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This viral tweetstorm about anal sex has a very important message about sex education

A gay man explains how a bad education made one of his first sexual experiences horrifying.

You probably never heard your sex education teacher stop the class and say it’s time to talk about anal sex. But maybe you should have.

In a recent tweetstorm, Teen Vogue digital editorial director Phillip Picardi broke down why his magazine recently ran a story on some of the basics of anal sex. He explained how, as a gay man, he would have found any introductory information incredibly valuable when he was younger. His basic message: Teens, including gay and bisexual youth, are going to have sex anyway, so it’s important that they’re educated on how it all works — and how to be safe — instead of learning about it as they go.

Picardi is supported by the evidence. Several studies show that comprehensive sex education is correlated with lower rates of pregnancy, while abstinence-only education is not. One review of the research found that comprehensive sex education delayed the initiation of sex and increased condom and contraceptive use, while abstinence-only programs did not.

Yet in much of the US, abstinence-only programs remain the standard in sex ed classes.

Things are even worse for queer youth. In seven states, it’s not even legal for educators to talk about homosexuality: Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. That makes it impossible to educate LGBTQ youth on some of the important issues that Picardi raised in his tweet thread.

The result: We have a lot of teens and young adults out there having sex, not really knowing how to be safe about it.