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!

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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.

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.

How would you decrease the highest birth rate in the US?

A news story from West Virginia caught my attention earlier this week.

According to the policies of the West Virginia Department of Education, the state cannot teach an abstinence-only curriculum; however, teachers can choose an abstinence-based model (Burdette).

This change took place because of Kristan Hawkins, the Executive Director of Students for Life of America. Hawkins reminded the Department of Education that the “rate of sexually transmitted diseases among teens is the same no matter the type of sex education those teens are learning” (Burdette). Since this is the greatest concern of abstinence-only sex ed proponents, the WV Department of Education couldn’t help but change their policies (Burdette).

Hawkins makes a very good point in this article. As the devils advocate, however, Hawkins is from a pro-life organization which doesn’t account for all of the abortions that take place as a result of an abstinence-based versus abstinence only education. I wonder what the difference in statistics really is… While the national pregnancy rate is dropping due to less sex and more contraception usage, the Department of Education cannot forget that the teen pregnancy rate in West Virginia is higher than the national average. In my opinion, the Department of Education is better off comparing the sex education implemented in other states before altering their plan based on a simple statistic from a pro-life organization.

Over in Mississippi, things are run a bit differently. A Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative is teaching a curriculum called ‘Making a Difference’: “an evidence based curriculum that talks about teen pregnancy prevention, STDs and HIV” (Clurczak). While this is a select group of students who have been given parental permission for such instruction, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health backs these efforts (Clurczak).

Unfortunately, while this is a renowned abstinence-only sex education program, it obviously lacks an important component: contraception. Julie Norman, the outreach coordinator for this Teen Pregnancy Prevention program shares: “Our focus is helping young people see that abstinence is the best choice for themselves… First we get into talking about [the girls’] goals and what they want to accomplish in life and then we do some brainstorming on how having sexual intercourse can affect the goals and dreams that they have” (Clurczak).

I strongly believe that there should be more options for sex education in areas such as these. In this case, there is too much pressure for teens to conform to pressured decisions made by those who consider themselves mentors and sex educators; however, this pressure is clearly biased and what they don’t realize is that they must make their own choices because they will ultimately dictate the rest of their life. Most importantly, in my opnion, sex will always be personal decision – whether to partake or not. That is not for your sex educator to decide. What do you think?

NOTE: While reading this article, keep in mind that Mississippi has the highest teen birth rate in the US as of 9 days ago (Reuters). Does this change your opinion?

 

 

Works Cited:

Burdette, Whitney. “Business, Government Legal News from throughout WVWV Ed Dept Policy Forbids Abstinece-only Sex Education.” WV Ed Dept Policy Forbids Abstinece-only Sex Education. 11 Apr. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.

Clurczak, Ellen. “Sex Education: Schools to Decide If Abstinence Enough.” Hattiesburg American. 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.

Reuters. “Teen Pregnancy: Mississippi Has Highest Teen Birth Rate In The U.S.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 04 Oct. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.

Dan Savage, gay rights activist – and sex educator? Indeed.

In the Washington City Paper, Dan Savage has his own column entitled “Savage Love” in which he responds to posts from the DC community. In this specific installment of Savage Love, Dan is contacted by a gay, high school boy with concerns regarding sex and sex education. In the article, the boy writes:

“[My boyfriend and I], we had sex education in our schools, but they didn’t cover gay sex” (Savage).

This aspect of neglect in the field of sex education angers me too, so I kept on reading.

I tried to talk to my mom about gay sex, and all she said was ‘please use condoms.’ We tried and we used condoms, but I think we must be doing something wrong because we can’t do it. We are ready to start having real gay sex – and we are frustrated and feel like failures as gay men. Any advice?” (Savage).

From this excerpt of the boy’s letter to Dan, I gather that there is not nearly enough emphasis on homosexual intercourse in schools and at home. While this is still a taboo conversation, it is a necessity to start including some resources for those who are involved in gay relations to be safe during intercourse. Especially at home, parents should be a helpful resource for their children, not a rut.

Dan Savage, a gay rights activist and sex educator in his own way, shines light on the subject to help this young boy and provide him the resources he needs. Dan shares that there are many ways as a gay couple that he and his boyfriend can get off together – mutual masturbation, oral sex, frottage, etc (Savage). Overall, Dan’s column must serve as a great tool to educate about sexuality in a simple manner: through the city paper.

In the future, I hope that this boy finds more easily accessible resources to get the answer to his question, as I’m sure there were millions of boys who wrote and didn’t get any response from Dan Savage in this column. The future of sex education will hopefully include gay relations and safe sex for all types of relationships. In addition, the means to obtain such information will hopefully be more widespread and Dan Savage will pave the way for sex educators alike to share their knowledge with those who know less.

 

 

Works Cited:

Savage, Dan. “Are “Desensitizing Anal Wipes” Dangerous?” Washington City Paper. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.

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