‘sex education’

New York City Makes the Moral Choice: School Sex Ed

New York City has just mandated sex education in all public schools. Students in middle school and high school will get one semester each. The city’s logic is pretty simple: * New York teens have an unacceptably high rate of unintended pregnancy and STIs; * These outcomes are clearly linked with poverty, domestic violence and adult health problems; * Comprehensive sex education is scientifically proven to reduce these outcomes. As we say in school, 1+ 1 = 2. Parents should be celebrating the city’s decision. Medical and mental health organizations should be supporting it. The juvenile justice system should embrace…

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How To NOT Get An Erection

Sex therapy can be complicated. Fortunately, sometimes it isn’t. About three months ago my patient Sam finally started dating again after his wife left him last summer. After a few nondescript experiences, he met Yolanda, they hit it off, and a few weeks later he found himself in bed with her. Two days later he came in for his weekly session. Five minutes before it ended, he mentioned how he couldn’t “y’know” when he wanted to “y’know.” “Oh,” I said. “You didn’t get an erection when you wanted one?” Yes, that was it, poor guy. I knew he wasn’t taking…

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Commitment to Excellence Becomes Commitment to Ignorance

If Germany can teach courses on the Holocaust, and Egypt can learn to love democracy, and China can realize that capitalism is necessary to grow their economy, can’t the U.S. actually tolerate the teaching of human sexuality? The latest American institution to answer “no” is Northwestern University in Chicago. Generally an excellent, almost progressive institution, they’ve abruptly canceled one of the most popular courses on the entire campus, Professor Michael Bailey’s class on Human Sexuality. The cancellation is the climax of what started as a small, harmless—and unusual—lapse in Bailey’s judgment. Because it involved sexuality, of course it was transformed…

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Those Wonderful Librarians

I’m recently back from Austin, where I spoke at the annual meeting of the Texas Library Association. My topic was America’s War On Sex, Libraries, & Librarians. I’m pleased to say I was warmly received. And I sure learned plenty from them—some of it heartening, some of it scary. And some of what they said was sadly familiar. Just a few notes: * A small number of people can cause a lot of trouble. In almost every community, some people feel terrified that people—young or otherwise—are being exposed to immoral, inappropriate, unpatriotic, or dangerous material in the library. One might…

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Sex Ed & China: Ambivalent to the Core

If you’ve been following my travel blog, you know that I’ve been in China, training sex education teachers and psychology graduate students. China has 1.35 BILLION people (4 times the size of the U.S.), and has been involved in policy debates regarding family planning and sexual behavior for decades. They’re currently reevaluating their “one family, one child policy,” and of course sex education is part of the policy debate. The other night I lectured for two hours to sex education teachers-in-training at Chengdu University, in south-central China. The topic was “Teaching Sexuality Education: How? Why?” About 100 students, most between…

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11th Annual Sexual Intelligence Awards

The annual Sexual Intelligence Awards honor individuals and organizations who challenge the sexual fear, unrealistic expectations, and government hypocrisy that undermine love, sex, and relationships—and political freedom—today. Previous winners include Catholics for a Free Choice; Candye Kane, Red Hot Musician; Robert McGinley, Non-monogamy Activist; and National Center for Reason & Justice. This year’s winners are: Melissa Fritchle, International Sex Educator The first miracle was that she was invited to Uganda. The second is that she went. The third is that she made a difference. There’s an obvious danger to being a sex educator in Uganda. This is the country proposing…

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