Sex as Secondhand Doritos Chips
a bag of chips opened and spilled about

“When I think about what sexual health taught to me in middle school, I can’t help but laugh at how un-relatable that information has been in a real-world setting. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the South, but my school, like many others, taught us that abstinence was the only way to protect yourself from STDs, pregnancy, etc. Health class was flooded with gruesome images of different STDs, stories of teenage pregnancy and other ailments that came along with being ‘sexually active’. I have one vivid memory where our health teacher was trying to teach us about the exchange of germs and saliva when kissing. She put us in boy-girl pairs and gave us a plastic cup and bag of Doritos chips. The boy chewed up the chips, spit them in a cup, and then handed that to his partner. The teacher then explained that kissing a boy was like having those chewed up chips in her mouth. Any rational human knows that putting someone’s chewed food in their mouth is not the same as kissing, but I think this story really shows the irrelevancy of our sexual health curriculum. They spoke about sex and intimacy as though it was disgusting, something to be ashamed of, when sex and intimacy is a natural interaction that happens though everyone’s lives. I don’t think that SexEd classes had any profound negative impact on how I view sex or how it has influenced my experiences, but I can also say that it hasn’t had a positive influence either. I don’t feel that the class gave me any realistic information on sex, sexual health, or relationships that pertain to an adult female in 2016. When I first became sexually active I was really insecure about what was happening, and that is probably because I didn’t have the right support through these classes. Being taught that abstinence is the only way, it definitely makes people (especially young girls) feel self-conscious about the experience and not want to open up and talk about it with other people. As I grew up, I had to learn about sexual health outside of the classroom through friends, older siblings, friend’s siblings, the media, etc. I’m definitely comfortable where I am today, but that is in no way attributed to the abstinence-only education I received growing up.”