What If Your Sex Ed Teacher Wanted You to Enjoy Sex?

photo via NYTimes.com

We were big fans of Laurie Abraham’s even before she stopped by our book club recently and drank red wine with us while we interrogated her about her book, The Husbands and Wives Club: A Year in the Life of a Couples’ Therapy Group. She’s a smart and thoughtful (and funny) writer about some of our favorite topics: sex, relationships, therapy, communication between the sexes, monogamy and its discontents. So we were thrilled to see her cover story in last week’s New York Times magazine, on another of our favorite topics: sex ed (and not the abstinence-only kind, thank you very much).

The article, “Teaching Good Sex,” focuses on sex ed at a private high school in Philly, the Friends’ Central School. The teacher, Al Vernacchio (our new hero), takes an approach that shouldn’t be shocking but is: he wants his students to understand all the pleasures of sex. The pain, too (oh, the pain!), but also how sex is best when you really, really want it. He gets them to question gender bias in bed, he teaches them that penis size doesn’t matter as much as they think it does, and he gently steers them away from the tropes of porn. Also, check out his awesome pizza analogy, which he gave them to replace the intercourse-focused, female-unfriendly baseball analogy:

“If you’re gonna have pizza with someone else, what do you have to do?” he [said]. “You gotta talk about what you want. Even if you’re going to have the same pizza you always have, you say, ‘We getting the usual?’ Just a check in.

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