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Posts Tagged ‘Sexuality Education’

Parents and Educators Can Support Pediatricians in Providing Comprehensive Sexuality Education

July 26, 2016

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report last week that provides guidance on how pediatricians can provide sexuality education to their patients. Answer executive director, Nicole Cushman, MPH, provides commentary on the report on Rewire. She shares her thoughts and recommendations on what it will take to implement these guidelines and how educators and parents can partner with health care providers to ensure young people get the medically accurate sex education they deserve. Read more.

Human Sexuality: The Ultimate Interdisciplinary Topic

August 28, 2015

In this third installment of Answer’s blog series, Inter(sex)tions, sexuality educator Deborah Roffman tells us why human sexuality is the ultimate interdisciplinary topic. Ms. Roffman has been teaching sexuality education for over 40 years in grades 4-12 and is also the author of three books: Talk to Me First, Sex and Sensibility and But How’d I Get in There in the First Place. Sexuality is a topic that is too often reduced to genitals and sexual behaviors. Ms. Roffman shares how sexuality educators  can begin to get at the complexity of human sexuality by making connections from sexuality to just about any other academic subject area. She encourages all teachers to make deliberate, ongoing connections for students between the topic of sexuality and other academic disciplines, to promote students’ critical thinking about a topic that is too often portrayed in simplistic ways.

width= “Years ago I read that the average American adult processes information  about sexuality on a second grade level,” explains Ms. Roffman. “That really struck a chord, because of what I know about cognitive development. Before ages 7 to 8, children process information very concretely; they can’t yet mentally step back far enough to ‘see’ or grasp the context around the content of life. While most adults are fully able to think contextually about many, many other topics, because of the poor quality of the ‘sex ed’ they likely experienced, they may be ‘stuck’ at a concrete level of understanding.”

With such a wealth of teaching experience and a deep commitment to broadening how we think, talk and teach about human sexuality, we were excited to have Ms. Roffman share her insights into teaching sexuality education and teaching across topic areas.

Answer: You have noted that sexuality educators need to help students move beyond a limited understanding of sex and sexual health that narrowly focuses on the genitals. Why is this so important?

Roffman: The excessive emphasis in our culture on the genital aspects of sexuality—rather than the whole human being attached to those genitals—reflects and reinforces what in my mind is an ultimately dehumanized understanding of who we are as sexual beings. My mantra to my students is that, no, they are not “walking talking genitals.” They are thinking, feeling, caring, valuing, relating, communicating, decision-making, self-care taking human beings, who (also) happen to have genitals.

I want them to understand too that “human sexuality” is not just longhand for “sex” or “sexual health.” It is an exceptionally broad field of study that encompasses anything and everything in the world that connects meaningfully to issues of sex, gender and reproduction. And, if you think deeply enough about those three issues, that is just about everything in the world! After all, sexuality is the fundamental life force. Why wouldn’t it be connected to everything?

So, the point, on both the personal and macro levels, is to engage students in thinking deeply and critically about themselves and the world around them in as many ways as possible. That’s the point of education, right?

Answer: Given the constraints on the time many educators have to provide sexuality education, what can educators do to help broaden students’ understanding of sexuality?

Roffman: My first response to this type of question is that, as sexuality educators, we must also be child and youth advocates. We have to be prepared to articulate persuasively—to administrators and everyone else who needs to know—that the way we are most often required to teach this subject matter is neither pedagogically sound (large groups, brief sessions, few classes, little continuity across age groups) nor developmentally sound (way too little too late), and how that needs to change for us to do well by our students. Until it does, I find that assigning meaningful readings, especially those that relate to our curriculum or to relevant current events, keeps the learning exciting and dynamic. In any three-month period, practically all of the topics I want my students to think deeply about will appear in print or online media.

Answer: Can you give us a few examples of how sexuality educators can use other disciplines—such as math, history or even astronomy—to teach about human sexuality?

Roffman: This skill comes with the recognition that the topic of human sexuality and all of life itself are astonishingly interconnected. Think about the myriad ways that sex, gender and reproduction intersect with the following disciplines, by no means an exhaustive list: history (Henry VIII’s domestic and public life, for example, was all about sex, gender and reproduction!), religion, economics, politics, government, war and peace; all of the basic sciences, all of the arts, literature; mental and physical health, disability, child and adolescent development, health education, public health; race, gender, ethnicity, and class; world cultures, social studies, social justice, psychology, sociology, marriage and family; psychiatry, medicine, pharmacy, law; the armed services, criminology, journalism, linguistics, and anthropology; communications, mass media, technology, social networking, marketing; philosophy, morality and ethics.

