Sex vs Sexuality: Puberty and sexuality education all too often do not coincide. In Northern California, Kaiser Permanente offers a play to 6th graders called Nightmare on Puberty Street, which introduces them to the changes that occur to youngsters bodies during puberty. (As a personal aside, I’m not a fan of this name, as it’s not very sex positive, and makes puberty sound like something to fear). Nevertheless, sexuality education classes are usually not begun before the 6th grade, yet youngsters’ bodies are developing at younger and younger ages. Here in lies the difference between sex education and sexuality education: youth of all ages need to know their bodies and should have safe spaces to ask question about their bodies as they change and grow. How can we wait until middle and high school to start talking to kids about SEX (or not having it!), when we haven’t adequately talked to them about puberty in a way that’s not shaming? Dr. Louise Greenspan, a Kaiser doctor thinks age-appropriate sexuality education should start in Kindergarten, and she’s making it her mission to get folks talking to kids at a much earlier age. I think the San Francisco Bay Area is on the right track.
Text for Sex Ed: New Mexico State Department of Health has launched its BrdzNBz Hotline, which aims to provide comprehensive sex education to teens and parents through texting. Youth can text their questions along with “NMTeen” to 66746, while parents can text their questions with “NMParent.” Within 24 hours, the questions will be answered. the program’s goal is to decrease the states’ teen pregnancy rates where it sits at #3 in the country according to 2011 statistics, down from #1 in 2008. Given the success of Planned Parenthood’s texting program, this should be a quick and easy way to many teens to access the information they need.
Shut that whole thing down: the United States Congress forced government to shut down Monday night in an effort to delay the roll-out of funding for the Affordable Care Act, affectionately known by those who dislike it, “Obamacare.” SEICUS has posted this update on how the shutdown will effect certain sexual education programs. The shutdown will ultimately effect the most vulnerable among us: women, children, people of color, and the poor.