Thursday, September 19, 2019

Nearly seven percent of U.S. women say first sexual experience was forced

Sept. 16, 2019 (AP News): Many U.S. women say first sexual experience was forced in teens, by Lindsey Tanner: 

A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reports that "the first sexual experience for 1 in 16 U.S. women was forced or coerced intercourse in their early teens"--and often perpetrated by persons nearly a decade senior to the survivors.

The national survey conducted for the study did not use the term rape when asking participants about forced sexual experiences but identified a first sexual intercourse experience as "involuntary." Almost half of the participants who reported involuntary intercourse were physically held down during the experience, while just over half of the same respondents described being "verbally pressured to have sex against their will." 

The lead author of the study, Dr. Laura Hawks, affirms that “any sexual encounter (with penetration) that occurs against somebody’s will is rape. If somebody is verbally pressured into having sex, it’s just as much rape."

The study goes on to show that persons whose first sexual intercourse experiences amounted to rape reported "fair or poor health" twice as often as other women. The same women also "had more sex partners, unwanted pregnancies and abortions, and more reproductive health problems including pelvic pain and menstrual irregularities than women whose first sexual experience wasn’t forced."

The new study adds to the findings of prior research that identified a range of long-term effects of sexual assault, including "social isolation, feelings of powerlessness, stigmatization, poor self-image and risky behavior, which all may increase risks for depression and other mental health problems"

An editorial in this issue of the Journal "notes that the study lacks information on women’s health and any abuse before their first sexual encounter." It also doesn't include data on sexual violence after the women's first encounters, which, the editorial notes, may further "contribute to health problems."

The Journal calls for further research to fully understand and address the "range and consequences," particularly as related to long-term health outcomes, of sexual assault on survivors. 

Sex education specialists have responded emphasizing the need for inclusive education in U.S. schools that teaches children about consent among other healthy sexual practices. 

September 19, 2019 in Culture, Medical News, Reproductive Health & Safety, Scholarship and Research, Sexual Assault, Sexuality Education, Teenagers and Children, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Sex, reproductive health education showing impact in Nepal's Sindhuli District

The Himalayan Times (Apr. 2, 2018): Sex, reproductive health education showing impact, by Himalayan News Service:

Government health centers established to provide sex and reproductive health education to teenagers in Nepal's Sindhuli District (located approximately 130 kilometers southeast of Kathmandu) are proving highly effective.

The Nepali government's Family Health Division (FHD) set up health centers aiming to provide necessary guidance and counselling to teenagers on sex and reproductive health. The FHD established these centers with financial and technical aid from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). As many as 24 health centers provided sex education while 30 secondary schools were developed as information centers. Trained health workers and teachers provide sex education to youths at these centers.

“Initially, the youths seemed reluctant to talk about reproductive health but now they share their curiosities and problems without hesitation,” said assistant health worker Nisha Baral at Sitalpati Health Post in Sindhuli.

UNFPA Sexual and Reproductive Health Program Officer Manju Karmacharya said three health centers in 2015 and two in 2018 were certified for conducting the sex education program effectively. 

The Nepali government is preparing to set up at least 13 health centers in each District across the country in the near future. As many as 1,034 health facilities across the country are currently providing sex and reproductive health education.

April 4, 2018 in International, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Baltimore to join lawsuit against U.S. health agency over cuts to programs that help prevent teen pregnancy

The Baltimore Sun (Mar. 7, 2018): Baltimore to join lawsuit against U.S. health agency over cuts to programs that help prevent teen pregnancy, by Ian Duncan:

The city of Baltimore intends to join a lawsuit against President Trump filed last month by the nonprofit Healthy Teen Network. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore after Healthy Teen Network's federal grant--given to develop and fund the study of an app providing sex education--was significantly reduced.

Baltimore’s health department received an $8.5 million federal grant to help provide sex education for about 20,000 students over five years. Last year, the federal health agency told Baltimore that the program would be severed from its funding after three years instead, leading to a loss of $3.5 million.

The lawsuit alleges that Trump’s appointee to a senior position in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has reduced federal grants for programs that do not match the official’s belief that people should not have sex until they are married.

While the lawsuit by Healthy Teen Network states they did not receive a clear explanation for the funding cut, the lawyers claim that the cut in funding is directly related to the appointment of abstinence-only advocate Valerie Huber, who was appointed Chief of Staff for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health at the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services in June 2017.

