Alifa Watkins

Newsflash America: Denying Teen Sex Doesn’t Make It Go Away (Part 1)

Also in Spanish

  Amy Schalet, author of “Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex” (University of Chicago Press, November 2011), states that denial is the real problem for American parents when it comes to teen sex. . . . But talking to teens about sex does curtail unwanted teenage pregnancy Amy Schalet, an assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst originally from the Netherlands, urges American parents to stop denying that teens have premarital sex or participate in other sexual activities. Once parents accept that teens have sex, and teenage sexual ...

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Gateway Sexual Activity: Fact or Fiction?

Spurred by a classroom demonstration involving a sex toy, Tennessee recently enacted a pro-abstinence sex education law that is among the strictest in the nation, which includes bans educators from promoting “gateway sexual activity.” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed this “no holding-hands” bill, as critics have labeled it, into law in May. According to drafters of the bill, HB 3621/ SB 3310, this so-called “gateway sexual activity” includes any discussion of “intentional touching of the primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock or breast of a human being.” Let’s see what some of the topics this narrow definition excludes from sex education: oral sex, ...

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Carrying Condoms Not Only Makes You A Slut, but also a Prostitute

Initiatives in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., allow the police to search and arrest women carrying three or more condoms late at night under prostitution charges. So a woman carrying a few condoms can be arrested under the suspicion of being a prostitute? Does this profiling sound familiar? It's just like the stigmatization that teen girls who carry even one condom receive from their peers whether or not she planned to use it: if a girl carries condoms, she’s automatically a “slut.” This is called “slut shamming,” or as a 13-year-old girl describes it in her video, Slut ...

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Why Should Men Control Women’s Sexual Health? It’s Time for Women and Girls to “Take Control”

The Philadelphia Health Department launches a safe sex campaign called “She Takes Control” that promotes female empowerment and responsibility by encouraging female youth to carry condoms. Pennsylvania is one of the many states in the U.S. that suffers from high rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among teenagers -- they are as much as five times the national average. STDs are increasingly prevalent in Philadelphia and Philadelphia County, with 1 out of 3 youth getting an STD during their teen years. In fact, PA ranked seventh highest among the 50 states in 2008 for AIDS cases. While many states ...

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Follow up: Adolescent Sexual Health: To Improve or Not to Improve? That is the Question…

También en español After initially postponing the decision to adopt either abstinence-only or abstinence-plus sex education curriculum, the Natchez-Adams School Board in Jackson, Mississippi chooses “both.” The Board voted to adopt the abstinence-only program, but also voted to require all 12 modules of the “Rise to Your Dreams” curriculum . . . the same curriculum mandatory in abstinence-plus. We wanted to know why. For one, Board Member David Troutman thought that the topics covered in abstinence-plus were too explicit for sixth graders, believing incorrectly that middle-schoolers don’t have sex until high school. Second, Board President Wayne Barnett believes that the ...

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Adolescent Sexual Health: To Improve or Not to Improve? That is the Question…

(También en Español) The Natchez-Adams School Board in Jackson, Mississippi, is currently deciding whether to adopt abstinence-only or abstinence-plus curriculum. This decision for Mississippi schools, to implement either abstinence-only or abstinence-plus curriculum, is the same as deciding whether or not to improve adolescent sexual health. The former, abstinence-only education, will be laden with religious ideologies, teach students about the importance of abstinence as the expected standard, and only mention contraceptives in terms of failure rates that are wrong and unscientific. The latter will teach the benefits of abstinence, but also will give comprehensive information about condoms, contraception, and the prevention of sexually transmitted ...

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Part 2: Proclamation of Masturbation: Joycelyn Elders Gives Masturbation a Thumbs Up

(También en Español) "We must know that if we want to have a sexually healthy society, it's about education, education, education," says Joycelyn Elders, MD. With 9.5 million teens obtaining a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and 750,000 becoming pregnant per year in the United States, it is no wonder why Elders asserts that comprehensive sexuality education is the key to a sexually healthy world. In order to help remedy this, Elders teamed up with the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Program in Human Sexuality (PHS) to advance sexual health education not only in America, but globally. Together, Elders and PHS established ...

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Proclamation of Masturbation: Joycelyn Elders Gives Masturbation Thumbs Up (Part I)

(También en Español) In 1994, then Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, MD, proclaimed, "With regard to masturbation, I think that it is something that is a part of human sexuality and a part of something that should perhaps be taught." Masturbation being taught in schools? This statement is not one of shock, confusion, and contempt (or even a question) in countries where comprehensive sex education thrives, such as in the Netherlands, but in the United States, it sparked a nation-wide controversy that resulted in the termination of Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. So what was the fuss about? Joycelyn Elders has been a strong, public ...

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