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The Cutting Room Floor: On Sexting

With everyone talking about it so much lately, thought I'd reprise the topic with some questions Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon.com asked me about sexting a few months ago, and the whole of my answers. To see her finished piece, you can meander over here.

Q: Where does "sexting" -- or for that matter, taking nude self- portraits or videos that they may or may not share with a significant other, friends or a crush -- fall within teenage sexual development?

I'd lump television in with the 'net and other new media when I say that with the media presence being what it has become, the need or desire to seen -- already a typical part of young adult development as well as human existence -- has become huge. And that's not just about sex, but because sexual development and exploration is also a big part of being a teen, as well as a part of life, period, and something that's still treated as provocative, particularly when in any way public, sex enters into this.

You're asking about teens using t

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The Pleasures and Perils of Facebook

Don’t worry: I’m not going to tell you not to post pictures of yourself drunk or exposed on Facebook because future employers might look at your profile, or tell you not to write about how "totally wasted” you got last night on your Wall because, again, prospective employers might read it. There are other articles you can read on that, and I do suggest considering the advice given in those articles. What I want to talk about is the other side of Facebook, the side that allows creeps to spy on you.

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MASC magazine

Masc magazine is a space for young men to explore how masculinity affects their lives. Masc is curious about how ideas of manhood are shaped by one's experiences and environment. Masc encourages expression and connection on a range of men's issues such as gender, stereotypes, sexuality and health. Masc helps men imagine their own ideals and ways to make them real.

The Shape of a Mother

A website where women of all ages, shapes, sizes and nationalities can share images of their post-pregnancy bodies so it will no longer be secret; to see what women really look like sans airbrushes and plastic surgery. What if the next generation grows up knowing how normal our bodies are? How truly awesome would that be?

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.

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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 the drive up, I sat in back with Sophia as she showed me how she plays cards on her Zune, shared her teen magazine with me, and put her headset on my ears to share her favorite music.

As I agreed that Paramore are, as she said, so super awesome and cool, I was reminded of my sense that when girls that age think you're the bomb, you really must be the bomb, and you very much feel as cool as the bands they like when they let you in. It's quite a gift.

At dinner, we sat together as she flipped through the magazine some more -- she still liked me even after insisting she hold my hand as we crossed a busy street, though she may well

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On Innovation and Inclusivity in Sex Education

I'm posting most of the text of the lecture I just gave at the University of Texas through the NSRC Regional Training last week. A bunch of people there asked for it, and it was a great experience for me (how awesome was it to be in a room full of current and potential sex educators? VERY). So much of what I said really sums up where I'm at with this work right now, have been going and want to keep going. Obviously, every current and potential sex educator in the world wasn't or couldn't be there, so here is my offering to all of you -- including you peer educators, formal and informal -- and I hope it's something you can use and be inspired by.

You might also notice that some of this lecture borrows some bits from a couple other pieces I've written recently, namely this one.

My name is Heather. I'm turning 39 this spring, and I'm a full-time sex educator.

I was asked to come talk to you to about how to be both innovative and inclusive with sex education.

In many ways, sex educatio

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Rape, Racism and the Media

If you are in Italy these days and spend some time watching the news and talking to Italians, you'll notice that there is one topic on everyone's minds and that's rape. In the past few months, there has been extensive media coverage of several rapes that have been perpetrated in the big cities. There has been a huge public outcry coupled with a large demand for more police presence and tougher punishments for rape. Just last week, Prime Minister Berlusconi responded by passing emergency laws to deal with the situation.

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How Easy It Isn't

“Any girl can look glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.” - Hedy Lamarr

Young women today have it so much better when it comes to sex than we did... right?

Now and then, when talking about the population I work with and the work I do with them, I will hear or face women my age (I'll be 39 this spring) or older stating that now that we live in a post-feminist world here in the states, they're shocked to hear that young women are struggling with sex and sexuality....well, just like we were. And some struggle even more.

Let's get that post-feminist mishegoss out of the way first. I remember the first time -- it was near the end of the 80s, which probably should have tipped me off to the fact that clearly, the end of the 80's was indeed nigh -- I ever heard someone use that phrase, as blithely as if they'd just said the earth were round. I wondered how the heck I missed the final end of sexism, patriarchy and gender inequality. Surely, if this were so, I'd hav

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Help! I think I'm trapped in the wrong body...

Anonymous asks:

I feel very awkward asking this question. I am a 13 year old girl, and I feel like I'm trapped inside my own body. I have never told anyone about this before, and I'm really confused. Are there certain ways to tell if you're transgender or not? I feel like I'm more attracted to guys, but I sometimes have thoughts about girls too. I'm a little young to figure it out on my own, but I've watched my fair share of those sex-change shows. I also feel like I go on the Internet a lot, because there I am anonymous, and I can say I'm a boy. I know the works of sex, so you don't need to tiptoe around the answer. I couldn't even imagine telling anyone I know about this problem. I feel like puberty is hitting, and it's hitting hard. I can't stand having boobs, it makes me feel even more uncomfortable. Another awkward question. Is there some kind of strap-on penis that is wearable? If so, could you provide detail? I really appreciate you listening to this. It was really hard for me to say, because I feel like I've been lying to myself, and repressing these feelings. Thank you.

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