"Dr. Leana Wen, the city’s health commissioner, said the reduction would greatly harm the department’s ability to provide services."

“We have made significant progress to reduce teen birth rates, and the last thing that should happen is to roll back the gains that have been made.”

March 10, 2018 in Culture, Current Affairs, In the Media, Politics, President/Executive Branch, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Sexuality Education, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Abstinence-only education doesn't work. We're still funding it.

Washington Post (Aug. 21, 2017): Abstinence-only education doesn't work. We're still funding it, by John Santelli

This year's federal budget includes $90 million in funding for abstinence-only education programs, and in July the Department of Health & Human Services announced that it will end funding for the Office of Adolescent Health’s evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention program in 2018. That program currently tests prevention programs based on the latest available science.

In the article, John Santelli, a professor of pediatrics and public health at Columbia University and former president of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, argues that there is no testing needed on abstinence-only education. It doesn't work, and there is ample research backing that assertion.

The Family & Youth Services Bureau of HHS now refers to abstinence-only education as "sexual risk avoidance," but a new name doesn't fix old problems. In fact, comprehensive evidence-based sex education helps young people remain abstinent, while abstinence-only education fails to achieve that goal. In a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control, the CDC found inconclusive evidence on the effectiveness of 23 abstinence-only education programs, while the 66 comprehensive sex-ed programs also studied showed positive effects on adolescent behavior, including the use of protection, the frequency of unprotected sexual activity, and pregnancy rates.

Santelli also argues that the goal of abstinence until marriage is increasingly unrealistic in a world where Americans are marrying later in life. The median age for first marriage of American females is now 26.5, and the median age for males is 30.

Since 1982, the federal government has spent over $2 billion on domestic abstinence-only education programs. By 2009, however, half of all states refused funding for abstinence-only programs in favor of comprehensive sex education. Following the 2010 Congressional elections, however, abstinence-only programs are seeing a nationwide resurgence.

It isn't just medical organizations and doctors that oppose abstinence-only sex education. Many churches also oppose the practice, including the United Church of Christ, and most American parents strongly support evidence-based sex education programs. It is up to Americans, Santelli says, to step up and tell Congress and President Trump that we want our tax dollars to fund comprehensive sex education programs that truly prepare our children for sexual activity.

August 24, 2017 in Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Doctors urged to advise patients about risks of abstinence-centric sex education

The Guardian (July 18, 2016): Doctors urged to advise patients about risks of abstinence-centric sex education, by Molly Redden: 

In a recently released report, The American Academy of Pediatrics denounced abstinence only education programs, stressing the importance of educating young people about comprehensive approaches to things like STIs and contraception. Some interviewed view this as a triumph for doctors in areas where parents may want to mitigate their children gaining access to this kind of information, viewing the report as a scientifically-sound back up against the arguments of abstinence-focused parents. The report stresses the inadequacy of abstinence-only education and highlights conversations about consent and gender identity as a few of the topics pediatricians should feel encouraged to speak with patients about. 

Abstinence-only groups have already taken issue with the report, but many are heralding this as an important step in the right direction for doctors and patients alike:

 “This is the mothership telling pediatricians that talking about sex is part of your charge to keep     children and adolescents safe,” said Dr Cora Breuner, a professor and pediatrician at Seattle     Children’s research hospital and the report’s lead author.

July 21, 2016 in Contraception, Medical News, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

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.


March 21, 2016 in Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

LGBTQ-Inclusive Sex Education Still Rare in U.S.

The Huffington Post: Why Is LGBT-Inclusive Sex Education Still So Taboo?, by Alexandra Temblador:

Only 22 states plus the District of Columbia requires sex education in schools. Twelve of those states require sex education teachers to discuss sexual orientation. Three of those 12 states require teachers to impart only negative information on sexual orientation to students. Yes, three states in the United States make LGBTQ youth listen to discriminatory information directed at them by their own teachers. Take Alabama, whose sex education instructors are required to teach that homosexuality “is an unacceptable, criminal lifestyle.”

Out of 50 states and one district, only nine states have any form of positive LGBT-inclusive sexual education, a number that is very disheartening for the overall well-being of many youth in the United States. . . .

March 8, 2015 in Sexuality, Sexuality Education, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Phoenix School Board Votes to Remove Pages from Biology Textbook Discussing STDs, Contraception, and Abortion

The New York Times: In Arizona, a Textbook Fuels a Broader Dispute Over Sex Education, by Rick Rojas:

The textbook, the one with the wide-eyed lemur peering off the cover, has been handed out for years to students in honors biology classes at the high schools here, offering lessons on bread-and-butter subjects like mitosis and meiosis, photosynthesis and anatomy.

