‘sex education’

My Work In Delhi

Surprise! I am in India lecturing and vacationing. Yesterday I lectured to the staff of an international NGO on challenges in sexual and reproductive health, a great experience. Monday and Tuesday were my days to meet with the executives and staffs of various NGOs promoting sexual and reproductive health. The work they’re doing in both urban and rural settings is inspirational and instructive. They deal with challenges both similar to and beyond the ones I and other American professionals deal with. These Indian programs are often tied to work in women’s rights; reducing domestic violence; HIV prevention; and promoting the…

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Parents, Porn Isn’t the Problem

If porn were the problem, we’d all be in big trouble. Because there’s more porn out there than ever. And there’s more porn hysteria than ever. It’s a PornPanic, fed by a 24/7 machine of “morality” groups, crime shows, right wing talk shows, misguided neo-feminists, and everyday wives and husbands whose relationships are struggling while porn sites prosper. For example, America just finished WRAP—White Ribbon Against Pornography Week. (It used to be Pornography Awareness Week, until porn retailers started using it as a marketing slogan to increase sales. Now that’s guerrilla theatre worthy of Paul Krassner.) Like all anti-porn efforts,…

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Growing Beyond Being Sexually “Normal”

Last week I gave a workshop to 120 psychologists in Portland, entitled “When Sex Gets Complicated: Porn, Affairs, Kink, & Other Clinical Challenges.” I talked about the kinds of activities patients—people—do, such as S/M, going to strip clubs, and role-playing in private or public. Yes, and porn, always gotta talk about porn. One of the changes in American sexuality since I started teaching 20 years ago is that today, everybody asks about porn. The attendees listened intently, laughed at my jokes, bought my books, and took away plenty of ideas to use at work on Monday. Despite discussing various offbeat…

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O‘Reilly Freaks Out Over “Uterus”

Last night, Bill O’Reilly pretended to have a conversation about sex education with my dear friend Debra Haffner. She’s the co-founder and director of the Religious Institute for Sexual Morality, Justice, & Healing. The faux news hook was Barack Obama’s comment supporting sex education in kindergarten. The show’s producer helpfully cued the audience with a visual of condoms and oral contraceptives—completely irrelevant to the discussion, but predictably inflammatory. And that, not informing people, is the show’s mission. O’Reilly criticized some abstract “them” for injecting too much fear into the cultural dialogue about childhood sexuality—without, of course, noting that his show…

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Ohio Proves It Cares About Its Young

Ohio is the latest state to refuse federal funds for abstinence-only sex “education.” Five other states have announced the end of their participation: Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Montana and New Jersey. California, Pennsylvania, and Maine already don’t participate. The reasons for refusing the federal money are simple: the money can only be used under extremely narrow circumstances–e.g., no mention of condoms or of contraception’s success rate; programs with these criteria don’t work to substantially reduce teen pregnancy or STDs–according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office; the required matching state funds can be put to better use, enhancing teen sexual health…

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“Daddy, What’s That?”

“Daddy, what’s that?” “It’s a vending machine. You put in a dollar and buy something.” “Like a soda machine? Does it sell soda? I want a soda.” “Yes, like a soda machine. No, it doesn’t sell soda.” “What does it sell?” “Stuff for adults.” “Like what?” “Condoms.” “What’s that?” “Condoms are what people use when they have sex, and they don’t want to create a baby, and it also helps keep them healthy.” “So why are they here in the bathroom at the airport?” “They have these machines in all the bathrooms of the Vancouver airport.” “But people don’t have…

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