What If We Admitted to Children That Sex Is About Pleasure?

What If We Admitted to Children That Sex Is About Pleasure? – Pacific Standard: The Science of Society.

 

This is the best damn article about communicating to children about sex and what it should look like. The curiosity is there, ya’ll. This mom is brave enough to tell her son like it really is, and not make it a huge deal.

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Can I Get You Anything? A Snack? A Condom?

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Mrs. George had the right idea when she barged in on Regina and offered a condom. She just wanted her precious daughter/maybe Satan to protect herself! So, in honor of Regina George’s mother, today we’ll be talking about condoms. It’ll be fun, I promise.

Fun fact about condoms! They are the ONLY method of birth control available on the market today that protects against STIs. They also have a fabulous benefit of preventing pregnancy. In typical use, they have a failure rate of about 18%. With perfect use, they have a failure rate of 2%. If you know how to use them correctly, your chances of getting pregnant or contracting an STI are pretty low. You can check out this handy video from Planned Parenthood on how to appropriately put one on.

 

It’s a pretty simply process that has a lot of benefits! There are also several types of condoms. Condoms with spermicide are lubricated with a chemical that kills sperm when it comes in contact with it. These are great to use for vaginal intercourse, but not so great for oral or anal sex. There are also condoms that come without spermicide. Latex condoms are the most commonly used types of condoms, and are readily available at most drug stores or grocery stores. It’s important to remember that if you’re using a latex condom, you cannot use oil-based lubricants. These might wear down the latex and cause them to break more easily. If you’re allergic to latex, you may want to switch to a female condom in preventing the contraction of an STI. Lambskin and polyurethane condoms work just as well at preventing pregnancy, but aren’t so great at preventing the spread of STIs. Female condoms are less effective at preventing pregnancy, with a 21% failure rate in typical use and a 5% failure rate in perfect use. They work by collecting the sperm and pre-ejaculate in a pouch that a woman inserts into her vagina. There’s more information here. Planned Parenthood’s website is seriously awesome, and their information is very reliable.

Monogamous or not, please please please remember to use a condom! It is the only way to prevent yourself from contracting STI’s, which can cause several health problems down the road if they’re not quickly diagnosed. On that note, get tested while you’re at it! STI’s don’t always have symptoms that accompany them. The only way to know if you have one or not is to get tested. Do it every six months, so you can catch anything that may not show up the first time.

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post! Finals have wreaked havoc upon my life, and I’m now in summer school as well. I’ll post as often as I can, my sex positive babies.

Birth Control Shaming? That’s a Thing?

Today I had my first truly overt experience with sexism/”slut shaming”/birth control shaming. I’ve made it 20 years without ever having experienced truly obvious accounts of these things. And today? Well today blew that record clear out of the water. I’ll set the stage for you:

I’m at the on-campus medical clinic because I suspect that I have an infection of some sort, so obviously I would need a round of antibiotics for an infection, right? Right. So I’m sitting in the room, when my “doctor” (I use this term very lightly) walks into the room. We cover the normal bases, and inform her that I’ve switched from birth control pills to an IUD. She says to me, “You’re not married. You don’t have kids. Why would you need an IUD?”

Pause. What? Yes, this really happened. This isn’t 1950 sweetheart, I don’t need anyone to tell me what kinds of birth control I can and cannot use. I’m entitled to the birth control of my choosing, and I just so happened to choose this one. But wait, there’s more! She tests me for an infection, and determines that I do in fact have one and I’ll need antibiotics. She says to me, “I want to test for pregnancy, because I don’t want any antibiotics harming a baby since I think you could be pregnant. Ok?”

I’m sure the look on my face was a mixture of confusion and utter disbelief for how completely terribly this woman was treating me. First of all, IUD failure rates are extremely low. Less than 1% annually. Second, I….I’m not pregnant. I know this. I’m not even concerned about this. So why are you testing me for something that first of all is super unlikely, and second of all I know I’m not?

So she tests for it. Surprise, surprise, I’m not pregnant. Thanks for telling me something I already know. She walks in saying, “It was negative. Not that you were really concerned about it.” Seriously, lady?