But now, the school board in this suburb of Phoenix has voted to excise or redact two pages deep inside the book — 544 and 545 — because they discuss sexually transmitted diseases and contraception, including mifepristone, a drug that can be used to prevent or halt a pregnancy. . . .

November 29, 2014 in Abortion, Contraception, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Columnist Sees Lesson about Sex Ed in Elliot Rodger's Rampage

TIME:  What’s Desperately Needed in Sex Education Today, by Jaclyn Friedman:

The tragic story of Elliot Rodger and his misogynistic path to murder in Santa Barbara should compel us to have a truthful conversation about sex ed and intimacy with our teens. It's time. 

Most sex education messages in the U.S. go to great pains to elide one basic truth: that sex can be an incredible, pleasurable experience. In theory, that’s to avoid encouraging young people to have sex, but what it does in practice is deprive us all of the expectation that sex should be great. And increase the odds that the sex we do have will live down to those suppressed expectations. When we don’t expect sex to be a mutually satisfying experience shared by two people, it leaves us vulnerable to some truly poisonous alternative ideas, including the stubborn myth that sex is a precious commodity that men acquire from women. . . . 

May 28, 2014 in Culture, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 15, 2013

How Obama’s Proposed Budget Affects Reproductive Rights

ACLU (blog): Reproductive Rights and Yesterday's Budget Release, by Sarah Lipton-Lubet:

President Obama yesterday released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2014. Here are five things you should know about how it affects reproductive rights:

Home Rule for the District of Columbia

As he has each year of his presidency, President Obama removed the D.C. abortion ban from his budget proposal. That ban prohibits the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised funds to pay for abortion care for low-income D.C. residents. By contrast, all other states are permitted to use non-federal revenues to pay for abortion care if they so choose. . . .

April 15, 2013 in Abortion, Congress, Poverty, President/Executive Branch, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYC Launches Sex Education iPhone App for Teens

Fox News Latino: New York City Launches Teen Sex Education iPhone App: Image1

New York City has pulled out all the stops in recent months to make sure the city’s teens are informed when it comes to their sexual health.

Most recently, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has launched the “Teens in NYC Protection +” app.

The app helps teens find clinics throughout the New York City area that offer everything from condoms to STD, HIV, and pregnancy tests. . . .

April 15, 2013 in Contraception, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Boston College Cracks Down on Safe Sex Group's Distribution of Condoms

The New York Times: Ban on Free Condoms Jeopardizes Group’s Work With Catholic College, by Jess Bidgood:

Chelsea Lennox, a junior at Boston College, the Gothic university overlooking this natty Boston suburb, picked up a bouquet of brightly colored condom packages and put them into the envelope that she views as a tiny beacon of sexual health resources at the deeply Catholic institution.

“We have S.T.I. facts, birth control choices, how to choose one, and then Planned Parenthood locations and resources,” Ms. Lennox said of the contents, ready for distribution. . . .

April 9, 2013 in Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

North Dakota Legislature Shifts Focus from Banning Abortion to Blocking Sex Ed

Healthwatch: North Dakota lawmakers push new attack on Planned Parenthood, by Sam Baker:

Planned Parenthood is fighting to save a sex-education program in North Dakota that is under attack just as the state has passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country.

The North Dakota Legislature is considering a measure that would likely cut off state funding for a comprehensive sex-ed program supported by Planned Parenthood and North Dakota State University.

"This is incredibly unusual. No state has tried to block a comprehensive sex education program like this, ever," Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, told reporters Monday. . . .

April 3, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Sexuality Education, State Legislatures, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Federal Sex Ed Bill Discourages Gender Stereotyping and Exclusion of LGBT Students

The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Sex ed bill nixes 'gender stereotypes', by Elise Viebeck:

A new sex education bill would give grants to programs that reject gender stereotypes and embrace LGBT students. 

The legislation from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and 32 other Democrats encourages a "comprehensive" approach to sex ed. . . . 

February 19, 2013 in Congress, Sexuality, Sexuality Education, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sex Ed Magazine Stirs Controversy in Myanmar

AFP: Myanmar gets steamed up by sex education magazine:

With its glossy pages of pouting models and racy romance tips, Myanmar's first sex education magazine has got the usually demure nation hot under the collar as it cashes in on new-found cultural freedom. "Hyno" has sparked fevered debate since hitting Myanmar's bookstores in November where it has become a must-read among the young and curious, just a few months after the end of direct censorship in the former junta-ruled nation. . . .

