Search results for "sex education"

The Pen Versus the Sword: Sex Education Books and Death Threats in Saudi Arabia

47% of fathers in Saudi Arabia find it difficult to answer their children
s questions related to sex and about 87% find it embarrassing to answer the questions, and, as a result, they tend to ignore them.

Professor Amal Mohammed Banouna

In her recent research study of the position of parents and teachers on offering early sex education to children between 3 and 8 years of age, Professor Amal Mohammed Banouna of Umm al-Qura University in Mecca found that the curiosity of students about sexuality embarrassed many parents and elders in the conservative kingdom. Despite this blush, Banouna found that more than 90% of parents and teachers support the introduction of sex education in public schools. Also, Banouna recommended that both teachers AND parents should be given training on how to deal with their children’s curiosity, especially when it comes to matters of sexuality. Another older study in 2010 showed that 43% of parents were reluctant to share sexual health information with their children themselves; yet, almost 90% said they were concerned their children may be sexually harassed or abused. 

Mohammad Al-Sheddi, a member of the Shoura Council and the Human Rights Commission, believes that children have a right to information that would protect them, stating, The Shoura recently approved a protocol to protect children from being exploited for pornography. Children should be equipped with enough information that would allow them to differentiate between right and wrong, and detect whether they are being used or lured into a situation in which they may be abused.

Also in 2010, Dr. Wedad Lootah, an Emirati social worker and marriage counselor who wrote a bestselling book on sex education, said that she planned to write a series of three books on the subject for kindergarten, junior school and high school pupils. She outlined her plans saying, First there will be a picture book for kindergarten that will grab their interest, and then for the bigger ones, grades one to six, there will be Islamic teachings in simple language. Then for the higher grades who already know everything, there will be the dangers and the negative effects: what is right and what is wrong. However, I was unable to find any recent stories about the potential books beyond that fact she received many death threats from fundamentalists.

Dr. Lootah, who wears a full-length black niqag, is the only female counselor at the Family Court of Dubai, where she counsels several Arabs, including Emiratis at her Dubai Healthcare City clinic, and teaches them how to have a healthy physical relationship.

So if Saudi youth aren’t getting the necessary information to protect themselves and be sexually healthy from their schools or their parents, where are they getting it from?
The answer is through trial and error, books, and the Internet according to female college students in a discussion about sex education in the Kingdom. These women also reported feeling that they did not have a safe place or safe person where they could comfortably go and ask such questions. Moreover, women’s relationship to sexuality and sexual health in Saudi Arabia needs drastic improvements. According to a study on women’s sexual health, female participants reported experiencing more difficulties in talking about sexual matters generally, and specifically those that related to sexual intercourse. They also delayed seeking sexual health care as a result of the influence of Saudi social norms around women’s sexuality. Plus, health care professionals tended to avoid initiating discussions about sexual matters in their clinical practices to respect the cultural norms and avoid offending the patient.
Hopefully, with the projected introduction of sex education in schools, Saudi Arabian youth and women can start receiving the information they need to maintain their sexual health. Nonetheless, as Banouna pointed out, no matter how embarrassing or taboo, parents, teachers, school administrations, and health care professionals should ALL be involved in educating youth about sexuality and sexual health or else they will not know how to take care of or protect their bodies and make responsible choices.




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Creative Commons Image Edited by: Alifa Watkins
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Sex Education is a Human Right

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The Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance (Woodhull), named in honor of Victoria Woodhull, joins the public discussion about sex education by framing it in the context of sexual freedom and human rights.

Woodhull is a leader in advocacy and activism for sexual freedom, rights, and liberty and also acts as a convener of activists and a resource for progressive initiatives that advance sexual freedom. Woodhull works hard to combat the prohibition of pleasure, advance an agenda that recognizes the wonderful diversity of sex, sexuality, and our rights as human beings to make informed, consensual choices in our lives; Woodhull recognizes that this agenda can be accomplished through comprehensive sex education. Woodhull believes that comprehensive sex education includes age-appropriate, medically accurate information on a broad set of topics related to sexuality, addresses both genders and transgender and all orientations and disability, and teaches how alcohol and drugs can effect responsible decision making.

However, Woodhull does not just approach sexual health as an educational issue, but also in the context of sexual freedom and our universal human rights.

Former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt with the English version of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Woodhull posits on the inclusion of sexual freedom.

In their report, State of Sexual Freedom in the United States 2011, Woodhull advocates that human beings, including youth and adults, have the right to access information that will help them make the best decisions for themselves and lead happier lives. As sexuality is a part of every human being, access to sexuality information is a part of our basic human rights. Sexuality is not only about sex, either. In the broadest terms, sexuality encompasses everything from engaging in sexual acts, to how people see themselves in terms of body image and gender roles, to how people relate to others in emotional and physical relationships.

