What Big Mouth Taught Me That My High School Sex-Ed Didn’t

Look, I get it. The birds and bees talk is not the easiest to have. As I look back upon my high school sex-ed course, I remember the awkwardness of it all—the horrible jokes meant to alleviate some of the added pressure in the room surrounding the subject, and most of all the information (or lack thereof) that I was given.

Growing up in the South, and now what I realize is not uncommon in most of America, sex is seen as a terrible thing, and the only way to be safe is to abstain from it until marriage. This knowledge, the vague idea of what an STD is (something that kills you for having sex before marriage—TN education system), and the pill were the only tools I had to carry with me into this new world of adulthood.

If I am being open and honest with you, the majority of my high school (including myself) could not tell you about the different types of contraceptive options, the parts of a woman’s vulva, or even what a vulva is. Of course this looks like a short list, contraceptives and vulva, but in actuality this is just the beginning of a long list of things my sex-ed should have covered but was too embarrassed to mention. I did not realize how much I didn’t know until I stumbled across a Netflix series called Big Mouth.

Image result for big mouth

First, a little background about Big Mouth. It was created by four amazing people: Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett, Nick Kroll, and Andrew Goldberg. When interviewing writers, they would ask questions about masturbation and periods, things that would make the average joe uncomfortable. From this they were able to develop an amazing crew. As ideas began to flow, Levin started to feel a personal connection between the show and his son’s battle with puberty. That was how the idea of the hormone monster came along.

I say this because Levin saw a need for kids to understand their bodies and what they are going through. One character, the hormone monster, serves as a guide to understanding your body and who you are becoming as you start to journey into young adulthood. Jessie’s hormone monster, Connie, was the one who introduced her to her genitals. She goes on to learn about the different parts of her outer genitalia, such as her clitoris, labia minora, labia majora, and vagina. The show also addresses how many people think the whole thing is called the vagina, but it isn’t, with zero judgement passed.

Both hormone monsters, Connie and Maury, let the kids know it’s ok to masturbate (or in the case of Maury, make them masterbate to any and everything). The writers’ purpose is to enable teens to know that masturbation is 1. normal and 2. everybody does it. In another episode the creators discuss contraceptives and Planned Parenthood, while also spitting major facts. Most people only know about the pill and condoms, but do not realize they have some other options as well.

I found that, despite the sex talk being one of the hardest talks, the show truly gets information across to its viewers. They are realistic in their approach and understand that things like sex are bound to happen so we need to equip children with knowledge, not fear. After watching two seasons of Big Mouth in the span of two weeks, I learned more than my half of a semester of sex-ed in high school. In short, go watch Big Mouth. It’s funny and all around a great show.

Side note: Big Mouth also addresses other topics, such as body positivity, depression, and drug use, so they are really out here trying to inform youth. I support this cause <3