Even topics that may seem totally unrelated to sexuality aren’t really: architecture (would women throughout the ages have designed all of those phallic-shaped structures?); agriculture (the invention of which established the sexual double standard and solidified the notion of women as property), geology (Mother Earth); and astronomy (think constellations).

Answer: How can educators in other fields be sexuality educators? What opportunities could there be for educators in sexuality education to partner with their colleagues in other academic fields?

Roffman: Human sexuality is the ultimate interdisciplinary topic. That means all teachers are potential human sexuality educators. A middle school math teacher was sitting in a faculty group at his school when I quoted the statistic that if two people begin to engage in sexual intercourse at 16, with each having two and only two partners that year and repeating that exact pattern each year thereafter with two new partners, by age 20 each will have been exposed directly and indirectly to 100 partners. Intrigued, he went straight to his 7th grade class the very next period, tossed his lesson for the day and instead challenged them to work out this interesting and important mathematical progression!

Integrating human sexuality into every-day learning was a genuine gift to his students, who within 40 minutes broadened their practical understanding of math (and STIs), made important connections among subject matters, and learned to think more critically about human sexuality. Most importantly, they identified yet another adult in their school community who was “askable” and available for conversations about sexuality. Imagine a whole school full of teachers playing these roles, even if only briefly and once in a while!

Answer: What advice do you have for educators?

Roffman: I’ve advocated, well, forever, for a reframing of our subject matter from “sex” to “human sexuality,” and meaning it in the broadest possible way. In the general public, the work we do is most fundamentally associated with “sex” (which, by the way, makes us more vulnerable to attack) and sexual parts, not the growing, developing human being attached to them and the infinite ways that issues of sex, gender and reproduction play themselves out in human life. That’s the way, I think, to get us all past second grade.

At the Intersection of Sex Ed and English

June 17, 2015

Al Vernacchio is an English and sexuality education teacher at Friends’ Central School in Pennsylvania and author of For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens About Sexuality, Values, and Health. A veteran teacher with 17 years of experience, Vernacchio first realized he wanted to learn more about sexuality and teach sexuality education during his first teaching job.

“The human sexuality curriculum was taught at the end of the ninth grade religion class, which was a class I taught,” Vernacchio explains. “Once I started teaching it, I realized I knew a lot about the spiritual side but not so much about the sexual side of things. I wanted to learn more and help people grow in sexually healthy ways.”

Vernacchio went on to get a master’s degree in human sexuality education and, in his words, has “been teaching sexuality education ever since, whether in my sexuality classes or my English classes.”

It’s just this sort of expertise in cross-topic teaching that made us think Vernacchio was the perfect person to interview for our second installment of our series Inter(sex)tions, which explores how sexuality education intersects with core topics taught in schools.

Answer: As a teacher of both English and a course on sexuality at the high school level, how and in what ways do these two subjects overlap?

Vernacchio: Almost any text taught in a high school English classroom can be used to teach a lesson on healthy sexuality. It’s just a matter of whether the teacher is willing to “go there” when teaching the text and whether the school is open to the teacher doing that. Literature is all about the human experience, and at the core of that human experience is our sexuality. We are sexual beings every minute of every day, from birth to death. Everything we do and every interaction we have is influenced by our bodies, our gender identity and expression, and our sexual and romantic attractions. The study of literature becomes so much richer when we understand the characters as fully human, and that means fully sexual.

I talk about sexuality all the time in my English class, because it’s on every page of every text I teach. It’s hard to teach The Catcher in the Rye without recognizing that Holden Caulfield, the protagonist, is a confused, horny, 16-year-old virgin who has a lot of questions about sex and dating and life, and those questions have an impact on his interactions with every other character. The novel also gives students a glimpse into the world of 1950s America and how sexism and homophobia were present there just as they are today.

One of my favorite experiences of talking about sexuality in the context of literature comes in the 11th-grade American Literature class. We read that old chestnut, The Scarlet Letter, followed immediately by Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. Both texts are about characters scorned by society because of sexual issues. Hester Prynne’s scarlet letter (“A” for adulteress) is mirrored by the Kaposi sarcoma lesions that mark the characters living with AIDS in Angels in America. Both texts talk about the conflict between the American Dream of living one’s life openly and honestly and the prejudice and discrimination that comes from a society that demands conformity and punishes those who stray beyond the boundaries of what’s deemed “acceptable.” Both ask what the price of freedom is and both ultimately give the message that being true to oneself is what is most important.

