That secretive, nebulous, other sex

I recently went over physiology and anatomy with my college students.  Afterward, one of the young men thanked me.  He was clear and direct:

“Thank you for teaching me what is inside a girl’s body.  I never knew, but I really wanted to know.  It’s always been a mystery to me how things happen up in there.”

Now, I suspect this young man had a health class in high school – he’s from Texas, and every high school student takes a health class here that includes a physiology and anatomy unit.  But I bet that his health class – just like my health class – covered everything except reproductive anatomy.  Bones?  Muscles?  Tendons?  We learned them all.  Unless they had to do with making a baby, pushing a baby out, or enjoying a sexual encounter that is.

Many parents see a direct need for young people to understand their own reproductive insides, and generally teach those parts at some point before or during puberty.  But not as many parents see the need for their young people to understand the insides of the other sex.  We leave that up to the schools – figuring it’ll fall into a sex education or health curriculum at some point.  Regrettably, it often doesn’t fall anywhere except through the cracks.

You can find great lessons in female and male reproductive anatomy online.

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. This is, of course, an exceptional point. Except that it’s really about the other sex, not the other gender. The difference between the two is also usually not included in the school curriculum which can be a dangerously negligent oversight for transgendered youth.


  2. Thank you for the clarification, Shannon! Now corrected in the title and text.

  3. Bravo for the clarification! And the topic.

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