Sex Conversations and Culture at Menlo: Package Cover

This package is an extension of the center spread topic in the most March 2021 edition of The Coat of Arms (47.4), which covers sex conversations, education and culture at Menlo. The package includes the stories published in the 47.4 print edition and one online-exclusive piece about Menlo’s revamped sexual health workshop program. The Coat of Arms thanks our interviewees for offering their perspectives to this package, and we urge our readers to respect the anonymity of those who opted to keep their identity out of these stories.


Menlo Makes Changes to Sex Ed Curriculum

Staff Writer Abigail Becker takes a deep dive into the changes Menlo is making in the sexual education (sex ed) curriculum. Becker details the new model for the program for 2020-2021 school year and going forward and how it will be incorporated in both class meetings and workshops. She spoke with former Menlo Dean of Student Life Programs Cathy Chen and current Upper School Counselor Jake Fauver about the direction Menlo in which hopes to take this sex ed curriculum. “[I find it more] effective if you revisit material [when] students are developmentally in a different place,” Fauver said.


Menlo to Implement Sexual Health Meetings Into All Grade Levels (ONLINE EXCLUSIVE)

Staff Writer Sophie Leupold interviews Upper School Counselor Jake Fauver and Sexual Health Advocate Roger Zamora about their involvement with and perspectives about the new sexual health workshop program so far. The counseling team decided to first start implementing the program for sophomores and seniors this year and selected certain faculty members to act as Sexual Health Advocates who facilitate meetings for the new program. During the first few meetings, according to Zamora, many students participated through the private chat feature on Zoom, sending questions and comments directly to their Sexual Health Advocates.


Students Talk Sex Ed At Menlo

With changes being made to the Menlo sex ed curriculum, Assistant Opinions Editor Penelope Stinson spoke to students abut their opinions of how it has been taught in the past and what they hope to see in future workshops. “The way [Chen] was answering pretty serious questions about consent and not wanting to upset your partner, I just felt like those weren’t handled well,” senior Addie Ahlstrom said. However sophomore Chris Liao, who received a revived model of sex ed in freshman rotation, felt that Fauver balanced lighthearted conversations and difficult issues extremely well. 


Expert and Teens Discuss Issues With Porn (FULL VERSION)

Spread Editor Tessa Frantz distinguishes that arguably the biggest difference between Generation Z and previous generations is the use of the internet and how unmonitored use of the internet comes with access to pornography. Frantz spoke with Kate Bedford, a sexual health expert and sex education teacher from Saint Francis High school, about gender roles in pornography and the unrealistic standards set by the porn community. “There is a huge number of kids getting an inaccurate, unloving view of sex, and that’s wrong,” Bedford said.   


Students Talk Contraceptive Use (FULL VERSION)

Female members of the Menlo community discuss the use of contraceptives as Assistant Spread Editor Riley Huddleston unpacks the stigma surrounding the use of birth control. She also had a conversation with Upper School Counselor Jake Fauver who feels that the sex ed program at Menlo has improved the information it provides about contraceptives, but it is still a work in progress. Huddleston writes about why often the stigma surrounding contraceptives is due to the fact many people associate it with having sex. “As I’ve had [the Annovera ring, a vaginal ring] throughout high school, it’s been a great thing because it stopped my period, and it’s a good practice to use it [to prevent pregnancy],” an anonymous junior girl said.


Sex Culture in Movies and TV Shows

Upper School students shared their perspectives on intimate scenes and unrealistic standards set in teen-centered shows with Assistant Opinions Editor Penelope Stinson. “I don’t think it’s normal — the one-night-stands and sexual stuff within friends of friends. It just gets to a point where it’s like, you’re just putting this in the show to talk about sex,” junior Meera Rajagopal said. Stinson also features Upper School Counselor Jake Fauver who describes his concern for the oversimplification of sex in current teenaged-based TV shows. Fauver shared that from his perspective, the depiction of sex scenes can be unhealthy as there is no dialogue and they eliminate much of the awkwardness that being intimate with somebody often entails.


Opinions Vary on Discussion of Sex and Hookup Culture in “Call Her Daddy” Podcast

Assistant Spread Editor Riley Huddleston spoke to members of the Menlo community who listen to the podcast “Call Her Daddy” to get their opinions on its discussion of sex and hookup culture. The student opinions represented throughout the story vary. “They actually do give really good advice,” senior Sabette Grieve said. Meanwhile, an anonymous sophomore girl feels the podcast is “entertaining […] but also kind of degrading.” Huddleston captured a wide variety of listeners who share their thoughts, opinions and critiques of “Call Her Daddy.”