Who do students at VHS turn to for advice on their sex life?


Gavin Cross and Lola Bobrow

In a world where there’s seemingly endless information at the complete ease of a Google search, one might wonder whether the quintessential awkward “birds and the bees talk” between parent and child has slowly become a thing of the past, deemed outdated and arcane by the students here at Ventura High School.

In the VHS Cougar Press’s 2019 Sex and Dating Survey, 305 out of 1003 students surveyed responded that they believed they had received sufficient sexual education from their family or friends, while 173 students responded yes, but from online.

Out of 480 females who took the survey, 163 said that they felt that they have received sufficient sexual education, while 75 of 520 boys said that they felt they had received sufficient sexual education. Looking at sexual orientation statistics is also very eye-opening when looking at how many LGBTQ+ feel they have received sufficient sexual education. Out of all the heterosexual kids at VHS who answered the survey, 81.6% answered that yes, they feel they have received sufficient sexual education compared with 76.8% of LGBTQ+ identified students.

When asked what age he realized he needed to have “the talk” with his two kids, Edward Pacula said, “Never, I left it up to my wife. I figured they would get that in school, like I did. [I] had sex education in seventh grade. For me, it was enough.” Photo by: Lola Bobrow
An anonymous counselor said that she gets kids “all the time” and refers them to clinics.

VHS sophomore Joe Lowry who is a practicing Mormon said, “No, [I don’t talk to my parents about sex]. I don’t want to talk to my parents about it. It would be awkward. I talk to my friends.”

Senior Noah Conboy who describes himself as Catholic said, “I was probably 12 or 13 when at family dinner at my grandmother’s house, my mom started telling me how the vagina works. I was quite uncomfortable… I never really talked to my dad. I think he just assumed I knew how that stuff works.” He added, “Pretty much everything I learned was from school, so I think talking with your parents is very necessary.”

Junior Megan Findlay said that she “regularly” has conversations with her mom about sex and she appreciates that her mom is “there for her if anything were to happen.” She told The Cougar Press that while she was camping, she hid from her parents after being scarred by the knowledge of where babies came from. “[Since then], I’ve matured and I’ve realized that sex isn’t that big of a deal and if you’re open to doing it, you should be open to talking about it. My parents are very keen on being safe and talking about HIV and STDs, but it’s not a problem so we don’t have to worry about it.”

Kathryn Raney, VHS counselor of eight years said, “I do have kids coming in wanting to talk about sex.” Listen to the sound clip below to hear the full interview. Photo by: Lola Bobrow

We talked to a 12th grade boy who would like to remain anonymous, asking him questions on the topic of the infamous “birds and bees” talk most people end up awkwardly having with their parents. He was asked if he has ever talked to his parents or been approached by his parents to talk about sex, he responded, “I have talked to my parents about sex. My mother had found my condoms once and asked if I have had sex before. I told her yes and she kind of spiritually gave them back to me and said she was glad I was being safe. They have also caught me with porn before, but I mean most teenagers do that right?”

We also asked him what age he was when he first talked to them, where and if he was comfortable during the conversation, “When we first talked I think I had just turned 13, and the conversation took place in my bedroom. I felt super awkward because she had found one of the wrappers and that’s how my mom found out I had used one.”