Let’s Talk About Sex: Reflections on Sexuality Education in the US

I’ve often heard it said that there are only two things in life that are certain; death and taxes. In my life, I’ve had two more revelations. First, change is inevitable. Secondly, if we pay close attention we always find reason to be hopeful, inspiration leading to the next right step and validation that we are living on purpose and doing what we are here to do.

Last night, while watching the movie, Let’s Talk About Sex, I got exactly what I needed. I love when that happens! I woke up grateful, inspired and energetic at a time when I could very easily be discouraged and frustrated.

Before I get too far into this article, let me tell you where I’m coming from. For the past ten years, I’ve been teaching comprehensive sexuality education programs starting in elementary school and continuing into young adulthood. I work with parents to help them better understand teen development and behavior and improve communication with their kids about sexuality and other challenging topics.

I give this movie two thumbs up. I agree with Hugh Jackman, “Whether you have children, teach children or are around children at all… this movie is a must see.” It clearly outlines some key issues that need to be addressed if we are to promote healthy attitudes towards sexuality while reducing teen and unintended pregnancy in the US.

The movie highlights the following issues:

~The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in all the developed countries.

~Our attitudes towards teen sexuality in the US are very different than in other developed countries.

~Sexuality is a huge marketing tool; used to sell lots of things in our country and in all types of media. The reality is that sex sells product.

~ Humans are sexual beings. We are all here because an egg met a sperm. Period.

~ Eighty-five percent of adults in the United States support comprehensive sexuality education for our youth. Science clearly proves that it works. And we are not doing it.

~ Religion poses a major barrier in the US to the delivery of what we know to be effective; namely comprehensive sexuality education. At the same time, religious leaders and organizations can play a huge role in providing new solutions to teen pregnancy.

~ Even when teens have honest, open relationships with their parents, most teens aren’t honest with their parents about their sexual activity.

This movie clearly outlines the most pressing issues we are facing in reducing teen pregnancy in the US. It reminds me why I am so passionate about my work and clarifies what we can together to help prevent us from losing more ground.

It is with that in mind that I reflect and share my thoughts about Let’s Talk About Sex.

As an educated woman and health professional, I find it astounding that the US has the highest teen pregnancy rate in all the developed countries. We know what works. We need to be doing it. Now.

I’m amazed that our advertising and media campaigns use sex to sell everything from lipstick to laptops; yet we live in a society where we struggle to providing our kids with accurate information about how their own bodies work and why.

It is ridiculous that 85 percent of US adults in our population support comprehensive sexuality education for our kids, yet we are losing ground on this issue because a small percentage of very verbal and powerful individuals and organizations keep fighting against what we know works, and in fact saves our government billions of dollars every year.

As all this is happening teenagers are continuing to engage in sexual behavior, are naturally curious about sex and/or thinking about sex and are afraid or embarrassed to talk about it openly to the people closest to them.

I spend a significant amount of my time helping teens reconcile the guilt they feel for not being able to talk with their parents about what they’re really thinking, what they’re really curious about and what they’re really doing. Their guilt doesn’t stop them from being sexually active. What they really want is to be able to tell their parents the truth about what they are choosing and why. Some choose to have the conversation. Some choose to wait to talk with them. Often we practice how to initiate the conversation. Some state that they simply can’t for fear their parents will disown them for going against family values.

Perhaps the most important issue of all, as I see it, that seems to beg for so much more attention than we have the time or funding to really address appropriately, but is perhaps the most important issue of all… love, healthy communication and relationship skills. How great would it be to provide a consistent forum and presence to allow kids to get support to help them understand and process all that’s happening to them physically and emotionally and learn how to grow through it with a great understanding of themselves and others as well as an appreciation for the miracle that sexuality is and a foundation for healthy respect and connectedness on all levels.

Lately, I’ve been struggling to identify new funding sources to support this important work that is in jeopardy. My clinic and outreach program is in NH. We have one of the very lowest teen pregnancy rates in the US. We use strategies that are proven effective and endorsed by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and base all our programs on a research-based asset development framework developed by the Search Institute called the 40 Developmental Assets. Rather than having our funding, we should be used as a model for the parts of our country where the teen pregnancy rates are high.

Let’s Talk About Sex did a great job of motivating viewers to take action toward being a part of the solution! As the credits played, I began brainstorming a list of action steps we can take to spread the word and increase the frequency, reach and scope of conversations that need to happen to make the US shift toward better serving our future generation.

Androgyny in Sexuality Education

I was one of the pioneer batches in Singapore trained for Sexuality Education, and I think it was quite amazing that I’ve steered clear of this subject thus far. I think it is important, though, for all children to learn and accept themselves as they are, and so I come up with this article to help parents and educators on this aspect of a person’s sexuality.

For those who are thinking of trashy stuff, sorry to disappoint you – Sexuality Education is not Sex Education. Sex Education teaches about the physical and perhaps emotional aspects of coitus, and touches on topics like contraception and so on. Sexuality Education includes Sex Education, but that’s not the focus – the focus is on the person’s values and his ability to relate to himself and others in the chosen sexual orientation.

