sex education

sex education

Harvard’s Sex Week Promotes Sexual Health and Pleasure for Students

If your college doesn’t have Sex Week, your campus is behind the times. The trend started at Yale in 2002 and just last month, Harvard hosted its very first.

In the last week of March, Harvard offered a student-run program of all things sex, including panel discussions, lectures and information tables.

Sex Week provides a balance of education on sexual health and pleasure. Students can listen to panels on bondage, gay and lesbian sex, and the ethics of pornography. Traditionally, sex education’s main focus has been on the transmission of STDs, safe sex, and rape prevention.

“I think that what our generation is doing is really trying to address these issues in a way that respects individual experiences and beliefs and identities,” said 23-year-old Samantha Meier, one of the two student planners of the event at the university. “And I see Sex Week as a part of that.”

At a time when surveys reveal students are having less sex than past generations, college campuses across the country are trying to prepare them for the experiences to come.

“I think there’s this hook-up culture at Harvard where people assume that everyone’s having sex all the time, and that’s not necessarily true,” said Suzanna Bobadilla, a 21-year-old junior at the university. Read the rest of this entry »



Controversy Surrounds New Sex-Ed Website MariaTalks.com

A new sexual education website is drawing significant attention in Massachusetts. While not part of any public school curriculum, lawmakers are urging state funding to be pulled from the project. The site, MariaTalks.com, was created by the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts and is geared towards giving teens the lowdown on all subjects related to sex. Funding from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health was used to create the site but controversial literature is creating a heated debate about the use of public money.

The site was created to be a resource for teenagers with questions about sex; in words they understand. The information is organized by teenaged characters that have concerns, questions or curiosities about sexual topics. “Maria” is the narrator of the site and is portrayed as an 18-year old female who shares answers to questions she has asked her aunt “Lucia” who is a medical doctor. Maria is joined by several of her friends portraying various characters with sexual concerns including fear of STDS, fear of pregnancy, questions about birth control, same sex relationships, etc.

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Professor Criticized for Sex Toy Demonstration

Professor John Michael Bailey of Northwestern University has been under a bit of heat the last few weeks. Known for his controversial classes on sex education, Professor Bailey has always walked the line of taboo subjects. As he puts it, “…I do not wish, to surrender to sex negativity and fear… thoughtful discussion of controversial topics is a cornerstone of learning.” Although his students find his approach to be groundbreaking and admirable, he seems to have gone a bit far on the afternoon of February 21st.

Prof. Bailey teaches a 600 person class on the science and psychology of sexuality. After class, he often organizes “optional events” which provide the students with a more in-depth educational experience. This year alone he has had guest speakers such as, “a panel of gay men speaking about their sex lives, a transsexual performer, two convicted sex offenders, an expert in female sexual health and sexual pleasure, a plastic surgeon, a swinging couple” and others. After his February 21st lecture, which was focused on female arousal, Bailey invited his students to stay for an optional presentation by Ken Melvoin-Berg. The presentation was to continue the scientific conversation of female orgasm and dig further into sexual diversity, which seems to be a gentler way of saying kinky sex. The students were told what to expect and were asked, numerous times, to leave if they felt uncomfortable or did not want to witness the graphic presentation.

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The Body Scoop for Girls Clears Up Misconceptions About Sex and Body Image

Written by Brooke Randolph

I have been reading some very positive reviews of The Body Scoop for Girls: A Straight-Talk Guide to a Healthy, Beautiful You, a book for adolescent girls written by a gynecologist and obstetrician who also specializes in adolescent health.Dr. Jennifer Ashton is a mother and CBS medical correspondent for the Early Show and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. In USA Today Dr. Ashton shares that in her practice she saw a need for more education on sexual health and an approach to which teens would listen – one of respect. Her style has been described as a casual conversation written from the perspective of an older sister. “I don’t judge, and I don’t sugarcoat”, states Dr. Ashton.

