TED Conversations

Jordan Reeves

TED-Ed Community Manager, TED Conferences


This conversation is closed.

What's one thing you wish you had learned in school?

Maybe it's not your traditional math, science, social studies, or arts and humanities class--maybe it's something different. If you could learn one lesson in school, what would it be?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 3 2011: Okay, this may sound crazy...but I wish I had more sex ed. For one thing I think that this is an extremely pressing concern for controlling population growth worldwide but on another note the sexual education provided by schools (if provided at all) is very clinical and sex-negative. Sexual education tends to cover reproduction and disease prevention but contains little to no information about sexual orientation, sexual relationships or sexual skill.

    I am still recovering from the baggage associated with having had sex without having developed the knowledge appropriate to engage in sexual relationships yet, and I didn't become sexually active until I was 22: this isn't a matter of age but of education. I distinctly remember reading a single vague line in my grade 12 biology text book that said that the clitoris was for "vaginal lubrication" which is not only misleading since it makes the clitoris sound like a gland, but is a ridiculous understatement. No wonder 10% of women will never experience an orgasm (70% of us don't actually know where the clitoris is)! Can you imagine a man not being able to locate his penis? I think that this is a huge problem, its extraordinarily easy to fix, and the benefits would be pretty staggering. Who doesn't want women to want more sex?

    Sexual relationships are incredibly important for personal happiness. I think that a sexually satisfied population would be less likely to engage in violence. And I personally would have liked to have learned more in school and less through trail and error.
    • thumb
      Nov 3 2011: Very thoughtful post. You make some great points. And I loved the line "Who doesn't want women to want more sex?" Who could be against that?

      I was fortunate growing up that I had an older brother (7 years age difference) who had a class in college that used McCary's Human Sexuality. When I was 15 or so I read that book more than any of my own textbooks, for sure!
    • Nov 3 2011: Information concerning sexuality is indeed important. However, that would include information on the moral aspects of sexuality and on not treating others as sexual objects. Although it may seem outmoded and unrealistic to many, an argument can be made that sexual relations should be confined to marriage. Think of all the problems nvolved in sexual activity outside of marriage, e.g., broken relationships, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual addiction, human trafficking, etc.
      • thumb
        Nov 3 2011: I have a different opinion about this, but I think that married people deserve good sex too ;)
      • thumb
        Nov 3 2011: Some married couples find sex outside of their marriage can relight their own relationships. Perhaps marriage had the right intention but since humans have been trying and failing to stick to its limitations (at least those imposed in our western society) for thousands of years, it might be time to admit that it goes against our biology and perhaps the vows could do with a rethink?
        • thumb
          Nov 3 2011: Oliver, I've been thinking along these same lines for a while now. I tried to post a conversation on this topic itself yesterday but it was flagged and removed...perhaps some traditions are so ingrained in our culture that even the TED community doesn't want to discuss them?
    • thumb
      Nov 3 2011: Sex eduction at my school was a joke. The teacher giving the class seemed embarrassed by it all. One poor girl asked a question and was told by the teacher not to ask such rude questions!?!
      I think you're so right Letitia, about the fact that more emphasis is put on the biological side of sex than the pleasure aspect. I had an awful experience a few years ago - sat in front of the TV with my girlfriend-at-the-time, and the word 'clitoris' was said by an actress on the screen. "I don't know what a clitoris is" said her Mother - looking directly at me - "Do you know Richard"? I still shudder at that memory! :-0
      • thumb
        Nov 4 2011: Oh my goodness Richard, that's exactly what I'm talking about! Its inexcusable that some remaining sense of Victoria era manners are keeping us from understanding basic human anatomy!

        The purpose of teaching/learning is so that each generation doesn't have to re-invent the wheel. Why on earth are we acting like barbarians and forcing our children to figure the whole process out for themselves?

        This is just a theory, but I think that people might actually be less promiscuous if they engaged in better sex. I think that people partly go through multiple partners in a search for sexual satisfaction . (Pardon me, let me change that to why women might go through multiple partners-for men I agree its the chase)
        • thumb
          Nov 7 2011: Interesting theory Letitia. You could be right there. Although personally I think multiple partners is more to do with people getting a buzz from the chase and a 'more equals better' mindset. The irony is that when you find someone you really connect with and love, the sex is always far better.

          We have a problem in the UK with high teenage pregnancy, so I believe sex education is clearly not working in that area.

          Another problem is that porn is completely accessible to anyone now, whatever their age, via the internet. And both men and women are getting a completely warped sense of sex.

          So, I believe there should be two sets of sex education. The first, at an early age, should be a biology type lesson, with a strong leaning towards how easy it is to get pregnant (maybe throw in a few videos of births just so it hits home). Then, later on (maybe at 'legal age') there could be a 'part 2' lesson, explaining whats what, and how to do it really well.
    • thumb
      Nov 7 2011: As a teacher of Sex Ed. i consider it one of the most (if not the most) important things i teach.

      Its not about teaching how its done or the biology of it, its talking about the social side of it. How to be safe. Why we should talk more about it. Why its not some sordid thing to be giggled about or covered up. How its not dirty and rude. How to understand how other people feel.....

      ... just the real life stuff.
      • thumb
        Nov 8 2011: I absolutely agree Rob. A lot of people would argue that this is a topic that can be self-taught but when you consider that the most widely available source of sexual information is pornography, you get as Richard mentioned, a pretty warped idea of normal sexuality, plus no information about the social consequences and relationships associated.

        I'm glad to see that there still are sex ed teachers around since the program was cut altogether in schools in my area.
        • thumb
          Nov 14 2011: My wife and I were both in our late twenties when we fell in love, courted, and married. Now we are in our late sixties. Along the way, she’s been kissed by a couple envious friends, and I watched in amazement. As far as I could tell, she did not kiss them, and that’s what she said when we discussed it. In the second case, she said his act was drunken abuse but not worthy of a scene.

          I have considered extramarital relations a couple times, but thought, “I could not hide the act from myself and therefore from my wife, and I do not want that interference in our relationship.”

          A few years ago, Cajun and Zydeco dancing taught us a polite, light, kiss on the lips on first greeting dance friends. After a couple years experience and not so light kisses, I decided to drop out.

          It was then that I thought through an order of displays of familiarity I was comfortable with: a handshake in most circumstances; a mutual light hug; a mutual touch of the cheeks; a kiss on the cheek; rarely, a hearty hug; a light kiss when expected from past practice but no new ones. All higher familiarity and intimacies are reserved for my wife. (Guidelines such as this should be proposed to adolescents.)

          Here’s the reason for my concern and earnestness. Every love-making has been better than before. I do not want anything to interfere with or terminate that experience.

          I wish every young man was taught my preference: Once you have found the one you love, make love with no one else. “Having sex,” especially with the one you love, is out of the question!
    • Nov 7 2011: Letitia : Excellant Post !!! ... Same To You Rob ...
    • Nov 8 2011: I can't agree with you more.To teacher,the sex education is shy to speak out.This phenomenon is moer serious in China.
    • Nov 9 2011: And a related topic - reproduction. How many people understand the nuances of menstruation? Many women in their 30s don't; lots of doctors don't. ...and men, I think they're mostly lost. Knowing some of the details would help so many women and partners just understand and work with their monthly and fertility issues.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.