S: It was like don’t have sex for marriage… N:They had a pregnancy class for the girls who were pregnant… G:We would literally look at pictures of diseased genitalia… Hallo, Servus and welcome back to my youtube channel. My name is Felicia, I’m originally from Munich Germany, but I have been living in Cincinnati, Ohio for about 3 years now. Those of you who have seen my video on dating differences already kind of know what today’s video is going to be all about because I touched on that topic in that video, too and I may repeat some of the things I said then but this video is actually going to be a lot more in-depth and that’s also why it’ll be a lot longer than my videos usually are. If you’d like to skip parts off the video, feel free to do so with the time codes that I put in the description box below. Before we dive into this, I’d like to say that I am aware that this is a very sensitive topic and it’s important for me to stress that I am not trying to offend anybody with this video but, even though I’m going to try and keep it as objective as possible, I do have an opinion on this topic that I probably won’t be able to hide. I’d also like to say that I respect all opinions and I do encourage a civilized discussion and exchange of experiences in the comments below but no insults please. I’ve decided to make this video because it’s interesting to me how two countries like Germany and the U.S that have pretty similar backgrounds at first sight like the same form of government a similar culture and even the same predominant religion approach certain aspects of life so differently and in regard to some topics I think that Germany and the U.S could actually learn from each other. In other aspects, that may just be interesting to compare and discuss the reasons for the differences. So this is going to be a look at the sex education culture in the U.S from the perspective of a German millennial who went to high school and college in a big city in Germany and who was honestly kind of shocked to find out what kind of things some of my American friends were taught in the sex education classes here in the U.S and I actually interviewed some of them on camera. So you’ll hear some of their experiences later in this video. Let me start with what I was used to from growing up in Germany and what I thought was normal. So school curriculums vary within Germany but sex education is a mandatory part of curriculums nationwide and has been for several decades In former East Germany, they made it mandatory in 1947 and in West Germany, they published a coherent course book on sex education in 1969 and they made it a governmental duty by law in 1992. Historically, the first state-sponsored sex education courses in Germany were introduced really early in the year 1900 in Prussia. So this was when Germany was still the German Empire So since sex education is mandatory in Germany, the German Federal Constitutional Courts decided in 2004 that parents can’t opt their kids out of sexual education classes for religious reasons because imparting objective information is neither in conflict with their religious freedom nor with the parents right of education. They also said that it would encourage the formation of a parallel society and the European Court of Human Rights made the same decision in 2011. So I think you can already tell how much weight is given to sex education in German schools and for me growing up in Germany, there was that but then there’s also the fact that Germans in general just tend to talk a lot more openly about sex-related topics. In school, I remember that we had sex education in 5th 6th and 8th grade and in 5th grade, we went on sort of a field trip to a nearby youth centre with external educators and they separated boys and girls and I remember that we learned all about how the menstrual cycle works, how pregnancy works, how to handle our periods when we first get them, how to use tampons and pads and also, what kind of contraception there is for when we will have sex for the first time some day. We also got a little package with tampons and pads and informational brochure. I think a menstrual cycle calendar and a condom was in there as well. This actually took place in a very comfortable atmosphere, nobody felt embarrassed and I think that the kids actually asked questions and from what I heard the boys learned about the menstrual cycle and pregnancy as well but then they also talked about what they were about to experience getting their first erection and all of that. In sixth grade, we then talked about the reproduction process in biology class but it was mostly just limited to the plain facts and, then in eighth grade, we talked about it again but, that time, it was a little bit more about actually having sex. So we also talked about the different kinds of protection and contraception and how to use them, we talked about S.T.Ds and I believe that we talked about the different resources that we could use if we ever needed support with any of this and we also talked about how abortions work and how an artificial insemination works. The curriculum describes this as providing guidance for a responsible approach to sexuality and honestly, that’s exactly what it felt like to me, nobody tried to scare us and nobody encouraged us to have sex and, in 8th grade alone, the Bavarian curriculum schedules about 10 hours for sex education in biology class Besides school, from what my friends Munich and I experienced, most parents were also very open and supporting and so was a lot of the media targeted towards kids and teens. There’s this kids new show called ‘Logo’ that I used to watch growing up and I remember that they sometimes address the topic of H.I.V and how condoms can protect you from it. For a lot of girls in my generation and previous generations, teen magazines also played a pretty big role and mainly the weekly magazine Bravo that my friends and I started to read when we were like 12 or 13. Besides stories on celebrities and fashion, etc, Bravo always had a few sex related pages as well, the category was called Doctor Sommer and contained two parts one part was a page with a picture of a naked teenage guy and a naked teenage girl. These people volunteer to be in the magazine and there would be some information about their hobbies and what they liked and disliked about their bodies. This was always the most scandalous part of the whole magazine and of course nobody would admit that they had looked at it and it may even sound like crossing a border now that I’m explaining this but looking back, I actually have to say that I feel like it helped a lot to show kids that not all genitalia and bodies look the same and that that’s okay and normal. The other part was actually about sex-related questions that the readers had sent in and that the Doctor Sommer team answered. There were questions like ‘I have trouble using a tampon’, ‘How can I get birth control?’ ‘Does my penis have a normal size?’ ‘I’m 15 and my boyfriend wants to have sex with me, but I’m not sure if I’m ready yet’ or even ‘Can I get pregnant from kissing?’ those kind of questions. Just all kinds of sex-related questions that teens could possibly have in that phase and the answers almost always started with something along the lines of “Don’t do anything you’re not ready for’, ‘It’s important to talk about things with your partner,’ and ‘It’s not a competition’. They would also say things like; ‘You can try different things before actually having sex but make sure to only do things you enjoy and use protection’ and ‘tell your partner if you don’t want to do something’. That magazine has definitely taken on a huge role regarding sex education in Germany in the past few decades and it also represents the overall tone in our country when it comes to that topic. Nobody ever told me or my friends that sex was something bad, instead, we were taught that it’s natural part of life and in my experience that didn’t lead to anyone walking out of sex education class and be like ‘I need to try this right away’. On the contrary, I personally feel like since we knew what to expect and that it’s going to happen anyway at some point, there was no need for people to rush into it or try it out of curiosity and, once people started dating in like 10th 11th or 12th grade, it was actually pretty normal that kids were allowed to stay the night at their girlfriends or their boyfriends place. Of course all parents handled that differently but I feel like overall the communication between parents and kids regarding that topic is pretty mature in Germany and I think I only know of one friend whose parents didn’t allow that. Now when it comes to sex education in school, some of my friends in the U.S have actually made fairly similar experiences to what I just described, especially the ones who went to inner-city schools, but a lot of Americans make very different experiences. Of course things vary from state of state from school to school from family to family but sex education is not mandatory by federal law in the US and only 29 states have made it mandatory and, even in those states, there is no unified curriculum on the topic, only 17 states require it to be medically accurate and the statistics as well as the number of friends who have told me disturbing stories actually shocked me. Sexual education in the U.S is taught in two main forms: which is pretty much what I just described from my experiences in Germany and abstinence-only, which to a lot of Europeans will probably sound really outdated but a lot of students in the U.S are actually taught that the only way of having safe sex is having no sex at all and that they need to wait until marriage to have sex and, in the course of that, a lot of schools hardly educate their students on protection and birth control or don’t educate them on that at all. I’m going to provide some numbers for you guys in a second but first here’s what some of my American friends have told me about their personal experiences: S: I am from Memphis, so the South and my family is very religious. S: So not liberal or like open to talk about things. S: As fo my middle school, I really don’t remember having like a class a specific class like telling us about sex ed at all those like don’t have sex before marriage. S: It’s just like no, it’s like the silent known like ‘Don’t bring it up,’ ‘You don’t do it’ ‘It’s a sin’ Bad, just like slap on the hand, like that’s how it has always been. ‘Do you remember having sex education in high school at all?’ S: Honestly no I don’t think that we had a class that talked about it and, if there was one, I wasn’t in it. S: I knew what a condom was from just like movies and and how to use one but I I didn’t have sex in middle school or like early high school. S: So I never experienced anything with it. So it was more like my friends experimenting and then telling me about it. S: It was more research and then friends telling me it was never through like a parent or a teacher or even a pediatrician. My pediatrician was very ‘Don’t do that ‘you’re too young wait until you’re older and in love and married’. S: I didn’t talk to my mom about birth control until college and it was my freshman year and I told her I had bad cramps and that my periods were irregular and I needed something to help that. S: My grandma had a boyfriend was being intimate with him and I wanted to just like have protection and not have to worry about anything. S: High school clearly people I… I mean I sort of have my boyfriend. So like things would be talked about between me and the boyfriend I never talked to my mom about it. S: I mean my mother never said ‘hey, while you are seeing so and so, make sure dot dot dot’ like that was never talked about. S: I still don’t talk about it and I’ve had serious relationships. S: I’ve lived with people and they had no idea. S: I’ve been intimate and I feel like they know but they just don’t talk about it, or maybe they don’t maybe they’re just so gazed over. S: When it comes to people like staying over. I never had a boyfriend stay over in high school. S: With boyfriends, I was like someone always had to be home. S: So like a parent had to be home at his place at my place doors were not shut. S: I was always downstairs, if