Singapore, unlike western countries, treaded cautiously on this subject. Plenty of religious and community leaders were consulted before the Ministry of Education finally decided we will do Sexuality Education rather than Sex Education. With values being such an important part of Sexuality Education, ideas like abstinence and protecting our bodies took a stronger centre stage rather that telling the kids how to use condoms to make sure they don’t get pregnant, since (not if!) they want to have sex at that age.

The issue of androgyny is an interesting one nowadays. With the rise of the Sensitive New Age Man (SNAG) in the magazines, and the prevalence of manga and anime from Japan (where the lead characters tend towards androgyny as well), such a man or woman has become more and more accepted in society.

Androgyny is a state where a man displays certain traits (physical or emotional) that society attributes towards women, or where a woman displays certain traits (physical or emotional) that society atttributes towards men. It comes from a combination of the Greek andros (man) and gyne (woman).

I am an example of an androgynous man. I’m most definitely a man (and not only because of my sexual organs!) but I display openly many behaviours that society attributes towards women. I am quite emotional, tears quite easily and speaks gently in a measured tone (one of the contractors I used to work with when I was in the Navy said that I’ve a “sweet voice”…now that’s scary when you hear it from a man!).

Not only that, but in looks and appearance, I’m rather like Legolas (the elf in the Lord of the Rings, as portrayed by Orlando Bloom) – slim and fair, with little body hair. This is so unlike Aragorn (portrayed by Viggio Mortensen), a dark bushy man with rippling muscles. And since I’m very sure I’m full of testerone (I’m hyperactive…and my wife can also testify to another reason why I’m definitely full of testerone), I must possibly have a stronger dose of estrogen in me than most man. Hmm…that perhaps explains the mood swings as well…

My wife, on the other hand, is considered a “hairy” woman (for a woman – she’s obviously less hairy than any man!). For her case though, I can’t tell if it’s because she has weaker estrogen levels for a woman, or she has stronger testerone levels for a woman. But her sexuality is definitely oriented towards that of a woman, while mine is most definitely towards that of a man, no question about it.

By now, astute readers should be aware that our bodily features assigned to masculinity and femininity is due to the balance of male hormones testerone and female hormones estrogen. Most men have very weak estrogen levels, while most women have very weak testerone levels.

Men with very strong estrogen levels may develop what the Chinese termed 脂粉味 (literally “smelling of perfume”). They look very, very feminine and may even develop breasts, for some extreme cases. Historically, such men have been looked down upon and have even created disasters, like Dong Xian, the “concubine” of a certain Han emperor.

Women with very strong testerone levels tend to be of strong build and large sizes. I suspect the Mu Yecha from the Chinese classic Outlaws of the Marsh would be such a character. Again, society tends not to be very accepting of such persons, labelling them “butches” and so on (more so if they from the military).

With the progress of thinking, a more cosmospolitan-outlook and the building of tolerance levels in the world today, we are getting more and more accepting of the androgynous look. The media has built in today’s woman a liking for the Sensitive New Age Man – a man who is a prince charming but yet not outwardly macho. Women like Grace Jones, Ella (from Chinese pop sensation S.H.E) and the winners of SuperGirls (in China) Li Yuchun (2005) have become stars in their own right, with millions of fans.

It’s a good sign. While God has made us man and woman, different and yet complimentary to each other, we should be allowed to express ourselves fully the entire range of human emotions and feelings, and to experience fully the many interactions with our environment. As long as the students understand that it takes more than being macho to be a man, or that a woman can be an engineer as well, I believe I’d have done my part as an educator.

Michael Chan used to be a teacher, before he left to run a managed fund. When his business failed, he returned to teaching, and is currently a Department Head at the Shanghai Singapore International School.

Learning About Sexual Education

Learning more about sexual education is great when you need to know about the way sex works or just get a little more information about sex in general. You want to make sure you get everything you need when it comes to having sex for the first time. This also means becoming as educated as you can be about it before you go ahead and do it. This might be scary at first since they show you pictures of what might happen if you contract a sexually transmitted disease, but you can be sure to be safe if you ever have sex with someone which is a plus when it comes to choosing to have sex. You want to make sure you’re as safe as you can be when it is time for the big deed to be done with someone you like.

You might learn about sex depending on what grade you’re in, and when your school decides to show it since you will want to learn as much as you can this is where it starts. They might not go into so much detail as you would like them too but they answer basic questions about having sex that you might have at first which is great for the added information prior to having sex. Make sure to use protection for various reasons such as contracting a sexually transmitted disease and also to minimize the chance that someone might become pregnant. This is something you should not have to do with if you’re younger since you will not be prepared to take on certain things or you might not have the means to take care of them either. This allows you to be as prepared as you can be.

