Thank you, readers! Stay tuned!

As an aspiring teacher, I knew this research would interest me. However, I didn’t know to what extent. After learning a substantial amount about sex education across the country and across the world, I strongly believe that I found a passion of mine. With so many improvements to be made in the field of sexual education, I hope to lead many initiatives to make forward progress at all possible.

My hope is that you found these posts interesting as well and I have motivated you to take some sort of stand for sex education in schools, whether it is your school or your child’s education. Sex education is critical for healthy sexual development of all individuals and I hope that my blog has motivated you to continue to learn more about your sexual health.

Stay tuned for many more posts in the near future! Shoutout to AU’s American Studies Professor Stef Woods who encouraged me to start this blog!

After glancing back at my findings, I came to several valuable conclusions:

  1. It is important to have talk about sex with your kids, but leave the rest (that you’re uncomfortable discussing, or don’t know much about) for the sex educators at school.
  2. Dan Savage is one of the many helpful sex educators that can be contacted in a time of need. Seek out people who can provide you with resources to make responsible sexual decisions.
  3. Get involved in Sex Week at your school. Help supply condoms, lube and other forms of contraception to students. Advocate for safe sex and encourage others to be responsible as well.
  4. Parents, fight for mandatory sex education in your child’s school. Know what type of sex ed your child will receive (abstinence-only or abstinence based) before piggybacking on concepts that he/she learns in school.
  5. Remember that everyone is unique. Some people identify as a gender that is inconsistent with the sex they were assigned at birth. While this poses conflict with sexual norms in society, it is up to the community to welcome him/her in with open arms, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity (as seen on Glee).
  6. Be aware of the bills passing in your state. Do you want to live in a state like Tennessee where there is a limit on your exposure to homosexuality? Or do you want your kids to know that their friends are raised by gay parents?
  7.  Use your judgment to monitor or even restrict your child’s exposure to the media, especially the Internet and television/movies.
  8. Do not try to combat your sexual urges by playing soccer.

Parents know everything, right? Not about sex.

Have you ever wondered how your parents learned about sex? How were things in the generation before us? And before?

As Care2 mentions in their article about Adult Sex Education, “no one is born knowing everything about sex and what we were taught in high school is not that helpful as adults” (Madsen). Therefore, the common misconception that parents know everything and never made mistakes is now proven to be a misconception. For that matter, we are nation in desperate need of a large group therapy session on adult sexuality (Madsen).

When I think of sex education, I assume we’re talking about educating kids or students in grade school. However, we neglect to focus on the importance of educating adults as well. Adults often keep up to date on sex and sexuality by researching on the internet, just as kids do, although this is often the easiest way to receive false information.

Pamela Madsen, a sexologist and educator, agrees that there should be more resources for adults as well as students, to refresh themselves on sexuality and keep up with the times; especially when it comes time to educate their children.

For starters, Pamela suggests adults: 1) read The Pleasure Mechanics; 2) check out speaking or working with a sexologist; and 3) attend a workshop; to name a few. All of these suggestions are ways to start staying more up to date with sex ed!

 

 

Works Cited:

Madsen, Pamela. “Adult Sex Education.” Care2, 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2012.

How should our kids learn about sex?

Once again, according to US News Health, parents are trying to gain control of their children’s media access, to prevent them from exposure to negative images. Instead, parents are encouraged to step up and help children learn how to become responsible human beings (“Children, Sex, and the Media”).

According to statistics this past year, parents have not been very successful in monitoring the sexual responsibility of their children. The United States has the “highest rate of teen pregnancies in the developed world and 25 percent of American teenagers have a sexually transmitted disease” (“Children, Sex, and the Media”). Instead of turning to parents to answer sex questions, teens find their answers in the media. In order for parents to regain control and monitor their child’s sexual behavior, they must do the following: 1) Limit all screen media time to a maximum of two hours a day; 2) Get the TV and computer out of children’s bedrooms; and 3) Use sex in the media to do on-the-spot sexual education (“Children, Sex, and the Media”).

In my opinion, number 3 is most important because it allows for parental involvement, as opposed to passive aggressive behavior of turning off the television. Number 3 will help parents relate to their children and ease into the conversation of sex while there may never be a better time to bring it up.

In terms of proper, responsible media usage, US News also suggests that parents: 1) Ban the TV from the kids’ bedrooms; 2) Turn off the TV during dinner; 3) Ask your kids about their “media day”; 4) Set rules for your kids’ media consumption; and 5) Turn off your phone (Shute).

Most importantly, you have to be a role model for your children; however, I don’t think you need to set such strict rules surrounding media usage. Children in the next generation will learn how to adapt to their environment and will learn how they work best, whether it be in a noisy environment or in a quiet setting. Either way, these parental involvement suggestions are only meant to offer alternative ways to solve an overexposure to media. Most families should handle such issues on a case by case basis.

How would you handle this situation – if your child spend 6 hours a day watching television, on the internet, and on his/her phone?

 

 

Works Cited:

“Children, Sex, and the Media: 3 Ways for Parents to Gain Control.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 01 Sept. 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2012.

Shute, Nancy. “5 Ways to Make Kids’ Media Use Safe and Healthy.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 20 Jan. 2010. Web. 20 Apr. 2012.

