What Are We Teaching Kids About Sex?

Sex education is a constant source of debate in American society. As a proponent for sex education in school, I believe that it is important to teach children not only about contraception, pregnancy, and STDs, but also about sexual orientation, feelings, desires, being ready for sexual intimacy, and love. But with the current focus on abstinence and sex being acceptable only within marriage, teens are expected to delay sex until they are married. And that is exactly what most American teenagers are doing, right? They wait until marriage and they only have one sex partner their whole life? Wrong!

Most American teenagers have sexual experiences during their teenage years, and most have sex before marriage. Therefore, abstinence-only programs are not very effective. So is it not better to teach children how to be prepared, protected, and emotionally ready for sex, so that they can avoid unwanted teen pregnancy, contracting STDs, or having sex with a partner before they are mentally and physically ready?

[Read more...]

RealStars – Fighting For Fair Sex

Realstars is an organization that fights for fair sex – the notion that sex should be on equal terms. Realstars is also actively working against all forms of sexual exploitation, injustice and sex trafficking, which they state, is the complete opposite of fair sex.

A recent video by the dating site Miss Travel titled “Beautiful People Travel for Free” targets attractive young women who would like to travel and explore the world. The basic notion is that women can sign up for an account with Miss Travel, find a wealthy man (in the advertisement these men are doctors, lawyers, bankers, athletes, executives, entrepreneurs and millionaires) and then travel to exotic and popular locations all over the world.

Realstars finds this proposition troubling. On their website they have this to say about the video (which I translated from Swedish to English): [Read more...]

A New Condom: A New Way to Awareness

April is STD awareness month. In this context, it is necessary to recall that women are generally at a greater risk of heterosexual transmission of HIV. Indeed, biologically women are twice more likely to become infected with HIV through unprotected heterosexual intercourse than men. Moreover, let’s keep in mind that in many countries women are less likely to be able to negotiate condom use; consequently they are more likely to be subjected to non-consensual sex.

Hence the importance of a constant safe sexual behavior, required for women. So, what’s new in condoms? A non-latex condom! The first premium condom made from polyisoprene – a scientifically formulated non-latex material “that delivers the ultimate sensitivity that is the closest thing to wearing nothing”: SKYN®.

The majority of condoms available in today’s market are made of latex, but individuals who are allergic to latex can still enjoy safe sex with these breed of condoms. Non-latex condoms are condoms that are not made of latex and therefore have no latex allergens. [Read more...]

STD Awareness Month: International Roundup

STD awareness month in the USA is the occasion to recall that all inhabitants of the Planet are concerned by STDs. Even if what is at stake can change more or less, depending on the countries, STD awareness stays intrinsically linked to the woman’s condition. There are too many laws which the only purpose is to control human body. Sexual education is a pivot in this awareness: when people don’t receive an appropriate sex education, they are much exposed to STD.

What is at stake:
USA: Sex, Teens and Risk: Conservatives Have It Wrong
Africa: Study Notes Strategies to Lower HIV Risk for Sex Workers
Brazil: Brazil’s economy may be thriving, but its attitude towards children shows it is still lagging behind

Sex education:
USA: Utah’s Abstinence-Only Sex Education Bill is Dangerous for Teens
Asia: China introduces sex education in primary schools

Knock knock. Who’s there? Syphilis…Again

A few years ago a friend told me a story about how a young guy whose life was saved by a doctor – and the story stuck in my mind. You would think that that’s what doctors are for – they save lives (they really do – I’m a living example) so maybe there’s nothing so special about this? But what was incredible about J.’s story was that the life-saving was, in a way, very unglamorous.

It involved no fancy operations or cutting edge technology. In fact, what was important was that the doctor was old (and once served in the military). Old enough to remember the diseases soldiers used to get a lot – including syphilis. He remembered the early symptoms and was able to identify ‘the pox’, from which the young man suffered, at a stage at which a younger doctor possibly couldn’t.

