This week, the Village Voice's Crap Archivist Alan Scherstuhl digs up The Playbook for Kids About Sex , a 1980 sex ed book for kids in elementary school. Obviously the book was meant for hippie parents who weren't pleased that their children's sex ed classes at school didn't include sex or education. This book takes it to the opposite extreme, asking kids to draw out their sexual fantasies and telling them to masturbate with common household appliances. I can dig it. I think.
Scherstuhl shares some gems from the Playbook:
"If you can't see your clitoris, feel gently around until you find the most sensitive (or ticklish) spot. That's it! Draw a picture of your clitoris and your other sex parts here."
I kinda want to do that!
"That rush of excitement is called and orgasm or a climax or 'coming.' It's pretty hard to describe but it's sort of like: Climbing up the ladder of a long slide and whooshing down. Sneezing after your nose has been tickling. Peeing after you've had to wait a long time to pee."
All decent, if somewhat confusing, ways to describe it.
Written by San Francisco's Joani Blank and illustrated by Marcia Quackenbush, women involved in the safe and enjoyable sex education scene, the book proffers a blunt honesty that's refreshing and also, sometimes hilarious. Like when they suggest that masturbating against a tetherball pole is a great way to explore your sexual self. Which, in theory, maybe yes, but in actuality, could be greeted with the kind of playground teasing that would almost certainly scar a kid for life.
Another interesting quirk of the book is the section where kids are supposed to check off the things they find sexy — one of the options is "babies". Which, ummm. Although, if your older child checked that box, it would open up a conversation that'd probably be good to have.
The book is far from perfect — as Scherstuhl points out, it can equate nudity with sexiness, and that's not always the case, especially for "elementary" age kids — but the alternative of no sex ed is probably the worse choice. I'm guessing there are better books on the market today to facilitate talking about sex and sexuality with children. There has to be, right? Or do you just throw a bunch of Judy Blume books at your bambinos and hope for the best? Worked for for me*!
Man, being a parent is hard.