Sex ed at Catholic School left me unprepared for life as a basic white hoe

It taught me nothing useful

Sex ed – those few lessons in school where the boys and girls are split into two groups and one unlucky teacher tries to tackle the topic that no tween wants to talk about. Most students get handed a few condoms, information on STDs and told ‘no glove, no love.’ What did I get?

The Fear.

Don’t fall into the spiral of desire girls

Listening to this followed by a magnified image of genital warts was my first experience of sex education. At the impressionable age of thirteen, two nuns told us that sex outside of marriage was a fast-track route to Hell. We were girls with a ‘reproductive purpose’; our sexual identities and desires were insignificant. Girls who dared to explore their sexuality were thrown directly into the spiral where basic human intellect, common sense and self-control did not exist. And here I was thinking nuns were supposed to bake cookies and give out free hugs.

To begin your demise into the spiral, you actually have to lose your virginity first. Throughout school I paired virginity with three words: painful, losing and sacred. Now I can only think of one: bullshit.

An innocent me, before I fell into the spiral of desire

Instead of stating how excruciating and gory it will be, they should have focused on how to improve the experience…or maybe God just doesn’t believe in lube. Rather than chanting that we were going to ‘lose’ something, they should have said you’ll be ‘gaining’ a new experience. And despite it not coinciding with Catholicism, they could have at least mentioned the phrase, ‘societal concept’ once or twice.

Their definition of virginity was whether or not your hymen was intact. I’m fairly sure I did a jump too high in horse riding and sweetie that thing was long gone. They never mentioned that each person’s definition of virginity is personal, just like our sexuality.

Abstinence is the only guarantee

At fifteen, one teacher took pity on us and provided a half hour crash course on contraception. She slapped us in the face with information on the different types and iced it with ‘basically abstinence is the only guarantee.’ Okay yes, that statement is unfortunately true. Although, is it effective, or even moderately smart, to tell thirty horny teens NOT to do the one thing they’re all thinking about?

Fucking hell no.

She gave us the basics: the pill, coil, implant, injections, you get the idea. Not once was I told: where to get them, how they worked and the number one consequence that they did not protect against STDs.

So, erm, what’s an STD?

By the time we hit sixth form, I’d had a total of one hour of sex ed with not one second spent discussing STDs or even STD screenings. Then again, we were all destined to lose our virginity in marriage and grow up to be perfect monogamous Catholics with little Catholic babies. STDs were irrelevant.

The entirety of my sixth form could be divided into two categories. There was “the ignorant”, who were probably pregnant, already has a child or unknowingly infected,  and then “the paranoid”, the second they have sex they think they’re pregnant and have chlamydia, aka. me.

After consistently being told that sex outside of marriage is dangerous and shameful, I was not only uncomfortable discussing sex, I was terrified of it. But it was everywhere. In TV shows, books, social media and even drinking games – Never Have I Ever and Cards Against Humanity continue to be my most useful source of sex ed. In an attempt to dissuade us from having sex altogether, the nuns and teachers only prevented us from having safe sex. We were deprived of the basic information. No condoms on bananas. No leaflets on STDs. Nothing. The last time I checked abstinence does not also apply to teaching sufficient sex ed.

Let’s just be honest, sex is great

At this point in my life, it’s safe to say that I’ve fallen down the ‘spiral of desire’- without encountering the devil- and decided that abstinence doesn’t exactly facilitate the basic white hoe lifestyle. I traded the Bible for lingerie and God for boys. After seven years of hearing the negatives of sex, it only took me one year to form my own three conclusions:

  1. Sex is a human behaviour. It’s natural, in or out of marriage.
  2. Sex isn’t a big deal, though it can be if handled incorrectly.
  3. Sex is GREAT.

For some, sex is sacred and special and I can entirely respect that that is their decision. However, I was never offered the decision to have a non-Catholic sex education. It consisted solely of making us fear sex, instead of teaching us how to be safe. Not one of the three points above was mentioned. The issue is not the Catholic view of sex, but the sexist, ignorant and biased sex education that was laid out in front of me and branded, ‘Sexuality is Bad.’

Then again, I guess I’m just a sinner.