The Sex Ed Files - Part III of III in a Series About Sex Education
Want to do more homework about sex ed? Here are some additional resources you may want to check out as you research the sex education issue.
What Kids Have to Say About Sex Ed
Poll question: Do you feel like you were given the sex education you needed?
66% of 848 site visitors responded negatively. The responses were as follows:
- 45% (381 votes) "I'm still waiting to get the education I need and/or I had to just find it myself
- 21% (178 votes) "Too late; I felt I needed it before I received it."
- 23% (197 votes) "At exactly the right time: I think I got it just at the age I needed it."
- 11% (92 votes) "I felt too young for the education I was given."
Source: Scarleteen.com Poll results as of 8:52 pm Sunday April 25, 2010.
The Big Talk
"Parents are often reluctant to talk to their children about sex. When they do, the information they provide is often more about physiological changes than about the emotional terrain that accompanies sexuality or about managing one's own sexuality appropriately and healthfully."
- Youth, Pornography and the Internet by Dick Thornburgh and Herbert S. Lin, editors. Quote is taken from Chapter 5: Children, Media, and Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material.
The Abstinence Debate
2007 Study on Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education Programs
A nine-year congressionally mandated evaluation of U.S. federally-funded abstinence-only-until-marriage education programs has found that they have no beneficial impact on young people’s sexual behavior. "Program recipients were no more likely than non-recipients to delay sexual initiation, and when they did become sexually active, program recipients had the same number of sexual partners and were no more likely to use condoms or other forms of contraception.... Comprehensive sex education has been shown in numerous studies by well-respected researchers both to delay sex and to increase contraceptive use."
2010 Study on Abstinence-Focused Education Programs
A smaller study conducted by Professor John B. Jemmott III of University of Pennsylvania and published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine looked at abstinence-focused programs for sixth and seventh graders at four public middle schools serving low-income African-American communities. The study found that one-third of the sixth and seventh graders who finished the abstinence-focused program started having sex within the next two years, as compared to almost half of the students who had other sex education classes (information about both abstinence and contraception), who became sexually active within two years.
Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas issued the following statement in response to the release of the University of Pennsylvania study:"This new study highlights a program that is very different from the failed 'abstinence-only' programs that teach misleading information, including assertions that condoms don’t work. Unlike traditional “abstinence-only” programs, the program in this study emphasizes abstinence, but does not disparage condoms, does not use a moralistic tone, and does not contain inaccurate information. In fact, this program would not have been eligible for Bush-era “abstinence-only” funding because it was not designed to meet the federal criteria for “abstinence-only” programs. This program would likely be eligible for the new sex ed/teen pregnancy prevention programs under the Obama administration, since it is medically accurate. This study adds new information to the library of existing research on the types of sex education programs that are effective and those that are ineffective. Planned Parenthood has always advocated for teaching sex education that emphasizes abstinence as the best way to avoid unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, but that also provides young people with medically accurate, age-appropriate information about healthy communication, responsible decision making, contraception and disease prevention."
Planned Parenthood of New Jersey: Abstinence-Only Sex Education
A history of abstinence-only sex education in the U.S., as provided by Planned Parenthood of New Jersey.
Sex Education: News and Trends
Vancouver Sun: Ontario's sex-ed controversy nothing new: Experts
"Studies in different parts of the country have consistently found that more than 85 per cent of parents support sex-ed programs and that a majority of parents approve of topics that range from puberty and reproduction, to birth control and sexual orientation."
Harassment by Q & A: Initial Thoughts on Formspring.me by Danah Boyd
Emerging issues related to sexual bullying and gender identity, as detailed in a brand new essay by social anthropologist Danah Boyd. "Formspring was not designed as a place for harassment, but some teens have clearly leveraged it to do precisely that, while others are using it to continue the long history of quizzes and surveys. Why the different practices? I'm not at all surprised that semi-anonymity results in people asking crass questions, but why are teens responding publicly for all of their peers to see? What is it about today's cultural dynamics that encourages teens to not only act tough when they're attacked but to actively share the attacks of others as a marker of toughness pride?"
Proposed Changes to the Ontario Sex Education Curriculum
Three page summary (.pdf) of the proposed changes to the curriculum. For a more detailed analysis, see Part I in this series. You'll also want to read ParentCentral.ca editor Brandie Weikle's editorial on this subject.
Facebook Group: I Support Sexual Health Education Changes in Ontario:
A discussion group for those who support changes to the Ontario sexual education curriculum.
Petition in Support of Changes to the Sex Education Curriculum: The petition text reads as follows: "We, the undersigned, call on Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario government to go forth with intended changes to Ontario's sexual education curriculum beginning September 2010."
The Sex Information and Education Council of Canada
The Sex Information and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN) is a national registered charitable organization founded in 1964 to foster professional education and public knowledge about sexuality and sexual health. SEICCAN publishes Sexual Health Education in the Schools: Questions and Answers. You can download a copy (in .pdf format) from the organization's website.
Shaping a Culture of Respect in Our Schools: Promoting Safe and Healthy Relationships: Safe Schools Action Team Report on Gender-Based Violence, Homophobia, Sexual Harassment, and Inappropriate Sexual Behavior in Schools (.pdf)
A report, submitted to the Ontario government in December 2008, which makes specific recommendations about preventing and addressing gender-based violence, homophobia, sexual harassment, and inappropriate sexual behaviour by students towards other students and removing barriers to reporting such incidents in order to help students succeed and re-engage in school.