A sex ed exam — for adults

D.C. is introducing standardized tests about s-e-x in public schools. Can you pass our version for grown-ups?

Topics: Sex, Sex Education,

A sex ed exam -- for adults(Credit: iStockphoto/alexskopje)

Last week, news broke that Washington, D.C., will require kids in public schools to complete a standardized sex ed test — the first of its kind in the nation. The announcement sparked controversy, per the usual, as well as bad jokes about “extra credit requirements.” Meanwhile, I was left wondering in all seriousness how many adults could actually pass just such an exam.

So, I decided to call upon some experts in the fields of sex research and education to help devise a multiple-choice exam for grown-ups, one that incorporates the key knowledge they find most lacking in the real world — but without being a total snooze. After all, you’re busy adults, and some of you no doubt find it difficult enough to make time for actual sex. I hope this will be less a realization of your lingering college exam nightmares than a fun challenge and, by gosh, a learning experience.

Before we begin, allow me to introduce you to my co-quizmistress, Debby Herbenick. She’s a sex educator at the Kinsey Institute and associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, and she was generous enough to let me pilfer questions from her books “Because It Feels Good” and the upcoming “Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva.” Carol Queen, Good Vibrations’ staff sexologist, and Heather Corinna, creator of the teen sex advice website Scarleteen, also offered some input from the sex-ed trenches. Thank you’s all around.

Now, (stylus) pencils out!

1) A paraphilia is:

a. A fetish for parachuting
b. An incurable sexually transmitted infection
c. A clinical category of sexual disorders
d. A word I just made up to sound smart

2) Abstinence-only education:

a. Delays first intercourse
b. Reduces rates of teen pregnancy
c. Reduces rates of STIs
d. All of the above
e. None of the above — and yet Congress has spent over $1.5 billion on it

3) What is the average duration of heterosexual intercourse?

a. Less than a minute
b. 13 minutes
c. 8 minutes
d. 25 minutes

4) Roughly how many women can orgasm from vaginal penetration alone?



a. 10 percent
b. 20 percent
c. 60 percent
d. All of them, they just haven’t met Mr. Right

5) Non-human animals have been observed doing all of the following EXCEPT:

a. Group sex
b. Same-sex sexual behavior
c. Making dildo-like objects
d. Oral sex
e. “Except” nothing — they’ve done all of the above and then some. Uncivilized animals.

6) What infection is NOT included in most STI screenings?

a. Chlamydia
b. Gonorrhea
c. Herpes
d. HIV

7) How many men have faked orgasm?

a. 10 percent
b. 25 percent
c. 40 percent
d. None — dudes can’t fake it and don’t have to

8) A woman may experience orgasm as a result of sensory information from which of the following nerves:

a. Pudendal nerve
b. Pelvic nerve
c. Hypogastric nerve
d. Vagus nerve
e. All of the above

9) Which is generally the most pleasure-prone part of a man’s penis?

a. The underside of the glans
b. The top side of the penile shaft
c. The head
d. It’s all the same

10) Which of the following is true about marital satisfaction?

a. It generally decreases after you have a baby together
b. It all goes to hell after the baby’s born
c. It is usually not affected after a couple has a baby together

11) What percent of married adults are largely satisfied with their sexual partner?

a. 54 percent
b. 64 percent
c. 94 percent
d. 0 percent. Married couples don’t have sex

12) Which of the following can reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives?

a. Female orgasms
b. Antibiotics
c. Antidepressants
d. All of the above

13) Stop reading, Mom. Approximately what percent of heterosexual women and men in the U.S. have had anal sex?

a. 10 percent
b. 15 percent
c. Trick question! Only gay men have anal sex
d. 25 percent

14) How long does it usually take for symptoms of HIV to appear?

a. Two weeks
b. Six months
c. Two years
d. Over a decade

15) How many women and men feel preoccupied with their sexual performance?

a. 5 percent of women, 10 percent of men
b. 15 percent of women, 15 percent of men
c. 30 percent of women, 50 percent of men
d. 0 percent of women (all they have to do is lie there), 0 percent of men (what’s there to worry about?)

16) A person who has oral herpes (cold sores) can pass the herpes virus to a partner while performing oral sex on them.

a. True
b. False

17) Among young, healthy men who have difficulties getting or keeping an erection, the cause is most often related to:

a. Erectile dysfunction
b. Performance anxiety
c. Peyronie’s disease
d. Phimosis

18) Approximately what percent of couples have experienced sexual problems?

a. 10 to 20 percent
b. 32 to 40 percent
c. 57 to 70 percent
d. 78 to 95 percent

19) Which of the following lubricants can be used safely with latex condoms:

a. Silicone-based lubricants
b. Water-based lubricants
c. Oil-based lubricants
d. All of the above
e. A and B only

20) How many U.S. states grant same-sex marriage licenses?

a. 6
b. 4
c. 10
d. None

21) What is a “gender identity”?

a. It dictates whom a person is sexually attracted to
b. It is a person’s inner sense of maleness and/or femaleness
c. It is your biological sex
d. All of the above

22) Roughly how many men and women have never masturbated?

a. 2 percent of men and 25 percent of women
b. 10 percent of men and 20 percent of women
c. 1 percent of men and 15 percent of women
d. 5 percent of men and 11 percent of women

23) Which is the fastest-growing group of people with HIV in the U.S.?

a. Homosexuals
b. Men who have sex with men
c. African-American women
d. Gay Caucasian men

24) What is the most-visited porn site on the Internet?

a. LiveJasmin.com
b. YouPorn.com
c. XTube.com
d. Spankwire.com

25) Which acts as an abortifacient?

a. Plan B
b. RU-486
c. IUDs
d. All of the above

26) The HPV vaccine can reduce the risk of:

a. Genital warts
b. Cervical cancer
c. Anal cancer
d. All of the above

27) A woman’s virginity can be proven by:

a. An intact hymen
b. Bleeding during first intercourse
c. Both A and B
d. Nothing — it can’t be proven with physical evidence

Pencils down! Now, for the answer key:

1) c; 2) e; 3) c; 4) b; 5) e; 6) c; 7) b; 8) e; 9) a; 10) a; 11) c; 12) b; 13) a; 14) d; 15) c; 16) a; 17) b; 18) d; 19) e; 20) a; 21) b; 22) d; 23) c; 24) a; 25) b; 26) d; 27) d

If you scored between:

18 and 27, you go to the head of the class. Email me and I just might send you a Certificate of Sexual Proficiency.

8 and 17, you’re probably Canadian.

Zero and seven, you likely landed on this page by Googling “free porn” — sorry to disappoint. (See: The answers to Question 24 above.)

Tracy Clark-Flory

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

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