we were in my room for some reason the door had to be open all the way. S: In college, I had my boyfriend stay over my freshman year. S: He slept in a different bedroom than I did. We weren’t allowed to like be in the same room with the door closed. We would be in my room, on the bed, watching a movie or something and she called me over and said; ‘Why are you doing that? You’re setting a bad example for your siblings’, which was weird because I was like if it was so casual for us to do it in college and then to come home, you forget how shut off things are. I wish there was just more open communication in schools and with parents and maybe if parents are unsure of like how to talk to their kids like they need to be educated on how to talk to their kids S: I think that’s one thing that I want to do when I do have children, it’s like yes, I am a Christian and I believe that God loves me and I’m going to follow these steps, but also know that, if you have sex before marriage, it’s not the end of the world and I’d much rather you do it protected and safe and be able to tell me, then go about what I’ve done which is like have to live like a secret life almost like what I do and don’t do N: They had a pregnancy class for the girls who were pregnant because there was probably six of them maybe –In your high school?
N: In my high school, yes two in my grade and then probably some in upper class that I would see obviously because of their belly. N: So in middle school, no, they did not talk about plan B or birth control. N: In high school, the teachers… No, we had like a life skills class and they never… I mean, they kind of touched on it but they didn’t they didn’t really go much detail into it or just there wasn’t really a lot of sex education available at my high school. N: So you just had to hear from people word of mouth and I didn’t really know what it was until probably junior of high school. N: In high school, they kind of were just like yeah keep waiting till marriage and I was just like I don’t really want to do that. I mean that is for some people but personally started to date some girls and gotten like serious relationships or something. N: That’s like you want to have sex or and you don’t know what to do. N: I was fortunate enough to have my parents and things like that, but a lot of kids aren’t and don’t know what they’re doing or have unprotected sex, unsafe sex. They were almost like ‘don’t make physical contact with a girl”, ‘Don’t kiss’, ‘Don’t do that’. They’re just like you’ll get diseases from doing anything physical really orally or just having sex. I was just… okay and then, in high school was I started dating and I’m just like… ‘Dad – am I allowed to kiss a girl’ or anything like that? He’s like yeah, and then he like gave me the talk and stuff and I was just like; ‘Oh so they were completely wrong what they taught me’ and he’s just like make sure you use a condom and everything like that. and that’s kind of the overall view of what I remember those a while ago. For me, it was not great. G: Because it was a Catholic school, we were taught abstinence-only. G: I don’t member what grade it started in, I do think they kind of brought it up from time to time but it wasn’t really discussed with us until, I believe, ninth grade, that’s kind of when I explicitly remember sex-ed being a thing and when they taught it. G: Like I said, it was absence only there was no discussion of birth control, no discussion of condoms or no there was but it was… how condoms weren’t as effective as people claimed they are, how you can still get S.T.Ds, how… you know like the consequences of like unintended pregnancy. There was no discussion of abortion unless it was, of course, how it will ruin your life but the thing that they talked about the most is how basically, regardless of like whether or not you’re like safe in terms of like using condoms, using birth control, anything like that, they talked a lot about how if you have sex outside of marriage, then basically like you lose the ability to properly bond with people every time you have sex with somebody. So basically they were saying the more you have sex with different people when you finally meet like the one you’re just a hollow husk of a person, it can’t bond the way that you used to and that you just… you won’t be able to have a good marriage. So there’s a lot of kind of fear in it and just no discussion of like, ‘If you do want to have sex, that’s how you can be safe’ or ‘If this happens to you, his is where you can go’ or anything like that. It was very much just like no you will not have sex outside of marriage and if you do, then your life will be ruined. What people say is that someone like the teacher really gives a cookie to a student and be like, take a bite out of that and then they will and then they’ll take it to another student and they’ll be like ‘Do you want to take it by to this’ and, of course, they’ll say no because, when I took it bite of it… and then they’ll be like ‘that’s what happens when you have sex.’ G: I do think something that happened once though at my school was; Someone took like a piece of tape and they put it on their skin and then they took it off and they’re like ‘and then try to put it on again’ and they’re like ‘See every time you have sex somebody see how the tape doesn’t stick as well’. That’s what happens when you have sex outside of marriage in terms of how you have relationships, you’ll just lose the ability to like have real relationships. I know one thing that happens a lot in schools if private or public is; In order to keep kids from having sex, they’ll show dumb pictures of S.T.Ds in the really far advanced stages. This actually happened at my high school; We were shown pictures of like the clap or what I think is syphilis and like the very yeah, so like scared a lot of scare tactics. We would literally look at pictures of like diseased genitalia. So I went to high school in, Ohio and so I went to a public school, I went to Lakota West and there we did have a more comprehensive sex and it still emphasized abstinence above everything else but they did say things like this