Sexual Health

Recent posts

The “Delayed Notification” Phenomenon

It’s bad juju to publicize your pregnancy before you’ve reached the second trimester. This delay in notification is practiced widely in Western culture, but nobody has really asked why we keep our early pregnancies a secret. As a component of a recent research paper I wrote about miscarriage and fetal personhood, I anonymously interviewed 17 women who have given birth in the past seven years about this practice. The results were striking. According to my survey results, 10 out of the 17 women chose to keep their pregnancies secret until after the three-month mark. Continue Reading →

Shocker! Kids Don’t Know Enough About Sexual Health


According to a recent city-wide standardized test, students in Washington D.C. are suffering from a serious lack of comprehensive sexual health/sexuality education. The test found that high school students, though fairly aware of the basics of anatomy and safe sex, were unable to pinpoint where and how they could access health care and who to talk to. Fifth graders and eighth graders, on the other hand, aren’t nearly “as educated about the human body as they should be.” So there are a few issues here. Continue Reading →

Interview With Folklorist Andrea Kitta: Vaccines, Public Health, Risk Perception

Being a folklorist means that whenever I chat with my colleagues, I find that they are researching really fascinating things. Take, for instance, Andrea Kitta, assistant professor of English at East Carolina University. She specializes in in medicine, belief, and the supernatural (and she’s a dancer, like me!). I knew that her book on vaccine rumors had just come out, so I asked if I could interview her for MySexProfessor, and fortunately, she agreed! Jeana: How would you summarize the main ideas in your book for the general public? Continue Reading →

5 Ways to Celebrate World AIDS Day


In honor of celebration week, I wanted to write about an important event that just happened this past weekend: World AIDS Day. In case you missed it, or want to keep up the spirit of World AIDS day for all of December, here are 5 things YOU can do to celebrate World AIDS day. Donate (your time and/or money) – Go here to find an AIDS Service Organization (ASO) near you. Give them a call and ask to speak to their volunteer coordinator. You could hand out condoms, make condom packets, work the table at events, or even answers the hotline phones with a little training. Continue Reading →

Why I Refuse To Use The Term “Pro-Life”

In light of Savita Halappanavar’s death due to being refused an abortion after miscarrying, using the term “pro-life” to mean “anti-abortion” is increasingly problematic. As therapist Lyla Cicero points out, “when a choice must be made between a mother’s life and a child’s, choosing abortion is still being pro-life, isn’t it?” Her piece on a pregnant teenager who identified as pro-life yet choose an abortion exemplifies this dilemma: the girl was choosing her life, choosing to delay having children, choosing to commit her time to working her way out of poverty. The irony, as Cicero notes, is that “The politicians who so vehemently call themselves pro-life are the same politicians who would resent [the teen mother's] living off the government.” That quote leads into the connections between pregnancy, poverty, and abuse. Continue Reading →

Changing Your Life, Changing Your Health


Someone recently told me that I must be a big fan of change. When asked for evidence towards that opinion, they mentioned the fact that I moved five times during my five semesters of grad school, and that I recently changed both my location and my relationship status. While this seems to support their argument, my subjective experience tells me that this change was hard but (mostly) necessary for me to get to the life I want to live. And I’ve been doing this for a long time. For example, I quit a full-time job I really loved in order to go back to grad school and become a sex educator and therapist, because that’s what I saw myself doing long-term. Continue Reading →

Girl-Driven Sex Education In Haiti

This excellent article discusses how peer-driven sex education is gaining momentum in Haiti. Due to the lack of institutionalized sex education, there are very high teenage pregnancy rates, which worries not only those trying to plan the country’s future, but also many teenage girls themselves. One high school student says of the club that promotes sexuality awareness: ”Thanks to the club, we avoid having babies before we are ready, and we also avoid getting infected with illnesses that potentially could cause us to die.” Clearly, everyone should have access to life-saving knowledge. If you’re lucky enough to have access to thorough and accurate sex education, maybe consider what you can do to help others? Continue Reading →

Colleges Should Support Male Sexual Violence Survivors

This Chronicle report advises universities to include men in their sexual violence support and prevention services, reasoning that sexual violence against men is often underreported, and that universities are obligated to provide safe environments for all their students. Due to the prevalence of worldwide sexual violence against men, and situations showing that discussing gender roles with boys helps them think outside ingrained sexist behaviors (such as those that sustain rape culture), it seems like directing sexual assault prevention messages at college men as well as women is the next logical step in campus safety programs. Continue Reading →

Social Media Increases Teenage Condom Use

According to a recent report (pdf), spreading sex education messages on social media such as Facebook can be effective in raising not only awareness of STIs and pregnancy but also increasing condom use among teenagers. Lead investigator Dr. Bull suggests that “Facebook for sexual health interventions is at least equally effective as other technology-based mechanisms, and these effects match those observed for more traditional HIV prevention programs delivered in real-world settings.” Make sure to like us on Facebook so you can help spread sexual health information and perhaps make a difference. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Vaginal Tightening Gel Makes You Feel “Like A Virgin”?

It seems that almost every day, I come across a new product that somehow offends me on several levels. “18 Again,” a vaginal tightening gel produced by an Indian pharmaceutical company Ultratech, is no exception. According to the article from the NY Daily News, Ultratech’s goal is to “empower the new age woman.” Now, while I understand that it could be considered empowering to take the status of your vagina into your own hands (literally), the fact that the company is essentially telling millions of women that they are only worthwhile if they have so-called virginal vaginas is far from empowering. Continue Reading →