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Have a Little Faith in BC

An article about choosing methods and trusting methods

An Ode To Science & The Scientific Way of Being

This is for all of you who hold onto the staunch belief that science is boring and is kept behind the walls of laboratories and between the covers of dry, boring textbooks; all of you who think science is exclusively practiced by mad scientists in white lab coats, or simply is a bunch of facts and equations that you are forced to memorize, and a category of classes in school that you are supposed to fail because it is foreign, difficult to understand, and to do well in it would label you a nerd.

If you are in this crowd, please stop. You're insulting science.

Love it or hate it, science is all around you. You live it, breathe it, and thrive in it; what do you think you are, anyway? To borrow loosely from a Fight Club quote, nothing more than some decaying organic carbon-based life form, just like everyone else. You probably even--gasp!--practice science yourself without even knowing it. When was the last time something you were using broke and you went right ahead to try and fix the

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Morning-After Misunderstandings

Labels inside every box of morning-after pills, drugs widely used to prevent pregnancy after sex, say they may work by blocking fertilized eggs from implanting in a woman's uterus. Respected medical authorities, including the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic, have said the same thing on their websites.

Such descriptions have become kindling in the fiery debate over abortion and contraception. Based on the belief that a fertilized egg is a person, some religious groups and conservative politicians say disrupting a fertilized egg's ability to attach to the uterus is abortion, "the moral equivalent of homicide," as Dr. Donna Harrison, who directs research for the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, put it. Mitt Romney recently called emergency contraceptives "abortive pills." And two former Republican presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, have made similar statements.

But an examination by The New York Times has found tha

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So, About That Study...

Over the weekend, we linked to reports on the presentation of a study in our Twitter feed and on our Facebook about the effect of sex during adolescence on academics, such as college goals, grade point average, dropout, truancy and absentee rates. On Sunday and Monday, the piece got a whole lot of media and internet airplay, even though it was clear few, if any, reporting on it had yet looked at the study itself.

This morning, we were able to sit down and read the study, Sex and School: Adolescent Sexual Intercourse and Education (Bill McCarthy, Sociology, University of California Davis and Eric Grodsky, Sociology, University of Minnesota), which Bill McCarthy graciously emailed us when we requested it, and he also graciously answered a few of my questions about it directly. We're going to have a larger conversation with them soon that we'll publish here, but as that may take a while, we wanted to clear some of the smoke before it got much thicker. It's a solid study with some importa

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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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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 do

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