is a condom, this is birth control, these are the different types of birth control, this is how you use a condom. So that was much better, but they also glossed over abortion where they were just like; also, abortion is a thing, not even that’s an option just like it’s a thing and then they like glossed over it. There was also nothing about how, if you are gay or if you’re a lesbian, how you can be safe. We did talk about consent, which was good we had some representatives from an Ohio based women’s shelter come in and talk about that but then we also had Representatives come in from some kind of like… I don’t even know what it was. This is two guys and they’re really nice, they said that men are protectors and women are treasures and that was a little weird a public school too! My parents had discussed it with me like very briefly. G: We kind of had a sex talk whatever but again it was just like; men and women do this from their adults and some day you will. G: Now it was pretty much like all the sex ed that I had. G: I was lucky and that like I did I was able to learn about it through other ways like through the internet and stuff, so that was cool but had I not had that as a resource, I probably wouldn’t… I probably wouldn’t know as much as I do now as an adult. So obviously I’m in the Midwest and these were just a few experiences but from all the people that I talked to about this topic, the vast majority of all stories I heard were very similar to those and the statistics confirm that too. So when sex ad is taught at all, 39 states require abstinence to be a part of it while only 20 states require birth control to be a part of it. According to data from the National Survey of family growth on teenagers aged 15 to 19 in the United States who have received some kind of formal sex education, only 60% of them have received education on birth control, about 80% of them have been told to say no to sex, so there’s some kind of overlap between the two groups but the number that actually shocks me, is that about 30% of them have been told to say no to sex and at the same time have not gotten any formal education on birth control. At the time of their first intercourse, only about half of them has received formal instruction on contraception and most shockingly because this isn’t only about contraception but also about protection from S.T.Ds, only about half of them has been taught how to use a condom. The numbers on instruction that those teenagers have received from parents are about the same or lower. So in the end 21 percent of females and 35% of males did not receive instruction on methods of birth control from either a formal source or a parent. Okay, that was a lot of numbers. But what actually counts is the outcome, right? Well according to research and I’ll put the links to several statistics on this in the infobox below, abstinence-only sex education is not effective when it comes to preventing unwanted teen pregnancy or the spread of STDs In fact, it seems to have no effect on the spread of S.T.Ds while it actually seems to raise the number of unwanted teen pregnancies. The United Nations has published statistics that say that in 2005 to 2010 out of 1,000 teenage women aged 15 to 19 there were 7.9 of them pregnant in Germany, while there were 41.2 pregnant in the United States, this includes pregnancies ending in live birth, abortion and pregnancy loss, while the abortion rate for teenage pregnancies is slightly higher in the United States. Regarding the spread of S.T.Ds among teenagers, I actually couldn’t find any comparable statistics for the 2 countries but if you find any feel free to link them in the comments below. Now to slowly wrap this up I’d like to say that I absolutely understand that many religious beliefs don’t comply with having sex before marriage and that’s absolutely justified but, in my personal opinion, there’s a difference between your personal beliefs and decisions on the one hand and receiving factual information on the other hand. I think that teenagers should know what S.T.Ds exist, how they can protect themselves from them and what they can do when they get them. They should also know what kinds of contraceptions exist how they function how they can get them and how a pregnancy works. None of that forces anyone to actually have sex and from my personal experience, knowing all of that doesn’t exactly make sex more tempting. It makes it clear to teenagers that sex isn’t just fun but also responsibility and, if you’re religious, it’s your decision whether you want to have sex before marriage or not, but if you do end up doing it, you should at least have the knowledge to do it in a safe way and act responsible, that’s my opinion. Of course abstinence is the only way to be 100% protected and that should be mentioned but abstinence-only while it can absolutely be part of a religion class in my opinion, it does not belong in a biology or a health class. I also find it interesting that, even though in Germany’s state and church are actually connected while in the U.S there is a separation of state and church, sex education in the U.S is heavily influenced by religious beliefs, and thereby mainly Christian beliefs, while, in Germany, religion doesn’t play a role in that at all. You’d kind of expect it to be the other way around but I’m actually pretty sure that, if a German teacher just decided to teach abstinence until marriage instead of comprehensive sex education, they would get in big trouble with the school and the parents. So obviously there are still a lot of topics that can be discussed regarding sex education in both countries, like gender roles, L.G.B.T.Q, the parents’ roles, etc, but that would be way too much for this video. So I hope this was informative for you guys and as I said I’d love to see a civilized discussion in the comments below and for all the statistics that I mentioned and for more related videos and articles check out the info box below and as always thank you guys so much for watching subscribe to my channel if you like what I’m doing, follow me on Instagram and I hope I’ll see you next time. [In German] Bye!