normally! I held sex ed talks at my school to combat this, taught them how to put on a condom correctly, and gave some additional talks about nutrition for good measure.
Back in eighth grade I saw a girl crying in the ladies room. I walked over and asked her what was wrong, and she told me that she was bleeding down there and she legitimately thought that she had internal damage and was dying.
When I was little, the teacher passed out those note cards in Sex Ed so that we could anonymously ask questions and get the answers. I asked what a blow job was because I legitimately wanted to know. The teacher (I guess he was too embarrassed to answer) thought someone was trying to prank him and just laughed it off.
But seriously, sometimes they sound like joke questions, but they aren't. Make a joke, sure. Break the tension. But answer the question. I remember feeling so silly: like crap, everyone's laughing. I guess I'm really stupid for not knowing this already.
My little sister was 13 and my brother had just gotten married. I mentioned to my sister that i thought it was weird that my brother is going to the same cabin as my father had for his honeymoon with my stepmom.
My little sister said it wasn't weird because sex is only for having babies, and since my brother didn't want kids for five years they wouldn't be having sex, and that my dad was too old to have kids so they also never have sex.
Explaining to her that there are more reasons for sex was awkward.
Also, my sister in law until she was 16 thought that sex meant you lay side by side and the sperm crawled out of the guys belly button and into the girls belly button.
We were all home schooled, and religious.
I'm a teacher. My state is abstinence-only education and so most of the sex-ed is limited at best. This may explain a 9th grade class I had three years ago with 4 mothers in it.
One of my students was convinced that if you jumped up and down after you had sex you wouldn't get pregnant. Without using any words that make me blush, I told her unequivocally that she was wrong and not to try that at home. Then another student raised her hand and essentially asked about the pull-out method (she didn't know the terminology) and I told her, again, that was not a real reliable method especially with teenage boys. Then a third student asked about having sex when you are not ovulating (she actually asked, "What about having sex during some parts of the month and not others") I explained that teenage girls may or may not have a real reliable menstrual cycle and being even a day off of the rhythm method could result in pregnancy. Finally, after towing the company line (the only fool-proof method is abstinence, and in the absence of abstinence - take care of yourself) a girl in my class sighs and said, "Well, I will just keep doing sit ups after sex."
I kid you not. And some of these girls were AP/college preparatory students.
Love abstinence only education in an overly-religious state. Teaching girls to hate their bodies and be ignorant at the same time.
I remember being in grade 5 or 6, having the first sex ed class of our young and budding 10 year old lives, having the wonders of life explained to us. We got to the point of explaining how babies were made, and one of my classmates got hung up on a point, he raised his hand and asked the teacher "is sperm hot?"
We all blankly stared at the teacher waiting an answer.
She replied with an awkward, broken answer. "Well, it's not boiling or anything like that-" before she could continue, the classmate restated the question, "but is it like, hot, like temperature hot?" The teacher still confused tried her best, "well no, it's not like tea or coffee, haven't you felt it before?"
Now, with us being 10, I don't know what she was thinking, but some of us laughed, some were grossed out, but that classmate was almost angry. "No, I haven't. But is it hot?"
She ended up explaining to us that it would only be as hot as your body is, it turns out the kid was just worried about hurting future partners with his boiling hot semen.
This was a question asked by me when I was in 7th grade.
My teacher had explained what ejaculation was and for some reason, my 7th grade mind thought it was the boy equivalent to periods. I asked where boys put tampons.
Yea, that was embarrassing.
I am a sex-ed teacher.
The weirdest things are probably stories of people getting pregnant from (INSERT RIDICULOUS THING HERE). Toilet seats, hot tubs, etc.
I once heard the following story from a gynecologist. A young and extremely religious woman came to her near tears one day upset that she and her husband had been unable to conceive despite over a year of trying. After a brief discussion, the exam began and the doctor immediately noticed that the young woman's hymen was intact. She had some follow up questions. The discussion went something like this:
Dr.: "Is sex typically painful or enjoyable?" Pt.: "Painful." Dr.: "After sex, do you ever feel the need to defecate?" Pt.: "Yes, every time." Dr.: "I have good news and bad news."