What do you remember from high-school sex ed class? Maybe some nervous giggling. A medical illustration of a uterus. A condom on a banana. Thing is, the sex ed classes you grew up with were designed to teach one simple thing about sex: don’t do it.
And in most places, that’s still the norm (only more so since the Trump administration, which has doubled down on abstinence-only sex ed). But at the same time, there are pockets of America where others are pushing radically different approaches, from teaching sex-trafficking awareness in California to “porn literacy” in Boston.
Which made long-time Radiolab producer Molly Webster wonder: how should we be talking to kids about sex today? Should we tell them nothing? Or everything? Or something in between? When should it start? And who should be doing the teaching?
Join Molly and some amazing special guests as they wrestle with these questions, and also take a crack at responding to the intimate questions you asked in high school but probably never got a straight answer to, like: what is an orgasm and how do I get one? How do I know if I’m gay? Why do people make those sounds when they have sex? How do I masturbate? What is cunnilingus? Am I normal?
Molly Webster is a features producer and guest host at Radiolab. She’s investigated everything from international surrogacy and metamorphosis, to what happens when you can’t escape your own beating heart. After studying biology in college, she graduated from New York University’s science writing program and has reported and produced stories for outlets like National Geographic Adventure, Scientific American, Nature, and Freakonomics Radio, as well as created live science conversations at the World Science Festival. An Ohio native, when she’s not at Radiolab, you’ll find her outside, staring off into the distance.