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Amid America’s reckoning with sexual harassment and violence, gender inequity, and discrimination, sex education is as fraught as it’s ever been. Anyone who received school-based sex ed in the U.S. anytime during the past four decades—including the majority of American students currently in school—might have difficulty relating that education to the massive renegotiation of sex, gender, and power that’s transforming the nation. But sex ed could play a significant role in helping today’s students navigate this transformation. It would just have to look a lot different than it does in most of the U.S. right now.

I spent several years exploring the state of sex ed in the U.S. and elsewhere for my latest book. What I found in America wasn’t great.

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