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abstinence-only

Sex Ed and Bleach

This is a guest entry by Max Kamin-Cross, originally published at abortiongang, that's part of the month-long blogathon to help support Scarleteen!

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.

I know how un-straightforward sex ed is, probably more than any other blogger you read. That’s because I attended health class, every day, for 20 weeks less than a year ago.

Every single morning at 7:40am I was in Mr. Hanson’s (he requested I not use his real name) class for 46 minutes. Monday-Friday from December all the way to February, I had to sit in this class. This was a chance for New York State and Pittsford Centra

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These are Good Things.

This is a guest post from Wendy Blackheart, at Heart Full of Black, for the Scarleteen blogathon. Want to take part? Toss us an email and we'll get you in touch with Laura, our blogathon organizer!

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.

The school sex ed actually started out okay – in grades 3 and 5 we had health classes where we learned about the human body and how it works. In 5th grade, we separated out into groups of just boys and just girls, and got some of the details of puberty and what would happen to our bodies. We learned where babies came from and all that before the abstinence-only programs were started.

By high school, however, we were not getting much in the way of good information. We didn’t learn about birth control at all – it wasn’t even mentioned, not even in a negative way. We saw lo

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Sex Education is Important

This a guest post from Shay at The S Spot for the Scarleteen Blogathon

I do a lot of work in my real life with sex education and promoting safer-sex practices (i.e. getting people to use condoms). Some of you may even recall that The S Spot got it’s start as an educational sex column in a campus newspaper!

I feel that when you’re talking to someone about sex, you can’t just try to scare them with the facts about sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and how accidental pregnancy will “ruin your life”; but a lot of sex educators focus on just that.

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 tea

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Pump Up the Vole-ume: Talking Oxytocin

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. It's taken me a while to get this out here: I confess, it's mostly because I was dreadfully bored by it all. I'm not a neurochemistry geek, but a sex geek. Because so much of it wasn't all that relevant to sex, and because this just isn't my area of geekdom, every time I've picked this up what I found most amazing about oxytocin was its ability to miraculously cure my bouts of insomnia by just reading or writing about it.

Anyone who regularly reads Scarleteen knows we don't feel there's one model of relationship, or any right or wrong number of sexual p

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Comprehensive Sex Ed for the Comprehensively Celibate

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.

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I Guess You Just Have to Be Prepared to Die!

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. Sex Respect has a host of other special and oh-so-factual messages for you in their student workbook, including such sparkly gems as:

"A young man's natural desire for sex is already strong due to testosterone...females are becoming culturally conditioned to fantasize about sex as well." (p. 11) Did you know that without cultural conditioning, women don't have any desire for sex? Of course you did. Did you know that women don't have any testosterone in our bodies, too? Note: neither of these things are true. But you knew that already.

"A guy who wants to respect girls is distracted by sexy clothes and remembers her for one thing. Is it fair that guys are turned on by their senses and women by their hearts?" (p. 94) So, when it comes to sex, men don't have emotions and women don't have any of our five sens

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Nearly Half of U.S. States Now Refusing Abstinence-Only Sex Ed and Federal Funding

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

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What Would Maria Do? One Sex Educator's Ever-Evolving Manifesto

One of the things that has a great influence in both how I enact sexuality education and how I conceptualized my approach from the get-go is my background with teaching in the Montessori Method.

Overall, the primary way Montessori works is this: as educators, we observe our students, and based on our observations of what their self-directed interests, skills and questions are -- basically, what they're drawn to in terms of what activities they choose for themselves and what activities and areas they express interest in -- we choose what materials to make or find and to present to them. In doing this, we're also trying to help students learn to be observers, as well as working to empower them when it comes to trusting their own interests and instincts and to be self-motivated and self-directed, rather than reliant on -- or vulnerable to -- others to give them directives. Montessori teachers see ourselves more as helpers, as guides, than as directors or founts of knowledge. We see

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Young Adults Testify Against Abstinence-Only Sex Education

In the last week, a congressional committee began -- finally!

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Illinois Public Schools Sex Education Study

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:

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