SexEdNotes   ~  Forward



The purpose of this website is to address an age-old problem that most of us have had from the beginning. This image pretty much sums it up. At some point or other we learn there is some difference in boys and girls, and we spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out what that difference is.

We can each remember various experiences and opportunities that we had when growing up, to learn a little more about the 'opposite' sex. We can even remember times when we learned new things about ourselves. I will never forget a time when I was teaching Health/Sex Education in high school, that wonderful day when I was putting something on the board and I heard a muffled "OHHH!" from behind me. I turned to respond and saw a 15 year-old girl with her hand covering her mouth. I asked "Did you you learn something?" With great delight she exclaimed: "THAT... is why I have a belly button!" Sharing an assuring smile I filled her in on the few missing details that she was seeking.

When I taught that class I was always amazed to learn what the students did not know... and what some already knew. A half hour later in that same class period, another freshman girl raised her hand. "Mr. Smith, if a woman has a tubal ligation, will that bring on an early onset of menopause?" I checked my roll sheet to make sure she was not a member of the school administration sitting in on my lecture.

Some students were well versed on the many sub-subjects included in this main subject while others seemed to be very uninformed. And the ones that really concerned me were those that were MIS-informed. Somehow we have a history of telling our children strange things to avoid telling them the truth. Sometimes that is because we, ourselves do not know the exact answer and wish not to appear as if we don't know. But what we tell them will be remembered forever... except when you tell them to take out the garbage when they get home from school.

The girl with the 'big' question about tubal ligation? When I relate this story to adults, they comment on the variation of levels of education young people have. Shortly after that, they usually ask "Well, will it?" If you are not aware, tubal ligation will prevent sperm from reaching a woman's egg and starting life, but is believed to do relatively little to the flow of hormones from the ovaries, so it has a minimal effect on the normal timing of menopause, such as will happen if the ovaries are removed.

I grew up on a small dairy farm with a mom, dad, and older brother. Out in the country we had a few neighbors but we did not have much opportunity to be with other kids, and we had our quota of chores and duties to keep the farm running. We moved to the farm before I attended my first school. My wonderful mother knew very little about "the birds and the bees" as they called it then. I basically learned nothing from her about how reproduction works. Not having a sister, my brother and I knew very little about girls. Some homes have open nudity at bath time or bed time or other times but there was none of that to be had when I was young. Mom wore ski pajamas and socks to bed.

Dad did not help out any on this stuff either. It was not his way to talk about those types of things. It was just not done in their families when they were young. I ordered a book that cost several week's allowance and came in the mail "under plain, unmarked wrapper" so no one knew it was about... SEX (gasp!) It was so technical and medical that I still am not sure of what all it said. Yes, I do still have it in my library. LOL. It did teach me one thing though. We had a cousin three years younger than me and at a very early age, when she started puberty, she had to lose an ovary to surgery. Mom took up that opportunity to tell my brother and I that "...she will only be able to have either boys or girls. Poor girl!" I looked at my brother and he looked at me and we smiled at Mom. I said "Mom, the sex of the child is determined by the father and not the mother." Her mouth dropped, her eyes glazed over a bit, and she said, "Well, I guess the kids know more about this stuff than their parents" and that was her last and only attempt to teach us about life's mysteries. I believe she was quite relieved.

Mom blessed us with her presence for 98 lovely years. When she was still a youngster in her 80's, we were sitting around the table after dinner.  My brother and I brought up some of this history, and in her sweet and familiar way she attempted to justify her lack of instruction by saying "Well, you boys grew up on the farm, and you saw the cows and stuff all the time. You knew everything." My brother smiled and commented "Mom, I did not marry a cow!"

This website will walk you through what was essentially my syllabus for teaching Reproduction Education to high school students enrolled in California’s required semester-long Health and Sex Education course that I taught to mostly freshmen. My school district could never provide me with an actual syllabus for the course, but we had a very dated text book and they told me that I could respond to any question that any student asked, and that I could balance out my other Health classes by passing that information on to them as well. Sadly, it would not be passed on to the other teachers' Health Education classes in the school.

To facilitate that, I sent out a form to the parents of each of my students that requested each student to sit down and ask their parents to give them at least four questions that they (the parents) wanted the student to ask their teacher (me) regarding sex or reproduction. After that, when they were alone, the students were to write another six questions that they themselves wanted answered. These questions were gathered the week before the Reproduction Education section of the class started and by magic of a word processor I could add anything that was new to the previous semester’s syllabus already on file, and have it duplicated and ready for the following Monday morning.

Students were given some grade credit for returning these sheets, which gave them an incentive to actually do it. They were NOT to put their names on the sheet, but merely put the period number in which they were enrolled, and to mark whether they were a male or female. That was so when their questions were written such as “How come THEY like sex so much?”, I would know which THEY that they were talking about. When they physically stacked the paper in front of me I gave them the credit in my roll sheet, and they were not personally identified with any of the questions on those papers. That way they could ask the  weird questions that they REALLY wanted to ask. Any new question that may come up later was allowed at anytime during the class, either written or oral.

