Recently, a school in Boulder, Colorado ran a class activity where girls were given two glasses of water and told to chew up food and spit it into one of them.
Their teacher -- a guest speaker from an anti-abortion "crisis pregnancy" group, then asked them which glass they'd rather drink. The lesson, in case you haven't guessed already, is that premarital sex makes you a gross glass of regurgitated food. See, learning can be fun!
One girl's mother reacted, understandably, with disbelief and annoyance. My first reaction to this gratuitous slut shaming, on the other hand, was a knowing "Oh ho, so they're still breaking out the gross food metaphors for pre-teen fornicators!" Oh, the memories.
Around my sophomore year in high school everyone suddenly became very interested in teaching us all about our bodies, ourselves and our very important virginities. I was not exempt, despite being so awkward and nerdy I was clearly a half-decade away from any practical application of the subject matter.
The highlight of our teachers', parents' and pastors' attempts to keep us pure and virginal as long as humanly possibly started when I walked into sex-ed class one day and was handed a Hershey Kiss.
We weren't actually supposed to eat the Hershey Kiss, though. Our teacher instructed us to unwrap the top and give the chocolate a lick. (Cue cheesy porn music.)
This exercise actually felt pretty familiar, since chocolate was my only boyfriend throughout most of high school. After we got our chocolate good and wet, we were told to pass it to the person on our left. (Not cool! I was eating that!)
Our teacher gave us the sanctimonious "And now, let me bequeath my Life Changing Lesson on you" look, and asked if our neighbors spit-slick chocolate looked appetizing.
The day before I had totally eaten a Poptart I found on the floor, so was going to answer “yes” like the gross food-monster I am, but our teacher's question had been rhetorical.
"No," she said. "Of course not. That's disgusting, isn't it? This," she said, laying down some sage words of wisdom, "is what it's like if you have premarital sex. Just think, on your wedding day would your husband want a half-eaten Hershey Kiss, or one that's never been unwrapped?"
Clearly our future husbands weren't going to want any spitty, pre-marital sexy-times chocolate. (In this metaphor, I guess the chocolate is my vagina?)
It's difficult to list all the ways comparing girls to half-chewed food is screwed up. And really, who is thinking up these terrible sex metaphors anyway? Is there a class you can take? Culinary Slut Shaming 101? I wish I could enroll, because I have so many questions.
Is eating more than five bucks worth of the McDonalds dollar menu equal to grinding on the dance floor at 10th grade homecoming? Does giving your boyfriend a handy in the back of his mini-van make you that last third of a chipotle burrito no one is ever able to finish? And what about getting busy with your lady friends? Our Sex-Ed teachers always conveniently always forgot queer people exist, so are lesbian hook-ups exempt? Or just stuck with the cliché taco metaphors?
The abstinence-only Sex Ed lessons inflicted upon us were often absurd to point of hilarity. You can't appreciate just how bottom of the barrel pro-abstinence forces have gotten until you've been lectured by a heavily pregnant born-again virgin about the virtues of saving yourself for your husband and Jesus.
But for a bunch of confused, insecure and hormone riddled teenagers this kind of stuff had very serious consequences.
While I was busy snatching my Hershey Kiss back from my spit-swap partner so I could eat it my damn self (a move pretty predictive of my future sex life, come to think of it) my best friend was frantically wondering if there was any way to unlick your Hershey Kiss.
Looking back, I think it's safe to say that Sex Ed failed me and my classmates pretty spectacularly. Even as a swarthy 15-year-old, cloaked in my trusty romance proof shield of messy ponytails and oversized softball T-shirts, I knew there was something screwy going on.
My first real act of feminist rage involved checking every single page of our textbook and informing my teacher that not a single one included the word "condom."
Our teachers were so busy trying to scare us away from ever having sex, lest we wind up half-masticated slut-sandwiches, that they couldn't be bothered to teach us adequate birth control, or the importance of consent, or how to make sex pleasurable instead of terrifying and shameful.
Do you have any Sex Education horror stories? Were you also inflicted with the farce of “abstinence only” sex-education? Because I have far too many friends put through this kind of ridiculousness, and it won’t get any better unless we calling out the teachers comparing confused young girls to spitty chocolate and half-masticated sandwiches.