When I was in fifth grade, my teacher wheeled in a VHS-equipped television, plucked in a tape, and let the folks on the screen teach me and a dozen other 10-year-olds about penises and sex and menstruation and condoms and all of the little details that accompany all of the above.
Some people weren’t so lucky if you can call it that. Some people—whether due to a backward education system, religious fundamentalism, or teachers projecting their own terrible sexual hangups—some people were taught…very, very wrong things.
Here are 22 of the wrongest, as shared by the poor folks on an AskReddit thread launched by u/woollyhammock.
22. That condoms are useless:
Mine brought in and cut up condoms to show us how flimsy and useless they are.
There were so many pregnant girls in my graduating class.
21. That vaginas ‘run’ different directions:
When I was little back in the 70s, I used to hear men joke about how sex with an Asian woman was exotic due to their vaginas running sideways. Since mine ran north to south, for longer than I should have I thought women of every other race had theirs go east to west.
I never talked about it or was shocked or anything; I thought that was just how things were until I learned otherwise.
20. That using tampons was a route to virginity loss:
When I got my curse (period) for the first time I asked about tampons. It just seemed like it would be less messy than pads. Also, my periods were very inconsistent. I would go without one for a few months, then have my period for three to four weeks in a row with heavy flow and terrible cramps.
Tampons would have made life easier, but my mom insisted I couldn’t use them because I was a virgin. Smh!
19. And that condoms don’t work:
‘Condoms are latex and latex is like a net, so all condoms are full of holes so the only safe sex is married sex.’
We then all threw a giant sperm puppet through a basketball hoop to demonstrate how obviously useless condoms are. We also did the tape thing, the passing around of an unwrapped piece of candy (I shit you not, it was a fucking cherry cordial Hershey’s kiss), got shown slides of genitalia with untreated STDs, and got exactly zero useful or even true information.
Also, the giant sperm puppet was made out of a horrible orange and black quilting fabric and had googly eyes for some fucking reason.
My husband affectionately refers to my sense of style as ‘gothstitute’, so we can see how well that worked.
18. Having no sex ed at all, as a result of religion
I received absolutely no sex education. I was raised a religious fundamentalist, married at 19 to a girl that was as ignorant as I was and lost our virginity on our wedding night.
Married for 13 years. I learned what and where a clitoris was from my 2nd sexual partner at the age of 32.
17. Not knowing about pressure. Or periods.
I always thought you were supposed to be really gentle with the penis. So my first time giving a hand job I had the lightest grip possible so I wouldn’t hurt him. When he showed me just how tightly you should squeeze I was shocked lol.
I also thought your period was supposed to be just a dot of blood, hence the name “period.” Had a rude awakening with that one.
16. These false statistics:
My middle school teacher told the class that condoms were not effective at all for protecting against STDs and only worked 50% in stoping pregnancies, and that anyone who told you otherwise was a diseased pervert trying to trick you into sex.
Abstinence teaching, ladies and gentlemen.
15. This contradictory statement:
My mum told me there was no such thing as ovulation when I was 9. To this day I haven’t had the courage to ask her how she thinks I got here!
14. That women don’t feel sexual arousal:
In addition to the usual (condoms aren’t effective, sex before marriages gives you cancer, zero information about discharge or where clitoris is located) I was taught that women don’t feel sexual arousal. At all. Those who think they do are just confused.
Women have sex to please men and make babies, no other reason.
I still wonder if the woman who taught me this was just asexual and didn’t know it, and she assumed this was the norm.
13. This absolutely heartbreaking tale:
My cousin thought that women couldn’t get HIV if they were menstruating. So she and her HIV+ boyfriend would only have (unprotected) sex while she was on her period. You can probably guess how that turned out.
Edit to answer a couple of ?’s: Yes, her boyfriend told her this information. I don’t know if he believed it himself, or if he just decided to lie to her. She took his word for it, unfortunately. She’s a very sweet girl but she’s never been the brightest bulb. And yes, this happened in the US.