Let’s Talk About Sex

Seniors Sabine Gelber and Shelley Fineman, co-presidents of the Open Communications Club, educate students on everything “that sex ed doesn’t cover.”


Sex, puberty, identity. These burning topics of teenhood are all subjects in the standard health discussion in fifth, eighth and ninth grade. Groups of girls and boys gather in classrooms to listen to teachers talk about the changes occurring in the bodies of 12-18 year olds; but grazing over the topic of sex was not enough for Sabine Gelber and Shelley Fineman.

“I was disappointed in eighth grade when we had the sex talk in class because it was basically another version of the puberty conversation we had in fifth grade, except this time they mentioned condoms. In ninth grade I was expecting a little more. We got to learn about contraceptives and STDs, but that was it, when there’s so much more to sex than that. There’s a lot of emotional aspects that go into it. So my friends and I decided, ‘Hey, we can’t change the entire school curriculum but we can still teach people more about sex,’” Gelber said. 

Gelber and Fineman are co-presidents of the Open Communication Club- a club that “covers what sex ed doesn’t cover.” The co-presidents give mini presentations about different aspects of sex and share their opinions about it. 

“I took health over the summer, and then we had a little unit on [sex] in bio, and it was kind of ridiculous. They showed us how to put a condom on and they talked about what sex is and healthy relationships, but they didn’t talk about what sex should be, or all the other things that we were wondering.” Gelber said. 

Gelber and Fineman saw a gap in the traditional curriculum. Sex was talked about similar to “driving a car.” It was something that was going to happen eventually and teenagers had to prepare to “get crushed,” according to Fineman. The two students saw that sex could be  enjoyable and didn’t need to feared or avoided. 

“I read this sexual health and education book last year, and halfway through the book I was like, ‘I didn’t know any of this, this is incredible. People need to know this.’ So I jumped at the opportunity to start this club and educate people.” Fineman said.

Gelber and Fineman had long talked about the need for a more broad discussion about sex, but the idea of the club came about entirely as a joke. 

“The two of us are in the same friend group and sex was just a big subject [among us],” Gelber said. “One day I said I wanted to start a club and a girl in our friend group suggested, as a joke, ‘sex club.’ I was like, ‘Let’s roll with it. Why not?’”

The club attracts mostly juniors and seniors but lacks many underclassmen. Fineman believes that they are less likely to join because they don’t know what to expect.

 “I feel like some underclassmen write it off as,‘We’ve already had sex ed, so it doesn’t matter.’ But it really does matter because we’re talking about everything that sex ed should teach you but doesn’t. That’s important for teenagers, especially underclassmen who are making important decisions about their lives,” Fineman said.

Gelber and Fineman hope their club will attract more people in the future who want to learn more about their bodies and gain a more practical understanding of sex.

“When it comes to sex, you shouldn’t have to learn from experience or internet deep dives. We believe that you should have this information accessible, and we’re trying to provide that,” Fineman said.