Around Aotearoa

New Zealanders Tell Us The Weirdest Things They Were Taught as "Sex Education"

"That you can bite a foreskin off… As a kinky thing.”
Sex ed tools
Credit: istock

Schools in Aotearoa are encouraged to follow the Relationship and Sexuality Guidelines laid out by the Ministry of Education. These take a holistic approach to guiding students towards “consensual, healthy and respectful relationships.” 

It’s incredibly important that people develop their understanding of things like consent, identity and managing intimate relationships on an emotional level. 


But what about… The Fucking

Nothing in these guidelines explicitly instructs schools to educate their students on sex itself. Y’know, bumping uglies, tossing the salad, the ol’ in-and-out, the ultimate act of lurve..

Sex ed that focuses on sexual intercourse is not supported in these guidelines, let alone compulsory in NZ. It’s up to every individual school to determine what they teach their students. And this, unsurprisingly, can lead to some pretty unconventional interpretations of sex education – if you’re being taught anything at all. 

Students attending health class in the late 2020s might be in for an even more questionable education, as the National/NZ First coalition agreement promises to “refocus the curriculum… including the removal and replacement of the gender, sexuality, and relationship-based education guidelines.” 

We asked New Zealanders the most baffling things they were taught as “sex education.” Because, well, could things get any worse? 

“We were told to get the sexual partner to sign a consent form before having sex.” - 19, Tauranga 

“Rather than telling us what to do if we ever contracted an STI, we were given books and leaflets to look through with really graphic pictures of infected genitals. It was a total scare tactic, trying to make sex seem disgusting and dirty. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I found out most STIs can be cleared up with antibiotics.” - 28, Taranaki 


“Teacher told us that you can bite a foreskin off… As a kinky thing.” - 29, Auckland 

“We got zero sex ed. We watched Juno in religious education to show us the dangers of teen sex.” - 28, Tauranga 

“We never had anything resembling sex ed at my school. We had some things on human anatomy in science… Catholic School vibes.” - 20, West Auckland  

“The class had five minutes to write slurs for gay people on the whiteboard. The idea was we then, one by one, had to wipe off the offensive and homophobic ones till all that was left were ‘homosexual’ ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian.’ One kid wrote the F slur in sick graffiti cursive, in vivid. We couldn’t wipe it off.” - 32, Palmerston North 

“We didn’t have proper sex ed. But we had one health class during high school where we were told that the best way to have safe sex was not to have it at all.” - 25, Wellington 

“My earnest, awkward old male PE teacher slipping a condom onto a wooden dildo is a core memory. Poor dude was so embarrassed.” - 28, Auckland 

“We were given one condom that we had to open in the class. Gee, thanks…” - 28, Wellington

“Our PE teacher made everyone write different words for ‘gay’ on the whiteboard. It got out of control and all the boys were writing f****t and fruit or each other's names. I wanted to die.” - 27, Hibiscus Coast 

“As a metaphor for protecting our virginity, we were given a jellybean and told not to eat it by the end of class. After an hour the teacher came around and gave lollies to the kids that hadn’t touched them as a reward. I had coloured in my jellybean and was told I wasn’t allowed another lolly because I had ‘defiled’ it.” - 25, Taranaki