Adolescents

Recent posts

Our Whole Lives – Sexual Language Lessons for 8th Graders

One of my joyful duties as a sex educator is to help teach the Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum at the Unitarian Universalist congregation that I attend. The OWL curriculum provides a chance for eighth graders to examine their ideas and attitudes about sex and relationships, practice friendship and dating skills, and learn facts about pregnancy, contraception, and STIs that will help them stay safer when they do become sexually active, if they haven’t already. A favorite session of mine occurs early in the curriculum, where we talk with the youth about the different types of language one could use when talking about different sexual acts and body parts. And since OWL is an activity-based curriculum, we can’t just talk about it, we also need to do an activity. The facilitators read aloud some words for sex acts and body parts and the youth write down all the synonyms they have heard for that word. Continue Reading →

Thanks, Tennessee Legislature!

Dear Tennessee Governor Haslem and the Tennessee legislature,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you.  Due to your hard work at drafting and passing the HB 3621 and SB 3310 law, my sex therapy practice will continue to be profitable for years.  While your law outlawing the teaching of  ”gateway sexual activity” and “non-coital sexual activity” is on the books, thousands of Tennessee teens will be taught that their sexual feelings are bad and that they need to refrain from any kind of affectionate touching until their relationship is recognized by the state, and the only way to be sexual with someone is through coitus in marriage.  And my fellow sex educators in your state have their hands tied in terms of giving these confused teens options and speaking frankly about things they could do to deal with these sexual feelings in a way that lower their risks of making their partner or themselves pregnant or contracting STIs. So, thank you, because as a sex therapist, I will reap the benefits of this law for many years.  People will come to me confused as to why the sex in their marriage has fallen apart, or asking how they can stop being attracted to their same gender because they were never taught that same gender attraction was possible, or that any kind of sex exists besides coitus in the context of marriage. Perhaps I’ll even get a chance to meet with a young man who is diagnosed with HIV because his school didn’t address the type of sex he was having, and the risks involved with that. In short, your legislation will allow many more people to be undereducated about sex and relationships, which will lead to problems down the road, even in their state-approved marriages.  They will come to my sex therapy practice to talk about their deep dissatisfaction with their sex lives which may have been prevented were it not for your legislation. Thanks also for helping people think that sex should be painful and scary, and not the pleasurable, wonderful thing that it can and should be.  Those people will need counseling in the future when they don’t want to have sex because they simply don’t like it, or because their head is so filled with sex-negative messages that even when they want to enjoy sex, they can’t get to the point where it feels good. Continue Reading →