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I throw around the words “fear” and “silence” often when it comes to sex ed. They’re loaded terms, perhaps, but these words best describe my experiences with sex education: my emotional reaction and everyone else’s approach, respectively. These words describe what I feel is not often expressed in the sex education debate.
True, it’s hard to use the “Little Mary Sue is scared” argument to a bunch of adult policymakers who believe that a child will “get over” whatever scare tactics they might use in sex education. I have indeed heard it argued that it is okay to use fear in sex education because, well, incurable STIs are out there right now. You can see the logic: if children grow out of believing in the boogeyman, then certainly they will grow out of being told that condoms have pores that let HIV through, right? At least by the time that they areRead more...
When I was 10 or so, I discovered the wonders of the internet. It was back in the mid-90s, before most people had access, but my father was a computer scientist, and I was rocking out on Mosaic, way before IE or Eathlink or Netscape or AOL made their brands so popular. I didn’t use it for much, as there wasn’t that much info out there pertaining to me, but I did have an email, and learned how to search.
Around the late 90s, I was in my “oh em gee, want to learn everything possible about puberty and sex” and after my parents exhausted the info available at the local library, I was lucky enough to discover Scarleteen.
It was still quite young back then, but it was knowledge, and that was something I was desperately hungry for. More importantly, it was more than just information; it was interactive. I could learn from older teens, from educators, from people my age. I became obsRead more...
This is a guest entry from Dangerous Lilly for the month-long blogathon to help raise awareness and financial support for Scarleteen!
At 15, I was still scared of boys, sort of.
Sure I’d “date” them, and yeah I’d make out with them, but everything else? Terrified. It was because I knew next to nothing about boys, sex, *whispers* penises, and all that good stuff. You learned about sex in one of three places: 6th/7th grade so-called-sex-ed lectures; your equally uninformed friends; your parents (so. mortifying.).
Oh, ’92. So good, so innocent, so…awkward. Way back in 1992, SimCity still had copyright codes hidden in black & white pixelated jumbles in a booklet that required a piece of see-through red plastic to enable viewing of text – without it, you were struck with natural disasters every 10 minutes. Oregan Trail was still fun, sorta, if you didn’t mind the thyphoid. The internet? Did not exist as far as we were concerned. We still used the freaking 30-some volume encyclopedia in haRead more...
I was just wondering...can a girl have sex if she has undergone genital mutilation? Because I know a girl who has, and she said it was a TYPE 1 circumcision and that she couldn't have sex EVER. Also, is there any way she will ever be able to reverse the mutilation? What limitations will she face, compared to a person who hasn't been mutilated? Thanks a lot for your answer!
Ugh! I’ve got the worst cold today. And here I am writing an entry for the Scarleteen Sex-Ed Blog Carnival. Instead of feeling like an all-American male sexpert I feel roughly as sexy as room-temperature jello.
But that’s actually a perfect hook for this post! When you’re sick, a track coach or personal trainer might be able to give you some good advice, but really, the best person to talk to is a doctor. Similarly, when you’re trying to start a business it’s fascinating to talk to an accountant or patent lawyer. But you’ll get much better advice from your local Small Business Administration. Well, it’s the same thing with sexperts vs sex educators.
Why? Fitness experts and doctors, accountants and small-business consultants, sexperts and sex educators all have or employ very different skill sets. One set is great when you’re already on your feet and ready to run, the otherRead more...
This guest post is from Anita Wagner at Practical Polyamory, and is part of the month-long blogathon to help raise funds for Scarleteen!
When I was recently asked to write a blog post for the Scarleteen blogathon, I had no hesitation about agreeing. I had the pleasure of meeting and having lunch with Scarleteen founder and comprehensive teen sex ed resource Heather Corinna during a trip to the northwest in summer 2009. Let there be no doubt, Heather is one of my all time heroes for the work she does to make sure teens get comprehensive sex education information. I care about this subject very deeply, as the following story will illustrate.
I grew up in an area that is pretty much to this day an exceedingly conservative part of the United States. When I came of age, good parents zealously guarded their daughters' virtue by attempting to control the what, where, when, and most importantly, who, of their daughters' social lives. Sex ed, after a fashion, was taught in health and hygRead more...
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 loRead more...
Sade is 17 and works as a youth activist for YWCHAC, a program for and by young women of color that helps foster their development in advocacy training while providing them with the skills to be effective peer-educators to youth on the subject of sexual health. Their mission is to address the increasing rates of HIV infection in young women of color ages 13-24. Sade does a lot of community outreach and events that help develop partnerships with individuals and organizations that have similar goals, events like annual sexual health summits, safer sex education parties, advocacy and STD (STI) workshops, and other community projects.
I got the chance to ask Sade about what she does, why she does it, and what she thinks about some of the issues that impact HIV and young women. I've shortcut my own questions to give her words the spotlight, because she's got some phenomenal things to say that so many people really, really need to listen to.
On what she wants people to know about young womeRead more...
I have a question...so I was reading some of the questions that you answered and I noticed a strange feeling. The more I read of your site the more I am repelled by the idea of sex. I find that I start to lose trust in the people around me and question the things that they might do. I wonder just how normal they are, or if they are freaks who do sexual things with anyone or if they are gay or have some hidden agenda. The more I read about fourteen and fifteen year old girls having sex or doing sexual things the more I want to leave my house and hike out to the wilderness to live among the trees and rocks who live beyond the debilitation of civilization. I feel so alone, like I am the only one left who cares and that I am being pulled down with the rest of the world. Am I weird? Is there something unnatural or wrong with me for hating this all so much? Am I a bad person? Please be honest, I really want to know.
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...