sexual health

sexual health

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 »

86 Teen Pregnancies in Memphis High School

Teen pregnancy has been an American hot topic for decades and more recently has become prime time programming on our T.V. screens. Popular shows such as MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” spark questions about the implications of glamorizing teen pregnancies. While rates for teen pregnancy in the United States have been on a steady decrease since the 1980’s, a concentration of teen mothers in Memphis, Tennessee proves the battle isn’t over.

A disturbing trend at Frayser High School in Memphis is motivating an emergency campaign. Of the 978 students attending Frayser, 86 girls are currently pregnant or had a baby within the last year. The staggering statistic leaves 18 percent of the student body pregnant, or a new mother. Girls Inc., a nonprofit organization, is stepping in to launch the fight against skyrocketing pregnancy rates at Frayser High.

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Controversy Surrounds New Sex-Ed Website

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,, 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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Bisexual NYC Teens Engaging in Risky Sexual Behavior

couple with flowersA Youth Risk Behavior Survey done in high schools in 2005 and 2007 within the New York City area shows that sexually active teens are engaging in risky sexual behavior. Students that report having sexual partners of both sexes have higher rates of violence, forced sexual behavior and risky sexual behavior.

Over 17,000 public health surveys were analyzed and the findings showed that over a third of the teens that were surveyed identified themselves as straight although they had experienced same sex sexual encounters. This study has shown that having sexual partners of both sexes increases risk of associated dangers. Of the girls with both male and female partners, 35.8 percent stated they had experienced dating violence during the previous year. Of the males with both male and female sexual partners, 34.8 percent stated they experienced dating violence during the previous year. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Practicing Safe Sex on College Campuses

Books, beer and sex. Those are three near givens on any college campus. But what most college students don’t realize is that when it comes to beer and sex, there is a lot more at risk than just a hangover and a broken heart. College students are one of the most at-risk groups for sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs).condom

But before panic sets in, here is what you need to know about protecting yourself, increasing your sex-ed knowledge, and lowering your risk for becoming just another statistic.

Risk Factors

There are two primary risk factors for STDs among students:

First, college students enjoy a remarkably easy access to alcohol, which significantly impairs judgment and in many cases, leads to sex.

Second, the lack of  practicing risk-reduction behaviors like safe-sex or getting tested regularly also amps up risk. This second risk factor can be intimately related to alcohol as the effects of booze contributes to whether or not someone is coherent enough to put on a condom or inquire about their partner’s sexual health. Read the rest of this entry »


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