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I recently asked a room full of 5th and 6th graders to anonymously write down what they had heard about sex from their friends or parents. Although a few wrote, “nothing,” the rest had heard plenty. 

Some of their (mostly inaccurate) reports were about “how” sex happens, “the dude touches the lady with his penis.” But most of the others reported soundbites like, “You have to use a condom” or “You can get AIDS.” Then there was one that made me want to cry, “Boys like it but girls don’t.” Do you see how much they need real sex ed?!

So if your child is beyond elementary school age, whether you think she’s old enough to know about sexually transmitted infections or not, she has probably already heard more...