This NSFW Children's Book Reveals Everything That's Wrong With Sex Ed in the U.S.

March 20th 2016

Lucy Tiven

A Danish woman shared how a children's book taught her about sex in a Reddit For Grownups thread. The book, "How A Baby Is Made," takes a no-nonsense approach to sex-education that is starkly different from how the subject is often taught in the U.S.

"How A Baby Is Made"

"My parents immigrated to America from Denmark, so I had a bit of a different upbringing than my peers. My parents were always completely open with me about sex," Redditor AuroraSinistra, whose real name is Sara, according to BoredPanda, wrote. "When I asked where babies come from they told me in the most clinical and simple way you can tell a young child and showed me a kids book they had which explained all about puberty and sex and even showed a cartoon penis in 3 stages: about to penetrate, mid-penetration, and fully penetrating and ejaculating."

Danish Sex Ed Book

"How A Baby Is Made" was written and illustrated by psychotherapist and sexologist Per Holm Knudsen in 1975. While the English edition of "How A Baby Is Made" is out of print, there are used and new copies from independent sellers and a German edition available on Amazon. New York City sex-ed teacher Mark Schoen made a video short using Holm Knudsen's text and illustrations in 2008, according to Time Out New York. The book and short use friendly characters to explain sex and pregnancy in plain language. 

Not everyone appreciated the book's take on sex-ed though. When the website Art Sheep shared the illustrations, which it described as "traumatizing," the post spurred a discussion about teaching young children about sexuality. Some people worried that the book would inspire children to imitate its characters.

Art Sheep Comments

Others defended the book, and criticized the website's characterization of its illustrations.

Art Sheep Comment

In her initial post, Redditor AuroraSinistra praised her parents for being open about sex, and was critical of typical American attitudes. "IMO one of the great sins American parents make is not being open about sex," she wrote. She also said her parents stressed the importance of consent in their discussions:

"I told my parents about my first kiss, the first time I let a boy touch my breasts, and the first time I rubbed my hand on the outside of a boy's shorts and felt him hard underneath. There were many many conversations with my parents, each with the central theme that I should never let myself be pressured into anything and that it was 100% okay to do sexual things if they were my choice and I wanted them to happen. They also always reminded me not to make choices in the heat of the moment and to consider internally if I wanted it for myself or to make the boy happy."

The Netherlands takes a very different approach to sex education than the U.S.

As ATTN: has previously reported, in the Netherlands, sex education begins as early as age four. Young children are first taught about about love and relationships, while gender stereotypes and self-image are discussed at age 8, and 11-year-olds are taught about sexual identity and contraception. These sex-ed curriculums have received considerable attention due to the country's low teen pregnancy rates.


Meanwhile, America has a higher rate of teen pregnancy than any other nation in the developed world. Less than half of U.S. states require teachers to cover sex education, while 27 states require that sex ed courses focus on abstinence, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Congress has spent almost $2 billion on abstinence only sex education since 1996, according to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.

In February 2016, President Barack Obama proposed cutting funding from abstinence-only sex education programs and giving larger amounts of funding to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program in his Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal.


"Teaching about abstinence is important, and supporting young people who make a decision to be abstinent is really important," SIECUS president and CEO Monica Rodriguez told ATTN:. "But choosing to be abstinent is an active decision that a young person needs to make; you can't just tell young people they have to be abstinent."

[h/t Bored Panda]