I got WONDERFUL questions from the parents as well as the students. I kept them all. I can see a book forming… LOLOL

The philosophy of this site is that you cannot describe with words how to tune up a Lexus and expect the job to be done properly. You need to offer images that show where the adjustments are done to assure satisfaction of both parties. So in this site, we have images of real human beings. In public school I had to draw the images (diagrams actually) on the board or draw them out on paper and hand them out. Actual images were not allowed (unless they were in the text book, and there were very few of those). Here, however, you do not get the benefit of my lovely sketches… you get real photographs. They are not to shock you, or to raise anyone’s prurient interests. They are to make it very clear to the reader what we are discussing. It is time to learn, and this site is a tool to help facilitate your learning.

Those two kids at the beginning of this page are showing that they have a curiosity, and they are resolving their curiosity, simply and quickly. You may still be wondering about exactly what the other sex looks like, functions like, and how it relates to you. You may still be not quite sure about your own body and its wonderful secrets. We know that the sexes relate to each other to produce new people. Let's not go into the reproductive part of our lives without having any knowledge of what we are doing.

Couples will often share with me that on their wedding night, they found something that startled them because they were just not informed of something about their partner before beginning a new life with him or her. One couple shared how they married in the late nineteen fifties, and at that time Playboy magazine had become a fixture on the magazine racks. The United States Postal Service was concerned about the magazines being sent through the mail, so they passed a law that no image of a person that showed enough of their genital area that the pubic hair was visible could be sent through the mail. To make the “men’s magazines” legal to mail, the photographer’s models removed their pubic hair. No hair was seen in the images but there was very little of the models’ bodies that were not shown in the image. They still stopped short of actually showing the genitals themselves.

The aforementioned couple were “good kids” and they had not fooled around sexually or anything. They were barely out of high school, and when they went to their hotel for their honeymoon, they were virgins. They had not even seen each other nude. In those days, a new bride would retire to the bathroom to primp and get all pretty and put on something really sexy. The new husband had, it seems, checked out a few of those Playboy magazines in his youth, so he pretty much knew what ‘women look like’. But when his new bride came out of the bathroom in her transparent dressing gown, he panicked. She had something that he had never seen before… on a woman.

In high school he had gym classes where all the guys shower in a large, communal shower, and they all had pubic hair. He had it as well. But the only girls that he had seen were the girls in Playboy, and they had no pubic hair. His new bride has pubic hair. He was sure he had married a man. You can imagine how that night went.

The first sexual contact between any couple can have equal difficulties. Men are just ‘naturally expected’ to know what to do when the couple get into bed together. Cows know. Chickens know. Who teaches them? Well, as my brother so eloquently put it, I too did not marry a cow, so I taught myself... from the book or two that came in "plain, brown wrapper.” Only then did I learn that a man’s "SEX" was not an action that he does, or a body part that he was born with. His 'SEX' was WHAT he was (WHOM he was?).

While teaching the Sex Ed class I had a discussion on the phone with a mother of one of my near-adult students. She had been married for two decades and was the mother of three children, and only when I answered a technical question for her did she realize there were more than the two basic openings between her legs, one in front and one in back. What? Of COURSE she never looked. “Good girls don’t do that!“

More than one half of the married women in the United States have never had an orgasm, whether with her husband or otherwise. No one told them that it was something that could happen. In many cases, their husbands never were told that women were supposed to also have an orgasm. All they know is they have intercourse and ejaculate and then… well, it’s over. Right?

Young people make mistakes when they are uninformed, or worse… misinformed… about their bodies or the bodies of the opposite sex. Married couples end up in counseling due to sexual difficulties, all because they were never informed. The purpose of this website is to help prevent that from happening.

You are encouraged to drop a line to me if you have a question, or wish to make a comment about the website. Our correspondence is kept totally private and secure. It will NEVER show up on this website, unless you feel you would like to share something with other folks. That is entirely your option.

I will also be very willing to add your letter about your experiences if you wish to share them. Maybe write something about how you learned about the process of reproduction, or how you taught your children about it. We don't have to use your real name if you prefer not to.

Just send it to Ken at

Some images on this website are original but some are selected from the many images-at-large on the internet, and they have no identification of the owner or the model. Should we use one that belongs to you, and you object to our using it, please contact me and I will remove it.

 I hope that this website serves you well.

 Ken L. Smith
Webmaster for and
Breast Health Facilitator for the American Cancer Society
Health and Sexual Education Instructor, Ret.
Husband, Father and Grandfather


 The American Cancer Society is not responsible for information or opinions expressed on this website, unless it is attributed directly to them. Opinions expressed are those of the webmaster alone unless credited to others.