don't have sex because you will get pregnant and die

We all know that sex ed is seriously lacking in the United States. Teens are generally clueless about how things work, young adults are still not using condoms during one-night stands, and even elderly people are catching STDs like they’re Pokemon. That’s why it’s not surprising that a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is showing that kids need to be educated about sexuality before they start having sex, and they need to be educated beyond “look at these pictures of herpes and think about sin.”

We didn’t get a comprehensive education when it comes to sex, and we’re willing to bet you didn’t either. Here are 12 things we wish we’d learned in sex ed… besides “don’t get knocked up,” of course.

  1. Abstinence is a totally valid choice that doesn’t deserve to be mocked. It’s also not the only choice. You need to know that you’re the only person who gets to decide what you do with your body.
  2. There’s this thing called the clitoris. Women get sexual pleasure from it. It’s not the same thing as your vagina. MIND BLOWING.
  3. You don’t have to sext. If someone tries to convince you that it’s required, that person is a bag of shit.
  4. You don’t have to remove your pubic hair. If someone tries to convince you that it’s required, that person is a box of shit.
  5. You don’t need to declare a sexual orientation or a gender identity and maintain it for the rest of your life. It’s totally fine to take a long time to figure it out, it’s totally fine to switch to a different label, and it’s totally fine to never find a label that you like.
  6. Condoms are expensive. Take advantage of this time in your young life when they’re handed out in every nurse’s office like candy.
  7. Sex can be awkward, messy, and weird. Life isn’t The Notebook.
  8. Sex doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or painful. If it is, seek out a solution.
  9. If an adult wants to have sex with you when you’re underage, it’s not flattering. That person sucks. You can be the most mature 15-year-old in the universe, but anyone who tries to violate consent laws to be with you does not care about you enough.
  10. Condoms can prevent HIV and STDs when you use them correctly. People who tell you otherwise are trying to scare you.
  11. Several birth control methods are very effective. People who tell you otherwise are trying to scare you. They’re not completely foolproof, and you need to research them to find out what works best for you, but they do work.
  12. Sex doesn’t need to be a terrifying concept. Learn about what you want, learn about what you don’t. Make your own decisions about when and with whom.

Photo: Mean Girls (2004)