Sex Education

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 →

Implications Of The Net Neutrality Ruling For Sex Education

If you haven’t heard much about what the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on net neutrality recently, this New York Times blog provides a clear run-through of the ruling. Basically, the ruling states that internet service providers (like Verizon) are not required to handle all internet traffic equally. Internet content creators can pay the service providers to move their content through the channels more quickly, thus providing preferential treatment to those internet content providers who have more money. The implications of this for sex education – and for the internet world of sex in general – are disturbing. If certain sites are loading faster, that might dissuade internet users to go out of their way to find other sites. 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 →

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 →

When Abstinence-Only Sex Education Is Against Your Religion

This Patheos blog post by Sunweaver discusses an uncommon dilemma: we’re very accustomed to people objecting to sex education because they say it’s against their religion, but what about people who object to abstinence-only sex education citing the same reason? She points out that “to use fear and shame to intimidate children into avoiding sex until marriage is to vilify something I see as sacred.” Further, she cites studies of abstinence-only education demonstrating that it is based upon religious belief, leading to this problem: “Abstinence-only is a religious teaching and it isn’t my religion they’re teaching.” We know it’s impossible to please everyone, but this is yet one more reason to embrace a fact-based approach to sex education. In an ideal world, at least, it’d be harder to alienate people with facts, but especially with sex, it can be (unfortunately) difficult to disentangle fact from belief. Continue Reading →

On Being A Sex Educator When You’re Not

A funny thing has been happening to me lately. People have started treating me like a sex educator, even though I’m not. I work in adjacent fields, certainly (such as folklore and gender studies), but I wouldn’t claim the title of sex educator for a number of reasons. What’s a well-intentioned scholar/blogger to do? First, while I frequently can and do educate people about sex, there’s a reason I’m not calling myself a sex educator. Continue Reading →

Teens And STI Results Via Text Message

A new technology allows teens (and others, presumably) to share their STI results using text messages in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which has long been concerned about sexuality activity among its students. Detractors worry that encouraging this kind of openness is the same thing as condoning teens having sex, while proponents argue for a sort of harm-reduction view, saying that if teens are already having sex, we might as well recruit technologies they love to use to help them share and access information. I’d love to see a study of how this technology is being used, and whether it’s affecting STI transmission – or even just communication – in any significant way. 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 →

Why Good Sex Ed Is Important: A Reminder

Not surprisingly, disclosing that I’m a sex educator often elicits questions, wide-eyed stares, and/or giggles. Recently, after telling someone what I do for a living, I was asked, “what do you think about abstinence-only education?” I replied (with a smile), “That’s like asking an evolutionary biologist what they think of Intelligent Design” and went on to discuss a few of the problems with America’s notorious (lack of) sex ed. While it’s not news to anyone who works in sexual health that comprehensive sex ed is a good thing and that abstinence-only sex ed doesn’t work, sometime it’s nice to be reminded why the work we do is important. Recently, I came across an article on Twitter (thanks @jezRSH) that describes some of the more noteworthy and atrocious “lessons” in New York State’s sex ed curricula that have been uncovered in a recent study by the New York Civil Liberties Union. Continue Reading →

Widener’s Careers in Sexuality Conference

As is the experience for most sex educators, people are frequently asking me “how did you get into this line of work?” I think that’s understandable since most high school career days don’t include my chosen profession. While many people enjoy talking about sex, far fewer actually want to make a career out of it and those few sometimes struggle to learn how exactly one becomes a professional sex educator. In my recent twitter feed, I came across a link to Widener University’s 5th Annual Careers in Sexuality Conference, which will be held on October 12th of this year. As the name suggests, this conference centers on how to build your career in sex ed. Continue Reading →