Answer: When teaching English, what texts do you find foster the most conversations about sexuality or topics related to sex ed?

Vernacchio: There are certainly texts that foster conversations about sexuality more easily than others because their subject matter is directly related to sexuality in some way (think Romeo and Juliet or Their Eyes Were Watching God). But I think what’s much more important is the attitude of the teacher and the community created in the classroom. Is it one that is safe for discussing “real” issues? Are the students encouraged to look at the way gender and sexual orientation may impact what’s happening in a novel or a story? For instance, when reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, of course it’s essential to talk about race and the dehumanizing effects of slavery in the United States. But Huck and Jim are also both men (well, a man and a boy), and that also impacts how they relate to one another. It’s also interesting to notice the place of women in that novel; they are oppressed by their gender in similar ways that slaves are oppressed by their race. Twain didn’t set out to write a novel about the place of women in nineteenth-century America, and I hope no teacher would avoid the racial issues in the novel to talk about that instead, but talking about the intersection of race and gender in the novel can enrich the experience and give students a new way of looking at issues of freedom, fairness and oppression.

Answer: For health teachers who are looking to more deeply engage students using content from other classes, what advice do you have?

Vernacchio: Health teachers have the ability to be extraordinarily creative in their classrooms. Teaching from novels and real-world experiences is so much more effective than using an out-of-date health textbook. There are amazing young adult novels, poems and essays that cover topics like navigating puberty, coming out, surviving sexual assault, being transgender, etc. These are easy reads and can open up discussions among students in powerful ways. Beyond fiction, teachers can use things like advertising to teach about gender role inequity. I’ve sent my students out to look at the display of Valentine’s Day cards in a store and count how many cards can be used by people in same-gender relationships. Television commercials can be a great focusing tool for a class and cover every sexuality-related issue imaginable. You-tubers like Laci Green are another valuable resource. Websites like Sexetc.org, Scarleteen and Go Ask Alice allow students to explore topics of their choosing and guarantee them accurate, thorough and up-to-date information.

Answer: What tips do you have for teachers fielding questions about sexuality when sexuality isn’t their area of expertise?

Vernacchio: Whether you know the answer or not isn’t the issue. It’s the way you answer the question or respond to the statement that’s important. If a teacher seems nervous, shocked or disgusted, that’s going to send a powerful message to the student. When we normalize students’ natural curiosity about sexuality, we do them a great service. It would also be great to have resources available in every classroom that answered basic questions about sexuality—pamphlets, books, posters. One thing every great teacher knows is that where to find an answer is just as, if not more, important than knowing the answer. Most of all, though, teachers who model authenticity and show their humanity to their students are teaching a terrific lesson about healthy sexuality.

Sex Education Must Work to Dismantle Rape Culture

June 12, 2015

I read Nicholas Kristof’s recent column “When the Rapist Doesn’t See It as Rape” with a heady mix of revulsion, familiarity and gratitude that such a widely read and respected journalist had devoted white space to this issue. Kristoff drew on Jon Krakauer’s new book Missoula to call attention to the discrepancy between the public’s perception of rapists as menacing strangers and the much more common reality of rape committed by acquaintances who often don’t perceive their actions as rape at all.

The cognitive dissonance that resides in many perpetrators’ minds is hardly news to those who have advocated, educated and fought to end rape and sexual assault for decades. This latest commentary brought to my mind a three-year-old Reddit thread in which rapists told “their side of the story.” Predictably, the collective effect of thousands of comments was chilling. Men (primarily) described plying women (nearly exclusively) with alcohol and physically overpowering them, and they excused their behavior by blaming peer pressure, biological necessity and, above all, the women they assaulted, whom they perceived as sending mixed signals.

While reading rape apologia ad nauseam can seemingly lead to nothing but despair, once you cut through the victim-blaming, I believe these accounts do a better job of laying bare the nature of our rape culture than many erudite feminist analyses. It is hard to deny the pervasiveness of gender double standards, biological determinism, slut-shaming and a good old-fashioned “boys will be boys” mentality when faced with such firsthand accounts.