If he’d had been treated by someone who went to medical school after syphilis supposedly slipped into medical history, the disease might not have been identified and he would likely have been exposed to its awful consequences. And syphilis’ symptoms and consequences are not a walk in the park and include everything from skin ulceration (including in the genital and rectal areas), cardiovascular issues and very serious neurological problems (friendly advice: do NOT google image syphilis). Although many people infected with syphilis do not have any symptoms for years, they remain at risk for late complications if they are not properly taken care of. Untreated, syphilis is very bad for you: it has a mortality of 8% to 58% (and watch out – it discriminates and has a greater death rate in males). [Read more...]

More Teen Boys are Wrapping It Up

The Associated Press reported some encouraging news this week: according to a recent study, a whopping 80 percent of teenage boys are using condoms the first time they have sex.  This is up from 71 percent in 2002, and 55 percent in 1988.

So what gives? Are teen boys proactively wrapping it up or are girls drawing a line in the sand and insisting on condoms?

It’s hard to say. My guess is a little bit of Column A, a little bit of Column B. But others are more skeptical. One young man interviewed said he would “be hesitant to give guys credit for coming up with this on their own.” Ha! [Read more...]

HPV, Throat Cancer and Boys

I recently wrote about the importance of the HPV vaccine, given its ability to help prevent cervical cancer. But, as it happens, the vaccine isn’t just for cervical cancer and genital warts. Now it seems that the vaccine could also prevent certain types of throat cancers.

That’s right, throat cancer. New research from The Journal of Clinical Oncology shows that throat cancer caused by HPV – usually contracted by oral sex – is on the rise.

[Read more...]

Safe Sex Roundup

With this week bringing a plethora of Cinco de Mayo (aka “Cinco de Drinko”) parties, I thought it might be a good idea to post some articles about keeping your drunken party fests safe.  Here’s the best of our safe sex posts.

Tips for Staying Safe While You Party
Condoms: What Are They Good For?
How to Protect Yourself from Herpes During Oral Sex
How Can I Intensify My Orgasm?

Condoms: What are they good for?

Used to be I could joke that the only people even talking about condoms were the teens on Daytime TV. Maybe it was all the celebrity babies, or the “bump” watches. But it didn’t seem like too many grown-ups were using them. (Or any other form of birth control, for that matter.)

Times have changed. Condoms are making a comeback. Thrusting their way into the media spotlight, so to speak.

First Nicholas Kristof wrote a column on contraception that practically put the condom out to pasture. His rosy prediction:

The next generation of family planning products will be cheaper, more effective and easier to use — they could be to today’s condoms and diaphragms what a smartphone is to the bricklike cellphones of 20 years ago. (Kristof, “Birth Control Over Baldness,” NYT, 9/26/10)

Condoms made the news again a few days later in the coverage of a new study on American sexual behavior published by The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The chief talking point? Sexually active teens are using condoms on a more regular basis than their Baby Boomer parents (and grandparents). Even when the parent or grandparent is having sex with a stranger.

The stories themselves are a mixed bag. If Kristof is right about the future of reproductive technology, it would not only be good news for women looking for effective forms of birth control—it could very well be the key to our survival as a species, given the threat of overpopulation. And if teenagers are using condoms more than boomers, well, that’s fewer unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among teens. And for their elders? A lot of tough questions.  [Read more...]

BDSM Can Be What A Feminist Looks Like!

Question of the week:

Is it unfeminist of me if I like to be dominated in the bedroom? Am I selling out the movement if I let my partner tie me up?

Thank you for this excellent question, and let me begin with a resounding NO! It is likely that I will get some push back, and maybe even some strong resistance to this answer. There are some who argue that any thing that could be related to dominance/submission, violence, or physical restriction is inherently unfeminist…while I generally agree with these sentiments, I think that the bedroom is different territory…please hear me out. [Read more...]