Sex ed. We hear that word a lot, but who really knows what sex ed is? It’s short for “sexual education,” but what’s that?
According to my handy dandy dictionary, sex education is: “education about human sexual anatomy, reproduction, and intercourse and other human sexual behavior.” Lots of words, but it’s pretty much learning about the human body and its reproduction. Pretty much straightforward, right? Wrong.
This is a guest post from Wendy Blackheart, at Heart Full of Black, for the Scarleteen blogathon.
Ah, Scarleteen. I can actually remember a time before Scarleteen – they started up in 1998, when I was in 8th grade. See, I went to a school where 99.9% of our sexual health information was from an abstinence only program.
This a guest post from Shay at The S Spot for the Scarleteen Blogathon
I remember one time when I picked up my younger brother from school, I asked him about his day and he told me that there had been an assembly about sex ed. I asked him if he had learned anything interesting and if he had any questions about anything they talked about (figuring that he might be more comfortable talking to me, his older sibling rather than a “real” adult like mom or dad). He did have a few comments about funny things the teachers had said and how uncomfortable many of them had looked. Then he said, “I didn’t know that condoms don’t protect you from infections or AIDS”.
I was flabbergasted.
The more young people are told - usually by adults who know from their own experience it's not true -- that sex outside of marriage, outside long-term, monogamous relationships, or with any more than one partner in a lifetime, will always do them terrible, irreparable harm and make them damaged goods forevermore, the more we get questions about oxytocin, one common staple in that messaging. So, around a year ago, I started excavating.
As someone who was all but completely celibate throughout high school and this was not at all by conscious choice, I can tell you that I often found it frustrating to deal with the fact that a lot of teenagers were under- or mis-informed about safer sex, that a lot of teenagers were sexually active, and that a lot of politicians and think tanks believed in stanching teenage sexual activity entirely. I was fourteen when I started listening to Loveline (though I didn't always agree with Dr. Drew) and it began my path of sex-pertise (as it were). I was eager to get informed.
That's the verbatim response to the question "What if I want to have sex before I get married?" in "No Second Chance," a film that is part of Sex Respect, an abstinence-only program.
This particular message in the video, that sex (and only sex outside of heterosexual marriage) equals death is a common thread in many, if not most, abstinence-only curricula and programs. I figured it was high time we just unpack it, take a good look at the real deal, and be done with it.
As reported at Time Magazine this week, most of the United States has started to wise up about the ineffectiveness and bias of abstinence-only (which differs from abstinence-plus or comprehensive sex education, both of which contain accurate and in-depth information on sex and sexual health, but which usually also make clear that forestalling sex or certain kinds of sex is often most safe) sex education pushed by the Bush administration, and which is funded by billions of taxpayer dollars to date, and $50 mil
In the last week, a congressional committee began -- finally!
I came across an interesting study on the state of sex ed in Illinois today. Illinois, like most states, receives money from the federal government for abstinence-only sex ed. Some highlights of the study include: