Would you like to know why I'm such a well-adjusted person? When I was little, my parents bought me the anatomically accurate "Joey" doll from All in the Family. Friends and family found it endlessly fascinating. I can't recall what the visual aids were in sex ed class in 5th grade...I'm guessing that it was some sort of filmstrip with an accompanying cassette soundtrack that beeped when you needed to advance the projector. By the time we were in high school, the local banker's wife took great delight in visiting the "adult skills" class with a huge glass penis that she used to demonstrate condom application.
Ah, the sex-ed visual aid. Etsy is full of explicit crafts (like crocheted penis cat toys and penis "koozies" for keeping your drink cold). These things are great as conversation starters, but might not be so great for scale...and their functions might be a little confusing to youngsters. Today Salon.com offered up a great (NSFW) slideshow of sex-ed dolls and toys from around the world. The above photo comes from central China, where these dolls are used to teach children about secondary sex characteristics and where babies come from.
The blog Shanghaiist describes a scene from this particular classroom: "[The teacher] asked the class how sperm swims to find the egg, with her students replying by clasping their hands together and moving them in a side-to-side tadpole-like swimming motion."
Shudder...but when I think about it, my own experiences were no less weird. Here's a shout-out to my second grade teacher, Mrs. Crockett, who was an idealistic (I'm sad to say that I probably helped squash that idealism) young teacher who didn't want to crush anybody's creativity. I was allowed to make all of the drawings that I wanted of nude people as long as I called them "National Geographic people". I would kill to have some of those drawings now. Maybe a pube doll would have come in handy.
So check out the slideshow. Will you be using the crocheted amigurumi penis to tell your offspring about the birds and the bees? I'm glad that I have a few years to mull it over.