The Sex Ed I Never Had

A Collection of Poems Dedicated to the Failings of Our Sexual Education System

how do i have sex?

like, how do I actually have sex?

if school has taught me anything,

it’s how to do my research. 

so i surf the dark and dangerous waves

of the internet. 

lights down, incognito mode on,

while everyone is asleep.

porn is my teacher, smut is my bible. 

and i am their ashamed disciple.

i know these sources aren’t reliable

but where else do i go?

– research at 11:49 PM

The Sex Ed I Never Had

Image Source: Harvard Business Review

we spent less 

than half an hour 

on the female anatomy. 

i wish we spent more.

i can name 

each part of a cell,

microscopic beings 

making up the whole

of which is unknown.

– finding my vagina

The Sex Ed I Never Had

Image Source: Glamour

it’s icky, it’s sticky,

it’s warm and moist.

the cavern of mysteries 

is uncharted territory,

even for local inhabitants. 

the intrusive explorer

is cold, awkward and 

utterly, utterly lost. 

– anybody have a map?

The Sex Ed I Never Had

Image Source: The Atlantic

exploring sexuality,

chapter nine states.

i check my surroundings.

no one’s there.

my eyes skim

over the pages. 

consent — check.

abstinence — check.

STDs — check.

i feel that something is missing

because all i see are

girls and boys,

boys and girls,

nothing more than that. 

what about —

i don’t say the words aloud

but the book knows what i’m asking.

it smiles back maliciously

and says, 

i’m sorry dear,

queer girls like you

don’t exist in textbooks.

– the missing chapter

The Sex Ed I Never Had

Image Source: Pinterest

how was your day?

mom asks. 

it’s become a routine 

to ask this question 

once we’re in the car. 

good, i learned about periods

in health class today,

i reply. 

so you understand everything now?

i nod.

she nods.


– and that was the end of the conversation

The Sex Ed I Never Had

Image Source: Awardsdaily

when people ask me,

when do you plan on 

telling your children

about how sex works?

i’ll respond by saying,

whenever they want to know.

no more of the nonsense 

about the storks.

i will sit them down 

and offer them the truth,

only the truth, and

nothing but the truth.

i’ll be the teacher

i wish i knew

and give them the sex ed 

i never had. 

why deny them the truth

about the miracle of life?

– this is how the conversation begins

The Sex Ed I Never Had

Image Source: iStock

why i wrote this piece

i’ve always been frustrated by how little i knew when it came to my own body, sex, or sexuality. the sex ed classes i had were short, rushed, and lacking in information i would have found useful. this is a call for a more progressive and inclusive sex ed curriculum, one where people are encouraged to talk openly about these often stigmatized topics. 


The Sex Ed I Never Had
Vivian is a first year student at the University of Toronto, studying English. This submission is part of the 2020 poetry “Write to Discover” program. I wrote this piece to deal with my fears and anxieties about coming out to my family. I don’t know if writing this makes me feel less anxious about it, but one day, it might be nice to look back on this piece (obviously depending on what happens in the future, I’m not a fortune teller).