We all know that sex education in the United States isn't so sexy. It's inconsistent and just doesn't make the grade -- especially compared to a lot of our other friends around the globe (*cough* Sweden *cough*.) Since our high schools can't seem to get the job done, colleges are now stepping up for a sexy freshman year cram sesh -- and, in this class, everyone's invited to enroll.
Northwestern University has created "Introduction to Reproduction" (or "Sex 101"), a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), that lets students (either from the University or from anywhere) tune in to lessons that includes comprehensive information about sex organs, birth control, fertility and sexually transmitted diseases.
MTV News spoke with Teresa Woodruff, an expert on reproductive biology and professor at Northwestern, who created "Sex 101" to "de-convolute the notion that sexual education just means kids having sex."
Because, yeah, reproductive health is so much more than having sex: It deals with all the different complex parts of the chemistry experiment going on in our bodies.
Woodruff said that the lack of consistent sex education standards across the country, along with the "taboo" nature of sexual health, leaves young people with pretty much no resources for accessing information about their sexual organs (which are totally "just as important as our hearts or our brains.")
That's why, she said she hopes the "Sex 101" MOOC -- along with the super cool Repropedia -- can become that kind of resource for young people who want to find answers to the questions they have about their bodies in a digestible, easy-to-understand way.
"For entering freshman, they're away from home for the first time. Back in middle school, parents want to have a big say in their child's sex education -- so if there’s a gap in their knowledge, parents don't understand what to talk about," Woodruff said. "We’re really talking about reproductive and over-all health -- and not whether you should or should not have sex."
It's not all about making that one "yes" or "no" decision; Instead, it's about arming yourself with the information that will help you make more informed decisions for your overall health and happiness.
"This is really not to be preachy, but generally you can take more control of your body [when you have access to information,]” Woodruff said. "…We recognize that young people are smart and want to know things about their own health. By providing accurate information, it’s going to empower them to have that knowledge and take action for their own bodies."