Season Three, Episode Five

Don’t Touch That!
Why We’re So Uptight about Sex Ed

Transcript coming soon!

In this episode, we’re talking about sex education! This fraught topic reveals much more about adult anxiety than it does about what young people need to know about sexuality.

We look at well over a century of cringe-y, weird, (sometimes) wonderful, and outright harmful sexual education curricula, from the 1890s to the 2020s, from hygiene books to picture books to Don’t Say Gay Bills that want to take books away, and we ask: why are we still getting so much wrong—and what’s going right? 

reading list

Dahl, Richard. “Understanding Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill.” Findlaw, 10 March 2022. 

Educational Gag Orders Target Speech about LGBTQ+ Identities with New Prohibitions and Punishments.” PEN America, 15 February 2022. This article includes a link to the PEN America Index of Educational Gag Orders

That Eight-Letter Word: Including Pleasure in Sex Education.” Planned Parenthood, 2 July 2018. 

Silverberg, Corey. Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and You. Illustrated by Fiona Smyth, Seven Stories Press, 2015. 

––––––. What Makes a Baby? Illustrated by Fiona Smyth, Seven Stories Press, 2013. 

Sosin, Kate. “‘Don’t Say Gay Bills Aren’t New. They’ve Just Been Revived.” The 19th, 20 April 2022. 

Stall, Sylvanus. What a Young Boy Ought to Know. 1897. 

Wood-Allen, Mary. What a Young Girl Ought to Know. Vir, 1897. 

The Children’s Table enjoys the support of: