Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is filling the hole in sex education with the help of celebrities: Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Jonathan Banks, Jack McBrayer, Kumail Nanjiaji, Kristen Schaal, Aisha Tyler and Laverne Cox. They talk about everything from consent to safe sex, which is demonstrated by putting condom on a banana.
“This is a lot less curvy than I’m used to,” said Mullally, who is married to Offerman.
Banks appears at the end to spoof his appearance in the 70s sex-ed video Linda’s Film on Menstration that suggests having your period makes you a better bowler.
Despite the accuracy of the information and relative tameness, it would be censored at many schools. Part of the problem is that there is little uniformity between the states. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “22 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education” and “13 states require that the instruction be medically accurate.”
“You wouldn’t accept a history class not being historically accurate,” Oliver noted. “(The artist formerly known as) Prince started the America Revolution in 1984 and his Purple Rain lasts until the present day. Class dismissed.”
Even when sex education is taught, it’s often sanitized to the point of being counterproductive. Mississippi House Bill 999 prohibits “instruction and demonstration of how condoms or other contraceptives are applied,” which may explain the state ranking second in teen pregnancy.
One teacher found a sneaky way of getting around the rule. Sanford Johnson demonstrated how to put on a sock when engaging in “shoe activity.”
The shoe metaphor has also been used by abstinence only groups like Go A.P.E. (Abstinence Protects Everyone), which compares sexually active women to dirty sneakers. The group’s unitentionally hilarious sex-ed video features a man telling his bride that socks won’t protect him from foot fungus. Other disparaging metaphors used in schools include “used toothbrush or a chewed-up piece of gum.” Elizabeth Smart was subjected to the latter comparison after being kidnapped and raped at age 14. Congress has actually increased funding for abstinence only programs to $75 million.
For those who say that teaching their children should be their responsibility, Oliver points to the universal awkwardness that occurs on family movie night during a sex scene.
“Here is an exchange that has never happened,” the host joked. “‘How are you so good at sex?’ ‘I was homeschooled.'”