January 20, 2019

Why We Need Better Sex Ed

“Amid America’s reckoning with sexual harassment and violence, gender inequity, and discrimination, sex education is as fraught as it’s ever been. Anyone who received school-based sex ed in the U.S. anytime during the past four decades—including the majority of American students currently in school—might have difficulty relating that education to the massive renegotiation of sex, gender, and power that’s transforming the nation. But sex ed could play a significant role in helping today’s students navigate this transformation. It would just have to look a lot different than it does in most of the U.S. right now.

I spent several years exploring the state of sex ed in the U.S. and elsewhere for my latest book. What I found in America wasn’t great.

As of 2018, fewer than half of U.S. schools require that students receive information about human sexuality. While some states say school-based sex ed must be medically accurate and nonjudgmental, others mandate learning objectives that cast nonmarital sex and homosexuality in a negative light. Only about half of American teenagers who have had sex say they have received any sex ed at all, and just a fifth of American students learn in school how to use a condom correctly. Despite some recent improvement, U.S. teens give birth and contract sexually transmitted infections at much higher rates than teens in other developed countries. And few are learning anything that might help address social ailments such as sexual violence, gender inequity, or homophobia and other intolerances.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."

"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."

"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"

"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."

"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""

"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "

"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."

"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."

"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."

"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."

"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."

"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"