Feminism | Posted by Aya on 04/1/2016
This Is What Happens When We Don’t Teach Teens Comprehensive Sex Education
We need better sex ed.
In February, President Obama took an important stand for sexual health in the United States: He eradicated funding for abstinence-only sex education in his 2017 budget proposal — a decision backed by countless studies, expert opinions and anecdotal accounts of just how ineffective this type of “education” is. But even on the (unfortunately) off chance that our Republican-dominated Congress passes this program — which has cost almost $2 billion in federal spending — the damage of abstinence-only sex education on my generation is already evident.
As a college freshman, I have witnessed and experienced many examples of such damaging effects firsthand. This can manifest in unfair and frustrating ways, like the “pleasure” or “orgasm” gap that results in women not getting off as …
Feminism | Posted by Amber0sine on 11/3/2015
The Importance of Comprehensive Sex Education in Faith Communities
Growing up, neither my parents nor anybody in my religious community spoke honestly about women’s sexual wants or needs. I was taught to follow a single rule: to remain pure until I got married and could satisfy my future husband’s sexual needs. To this day, my parents still regard sex as an act that happens only between a husband and wife and believe those who act otherwise are condemned to a lifetime of shame and damnation. While most of my peers had at least an inkling about what sex was by the time they reached adolescence, therefore, I remained uninformed.
That changed in fifth grade. My school held a seminar about “what happens when a girl becomes a woman.” We were handed permission slips and told to get …
Feminism | Posted by Brittany Brathwaite and Kimberly Huggins on 04/10/2015
8 Things You Can Do To Empower Young People This National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Today is the 3rd National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day — a meaningful day for us as an adolescent health educator and feminist youth worker. But we weren’t always as aware or passionate about educating young adults about safe sex and, today, we are reminded of the experiences that led us to this work.
It started at 17, when I (Brittany) was asked by an educator if I was at risk for HIV. I shrugged and confidently replied, “Of course not!” Little did I know that I was. I’d had unprotected sex before because I didn’t have adequate knowledge about safe sex at the time. I got tested for the first time that day and it truly changed my life. Getting tested gave me the power to …
Feminism | Posted by Chloe H on 11/14/2014
Facts Don’t Lie: Teens Need Sex Ed and Access to Contraception
Access to education is a fundamental right. But are all American students learning everything they need to know? The use of abstinence-o
nly education in schools is archaic and absurd, and yet it’s a commonplace policy.
According to a 2012 Guttmacher study, approximately a quarter of teens between the age of 15 and 19 had received abstinence education without instruction on birth control between 2006 and 2008 and a significant amount of teens (46% of males and 33% of females) do not receive formal instruction about contraceptives before the first time they have sex. Thirty-seven states require sex education that includes abstinence while twenty-six states require abstinence to be stressed as the best method. The state of Mississippi has the highest rate of teen pregnancy and does …
Feminism | Posted by Fiona L on 06/6/2014
Erasing the Gray Area: Why Enthusiastic Consent Is Essential To Eradicating Sexual Assault
One Friday evening this spring, I stood in the courtyard outside my dorm with a friend. The sun was setting and students were performing their pre-party rituals around us. It was the first temperate day of the semester and a surge of giddiness seemed to have engulfed the campus. Yet I’d spent the last hour and a half consoling my friend, who was grappling with the process of filing a complaint of sexual misconduct against a fellow Yale student.
It wasn’t the first time I’d found myself in this situation. In my time at college, I’ve heard many stories, generally from heterosexual women, ranging from hazy one-night-stands that went further than intended, to dance-floor-make-outs that felt pressured, to sexual encounters in which the victim was inebriated past the …
Feminism | Posted by Erik C on 03/11/2014
What Many Men Don’t Understand About Sexual Assault
Warning: This piece contains material about sexual assault that may be upsetting to some readers.
Sexual assault wasn’t a problem on my radar until it happened to me. But two and a half years ago, I was assaulted over the course of two nights, in a foreign country, while involuntarily intoxicated. This led to chronic clinical insomnia, job loss, a suicide attempt, 16 months of severe clinical depression, and a year off from school with short stints of homelessness and alcoholism.
So, since then, I haven’t really had a choice but to think a tremendous amount about sexual assault and its consequences. I can’t, by any means, know what sexual assault is like from a woman’s perspective, but I’ve talked to dozens, if not hundreds, of female survivors/victims (different people …
Feminism | Posted by Max F on 11/13/2013
Why Teaching Teen Boys About Consent Should Be A Mandatory Part of Sex Ed
It started with a Facebook post. Last summer, a Facebook friend posed the question: “If you would teach your daughter about protection, then why wouldn’t you teach your son about respect?”After I read that, I realized that my high school’s sexual education class only taught us (and especially girls) what not to do. We were taught not to “put your drink down” and to “not drink something if it wasn’t made in front of you.” This information is valid, yet it begs the question: why are young adults only taught how to avoid other people’s behavior? For example, someone has to be the person tampering with somebody else’s drink in order to attempt assault, yet that person’s behavior isn’t directly addressed — we’re not explicitly taught not to lace somebody …
Feminism | Posted by Natasha V on 03/11/2013
Teen Mom Shaming vs Teen Pregnancy Prevention
What is with this unnecessary need to shame, bully, and stereotype teen mothers in an attempt to decrease teen pregnancy? Teen pregnancy prevention campaigns DO NOT have to be at the expense of a teen mom’s dignity. It doesn’t work, it isn’t fair, and it’s only perpetuating a stigma that further increases the isolation of young parents who need support. Quite frankly, it’s extremely sexist too! I don’t see an ad shaming teen dads? If my comprehensive sexual educating cohorts are correct, it takes two to make a baby.
In this pathetic and desperate attempt to eliminate teen pregnancy, the adults who sat around this campaign and ok’d it knew that it would send a horrible message to teens: “Teen moms suck so don’t become one.” And of course, the …