This entire interaction blew my mind. This was the first overt experience of, I guess “birth control shaming” that I’ve ever experienced. Sure, most women get strange looks when they take the Pill in public. Sure, some people think it’s not an acceptable thing to discuss or even acknowledge. That’s a more common form of oppression and silencing the thoughts and opinions of women. But this? I’ve never experienced something like that before, that was so blatantly condemning my choice. Don’t like my choice? Don’t say anything. Didn’t your mother teach you that if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all? It’s a sad world when a young woman is condemned by a health “professional” for her choice in birth control. There are so many good reasons to be on birth control, so why do people assume that it’s solely for contraceptive purposes? 6/10 women are on birth control for the health benefits. The Pill decreases the likelihood of gynecological cancers, decreases the occurrence of acne, eases the pain of periods and cramps, and so many other things! There is nothing wrong with a woman choosing the Pill, the shot, and IUD, or any other form of birth control that she feel suits her best. Why on earth are we shaming people for making a choice that makes their lives easier? For making a choice that makes their lives easier to plan? For making a choice that practically eliminates consequences of actions that people, by nature, take?

I’ve been upset about it all day. But now I’m just sad for her. Sad that she can’t see past her own judgments and  juvenile words that serve no purpose aside from hurting another person. My entire point in life, my main goal, is to perpetuate a culture where people are not devalued for the choices that they make regarding their sexuality. My point is that you cannot impose your morals and thoughts on to other people. If she thinks birth control should be a topic only held between a husband and wife that already have kids, then fine. She’s entitled to believe that. Where she went wrong was imposing those beliefs on me, and hurting me because of those beliefs. My morals and her morals likely differ. Most people have differing morals. That’s what makes life interesting, and keeps diversity alive. It’s perfectly okay to believe differently from another person. In fact, that should be encouraged! The line should be drawn when it begins to impact other people.

Birth control shame is a real thing. I can’t believe that it’s still so prevalent, but it is a real thing. Let’s stop making judgments on women based on their usage of birth control. Let’s stop making assumptions about their lives. Let’s certainly never treat them the way that this “doctor” treated me today. Professionalism is important. She was unprofessional at catastrophic levels. If your health professional ever treats you like this, please, change your doctor! It’s not worth someone denying you something that is fully in the realm of possibility for you to receive. Do your research, know your stuff, and stand your ground. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong for having your own best interest in mind.

I Don’t Know How I Got Pregnant! Why Abstinence Based Sex Ed Doesn’t Work

First of all, let me address abstinence and the strong feelings that tend to come with it. I understand. I understand that people who promote abstinence based sex education really do have the best intentions behind it. No one wants their child to have sex before they’re ready/can handle the consequences/outside of marriage. Everyone wants their child to wait as long as they possibly can so that they’re not exposed to the tremendous risks that come along with sex. This I wholeheartedly understand.

What I don’t understand is why we continue to promote it, when studies have shown over and over again that it isn’t working. The social factors alone are evidence enough that these policies are not working. The United States has the highest teenage pregnancy rate out of all the developed countries, and the highest infant mortality rate of the developed countries. The lack of women’s health and reproductive rights in this country is outrageous, especially since the U.S. tends to be portrayed as a global superpower. If this is true, we’re making a mockery of ourselves with the way we’re handling these things, like women’s health, that really should be considered non-issues. The average birth rate per 1,000 young women ages 15-19 in the United States is 34.2 (2010). Here is a handy little map so you can compare numbers geographically. You’ll notice that in the southern states, this number rises dramatically. In Texas, my home state, the number is 52.2. In Mississippi, it’s 55. Wait, what? That’s such a large amount of young women getting pregnant! Get this, only 22 out of the 50 states require sex education and 20 require HIV/AIDS education. Only 19 of these states require medically accurate information. And even then, it’s stated that the definition of “medically accurate” can vary. Yikes. I even looked at a website called abstinenceworks.org, where you can see where your state stands on sex education. The language associated with states that don’t comply to their preferred method of teaching borders on ludicrous.

Here is what sex educators, legislators, parents, and voters need to know. No matter what you do, teenagers always have, and always will have sex. If they’re going to do it, I would rather them have access to the resources that will protect them from contracting an STI, or becoming pregnant. In centuries past, adolescents were marrying by the time they hit puberty, so sex outside of marriage was a non-issue. However, the age at which people are getting married is slowly getting older. The average age men marry is almost 30, and women are typically married around 26 years old. The economy is tough, jobs are even tougher to come by. It doesn’t always make sense for these young couples to get married when they are not financially stable. Since the average age of marriage is getting older, it makes sense that adolescents aren’t waiting to have sex.

