Brow Beat

John Oliver Made a New, More Accurate Sex Ed PSA With Laverne Cox, Nick Offerman, and More

Anyone who survived sex education in America probably remembers how awkward it was—but the common ground ends there. On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took on the ways our sex ed strategies vary widely from state to state, district to district, and even school to school within the same district. And the problems with these strategies go well beyond the ineffectiveness of abstinence-only education, often leaving our teens with a damaging understanding of homosexuality, how to use contraception, and what counts as consent. These failures are important because, as Oliver notes, “Human sexuality, unlike calculus, is something you actually need to know about for the rest of your life.” Some of the programs send the message that, as Oliver sums it, “God is watching you masturbate, and the fluids coming out of your genitals are actually his tears,” while others compare women who have lost their virginity to used toothbrushes and chewed-up pieces of gum.

To remedy the situation, Oliver gathered some faces that should be familiar to teens—including Laverne Cox, Nick Offerman, and Kristen Schaal—to make a sex ed PSA that might actually be useful. The video hits on all the important topics: how to use a condom, consent, good safe words, and what to do if you have the opportunity to sleep with Ryan Gosling. (Answer: Do it.) And abstinence? It has a place in the PSA, too. It’s like being a vegetarian, the clip says: “People should respect your choice. Some people might make fun of you. Those people are assholes.”