How One Woman Is Changing the Sex 'Talk'

Julie Metzger offers sex ed for kids—and their parents
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2015 9:16 AM CDT
How One Woman Is Changing the Sex 'Talk'
A screen shot from Vimeo footage of one of Metzger's talks.   (Vimeo)

The Talk (you know, the one about sex and puberty) may not be a pleasant prospect for either kids or their parents. And even if kids get sex ed in school, it may not make discussing the issue with parents much easier. But what if kids and parents took a sex ed class together? That's the idea behind Julie Metzger's Great Conversations program in Seattle and beyond, the New York Times reports. "I thought, 'Wouldn't it be interesting if you actually had a class where you sit with your parents and hear these things from someone? What if that class were fun and funny and interactive?'" the 56-year-old tells the paper. "Parents walk in feeling almost victimized by preteens and puberty, and my job is to utterly transform their ability to connect." The class does indeed feature humor, as when Metzger, nicknamed the "Puberty Lady," demonstrates how a sanitary pad stays in place by putting it on her shoulder.

As for interactivity, kids anonymously write down the questions they have, like, "My friend told me if you eat a lot of corn, you grow breasts faster. Is this true?" Metzger offers frank answers: For example, when asked if having sex always results in a baby, she replied, per the Times, "My husband and I have been married 28 years. We may have had sex over 1,000 times. I am happy to report we do not have 1,000 children." In a recent interview with ParentMap, she explains, "I could hand you 250 questions [from girls] that could just make you weep with the vulnerability: 'Did you say your period is four to seven days, or 47 days?'" Classes are divided into girls and boys; the boys' version features a "Penis Opera" to help kids get comfortable with awkwardness. Asked about her single most important piece of advice for parents of preteens, she tells ParentMap: "Listen more, speak less." (Other organizations have turned to sex ed via texting.)

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