As such, Woodhull asserts that everyone deserves access to comprehensive sex education, because a lack of access to valid information about sex and sexuality is not only harmful and ineffective, but also contrary our fundamental humans rights. Along with the right to access vital information, we have the human right of sexual freedom, a freedom that is the right of all individuals to develop and express their unique sexuality, and includes the freedom of sexuality education and sexual health. Sexual freedom involves not only the freedom “to do” something sexually, but also the freedom “not to do” something sexually. Therefore, sexual health programs that boost sexual health, like comprehensive sex education, are the ideal for sexual freedom because they incorporate teachings about both abstinence and contraception.

Woodhull justifiably frames the discussion of sex education in the context of our fundamental human rights of education and sexual freedom.

If you want to find out more about the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance and their views on sexual health education and other key issues of sexual freedom, such as sex work and reproductive justice, you can visit their website. Also, you can attend Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit (September 21-23), where Alison Gardner and Dan Massey, VenusPlusX’s founders who work closely throughout the year with Woodhull as members of its Advisory Council, will presenting their workshop session, “Sacred Sexuality and Erotic Communion, the Human Experience.”

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Feature Image Provided by: Alifa Watkins 


Utah legislature passes bill requiring ‘abstinence-only’ sex education — or none at all

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News of Note: Utah legislature passes bill requiring ‘abstinence-only’ sex education — or none at all

Utah legislature has passed a sex education bill that allows schools to decide whether they will teach students about human sexuality and in the event that they do, requires that it use “abstinence-only instruction materials.” The bill now goes to the governor for approval.

Abstinence only education ignores the fact that human beings will inevitably have sex. Parents may be scared to death that their child could become sexually active, but that shouldn’t justify denying all children information about contraceptives and other aspects of sexual health. America’s obsession with sexual repression continues to take this country further backwards. What do you think it’s going to take to end this abusive trend?

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Sex Education Gets Directly to Youths, Via Text

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News of Note: Sex Education Gets Directly to Youths, via Text –

“While heading to class last year, Stephanie Cisneros, a Denver-area high school junior, was arguing with a friend about ways that sexually transmitted diseasesmight be passed along.

Ms. Cisneros knew she could resolve the dispute in class — but not by raising her hand. While her biology teacher lectured about fruit flies, Ms. Cisneros hid her phone underneath her lab table and typed a message to ICYC (In Case You’re Curious), a text-chat program run by Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Soon, her phone buzzed. “There are some STDs you can get from kissing but they are spread more easily during sex,” the reply read. “You can get a STD from oral sex. You should use a condom whenever you have sex.”

Ms. Cisneros said she liked ICYC for its immediacy and confidentiality. “You can ask a random question about sex and you don’t feel it was stupid,” said Ms. Cisneros, now a senior. “Even if it was, they can’t judge you because they don’t know it’s you. And it’s too gross to ask my parents.”…

“Real Talk held a classroom contest to see which student could send the most texts containing this prevention message: “ROFL!!!” (Translation: rolling on the floor laughing). “STDs and HIV can spread as fast as this message. Still laughing? Pass on the message not HIV/STDs. 518-HIV-TEST.” Within an hour, the message had been sent to nearly 450 phones.”

Services like ICYC are innocent and valuable tools; they are available to anyone searching for information and unlike Google, they have the advantage of being targeted at young people. Viral text messages, about sex between curious teens, is a great thing.

It is quite disheartening to contemplate a young person’s first glimpse at sex, though, being a warning message about dangerous and life threatening diseases. Until society’s leaders are replaced by people who do not fear and repress their own sexuality, and old systems of racial and sexual oppression disappear, this growing access to information via the Internet and even cellphones is vitally important. I hope everyday that involuntary ignorance becomes a thing of the past, don’t you?

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The Sexual Freedom Project: Dedicated to Education

(También en Español)

What are the best ways for us to get information about sexual freedom to our friends, fellow students, neighbors, and co-workers? Have you ever given a presentation, held a class, or even just started up a conversation with someone about sexuality and gender issues that are important to you? Do cultural taboos about discussing sexual topics hold you (or people you know) back to any extent, and if so, how can these inhibitions be overcome to carry on the important work of educating others?

Let us know what you think. Make a video, write a poem, song, or an essay — or even create an original work of art — and express your thoughts on these topics. If we feature your contribution on the site, we will send you a free VenusPlusX t-shirt to thank you.

The Sexual Freedom Project: Porn Education

(También en Español)

Is there such a thing as good porn and bad porn? What about hetero-male-produced porn vs women-, LGBT- amateur-produced porn which is just as enticing? Will universal replete sex ed in our schools change the face of the male-dominated porn industry, which mostly objectifies and exploits women?

Leave a comment and let us know what you think or make your own video or blog to share. We will send you a free VenusPlusX t-shirt or slap bracelet to thank you.

Video edited by Tiye Massey.

The Sexual Freedom Project: Birds and the Bees

Meet Ying, who doesn’t really believe in the abstinence-only approach, and tells us why. She received much of her formal sexual education in Catholic school, and shares with us some of the topics they covered. She tells us about her traditional parents and their expectations for her.  And she has some wisdom for us about bonding with and learning about our significant others.