So how should we respond? I believe that sexuality educators can and must play a fundamental role in dismantling rape culture by addressing these issues head on in the classroom. A good place to start is with age-appropriate discussions about gender and power. For example, educators working with elementary school students can ask students to reflect on the types of toys and clothing marketed toward boys and girls as a way to introduce the concept of gender roles and societal expectations about gender. In middle school, students will be ready for discussions about gender roles and stereotypes in friendships and romantic relationships. These conversations lay the groundwork for more detailed lessons for high school students to analyze the ways gender roles and expectations influence young people’s ability to refuse or consent to sex, negotiate condom use and set and maintain boundaries.

High-quality sex education can and should equip young people with the language and tools to understand and critique the roles of gender and power in their friendships and romantic relationships. Creating safe classroom spaces for students to explore these topics can begin to create cultural shifts in gender norms and related behaviors. Research shows that sex education that addresses gender and power is more likely to have positive sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Given that greater than ten percent of high school girls and four percent of boys report being forced to have sex, and more than 14 percent of girls and six percent of boys have experienced sexual dating violence, educators have an imperative to incorporate discussions of sexual violence into their curricula. Only by openly addressing these issues and laying bare the discrepancies and dissonance that underlie rape culture can we begin to create a new paradigm in which victims are believed, boundaries are respected and healthy relationships are established.

If you would like to learn more about teaching about healthy relationships and addressing the unique needs of boys in the sex education classroom, check out our online workshops Boys and Sex Ed and Relationship Skills for Teens.

Five Reasons to Be Hopeful About Sex Education in the U.S.

April 20, 2015

If you’ve been following the headlines related to sex education in recent months, you may have a rather bleak picture of the (mis)education of American teens when it comes to sexuality and relationships. To be sure, abstinence-only programs are still commonplace in U.S. schools, despite having been discredited over and over and over, and too many young people receive sex education that is too little, too late.

While those of us who implement and advocate for comprehensive sexuality education still have our work cut out for us, at Answer, we remain optimistic about the state of sex ed in America. In fact, we see progress and possibilities nearly everywhere we look. What keeps us so optimistic? Here are our top five reasons to be hopeful about sex education in the U.S.

1.    We know that comprehensive sex education works. Study after study has affirmed the effectiveness of comprehensive programs at helping teens to make healthy decisions about sex and relationships. What is more, sex education has been credited with contributing to historic declines in U.S. teen pregnancy and birth rates by increasing use of condoms and birth control. In fact, 85.6 percent of teen girls report using some method of contraception (including condoms) the last time they had sex.

2.    Parents, teens and the public support comprehensive sex education. Every state, local, and national poll affirms that the overwhelming majority of Americans support sex education that covers a wide range of topics, including birth control, abstinence and healthy relationships. While a small minority of people opposed to sex education can create some very big roadblocks to implementing comprehensive programs, we feel emboldened by the support of parents and young people across the country.

3.    Young people have virtually unfettered access to the Internet. You may ask why this is a good thing for sex education. To be sure, the Internet is rife with misinformation and explicit content that can confuse and mislead young people. It can also act as an equalizing force that provides access to sorely needed information and resources to those who don’t get their questions answered at school or at home. At Answer, we launched the web version of our magazine Sex, Etc. way back in 1999. Sex, Etc. is a resource written by teens, for teens, exemplifying the power of technology to lift up youth voices. We’re proud of our commitment to leveraging technology to reach more and more young people, and we’re thrilled to be joined online by many colleague organizations.

4.    We’ve made tremendous progress in supporting LGBTQ youth. While there is certainly a long way to go in addressing the needs of queer youth, anti-discrimination and anti-bullying laws in many states protect young people from harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Federal funding for sex education now requires programs to be inclusive of all youth and implemented in a safe and supportive environment, and the number of gay-straight alliances (GSAs), which have been shown to contribute to safer school environments for LGBTQ students, is increasing on campuses across the country.

5.    Young people across the country are advocating for better sex ed. Perhaps most inspiring of all are the groups of young people who are organizing to demand comprehensive sex education in their schools. Recently, The Daily Show highlighted the efforts of teens in Clark County, Nevada to push for curriculum reform in what has become a highly contentious debate. While the outcome in Las Vegas is still undetermined, these teens give me hope that we are moving in the right direction.

I don’t mean to be flippant or pollyanna about the very real and persistent challenges to improving sex education in this country. We face those challenges head-on every day at Answer. That’s part of what keeps us committed to providing top-notch training and capacity building for educators and youth-driven sexuality education directly to young people. We have the privilege of working with dedicated educators and inspiring teens from all over the U.S., and when we look at them, we don’t see doom and gloom; we see hope and possibility.

