ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: sex education

Net Neutrality: What It Is and Why It’s Important

Net Neutrality. Two terms that have been popping up in debates on the Internet and elsewhere for a while, but I can almost guarantee that although you’ve heard the words before, you don’t know what they mean. Allow me to clarify it for you. John Oliver, on his HBO news re-cap Last Week Tonight cleared things up for me back in June after I watched his 13-minute video on the topic. Oliver’s exactly right when he points out that the reason net neutrality is being overlooked by the people it effects the most is because it’s being presented in a language that doesn’t engage them. The term net neutrality is actually a good thing. In its most simplistic explanation it means that the Internet is neutral. It’s a level playing… Read more »

College students need sex ed, too

I would guess that most students who arrive on a college campus as freshman did not receive comprehensive sex education in middle or high school. While most of us learned about sexually-transmitted infections in the classroom, it’s also the case that for most of us, our sex education was either abstinence-only or at least elevated abstinence from sex as the universal best choice. There are lots of other numbers to throw around: about a third of people in their late teens don’t receive any formal education about birth control, and even if they do, only a fourth of them know anything substantial about the Pill. In a standard high school sex ed course  ̶  if you get one at all, and considering that less than half of all states mandate… Read more »

Why “I beat teen pregnancy” is flawed

I celebrated my 20th birthday a few weeks ago, and, like many Millennials on a holiday, I struggled to find the perfect Facebook status to capture the moment. I could have followed in the footsteps of my peers, who have overwhelmingly posted on their respective birthdays some variation of, “I beat teen pregnancy!” The phrase is so common that a friend of mine actually yelled it to me when we crossed paths on my special day—“Happy Birthday, Robyn! And congrats, you beat teen pregnancy!” But is teen pregnancy really something that needs to be “beat”? This terminology implies that teen pregnancy is akin to diseases, like cancer or addiction. When my peers say, “I beat teen pregnancy,” they say it in the same proud tone and in the same congratulatory… Read more »

Doing More Than Filling the Gaps in Sex-Ed

One of my younger brothers is in the midst that casual dirtbag period of early tween-dom. You know the one—where he every other joke is about jerking off and his ratio of obnoxiousness to actual humor is 10 to 1. Still, he’s my brother, and I love him, and he’s not a jerk a decent amount of the time. The two of us have a fairly open and honest relationship actually, and we talk about his crushes, about politics, and yes—even about sex. Seeing as he currently attends the same Catholic school I attended for all of grade and middle school—which still calls it’s “sex-ed” program “Adam and Eve” and segregates boys and girls only to give them the same talk about chastity, the evils of the “homosexual lifestyle,” etc…. Read more »

Lost in Translation: API Sex and Sexuality

The United States suffers from an unfortunate epidemic known as abstinence only programs. These sex after marriage talks are a common procedure in awkward health and sex-education classrooms around the country. For LGBT folks, abstinence only programs do us no good because, you know, we can’t really get married, and if we have to wait until after married, we’re going to be on a dry-spell for quite a while. Some advocates of abstinence only programs believe it is the right of the parents to have that conversation with their children, but for the API community, that is never a conversation we ever have. The API community is very private and though I’ve never been a parent myself, I honestly believe our parents don’t want to encourage the ideas of “promiscuity.”… Read more »

Hey NPR: Stop Shaming Teen Parents!

Earlier this week NPR published an article detailing the success of comprehensive sex-education in lowering the teen pregnancy rate in Denmark, South Carolina. While I believe firmly in the power and importance of comprehensive, sex-positive, sex education for all young people  I was disappointed by the assumption that all teen pregnancies are unwanted and that all teen parents would be better off postponing their families. The article quotes Michelle Nimmons, an advocate for comprehensive sex-ed from Denmark, S.C., saying, “”Great-grandmamas were in their 40s, and parents were in their teens, so a lot of education had to happen.” While I don’t doubt that Denmark’s sex-education was in dire need of a revamp, this kind of rhetoric shaming young parents has dangerous implications for families and the reproductive justice movement as… Read more »

Let’s Talk About Sex, During Sex: Expanding Consent

Since entering the wide and wonderful world of feminism, I’ve always been known as the “sex educator” friend. I’ve put condoms on bananas, explained how the hymen works, and of course, hammered in what consent actually is numerous times. I talk about sex, a lot. Especially with those I actually have sex with—which is often what surprises people the most. Just the other night I was talking with two of my best friends late into the night, and we were discussing our relationships, current challenges, successes, how great Space Jam is, and of course, sex. At one point I was personally sharing a recent sexual encounter that I’d had with someone I’m seeing. In describing the story, I told my friend matter-of-factly that I asked him if he’d want to… Read more »

Let the Budgeting Begin: Why Obama’s Version Makes Me Smile

We had some good news out of the White House recently — President Obama just released his version of the budget this week and in it he gives some major attention (and money) to comprehensive sex education! I’m especially excited about President Obama’s five-year re-authorization and maintenance of funding for the Personal Responsibility Education Program, an education initiative for young people to help prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, specifically for youth who are homeless, in foster care, or who come from areas with high levels of teen pregnancy, including youth of color.  He also proposes increases in funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, which helps to prevent unintended pregnancies in teens and support teen parents in communities around the country. 

How Sex Education Failed Me

Sex education in schools has been a contentious topic for a long time. A poster in a Kansas middle school brought up it up again after a parent became enrage that his child was being educated about “explicit” topics . Many schools in the country are failing to correctly teach children about contraceptives and safe sex, defaulting to the “Abstinence is King” philosophy. This led me to examine how the education I received about sex affected my relationships. When I was in eighth grade, my parents were given the option of letting me take an Abstinence-Based Health class or Abstinence until Marriage. Both of them focused on abstinence being the best method of preventing unintended pregnancies. The only difference was that when contraceptives were discussed in the Abstinence until Marriage… Read more »

Unwrapped: The Best Valentine’s Day Gift!

Chocolate, stuffed animals, and flowers might be nice, but nothing shows your affection like a big lubricated pack of condoms! In honor of February being National Condom Month, and with it being Valentine’s Day, what better way share the special day than with a pack of condoms. We’re always told to use protection because with no glove, there’s no love. However, not all of us were taught the important lessons of wrapping it up.  Almost a decade ago, 87% of high schools taught abstinence as the most effective method to avoid pregnancy and HIV. Yeah, it makes sense that if you never have sex, you won’t be at risk of anything. Unfortunately, hormones don’t work that way and we eventually all grow up. There are still many states and schools promoting… Read more »