Several co-authors and I recently published an article about science and sex education policy. We show a disconnect between the state of most U.S. sex education and a great deal of the relevant science on adolescent sexuality. There is a wealth of evidence, for instance, showing that gender equity promotes, and gender stereotyping undermines, sexual health. Sadly, most U.S. sex education policy and programming does not address gender equity or gender stereotyping. We hope that this will change!
Not Under My Roof has won the American Sociological Association Children and Youth Section’s 2012 Distinguished Scholarly Research Award!
Recently, I received the exciting news that I was awarded the Healthy Teen Network’s Carol Mendez Cassell Award for Excellence in Sexuality Education, which is “dedicated to promote and reward the application of science in the practice of sexuality education policy and programs:” The Healthy Teen Network describes the award further:
The Carol Mendez Cassell Award recognizes sexuality educators who demonstrate commitment to the application of research in the practice of sexuality education policy and programs. Carol Mendez Cassell, a sexuality educator with more than three decades of directing educational research and prevention programs, offers this award in the belief that an evidence-based approach is essential in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of future sexual health policies and programs.
In the Q&A following my plenary address at the annual meeting of AASECT (The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) in Austin, Texas, yesterday, a member of the audience talked about counseling adolescents about sexual health. He is a physician and realized that short of asking his teenage patients whether they use condoms when they have sex, he was at a loss for the language to talk about sexual health. Many physicians with whom I have worked have raised the issue of a lack of a “script” to talk with adolescents about sexuality in a more positive and comprehensive fashion. I have collaborated with my colleagues in medicine to create an educational module for clinicians that discusses the practical applications of the ABCD model for adolescent sexual health. The module: “Beyond Abstinence and Risk: A New Paradigm for Adolescent Sexuality” can be downloaded here. Other articles on the New ABCDs can be found here.
Today the New York Times published my oped, entitled, “Caring, Romantic Boys”. Those of you following the themes I discuss in this blog won’t be surprised by the argument. I’ve been noticing in my research and that of others, as well as in interacting with audiences when I give public presentations, that the theme of boys and the need to have a more nuanced understanding of their motivations and experiences keeps coming back. There’s been some additional conversations about this going on at the Good Men Project. Let me know if you see others!
I’ve just finished the last of 5 March speaking events that took me across the country: The Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at Boston University, the CDC National STD Prevention Conference (in Minneapolis this year), the “Consider This” speaker’s series, hosted by Planned Parenthood Orange and San Bernardino Counties, Friday’s at Newcomb at Tulane University, and finally a panel on “Sexual Socialization in the 21st Century” at the meetings of the Southern Sociological Society in New Orleans. I spoke before young people, parents, health policy makers, professionals, and researchers. Despite their differences, they raised many of the same issues: especially the question of how — as parents, educators, and providers — they can provide young people with an image of healthy sexual and emotional development, when so many forces work in the opposite direction. One theme that kept coming back was the importance of giving more attention and support to the emotional and relational development of boys and young men than we typically do in our scholarship, healthcare, and popular culture (see also earlier post on the “hearts of boys.”)
Over the past few weeks, we have seen some fascinating, public conversations about contraception, sparked by the inclusion of contraception coverage in healthcare reform, and the opposition of the Catholic Bishops. One of the most interesting articles to cover the topic in my opinion was in last week’s New York Times: “Obama Shift on Contraception Splits Critics,” which highlights the divisions over contraception within the Catholic church, even among some of the most devout. In an interview I did today with New England Public Radio, I point out that it is important to keep in mind that it is really only a very small proportion of the US population for whom access to contraception is controversial.
That is how Simon Kuper, columnist for the Financial Times characterizes the Dutch approach to sex and drugs. His is the first European column to review my book, Not Under My Roof. Kuper, who is British, spent part of his adolescence in the Netherlands, where coincidentally he lived across the street from my home when I was teenager. This insider-outsider perspective make him particularly well situated to grasp cultural differences. He explains how the Dutch approach is far from “permissive” as it is often viewed across the Atlantic. Don’t miss this incisive commentary, sweetened by a good dose of humor.