Sitting through a sex ed class can be one of the most embarrassing things a 5th grader can do. (Un)Fortunately, I did not have to sit through one. I went to Catholic school where they did not answer the infamous, “what is sex” question. Instead, Sister Rosemary (yes, she was a nun) told us that sex was not, and I repeat, not, for pleasure. And, It was absolutely not to be done before marriage. Sex was an act we must do, with permission from the Lord, through marriage, to bring His children into the world. Abstinence-only was what we were taught. This is embarrassing to say, but I did not know what sex was till I was in high school (trust me, you think sitting through sex ed with your classmates in 5th grade is embarrassing? Try sitting your 16 year old cousin in your bedroom and awkwardly asking, “Seriously… what is sex?”) because no one properly taught me what it was. Since no one taught me what it was, I never cared to find out. I grew up Christian (and a prude) so just saying the word sex made me feel like I was sinning. Because of the lack of knowledge and education I had on sex, birth control, and sexually transmitted diseases, I endured a lot of stress, pain, and confusion when I was in high school. While I was struggling, there were other men and women out there who were getting in worse situations than me: dealing with an unwanted baby or a sexually transmitted disease. With the right knowledge, these two life changing matters can be prevented.
In America, the government still enforces abstinence-only educational programs. However, here in Denmark, they have a completely different approach to sexual education. The schools start talking about sex with the students at a very young age, and for every year after that till high school. Sex is constantly viewed as an open, natural thing where it is not frowned upon or viewed as shameful. Because students are exposed to it at an early age, very frequently, they grow up to be very comfortable talking about it and asking questions. This explains why Danes are so liberal with sex and also knowledgeable on it.