Skip to main content
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 teaRead more...
This entry is from Omnipotent Poobah, and part of the Scarleteen Blogathon
At the risk of dating myself – at least not in the eHarmony sense – I am from the sex education dark ages.
In my day, Just Say No was Just Don’t Say Anything. Moms and Dads, more often than not, didn’t have “the talk” because of their own shocking lack of knowledge or because they were too embarrassed. Teen pregnancy and sexual diseases were relatively rare. And gay kids? Well, they simply didn’t exist.
Sex ed was limited to the 6th or 7th grade when all the girls were herded out of gym class to see a film about “that time of the month” while the boys played baseball…in the winter. Many of the girls emerged from the film visibly shaken and, so far as I know, none ever revealed the true nature of the film to the boys.
Of course, that left teens to their own sexual education. And teens, as they frequently do, thought they knew more about things than any adult could possibly know. In those days, they unfortunatelyRead more...
(It's much more fun if you do your best Mary Catherine Gallagher moves when you say it.)
Today we're starting our yearly fundraising appeal -- the shiny marketing term for "beg for cash" -- for Scarleteen with some righteous month-long festivities and extras.
We aim to publish an in-depth advice column every single day from now through November 15th. Myself and Scarleteen's assistant director, CJ Turett, will be burning the midnight oil with answers, but we also have the help of some fantastically talented people to help this month, like Jaclyn Friedman, Kate Bornstein, Susie Bright, Zaedryn Meade, Cory Silverberg, Petra Boynton, Justin Bish, Amanda Marcotte, Carol Queen, s.e.smith, Nona Willis Aronowitz and more! You can get started with Jaclyn Friedman's guest advice on getting sexual assault awareness started in your college right here.
All across the 'net there's also a month-long blogathon for us starting today, and we will be reprinting most of the entries right here on our ownRead more...
Part of the 2010 Blogathon to help support Scarleteen. This entry is courtesy of Tess at Urban Gypsy.
If I earned a dollar each time I’ve heard the statement, “I’m surprised you’re so strict,” in relation to my parenting, I’d be basking on a beach in Tahiti now rather than on a Metro North train whisking me off to do a sex ed consult on the Lower East Side. I’d probably be doing sex ed consults in Tahiti; you can take me out of NY but you can’t kill my desire to help people learn more about their sexuality. But back on point, I can always hear the implied, “you with your pierced nose, tattoo, open marriage and non-stop sex talk.”
The funny thing is, my friends may have been surprised but my daughter was not. When her thirteen-year-old best friend got her belly button pierced, there was, of course there was, some whining.
“But why can’t I,” she implored. “I don’t see what the big deal is.”
In parenting style reminiscent of the worst of my own parents, I snapped, “You can’t because IRead more...
Many people have been asking about when our next peer sex educator training will be, and I'm sorry to say that I'm coming in with my founder and executive director hat on to deliver some not-so-awesome news about it.
We have a very long waiting list for another session of our training. I was hoping to be able to do another round this spring or summer, but as of right now, it simply will not be possible to do until late fall, and may even need to stay on hold until 2011.
I like to run the organization as transparently as possible, so I'll briefly explain what's up with the holdup. Long story short, there are three major factors right now which are the issue.
With the waiting list being so long, we want to train a larger group in than last time. But even with the small group that we had last year, it was clear that doing the training mostly on my own was very difficult, and I feel that shortchanged our trainees. So, I need some pro-bono help from a handful of other qualified educatorsRead more...
I was watching a debate about sex education today, one rife with a lot of ludicrous statements, but the statement that quality sex education could not possibly help prevent sexual abuse stuck with me. It was all the more infuriating as someone who knows too well that a lack of knowledge about bodies and sex, and a lack of information about sexual consent and autonomy are some of the hugest reasons why sexual abuse is so prevalent.
Now, this is hardly a new form of cluelessness (nor is it exclusive to Canada: we've all but made an art form of it stateside). I've addressed this issue before, at Scarleteen and in some talks and interviews I have given over the years, and also in a piece a little while back for the Guardian in the United Kingdom.
Hopefully it's obvious the reason I, as a sexuality educator and activist, and Scarleteen, as an organization, provide sex education isn't just about preventing unwanted or negative outcomes, like unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infectiRead more...
I tried several times to leave a comment at the National Campaign's blog on this, but alas, it wouldn't let me. I'm pretty savvy with web forms, so it's probably just some kind of temporary technical snag over there. Since it wouldn't let me do so there, I'm doing it here.
After hearing complaints about the video at sex::tech from audience members at one of my own panels, a video I had not seen myself, then getting an email the following morning with some of those complaints CC'd to me, I had a private conversation with Larry Swiader, in his role there as a representative of the NC, about the reactions the video got (which I did look at before our conversation, and was not a fan of myself). This was a conversation where I was primarily trying to help support someone new in the field facing an intense swell of reactivity, however valid. I know how challenging working in sex education can be, especially when you're new to it, and I also know how overwhelming it can be to face en-massRead more...
What's the typical use effectiveness rate for abstinence? All I can find anywhere, even at organizations that teach abstinence, or say it's the only effective method of contraception, is the perfect use rate. How well does it really work for people in real life? Why doesn't anyone have that information on this method when we do for every other method?
This is one of a long line of common phrases in sex education and sexuality messaging people, including people I think of us allies, use that I deeply dislike, like "preventing teen pregnancy." Let me explain why, working backwards.
In some respect, that's fine. Now, not everyone needs contraception, either because they don't have a partner with a radically different reproductive system than them or they're not having the kinds of sex that can create a pregnancy, so that doesn't always make sense. But for people choosing to have any kind of sex, we're 100% on board with the sentiment that all of us -- no matter our age -- should be engaging in sexual practices supportive of safeguarding everyone's best health, and in alignment with whether we do or don't wantRead more...