Homosexuality introduced in schools – To be, or not to be?

In Tennessee, teachers are quieting down during conversations about homosexuality, as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” cleared the House education committee on Sunday (Hubbard).  What this means is that the Republicans who dominate the Tennessee legislature are taking a very active role in public education and have created a bill that “prohibits the teaching or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8” (Rosenthal). In the event that a teacher or school violates the state’s sex education policy, teachers will face a $50 fine and up to 30 days in jail, according to state law – and this bill passed the Senate last year (Hubbard).

That is appalling.

Whether you want your children exposed to homosexuality at a young age or not is not up to the government. Educators have every right to discuss the different types of family that exist in society today. They have to encourage students to acknowledge and accept reality.

Those who are in denial of such relations and disagree with homosexuality; those people can impose their own beliefs on their children at home, on their own time.

What do you think? Who should impose beliefs on students?  Why can’t educators acknowledge peoples differences? What if one student is raised by a same-sex couple? Can this student not participate in a discussion about family or parental guidance?

 

 

Works Cited:

Hubbard, Julie. “‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Advances in the House.” The Tennessean. 18 Apr. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.

Rosenthal, Andrew. “Don’€™t Say €˜Gay. Do Say €˜’Intelligent Design.’™.” The Loyal Opposition. 18 Apr. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.

How to approach sex education in college… Harvard University tells all.

In terms of college-aged students, there is an ongoing conversation about sex going on at most college campuses. With the easy availability of diaphragms, condoms, lubricant, and implanons, passer-bys will often wonder what the table is set up for, but during Harvard Sex Week there are many sex education venues around campus in Cambridge. I found this idea fascinating, as I would love to have such an open campus community that fostered the comfort of sexual health discussions at any time of the day.

Apparently this idea started at Yale University in 2002 and “has since spread to colleges across the country from Harvard to the University of Kentucky and Washington University” (O’Connor). During Sex Week at Harvard University, you can find “a student-run program of lectures, panel discussions and blush-inducing conversations about all things sexual” (Quenqua). The “newer versions of these student run weeks give advice on everything from hooking up on campus to feeling more comfortable and fulfilled sexually” (Quenqua). Frankly, I haven’t seen this publicized nearly enough, especially in the DC area. More campuses across the US need to have a more open policy about sex education and have more resources available for students, since college is generally a very sexually active age.

Thinking about how things are here at American University, I wish there were more free testing centers in the area for STDs and HIV/AIDS along with more resources to seek out information about sexual health, other than the expensive health center. In addition to resources in the AU area, I’ve realized there are not nearly enough resources for those looking to get tested in the DC/MD/VA area, or at least they are not well marked and available to the community.

I would be interested to see how testing works at other universities… is it free? Or do students have to seek out testing centers in the community as well?

 

 

Works Cited:

O’Connor, Anahad. “Do College Students Need Sex Ed?” Well. 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.

Quenqua, Douglas. “College Students Opening Up Conversations About Sex.” Love Well. 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.

A lack of sex education in grades 6-12… the most vulnerable age.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, put it perfectly in this Howell Patch article: “These days sex is everywhere from music to movies to television, yet when it comes to sex education and reproductive health, there is a lack of credible information” (Cuyler).  She is exactly right. With this much exposure to sex in the media, why haven’t we figured out how to combat these negative representations with accurate sex education?

Another trusted source, WebMD Health News, reflects on the concept of sex education becoming less prevalent in middle and high school. Their statistics originate from Center for Disease Control (CDC) data, which show a “leveling off of the number of middle and high schools teaching their students about how to prevent HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy” (Mann). According to my high school education, I received a rare, controversial, comprehensive-sex education including a unit on contraception, a unit on HIV/AIDS, and a unit on unplanned pregnancies. Sex ed classes like the one I was fortunate enough to take a hard to come by nowadays.

According to a study of 45 states in 2008 and again in 2010, “the percentage of middle schools teaching 11 topics on HIV, STD, and pregnancy prevention in 2010 was lower in 11 states and higher in none compared with 2008 results” (Mann). In other words, little progress has been made in the last few years and this is troubling because “nearly half of all high school students have had intercourse, placing them at risk” (Mann).

Another article in the International Business Times recaps the CDC statistics as well. They conclude with a great point that will resonate with educators forever: “Families, the media, and community organizations, including faith-based organizations, can play a role in providing HIV, other STD, and pregnancy prevention education,” they said. “However, schools are in a unique position … because almost all school-aged youths in the United States attend school” (Khan).

That last point made by CDC researchers is very important to keep in mind, as a parent, as an educator, and as a peer. As a mandatory source of sex education, is it really just the school’s job to provide a student with all of the sex ed they know? What are other influences on their sexual behavior?

 

 

Works Cited:

Cuyler, Greta. “Planned Parenthood Head: Keep Politics out of Women’s Health – Howell, NJ Patch.” Howell Patch. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.

Khan, Amir. “Sex-Ed Lagging In Schools, CDC Says.” International Business Times. 6 Apr. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.

Mann, Denise. “Teen Health.” Sex Ed Becoming Less Prevalent in Grades 6-12. 5 Apr. 2012. Web. 6 Apr. 2012.

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