Abstinence-only proponents misread scientific study to their favor

February 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

For the very first time, a review of an abstinence-only program shows that the program was effective in delaying sexual intercourse among its participants. The study, published in the current issue of the Archive of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, stands as the only existing scientific evidence that shows that an abstinence-only program was effective.Excited that science may for once be on their side, some opponents of comprehensive sex-ed are heralding this recent study as proof that the abstinence-only message not only works, but works better than comprehensive programs. But such claims grossly misinterpret the study. Abstinence-only proponents are choosing to see what they want to see, and manipulating the facts to back up their political agenda.

As it deals with the topic of sex-ed– an extremely controversial issue in this nation–the study is highly susceptible to being misconstrued, apparently even by the mainstream media. The Washington Post published the misleading headline “Abstinence-only education programs might work, study finds”; The New York Times writes “Abstinence-only education is found to delay sex”; and The Christian Science Monitor remarks “it is the most comprehensive study…to bolster an abstinence-only approach to reducing teen pregnancy”. As misinformation circulates around this recent study, here is what you need to know:

1. The “abstinence-only” program under review was more comprehensive than traditional abstinence-only curricula.
The program under review was actually more comprehensive than rigid abstinence-only curriculum. Instead of promoting an abstinence before marriage message, the program encouraged abstinence from sex until one feels ready, which is a very different message than the former. Because of that, the program does not actually meet the federal criteria of being an abstinence-only program.

That this particular program was found to be effective in delaying young teens from having sex and other more rigid abstinence-only have consistently been found to be ineffective may be due to the fact that the program under review is more comprehensive than traditional abstinence-only programs. The program was not infused with morality, was medically accurate, discussed condom use, and did not disparage contraception.
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How many ways can sex and pleasure go together

November 2, 2009 § 1 Comment

Let’s start with the title, Because It Feels Good. Debby Herbenick’s message is so basic, so obvious: sex should be pleasurable. Yet many women—whether in love, out of love, avoiding love or hesitatingly dipping their toes into love—are having sex without pleasure. Whereas sex is increasingly becoming another task on a person’s to-do list; and continues to be a topic enshrouded in shame, guilt, embarrassment and misinformation; Herbenick take us back to the basics, bringing pleasure back into sex.

Patient, accepting and knowledgeable, Herbenick is an ideal sex coach. She offers no guarantee for “instantly better sex!” because that is not her sell or her goal. So if you are in search of a book that tells you how you can have mind-blowing sex all of the time, this ain’t it. And if you come across a book (or pill) that does, remember what they say about what sounds too good to be true…  In a culture where people are anything but upfront about sex, Herbenick is plainly honest. She is upfront about that fact that sex will not always feel incredible no matter how well educated you are about the subject matter. And just because you don’t have incredible sex 100 percent of the time or you are not always craving sex, Herbenick is not going to write you off as dysfunctional, and prescribe you with 228 pages of her book. What she does promise is that there is room in your sex life for improvement and more pleasure.

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Looking at vulvas

October 25, 2009 § 1 Comment

photo by Peter Lippmann

If I was still in New York City, you bet I would be at the Change  You Can See gallery for their latest exhibit Vulvagraphics: an intervention in honor of female genital diversity. Because honesty about female bodies is so rare, I try to gravitate toward it in attempt to stay sane and not lose complete sense of reality.

Vulvagraphics is part of a movement that counters the inaccurate and violent depictions and attitudes of female genitals that bombards us so subtly, pervasively and effectively.

The exhibit comes at a place and time when nearly all depictions of vulvas are deceptively homogenous– post cosmetic surgery, air-brushed, or drawn as hairless stick figure cartoons.  The exhibit features photos, drawing, videos and craft representation of vulvas from artists around the globe.

For your viewing pleasure, I have copy and pasted some vulva graphics below.

Oh, and also, here is an interesting article about the similarities between  female genital cosmetic surgery and female genital mutilation by Gbemisola Olujobi, a Nigerian woman who was “circumcised” as an infant.

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