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.
But an examination by The New York Times has found that the federally approved labels and medical websites do not reflect what the science shows. Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say. Rather, the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming.
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.
It's not news that mainstream media tends to do a poor job reporting on both science and sex, and a poorer job still when young people are involved. Here's some of what has gone unreported or has been poorly reported:
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.
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.
This particular message in the video, that sex (and only sex outside of heterosexual marriage) equals death is a common thread in many, if not most, abstinence-only curricula and programs. I figured it was high time we just unpack it, take a good look at the real deal, and be done with it.