We swim at the pool of the nearby university and most all summer, it’s free of college kids. But they all moved back in recently for the start of school, so I was privy to some fascinating conversations as Little A and I swam a few weeks ago

At first it was funny and sweet: a group of 20/21 year olds chatting about their nights out and how tired they are of cooking already.

But then, and I think this was spurred by an article in a women’s magazine, they started talking about pregnancy, birth control and abortions.

I’m not going to make any political statements here, so don’t fret over that.

I am going to share with you the jaw-dropping lack of knowledge that these women at an elite university seem to have about their own reproductive systems.

Case-in-point: Evidently one of them had a friend who “thinks she must have been pregnant.” The evidence? She got really drunk and after that had a heavy period, so she thinks she miscarried. And, before that, “she was intolerant to dairy which happens when you get pregnant.”

This led to a conversation about abortion options, which I won’t detail but again, was hugely misinformed.

Finally, one of them asked whether some contraception (I presume it was the Pill) was safe to use for very long. A few shared stories of what friends had told them, but then one asked how it worked and whether you still had a period on it. There was some disagreement on that point. Then, one of the women tried to explain how it worked but her explanation was something along the lines of, “It keeps the sperm from …, ” and then she trailed off.

Now, it was clear from the prior conversations that at least a few of the women were sexually active. But, from my vantage point, not one of them evinced any clear understanding of the consequences of being sexually active.

Someone tell me – how does this happen? I thought college age kids these days were sexually savvier than we were 20 years ago? At the very least, isn’t some of this stuff covered in high school or college biology courses? (And, they weren’t all Southern … there was at least some geographic diversity, so that can’t be the explanation.)

I could totally have misheard parts of the conversation, so maybe they know more than I gleaned. (I wasn’t really eavesdropping – they were loud and sitting in the middle of a point of congregation.) But I did think more than once, “I need to plop myself down in that group of women, tell them I am not their mama but I have a few years under my belt, and they can ask me anything they want to know and I will explain it to them until they run out of questions.”

School me, friends … Is this the state of twentysomething knowledge about their bodies and sexuality everywhere? Or was this group a total anomaly? And, how do we ensure that our daughters don’t make it to college without understanding the basics of reproduction and contraception?

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