Are Birds and Bees the Best Sexual Examples for Teaching Kids?

I learned what sex was from an eighth grader on the school bus (I was in seventh grade). When he described it to me, I simply didn’t believe him. I was sure that sex didn’t involve any physical contact. That just didn’t make sense.

Every day, thousands of children are subjected to the infamous “birds and the bees” talk. But do we ever stop to ask ourselves if we really want to compare human sexuality to birds and bees? Consider the following:

  • If humans had sex like birds, a male would accumulate sperm within their distended testes during the mating season, find an obliging or unguarded female, and then ejaculate from his phallus into the her cloaca.
  • If humans had sex like bees, the sole purpose of a male’s life would be to have sex a single time with his female queen, upon which, after leaving his endophallus in the female’s body (similar to leaving behind your wallet at her place after a one-night stand), the male would die.
Sounds just like good ole’ fashioned human reproduction, doesn’t it?
Instead of using animals to explain sexual intercourse to my future children, I would use….humans! Why do we beat around the bush instead of talking about sex in a technical way, with no shame associated with it?
I attended sex ed classes in fifth grade and seventh grade, and in neither class did they tell us what sex was. They told us how easy it was to get a girl pregnant (apparently if you stand too close to a woman during ovulation, she will instantly give birth and you will owe child support) and how terrible STDs are (if you recall, STDs were represented in sex ed by a series of cartoon characters that actually looked like a lot of fun). But they never actually sat us down and said, “Sex is when a man’s erect penis enters a woman’s vagina.”
See, that wasn’t so hard! (That’s what she said.)
So let’s just skip the birds and the bees and jump right to human sexuality. Use plain and simple terminology. And do it before your kid finds out on the school bus.
Parents and future parents, what do you think is the best way to teach kids about sex?