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Girl Effect Aims to End Poverty and Malnutrition Through Education

There are 100 million fewer women than men around the world. In impoverished areas of the world, if a girl survives to adolescence, often times social constructs and even laws put them at a disadvantage to men. Poverty, poor medical care, lack of sexual protection, childbirth, and several other factors that prey on women all contribute to their shortened life expectancy. It is a viscous cycle; education can reduce poverty, but poverty causes education to become less of a priority or possibility.

Girl Effect aims to attack poverty, disease, war, social equality, and the world’s economy by educating girls in the developing world. It may sound idealistic, but there is much research behind the hypothesis that when girls are given any additional education, they are less likely to marry early, have children early, die from childbirth, contract HIV, and live in poverty. The Girl Effect also recognizes the different impact that women have versus men on their children and families. According to The Girl Effect Fact Sheet women reinvest 90 percent of income into their families, while men only reinvest 30 to 40 percent of income into their families. That means that educating a young girl and giving her the opportunity to earn an income will make her 50 percent more likely to reduce poverty in her family than if a young boy was given additional educational opportunities. Women can make powerful changes when given the opportunity.

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Current Trends Concerning Teens and Sexual Activity

sexMany young adults become sexually active during their teenage years. Sex is a natural human urge, so it is not surprising that many teens want to explore this unknown territory.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 46 percent of teens have had sex at least once between the ages of 15 and 19. Not surprisingly, the percentage of sexually active teens increases with age: only 13 percent of 15-year-olds have had sex, but 70 percent of 19-year-olds have had sex.

Sexual education varies across the country. Some schools promote abstinence-only sexual education.  Others also promote contraceptive use to protect against sexually transmitted disease and pregnancies.

Which methods of birth control do sexually active teens use the most often? Read the rest of this entry »



Obama Doesn’t Really Support Kindergarten Sex Ed

obama-sex-ed-for-kindergartersIt’s not a slow news week, so we’re not sure why Fox has chosen to dig up comments that Barack Obama made back in 2007. But they’ve been circulating the headline “Obama Supports Kindergarten Sex Ed,” in connection to a new sex education bill that’s being considered in Helena, Montana.

The idea stems from a smear campaign that started during Obama’s 2004 senatorial race against Alan Keyes. ABC reports that Obama’s opponent propagated the idea the he is for teaching sex ed to kindergartners after supporting a bill that provided age-appropriate and scientifically-based sex education for students of all grade levels. Read the rest of this entry »



Sexual Education Class in Wisconsin Can Now Land Teachers in Court

Class BooksIn February of 2010, Democratic governor Jim Doyle signed a bill in Wisconsin that now required schools that teach sexual education to avoid teaching students about how to put on a condom or how to take birth control pills. The bill states that teaching students how to use contraceptives could subject the teachers to criminal charges.

Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth sent an advisement in March to local schools about the new law, warning them that their sex ed lessons could land them in the court. Southworth claimed that showing their students how to properly use contraceptives would be contributing to the delinquency of minors. In Wisconsin that misdemeanor is punishable with up to nine months of jail time and $10,000 worth of fines.

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The Sex Education Debate: Abstinence-Only vs. Safe Sex

Few public policy subjects stir the pot as fiercely as abstinence-only education. Proponents of abstinence education hold to the belief that it is not up to people outside of the family to discuss sensitive matters like sexuality. Some also believe that if schools are discussing and even handing out contraception, they are tacitly encouraging sexual activity.gender

On the other side of the coin, those who favor comprehensive sex education take what they would say is a realist viewpoint, in that once puberty hits, many kids are going to have sex whether the rest of us like it or not. Hormones dictate the outcome, not a taught moral code.

As is the case in many debates, both sides of the sex education debate have merits and faults. But first, let’s take a trip back to when schools started their sexual curriculum. Read the rest of this entry »



Mandatory Sex Education in the UK

Sarah Palin’s pregnant teenage daughter Bristol has caused renewed discussion in the issue of sex education in schools — especially since Governor Palin opposes all sex education programs that teach anything other than abstinence. Read the rest of this entry »





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