Seven Double Standards That Hurt Young People

November 25, 2014

To start some important conversations about gender and double standards with your students, share this teen-written story, “Three Double Standards That Hurt Guys and Girls,” from Sexetc.org. For training on addressing the needs of transgender students in your classes, register for Answer’s LGBTQ Issues in Schools.

From Reading Sex, Etc. to Working at Answer

February 14, 2014

I don’t have too many good memories from my high school sexuality education classes. But, one amazing memory I have is of getting the Sex, Etc. newsletter.

Back in 2005, Sex, Etc. wasn’t a magazine but a black-and-white newsletter with just a pop of color in certain places. I remember our health teacher passing them out to the class and me picking it up with some hesitation. I thought to myself, Ugh, are they going to show us some gross pictures of STDs and tell us to not get pregnant?

When I started to actually read the articles, I was pleasantly surprised to find great writing, accurate information and fun content—all written by people about my age. Everything else we had read in sex ed had been written by adults, was probably produced in the 1980s and had an admonishing tone. But in Sex, Etc. there were first-person accounts of sexual health topics written by teenagers just like me—and produced in this millennium. The stories normalized what I was thinking, feeling and going through. I was ecstatic that a newsletter like this existed and that I wasn’t alone.

Coming Full Circle

Once I got to college, I was actively involved in advocating for comprehensive sexuality education and sexual health. College was so far removed from high school that I never made the connection between Sex, Etc. and what I was learning about sexuality. However, when I took the class Women and Health, that was sexuality education, and for a lot of the students in the class, it was the first time they were learning about sexuality and sexual health. When I took Introduction to LGBTQ Studies, we talked and learned about sexual orientation, homophobia, being transgender, transphobia and a myriad of other LGBTQ topics. This was sexuality education. And, yet, I still hadn’t made the connection that this was the work Sex, Etc. and Answer were doing.

It’s not surprising then that the thought of working in sexuality education didn’t occur to me. It wasn’t until the spring semester of my senior year that I realized I would most likely be graduating without a job—an insanely scary prospect. When I considered that all of my internships had been with organizations that promoted comprehensive sexuality education, I started to think that maybe I was meant to make a career in this field.

Soon after graduation, I applied to work at Answer. Four years later, I still think applying to work here is one of the best choices I’ve ever made. It feels as if everything has come full circle. I went from a student who read Sex, Etc. in high school, to now training the teen editorial staff on sexuality and sexual health, answering teens’ questions on the Sexetc.org forums and working with the teen editorial staff on their stories for the magazine, the website and the blog.

Twenty Years of Sex, Etc.

This year is the 20th anniversary of Sex, Etc. magazine and the 15th anniversary of Sexetc.org.

Over the years, the magazine and website have not only provided information on how to use a condom or what happens during puberty—though of course this information is important—but they have also provided what teens need to know about caring for their bodies, communicating with partners and establishing healthy relationships. Each FAQ that is read means that a teenage girl has the chance to learn about menstruation and that her body is normal and can do amazing things. It means a teen guy gets to learn about healthy relationships and to see himself as a fully realized emotional being who doesn’t have to have sex, even if his friends are pressuring him to. Every young person who learns that douching won’t prevent pregnancy or that being transgender is normal or that they don’t have to have sex to please a partner isn’t just given facts. They’re given vital information to help them navigate the complicated teenage years. And they get the important, but often-forgotten, message that they are not alone, that there are other teens out in the world going through the same things and that if they need help, Sex, Etc. can point them in the right direction.

Countless teens before me received honest, accurate information about sexuality through the magazine and website. And now I get to come to work every day and do my best—along with the rest of the Answer staff!—to make sure countless other teens are given the same opportunity in the years to come.

—Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, M.A., Coordinator of Education and Communications

Remembering Senator Lautenberg: A Champion of Comprehensive Sexuality Education

June 10, 2013

Last week, New Jersey lost a great representative—and the United States lost a great statesman—Senator Frank R. Lautenberg. During his five terms, Senator Lautenberg courageously stood up to big business and supported legislation that improved all of our lives—from a ban on smoking on commercial airlines to support for motorcycle-helmet laws. We appreciate all of Senator Lautenberg’s hard work, but what we at Answer will remember him most for is his steadfast support of comprehensive sexuality education.

