Sexual Health

Recent posts

Claiming The Title Of Sex Educator

Half a year ago, I wrote a blog post called “On Being A Sex Educator When You’re Not,” which related my experiences of acting like a sex educator when people in my life needed access to that sort of information. However, as I wrote: “I know that there are specific degree programs dedicated to training sex educators, and I would not want to denigrate them (or the people who work so hard for those degrees) by claiming that title for myself.” Recently, though, I’ve changed my thinking. I’ve been writing for MySexProfessor since 2010. I’ve done research on sex education, and learned about some of the methods and paradigms used by sex educators to impart information to their audiences. Continue Reading →

Bystepping Stigma By Easily Locating STI Clinics

It’s important for both potential and current sexual partners to be able to give informed consent to participating in sexual acts, which includes, among other things, knowledge about one’s STI status. STIs like herpes are much more prevalent than they are assumed to be, and due to the stigma surrounding having an STI, it’s often difficult to even initiate a conversation about getting tested. That’s why I was pleased to learn about the website, FindTheBest, which allows you to compare STI testing clinics using a set of filters and factors. Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to assume that the only places to get tested at are a doctor’s office, which is not true at all. I played around with the website’s comparison tool, and I thought it was pretty neat. Continue Reading →

Assessing Facts About Abortion And Contraception

A new report from the Guttmacher Institute demonstrates that the national abortion rate has dropped recently. Moreover, this drop is not correlated with a decrease in the number of accessible providers. What does this all mean? Will Saletan at Slate discusses the causes and consequences of this phenomenon, arguing that it proves that pro-lifers have it wrong: limiting access to abortion does not actually cause the number of abortions to go down. This is for a couple of reasons: first, overall birth rates are down nationwide (a 9% decrease by some counts), and second, the decline in abortions occurred nationwide, not just in states with overly restrictive laws. Continue Reading →

What Would You Choose: Making Rent or Having Sex?

I’ve been noticing a nasty strain of classism going around when it comes to discussions of sex, contraception, and reproduction. It goes something like this: if you can’t afford contraception, you shouldn’t be having sex, because you’d be an unfit parent due to your lack of money. Statements like this ignore the fact that money is not the only factor that determines whether you are a good parent (and in fact, there’s not really a good way to chart a correlation; rich people can be bad parents, poor people can be good parents, and vice versa and everything in between). Statements like this totally miss the fact – demonstrated by scientific research – that when given access to free birth control, impoverished women take advantage of it, and drastically reduce their number of unplanned pregnancies. Statements like this also miss the fact that having to pay for birth control can make a significant dent in your budget, especially if you are already working with a low income or you must shop around for a birth control option that works for you. Continue Reading →

What’s Your Condom Size?

Scrolling through the web the other day, I came across Condomsizer, which claims to be the “#1 Condom Size Resource on the Web.” Now, I can’t speak to whether or not is is the #1 size resource on the web, but I do think it is an excellent resource for learning about which condoms will fit you like a glove. Playing around on the site, I realized that it is aimed at those in Europe, so I decided to search to see what is available for those in the US. The Condom Size Calculator, located on Condom Monologues, and the Condom Size app are both targeted to US users. Growing up, I heard that if someone says a condom doesn’t fit them, they’re lying. Continue Reading →

The Oklahoma Example Of Sex Education

Oklahoma has the fifth highest rate of teenage births in the country, and yet sex education is not a state-wide requirement. This is leading to outcry among educators in Oklahoma City, the state’s largest school district. The pattern is a familiar one to sex educators and public health officials: lack of information leads to teenage experimentation, with consequences like high rates of STI transmission, teenage pregnancies, and other health risks (the CDC has released a study to this effect). How long will it take before legislators catch up with educators? Continue Reading →

The Must-Read Article On Herpes

Yes, yes, I know you’re probably thinking: “I don’t have herpes, why should I read an article on it?” Actually, you might. By some estimates, anywhere from 60% of adult Americans to 90% of adult Americans have herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1), which most commonly manifests as cold sores. There is not much stigma in having a cold sore, whereas the genital sores associated with herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2) can cause not only physical pain but also emotional stress around disclosure. According to the CDC, around 16% of Americans have HSV-2, but around 80% of them are unaware that they have it. Continue Reading →

New Study on Exercise and Sex: Our 30 Day Core Challenge

Researchers from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University’s School of Public Health in Bloomington, Indiana are recruiting women and men to participate in a 30 Day Core Challenge, which is a study of exercise and sexual feelings (such as arousal and orgasm). In order to be eligible you must be at least 18 years old. You must be able to engage in physical exercise (such as squats and abdominal exercises, like crunches). In addition, you need to be willing to go online every day for up to 30 days to complete a short questionnaire about the exercises you did that day (if you did any) and any sexual feelings, such as arousal or orgasm, that you experienced. To learn more about the study or participate, visit the study website at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/corechallengestudy 

Thank you. Continue Reading →

Clear Teaching Principles and Sex Education

At fellow MSP blogger Kate’s urging, I began to brainstorm ways to apply the clear teaching principles articulated here to sex education. I’ve spent way more time in the university classroom, typically teaching folklore and/or gender studies classes, than I have in the sex ed classroom, so some of this will speculative. If nothing else, I hope it’ll be helpful or thought-provoking. In the aforementioned article, Dan Berrett relates the findings of studies that document a correlation between students’ perception of their professors’ teaching and improvements in student attitudes and performances that follow. The research suggests that these teaching practices can even help ameliorate gaps in skill sets that exist between students at different levels of privilege. Continue Reading →

Six Things I Learned From Being a Birth Control Counselor

Like many sex educators I know, my very first sex ed gig was taking part in my undergrad university’s peer education program. Getting the training and the opportunity to deliver sex ed was a powerful experience for me and a real boost to my career as a sex educator (penis costume notwithstanding). One of the key responsibilities of being a peer educator was providing one-on-one sexual health counseling for students at the University’s health center – many of them young women wanting to start using birth control. Since the doctors and nurse practitioners at the health center had little time to spend with patients, my role was to educate the “clients” about their options beforehand. I had the time to ask questions about their lifestyle, sexual activities, preferences, and what would be convenient for them. Continue Reading →