The world’s sex ed toys

Inspired by China's anatomically correct dolls, we've rounded up tools used around the globe for "the talk"

Topics: Sex Education, Love and Sex, Children, Sex,

I was confused to find that a Huffington Post article about anatomically correct dolls used to teach sex ed to kindergartners in China came with the warning: “POTENTIALLY UNSETTLING PHOTOS BELOW.” My goodness! I wondered: What kind of sick lesson plan for 5-year-olds would require an all-caps warning for an adult audience? I had the same reaction a while back when I caught a CNN segment about similar dollies being used to teach little ones in Indonesia about the birds and the bees. It was preceded by the warning: “This report includes graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.”

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The “unsettling” and “graphic” content? The dollies had genitals. Seriously, that was it. In both cases, children were being taught about the age-appropriate topics of basic human anatomy, where babies come from and healthy physical boundaries. I will admit that the images and video made my jaw drop — not out of horror but rather because they are so darned cute. Kids’ natural curiosity and wonderment is an awesome thing to behold — and it should come as something of a lesson, or at least a refreshing reminder, to adults. In that spirit of whimsy and giggly curiosity, we’ve collected images of sex ed toys from around the world — from Switzerland’s dismembered private part plushes to America’s infamous vulva puppet.

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Tracy Clark-Flory

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

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