My Story: Learning About What Sex Ed in School Didn’t Teach Me

By Amy Agigian —

AB gives an overview of the sex ed training she received in high school and details some of the ways it failed to provide her with the whole picture in regards to her sexual health options and understanding of how contraceptives work.


AB: I didn’t learn that much. I definitely remember learning about condoms, but it was always—and the birth control pill— but it was always in the context of preventing pregnancy, which I know now, like, a lot of my friends are on the pill for other benefits, too. So, like, I remember when I was in high school, I had really bad periods and I—my, like, doctor suggested that I could try birth control, but she was super—she was, like, um, kind of hesitant to put me on it. And then I remember being like, “Oh, maybe I could, like, skip my periods,” and she was like, “Having a period is natural, like, why would you want to do something unnatural?” and I remember being like, what? [laughs]

‘Cause, I literally, like—even at that age, I was like, “What is natural?”—because my grandmas had been married, literally, a few years after that and had kids, and like, is it natural to have 10 kids when you’re, like, 25 and just die in childbirth, like I don’t know—wild! Like I, that was never my goal to be natural, personally, so that was something that, like, came to mind, and kind of that shame around, you know, altering your body or being heard, you know, trying to be different in any way, or do something that would help you but might, you know, not be seen as just like the default or normal. Because I would swim a lot in high school, so I was like, “I hate my period,” and it was so irregular and so heavy, ruined my life. Um, so, then I did get on the pill, and I liked it a lot, and then I got an IUD—but anyway, so, but you asked me what I learned.

Okay, so I didn’t know anything about IUDs. I learned about the pill a little bit, but it was seen as like—I remember learning, like, if you don’t take it at the exact minute every single day, it’s really, really bad. And then I—once I realized you had like hours of window, I was like, “Wait, what?” [laughs] I thought that it would, like, not work if you didn’t take it at 3pm exactly! So, um, I don’t know—definitely learned some falsehoods or had some trepidation around, uh, um, the birth control pill and condoms, and then didn’t learn about other stuff at all, or why you might use those for other reasons besides purely pregnancy prevention.