Think about when you were a teenager. How often did you actually listen to the things your parents were telling you about love, life, and relationships? Chances are, you didn’t pay much attention. We make our own decisions and learn from them, whether we regard them as mistakes or not. Abstinence sex education works the same way. Don’t you wish your mother had given you all the information in regards to that bad boy that you were totally into? Don’t you wish she’d given you some solid, factual information on the content of his character (and maybe criminal record)? When you’re presented with all of the facts, you are able to make an informed decision that greatly impacts your future. You wouldn’t make a major move to a completely different city for a job offer without reviewing the position, looking into the company, and determining whether or not it would make you happy, would you? The same basic concepts apply.

So, my friends, I encourage all of you to advocate for these ridiculous trends to change! We hold the power to change things. So lets get to it.

Hey Girl, Do I Have Your Consent?

Today we’re gonna address this super fun topic called consent. Basically, consent is what needs to be given before you can continue a sexual act, whether intercourse or otherwise. Consent is vital, because if you do not have consent, then what you are doing can be classified and prosecuted as rape. No one wants to go there! Our culture tends to avoid talking about consent, so here’s what both men and women alike need to know:

In the United States, every single state has different age of consent laws. Age of consent refers to the age that you are legally able to consent to sex. If sex is had before that age, it could be prosecuted as rape if charges are pressed. You should know where your state stands on the age of consent! Many young men and women find themselves on sex offender registry lists for having sex with a minor, even with their verbal consent. Even with this verbal consent given from both participating parties, it is still illegal if one of them is under their states age of consent. If parents decide to press charges, they can. Few states will consider the age gap between the two participating parties within a couple of years, but generally an age gap over 2 or 3 years will still be considered statutory rape. In absolutely no state is the age of consent under the age of 16. For a deeper look at your states particular age of consent laws, click right here.

Now, what about alcohol and consent? This is where things can become a little murkier, since we aren’t always taught when two people are able to consent to sex.  A great rule of thumb is that if the person you wish to have sex with has had more than one alcoholic drink, you should probably wait to have sex until you’re both in an environment free from intoxication, and where you can both talk about your boundaries, what you’re comfortable, etc. The fact is that we don’t know other peoples limits. A 300 pound, 6’4″ football player will more likely than not have a higher tolerance than someone that weighs 150 pounds and stands at an average height. Different people metabolize alcohol differently, so no two people have exactly the same tolerance level. If a person is passed out drunk, is slurring their words, can’t walk in a straight line, throwing up, or showing any other signs of extreme intoxication, having sex with them is considered rape, and would be prosecuted as such. 

Another important thing to note is that consent can be retracted at any time, by any participating party. If you feel unsafe, you have the right to speak up and stop what you’re doing. If your partner(s) do not respect those wishes, they’re getting into sexual assault territory. You have the right to say no when you’re uncomfortable. It is not teasing, and you do not owe anyone sex! Draw the line when you’re no longer comfortable or feel safe. Sexual coercion is never okay. Just because you’ve done it before does not mean that you have to do it again. Just because you’ve started does not mean that you have to “finish”. When you’re uncomfortable, let it be known. Consent can always, always, always, be retracted.

For some more excellent information on consent, brought to you by the lovely Laci Green, go ahead and skip to :30.

 

Also, this.

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I know, I’m using bold face for everything today. It’s an important topic! If you get nothing else out of this blog, then please understand consent, what it looks like, and what is rape and what isn’t. We consistently teach women not to get raped, instead of teaching men not to rape. Why it’s this way, I may never understand. But we have the power to change that. Many rape cases can be entirely avoided just by providing accurate information about laws to young men and women, and when a person can consent to sex and when they can’t.

If you ever need clarification on what rape constitutes, look no further. The new definition of rape, provided by the United States Department of Justice Attorney General, is “the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” This is the actual definition of rape. This is what the United States recognizes as their legal definition of rape, and is what rape cases will be tried based off of.

Rape happens most often between two people who know, and even trust each other. These kinds of violation of trust happen to too many men and women. RAINN (the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network) estimates that 2/3 of rapes are perpetrated by someone the survivor knows, and 1 in 6 women have been raped during their lifetime, and 1 in 33 men. In general terms of sexual assault, which ranges from molestation, indecent exposure, rape, attempted rape, and so on, the numbers come closer to 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men.

Consent is so extremely important, ya’ll. Without proper consent, you get sexual assault. If you’re unsure, just ask! With consent comes safety and trust, all important to the equation of having safe and informed sex. If you have any more question, please, please, please ask me!  I’ve provided a little light reading on consent, just so you have access to those resources!

http://www.uhs.uga.edu/consent/

http://healthandcounseling.unca.edu/what-consent

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/January/12-ag-018.html