"YOU GUYSSSSSS, MS. KELTON!!!!!"
I opened up Facebook Messenger to see what my high school friend was all-caps'ing about at noon on a Sunday.
There were nine of us in the group chat — all of them were my closest friends from my hometown. Before I could even click on the link that was sent, their reactions started pouring in.
"I can't believe this. I won't believe it."
"SHUT THE FUCKING DOOR."
"OMG. I'm so uncomfortable. Why???"
What is this hysteria, I thought, waiting for the link to load. And then, I saw it: a Facebook Live video hosted by MTV, featuring our middle school health/sex ed teacher, Ms. Kelton, being interviewed by her son, MTV's Mike Kelton.
The topic of discussion? Sex.
Now, the rest of Facebook was having a field day watching this for several reasons: First, because it was a son interviewing his OWN MOM about sex (agree); Second, because the discussion was maybe not appropriate for younger Facebook users (disagree); And third, because Ms. Kelton was a "total MILF" (OK, that's just gross).
But my friends and I were freaking out for different reasons.
It was so surreal to see Ms. Kelton (a teacher I had not thought about in over a decade, even though she played an integral role in my childhood education) and her distinct mannerisms and voice live on-screen.
It instantly transported me back to the '90s when I was a baby-faced, curly-haired little girl who loved sitting at the front of the class. Except, of course, in Ms. Kelton's class.
She would always wear shorts and put one leg up on an empty chair or desk when teaching. Looking back, I'm sure she did this to make the atmosphere of the class more casual or to assert her dominance over us... or something.
But I just remember feeling uncomfortable. And it certainly didn't help that I already felt uncomfortable because she was talking about sex.
Ms. Kelton had such a direct and blunt way of teaching. Just like in this Facebook Live video, the words "penis" and "vagina" were vigorously repeated over and over and over. Her hands always motioned down to her own nether regions whenever she was referring to a vagina, uterus or intercourse. Her thick Long Island accent grew more and more profound the faster and faster she talked.
And the yelling... oh, the yelling.
But there was something else besides this odd time warp that bothered me when watching the video: She was WRONG about so many things.
A few examples from the video above:
When asked if a condom can get lost inside a vagina, Ms. Kelton says, "I highly doubt it." Her son then tells her about a time his friend went to the bathroom during brunch and pulled out a condom from the night before.
"Michael," she gasps, clearly disgusted by this very real and common possibility. "Well, that's never come up in my health class. I can't even imagine."
Then, when asked if girls can pee and orgasm at the same time, Ms. Kelton says, "No. And neither can males." Her son looks confused, and for good reason.
A study published last year in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (arguably the largest and most reputable scientific journal about sex in existence) found that "squirting," a phenomenon in which a woman has a massive orgasm with a lot of discharge (popular in porn), is "essentially the involuntary emission of urine during sexual activity" mixed with "prostatic secretions."
Translation? Yes, it's pee. And it comes out when a woman orgasms. So, you CAN pee and orgasm at the same time.
But perhaps the biggest, most concerning mistake happens around minute 3:10 when Mike asks, "How do you get Plan B?"
"What do you mean, Plan B?" Ms. Kelton asks genuinely.
"What do you mean, you're a health..." Mike stammers. "Plan B, you know, the pill..."
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know what you were talking about."
Yeah, that's because SHE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT PLAN B IS. You know, the morning-after pill, one of the most important drugs for women within our generation's lifetime and the first FDA-approved emergency contraceptive ever to be made available over-the-counter. You can find it in the feminine care aisle of CVS.
But Ms. Kelton doesn't know this. So, she launches into an embarrassingly inaccurate answer in which she says you can only get "medication at a clinic or a doctor, and you'd have to get a prescription."
Her son just sits there silent, completely and utterly stunned. As was I.
I immediately shared my disbelief in the group chat. In all caps.
Now, I'm neither a villain nor some dismayed former student who has it out for her old teacher. I'm not looking to question or make fun of her intelligence or her credibility as an educator.
I want to make it clear I enjoyed Ms. Kelton's class and I learned a ton from her.
But, I am using her as an example of just how messed up our generation's sexual education was and still is.
A new global study found most people think their sex ed programs were outdated, negative, heterosexist and out-of-touch. And in our very own Sex ED survey, we recently found a large portion of Millennials have never even been tested for an STD.
And we've all heard about the imminent, scary AF threat of STD superbugs.
If you don't think all of these problems are connected, you're as misinformed as Ms. Kelton is about Plan B. If any of this is going to improve, we need to start fixing the glaring problems within our education system.
At least my middle school even taught sex ed. Currently, only 22 states in the US mandate sex ed in schools, and only 13 of require the info to be "medically accurate," as John Oliver so awesomely points out.
We should be mandating that ALL states require sex ed, and ALL of the information is CORRECT.
As Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth explains,
We know that about half of all young people initiate sex by age 17, yet as a society, we fail to educate them about sexual development and sexual health. Many Millennials received abstinence-only education in schools and in their faith communities. They were taught that sex outside of marriage is wrong, possibly even dirty, and that it will have psychological and physical consequences. As such, many Millennials were afforded an education that included information about the health benefits of contraception or condoms and received no information about the health benefits of STD testing.
So, not only do we need to change the prevalence of sex ed in this country, but we should also be setting SOME kind of standard of what needs to be covered in these classes.
Luckily, Hauser is working on this with the National Coalition for Sexual Health.
The coalition and all of its members work to teach that sexual health is a core element of overall health and well-being, and that sexuality is a natural and positive part of our lives. We advocate for better sexual health education in schools and educate Millennials and other consumers directly through the Coalition's Guide to Preventive Sexual Health Services.
Beyond this, we should also be giving our teachers the resources they need to improve their own continuing education so that they're up-to-date on the latest info.
Yes, that's right, I'm advocating for the Ms. Keltons of the world. Because advocating for Ms. Kelton is advocating for every baby-faced, curly-haired little girl who loved sitting at the front of the class.
That way, when she grows up, she'll know that yes, you can get a condom stuck in your vagina, so don't totally lose your mind if it happens. And she'll know that she can walk to CVS and get the morning-after pill — no prescription necessary.
Read more from our Sex ED series.