Find out more when it comes to learning about sexual experiences when you look on the internet or learn from school. You can also ask people around you about it. This might not be a good idea if you’re not sure about trusting them or being comfortable about talking to them about this. You want to make sure you have what you need when it comes to choosing the best time to have sex. Make sure you’re mentally and physically prepared when it comes to choosing to have sex. This is because you want to make sure you can take on anything that might happen when you do. This might be a thing you might worry about since anything can happen when it comes down to it. You want to ensure everything is right, although a lot of people are just curious to see what it feels like or what it is like in general so depending on what you’re looking for. You should make the best decision for you and no one else

Sexual Education! From the Author of Women! Get the Material Things You Really Want From Men

The most detrimental play time that stay with little girls well into their adult years is what I refer to as the “Barbie World”. This world is entered when little girls receive and began to play with the very popular Barbie Doll (or any of the popular comparison dolls) the Barbie corvette, Barbie dream house, and the adorable Ken doll. Once little girls become women many of them want to emulate or duplicate the idea of the “Barbie World” into the real world. For example, once they have great friends, complete their education goals, and find themselves with a great job and car the only thing that they feel is missing to the piece of the life puzzle is their Ken, but the “Barbie World” is merely a platform for my next theory the “picket fence theory”.

The “picket fence theory” is when a young girl has believed the concept of the” Barbie World” to the point where she has subconsciously incorporated and embedded it into her real life. With this theory she believes she is supposed to have a husband, child/children, and a home to live happily ever after in. On the contrary, men are taught to act out or upon, but not taught be in touch with their feelings. While little girls are imagining their prince charming, boys are usually busy wrestling; playing with toy guns and/or video games, sports, and other referred “guy activities”, etc. It’s unfortunate that little girls are tailored to be emotional and boys are not taught to identify with their emotions because normally they are taught to down play them.

How do you communicate effectively with someone who has been taught all of their lives to not understand you? How do you convey and expect to be understood by some who is normally not taught to tap into their emotions? What can be done to bridge the gap of communication between girls and boys? Sexual education should be considered a science course and it should include information on how different sexes think and where it all derives from. With this new kind of revamped sexual education it can assist young adults in bridging the gap in communication by increasing effective communication between women and men through knowledge. As always it wouldn’t hurt to begin the process at home.

*This article does not in any way intend to offend Barbie or its makers it is only used for example purposes.

Dema Shamel is the author of Women! Get The Material Things You Really Want From Men

Women isn’t it time for you to get the material things you really want from men? Now you can with this easy to follow step by step guide that’ll lead you to the success of achieving that and more. You’ll learn some interesting things about yourself; find out what you really want from men, and finally how to go about getting it.Forget everything you have been conditioned to think as a little girl because life is no fairytale, but you do deserve to be treated like a queen. This book is in a class of its own and women of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles can discover something beneficial.

Sexual Education About Diabetes and Sex

When taken care of at an early stage, diabetes can be tolerated to comfortable and manageable levels. Levels that can make an individual to live his or her life comfortably. Diabetes and sex are two conditions where one does not favor the other. Diabetes is not sex-friendly. The greatest casualty of these disease is sex. The impacts of diabetes on sex are discouraging but at the same time such conditions that inhibit sex or are limiting to sexual intercourse can be worked on. Diabetes reduces sexual arousal in a woman. Her sex drive goes down tremendously thanks to diabetes. It becomes extremely difficult to arouse the woman sexually. The man or the husband finds himself torn by these situation. He feels he is not man enough when the wife cannot experience the expected sexual climax and eventual sexual satisfaction.

Severe stages of diabetes can cause or lead to an amputation of one of the many arms in the body. An amputated limb will no doubt affect sex performance of an individual. Actually the whole concept of sex is affected. Unless the couple is very innovative, creative and adventurous, an amputees sex life can suddenly come to an end simply because of an amputation. Disability should not be interpreted as an inability. If the couple used to be sexually active before amputation, nothing should stop these sexual escapades, they should go on as they used to be. Diabetes and sex are like a bottle of water and oil. They can hardly mix. Diabetes always comes to spoil the party. But these should not dampen any ones spirit.

Sometimes it is difficult to separate diabetes and sex. Diabetes brings vaginal dryness with it. During sex, when the vagina is dry like that it becomes uncomfortable for the man and the woman as well. Dry sex hurts and can be a major put off to a once vibrant sex life. Vaginal dryness should actually not be allowed to dampen the mood. There are so many sex gels and lubricants in practically any shop that you would like to visit. Only be careful with the numerous brands. Be ready to invest in a lubricant that would not react or be sensitive to the vagina. This should not affect your sex life because even without diabetes in question, the vagina can dry up without warning though it would only be temporal.

Diabetes comes with many sexual disorders and that is the sole reason i said it is difficult to separate diabetes and sex. Erectile dysfunction is the most common sexual disorder among men linked to diabetes. Very high blood sugars damage blood vessels around the penis. This makes the blood flow not to be optimal at the required essential areas. When things go out of hand, more problems are bound to occur. For instance some men will develop impotence due to nerve damage or neuropathies. However these is still not the end of the road as doctors are very willing to offer key solutions. These are complications associated with diabetes and are very real.