What do you think about sex before marriage? Learning about sex from the Catholic Church? What parents should talk about with their kids? And how well your parents really know each other?

Send us your thoughts at — we want to hear from you!  Make us a video, write us an essay or a poem, or create some original art — we’ll thank you with a t-shirt.

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Hmm… “Abstinence only”… Uh, I don’t really believe in that
because, I don’t know, I think that people
get really sexually frustrated so…
Like why? I don’t know. I actually went to a
Catholic school between kindergarten until twelfth grade, so…
Sex in religion, so they talk to you all about like the diseases that you can get and like,
the relationships that you should go through,
and like when you get into “walking on eggshells”
and it’s dangerous, but… I mean,I guess
they didn’t really stress out um, maybe, I don’t know, having sex with people or anything,
they just kinda talked about relationships.
They talked about um, you know, sexually transmitted diseases, what they look like, and how, yeah, how you get it,
how you prevent it. My parents um, are very very traditional,
so they don’t even talk like about, like, the birds and the bees.
They just kind of like hope that I don’t have sex before marriage so… yeah. It’s definitely about cultural taboos.
Cultural taboos really, I feel like um, you know, even today
my boyfriend gets questioned about sex by our cleaning person,
like, in the morning at Yaffa. They just like, he justasks him like how many times a day that we have sex,
or how many… like they have no idea.
And I mean it’s kind of weird and
I’m sure it’s very like they have no idea about it
because they ask about it, but it’s like
at the end of the day it’s like these people
don’t bond with each other until they get married. And how much, how healthy is that?
My parents… My mom didn’t even have sex with my father until they were married.
Like, to this day she knows nothing about him…

The Sexual Freedom Project: Do your own research

The level of sex education in America’s schools is impartial at best and at its worst calls for abstinence. What has been your experience?

Many people believe that the responsibility for sex education lies with your parents. How has the worked for you?

The bottom line makes you responsible for your own sex ed, researching those aspects that teachers, parents, and even your peers left out. There are plenty of good sources of sex ed on the Internet (and in your local library), including sites especially for teens such as teen source, Scarleteen, and sexetc, so you don’t need to be left in the dark.

What have you done to complete your sex education?

If you believe is sexual freedom, then sex ed is an important tool for you.

Make a video, write a poem, song, or an essay — or even create an original work of art — and express your thoughts. If we feature your contribution on the site, we will send you a free VenusPlusX t-shirt to thank you.

More videos.

Decriminalizing Sexting


Manassas Case Rekindles Debate Over Penalties for Sexting

The recent efforts of Manassas police and Prince William County prosecutors to photograph the erect genitalia of a 17-year-old boy for evidence in a “sexting” case has revived a debate in Virginia over whether such conduct between minors should be illegal at all . . .

Sexting is a phenomenon that emerged with the digital age, the sending of nude or semi-nude photos via a smartphone. In the “old days” people exchanged polaroids if they could, easier to hide, and to destroy.

If charges are brought, punishment, even for consenting teens, can include jail time and a permanent place on the Sex Offender Database along with all the pedophiles and child pornographers and rapists.

“The laws are outdated and literally make my daughter a violator,” the mother said.

First Amendment lawyers across the country defend these cases and many work on forging better state and federal legislation that would make sexting a misdemeanor with counseling and education versus felony punishments. Some lawyers and some defendant’s parents reject even that notion, positing that teens sexting with their friends doesn’t constitute pornography — that is free speech covered under the First Amendment. But we are along way from this sane point of view in the United States. 

[The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia] opposes . . . any bill that will put sexting into the state  has opposed Surovell’s bill and similar attempts to put sexting into the state code. “We will resist as actively as we can anything that seeks to define this behavior as criminal at any level,” said executive director Claire Gastañaga. “Making it a misdemeanor just invites prosecutions and convictions.”

Another lawyer, Jonathan L. Phillips, who has defended sexting teens and worked on new legislations, calls their use of smartphones, “immaculate weapons of their own self-destruction.” 

A friend of mine, Lawrence G. Walters, Esq., is a nationally recognized expert on the front lines of this issue for a long time, defending cases and fighting to drop or reduce charges and shorten sentences. Click here to learn more.

What’s going on in your state? in your community? Should sexting between consenting minors, or adults for that matter, be a crime? Let us know what you think!

The Sexual Freedom Project: Let’s Talk About Sex

We are taking a second look at this video which asked a lot of basic questions. Many of you contacted us privately with your answers, and often with questions as well. So what do you think?

Who taught you about sex? Were you able to talk with your parents about it? Do parents have realistic expectations about the sexual activities of their children?

How does a person know when they’re mature enough to begin having sex? How can we ensure that young people have the relevant facts they need to make the best decisions about their sexual behaviors?What role does the Internet play in sexual education today?

Does more sexual information equate to more sexual freedom?

Let’s hear your voice. Make a video, write a poem, song, or an essay — or even create an original work of art — and express your thoughts on these topics. If we feature your contribution on the site, we will send you a free VenusPlusX t-shirt to thank you.

More videos.