Monday, March 21, 2016

Moving Sex Ed Conversations Past Just Say No

New York Times (March 20, 2016): When Did Porn Become Sex Ed? by Peggy Ornstein:

According to Mother Jones in 2016, the federal government will spend $85 million on abstinence only programs despite research questioning its effectiveness. President Obama has proposed removing all funding for abstinence only education from the 2017 federal budget.  Obama has proposed cuts to abstinence only education before.  His first budget as president and and his 2010 budget sought to make cuts to abstinence funding, but the cuts did not make it through Congress.  The proposed 2017 cuts are likely to have a similar fate.  

In addition to concerns about the efficacy of abstinence only programs in reducing teen pregnancy, Peggy Ornstein discusses the impact of abstinence-only curriculums that teach students "little more than 'don't.'"  Ornstein argues that we fail our teens by not having conversations about what happens after "yes."

The statistics on sexual assault may have forced a national dialogue on consent, but honest conversations between adults and teenagers about what happens after yes — discussions about ethics, respect, decision making, sensuality, reciprocity, relationship building, the ability to assert desires and set limits — remain rare. And while we are more often telling children that both parties must agree unequivocally to a sexual encounter, we still tend to avoid the biggest taboo of all: women’s capacity for and entitlement to sexual pleasure.

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