For years, Senator Lautenberg championed legislation that would help to ensure that young people receive age-appropriate, medically accurate information about sexuality. In February, he and Senator Barbara Lee (D-CA) reintroduced the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, which is an invaluable step in funding programs that are informed by research and based on best practices.

Senator Lautenberg was the oldest member of the U.S. Senate, and with age comes wisdom; he knew that if young people are to grow into healthy adults, they deserve access to the information and skills they need to make smart decisions about sexuality, both now and well into the future. We are grateful for Senator Lautenberg’s leadership and his unwavering belief in and respect for the rights of young people nationwide. We will truly miss him.

Guys—A Sex Ed Afterthought

April 30, 2013

When I was starting out in the sexuality education field, I was hungry for training on how to effectively teach the many topics we address. A colleague recommended a training on domestic violence, and since healthy versus unhealthy relationships was a topic in our teen curriculum, I attended. As the facilitator began the training, I realized that the entire room was made up of medical professionals being trained on screening for and treating women who had been physically assaulted by their partners or spouses. I was the only educator—the only person who was interested in learning how to teach young people about healthy versus unhealthy relationships. I asked a few questions, and the facilitator did her best to answer them. I was able to cull some useful information here and there, but overall the training had very little to do with me or what I needed.

This is what far too many boys experience in the sex ed classroom.

Teaching as if Guys Aren’t in the Room

The vast majority of sexuality education curricula are written with the needs and issues of girls in mind-reinforcing, perhaps inadvertently, the idea that “boys will be boys” and so we must arm girls with as much knowledge and as many skills as possible to be the moral gatekeepers within male-female relationships. When a teacher focuses on the needs of and uses language that is designed to resonate with girls, boys often end up feeling invisible—like they don’t belong in the classroom, like sex ed doesn’t apply to them or is a waste of time, which is just like I felt during that training. It was a strong training; it just wasn’t directed to me. So, just like boys in the sex ed classroom, I had to find the information I was looking for on my own.

Sexuality education must integrate messages and teaching methods that resonate with boys. There has been push-back by some that learning based on biological sex is sexist. And I have to admit I have struggled with that over the years. But as a parent of a son and an educator who has worked directly with thousands of adolescent boys, I have seen firsthand that there are certain methods and efforts that work differently with boys than they do with girls. Does this mean that these methods work with ALL boys? No. Does this mean that these methods do not work with ANY girls? Of course not. But at the most basic level, we need to stop teaching sexuality education as if boys aren’t in the room or as if girls need all of this guidance and help, but boys can figure everything out on their own. It does a disservice to girls as much as it does to boys.

Involve Guys From the Beginning

I was at a meeting recently where a discussion took place about maternity leave at school for pregnant and parenting teen girls to ensure they remain in school. It’s a worthwhile goal to help these girls both complete high school and be successful parents. Yet it struck me that the idea of family leave for their male partners did not even come up. Why? Is there an unspoken assumption that this isn’t necessary? Or that the boys wouldn’t be interested? Yet how many adults then judge the biological dads for not being present, when in fact, provisions were not made available to them the way they were for their female partners?

If we truly want guys to be engaged in their sexual health and relationships, we need to involve them from the beginning. If we want them to value sexuality education, we need to teach in ways that resonate with them. If we want to help them make healthy decisions, both now and into the future, we need to see them as part of the educational process, not an afterthought.

We address how educators can create sexual health lessons and use teaching methods that resonate with boys in Answer’s latest online professional development course, Boys and Sex Ed: Beyond Statistics and Stereotypes. If we as educators are going to provide boys with the guidance they need and deserve, then we have to find more effective ways of reaching them.

Albert Einstein said, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” We keep telling boys that they need to be responsible about their sexual health without providing them with the educational venue through which they can learn to be responsible. As a result, many live their lives believing they are stupid about or irrelevant in relationships-regardless of the gender of their partner. And no young person should be made to feel stupid or irrelevant.

Answer Talks to The New York Times About Parents, Kids & Porn

May 11, 2012

pornI recently spoke with New York Times writer Amy O’Leary about parents, kids and porn. Porn is easily accessible online, and I’ve blogged in the past (”My Child Viewed Porn: Now What?”) about why a child might seek out porn and what parents or guardians can do when this happens. Porn isn’t going away, so it was great to see that the New York Times chose to cover this issue as well! Check out the articles below to find out more, including some additional advice I shared on five different scenarios in which parents spoke with their children who had stumbled upon online porn.

“How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography”

“Can Your Child Find Porn on Your Phone?”

“So How Do We Talk About This?”