Heather Corinna's blog

Want to be a peer sex educator?

In case it isn't obvious from the message boards and our peer-written content on the site, peer-based sex education and support is really important to and at Scarleteen. While I love my job as a sex educator who is an older adult, and think there's a lot of value in my doing this work, at the same time I feel like there's an extra power and a special kind of support with peer-to-peer education and interaction that I can't do.

How to (Un)pack for a Real Discussion About Abortion

The murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller on May 31st has resulted in a lot of conversation about abortion. It’s a topic frequently hushed, or spoken about more around its politics than the actual procedure, the experience itself and the real women who have abortions. So this increased discussion is certainly something potentially positive happening because of something horribly tragic.

However, often in these conversations and news stories, language is used that's confusing or inaccurate, and some statements are made about abortion or women who choose abortion which are false, unrepresentative or misleading. And any of this can come from either “side” of abortion debates or discussions, due to political aims or motivations, ideological ideas or agendas or just out of plain old ignorance.

What We've Lost & Why We Stay

All of us who work at clinics that provide abortion, or as abortion or reproductive rights educators or advocates know we do so at substantial risk. Women who come to our clinics as clients also know that they, too, may be at risk. The slaying of Dr. Tiller yesterday is tragic and upsetting, but it is not surprising or new. We didn’t become scared for the first time yesterday. We’ve always been scared, and we have always had cause to be scared.

The murder of Dr. George Tiller at his church yesterday morning -- based on the information we have so far – was domestic terrorism, and terrorism which has been known and prevalent for some time.

Preventing Teen Pregnancy: Three Words Most Likely to Make My Blood Boil

I hate, hate, hate that phrase. Nearly everywhere I go or look as a young adult sexuality educator anymore, I run into it incessantly.

Let me be clear: I don't hate doing all that we can, to help people of every age to avoid pregnancies or parenting they do not want or do not feel ready for. I'm so glad to do that, and it's a big part of my job at Scarleteen and elsewhere when I work as a sexuality and contraception educator and activist.

Infinite Love for Nick and Norah

I only rented Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist recently, so I know I'm behind the curve on this one. But I just had to say something.

I loved this movie. I loved it as a person just chilling out on her couch wanting to watch something good, and I loved it even more as someone who works with and for teenagers and young adults. When I looked up the director, I was unsurprised that I'd liked it so much. Peter Sollett also directed Raising Victor Vargas, which is one of the best, most honest and real coming-of-age films I've ever seen.

In which we're reminded, again, that abstinence pledges don't work.

Patient Teenagers? A Comparison of the Sexual Behavior of Virginity Pledgers and Matched Nonpledgers, Janet Elise Rosenbaum, PhD, AM; Health Policy PhD Program, Harvard University:

Five years after the pledge, 82% of pledgers denied having ever pledged. Pledgers and matched nonpledgers did not differ in premarital sex, sexually transmitted diseases, and anal and oral sex variables. Pledgers had 0.1 fewer past-year partners but did not differ in lifetime sexual partners and age of first sex. Fewer pledgers than matched nonpledgers used birth control and condoms in the past year and birth control at last sex.

That First Period Talk

Yesterday, after working my second job at the clinic, I was effectively kidnapped by my co-worker Gigi and her ten-year-old daughter Sophia, whom I adore. She calls herself Big Sophia around me, my pug (scroll down this page for a visual) being Little Sofia. We wound up driving from their place to my neighborhood for dinner, which is a pretty long haul.

On Innovation and Inclusivity in Sex Education

In many ways, sex education often seems to get stuck in two big places. Plenty of people seem to think that if you're talking about sex to young people at all -- no matter how you're talking about it, no matter why you're talking about it -- that's progressive enough, and for some, that in and of itself is too progressive. Despite Americans having over 100 years to get used to sex education at this point, for many it still seems an innovation, and not a particularly welcome one.