January 7, 2013 in International, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Guttmacher Institute Releases 2012 State Policy Review on Reproductive Health and Rights

Guttmacher Institute:  Laws Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights:  2012 State Policy Review:


Reproductive health and rights was once again the subject of extensive debate in state capitols in 2012. Over the course of the year, 42 states and the District of Columbia enacted 122 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. One-third of these new provisions, 43 in 19 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services. Although this is a sharp decrease from the record-breaking 92 abortion restrictions enacted in 2011, it is the second highest annual number of new abortion restrictions. . . .

January 6, 2013 in Abortion, Contraception, Fetal Rights, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP), Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Announcing "Female Condoms Are_________" Film Contest

Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), PATH, the Universal Access to Condoms (UAFC) Joint Programme and the National Female Condom Coalition (NFCC): International Film Contest - Female Condoms Are ________________: Image1

Female condoms may be one of the most promising health technologies that people don’t know or hear much about. But together we can change this.

SHARE YOUR STORY: Why does the world need female condoms? How can female condoms enhance your life? Filmmakers of all levels of experience are encouraged to enter.

WIN CASH PRIZES: Winning entries will be screened at the Women Deliver 2013 Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—the largest global meeting of the decade to focus on the health and well-being of girls and women.

HOW TO ENTER: Visit contest website for complete contest details, including eligibility requirements, Official Contest Rules, submission instructions, and more. This contest runs from November 28, 2012–March 1, 2013. 

Questions? Contact [email protected] or visit

December 4, 2012 in Contraception, Film, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Even After Nov. Election, Ohio Lawmakers Continue "War on Women"

ThinkProgress:  Ohio's War on Women:  State Lawmakers Stall Comprehensive Sex Ed Bill to Focus on Anti-Choice Legislation, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

Despite the fact that voters across the country rejected radical anti-choice legislation in this month’s election, Ohio lawmakers have been busy reviving the War on Women during their lame duck session. Ohio’s Health And Aging Committee voted to strip funding from Planned Parenthood last week, Republican lawmakers introduced a misleading “sex-selective” abortion ban at the same committee meeting, and Ohio’s Senate may soon consider an extreme “heartbeat” bill that represents the most restrictive anti-choice legislation in the nation. . . .

November 20, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Contraception, Sexuality Education, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Filipinos Support Reproductive Health Bill Despite Powerful Catholic Church Philippines takes on Catholic church to push birth control, sex education, by Karen Lema:


Image1 MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine President Benigno Aquino is squaring off against his country's powerful Catholic church in a bid to give people free access to the means to limit the size of their families.


The predominately Catholic country has one of Asia's fastest-growing populations together with significant levels of chronic poverty. While neighbors have accelerated towards prosperity, the Philippines has lagged.


Economists say high population growth is a primary factor for that, but the church disagrees. It says population growth is not a cause of poverty and that people need jobs, not contraception. . . .

October 8, 2012 in Abortion, Contraception, International, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

National Women’s Law Center Launches Campaign, ‘This Is Personal,’ To Educate About Threats To Reproductive Rights

National Women's Law Center press release: New Campaign Encourages Women to Make Their Voice Heard on Personal Reproductive Health Issues: Image1

Campaign uses social media, satire and celebrities to educate and engage young women on threats to their reproductive health decisions

Washington D.C. – Citing a dramatic increase in legislative attacks on a woman’s ability to make reproductive health decisions, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) today launched This Is Personal,™ an exciting new effort to educate young women about the growing threat to their reproductive health and to encourage women to act to protect it. Supported by a broad range of national organizations, This Is Personal is a nationwide campaign that will leverage the latest trends in social media, paid advertising, and celebrity-driven videos to empower women to take action. . . .

Huffington Post: It's Open Season on Women's Reproductive Health Care, by Marcia D. Greenberger:

Women should be able to make personal medical decisions without interference from politicians or their bosses. It seems obvious, doesn't it? But more and more, you can't open a newspaper or turn on a television without seeing some lawmaker espousing his plan to limit women's access to reproductive health care. It's apparently open season on women's reproductive needs: everything from birth control and abortion to well-woman visits to maternity care, cancer and STI screenings is up for grabs. . . .

October 2, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Contraception, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)