I think the educational list varies greatly from state to state. In Texas, 5th grade receive a "My Body & Me" talk which basically covers puberty. The children are separated by gender and only taught about their own body parts. In 7th grade life science, the reproductive systems of both genders are taught as well as reproduction (usually 2 weeks of the year). In high school, Health class covers sex & STIs (1 week of class time). The parents are allowed to opt their child out of all 3 programs. In addition, the state mandates that Abstinence is the basis for any discussions on contraception.
I think the vast majority of us on this thread are discussing sex ed for pre-teens/teens- at the age where people may begin having sex.
Single mama to an only born November 2012.
Co-sleeping, vaxing, baby-wearing, sometimes cloth diapering, car seat safety advocate. Still nursing with no end in sight
Another note is that NFP is actually abstaining during the fertile portion of a woman's cycle. If condoms or other barriers are used, that is Fertility Awareness Method and is less effective (theoretically) because barriers are the 'weakest link' in that system. Effectiveness would be reduced to that of the barrier. It could be argued that compliance is increased, but the point is, I am going to go ahead and assert that if someone does not understand the difference between NFP and FAM and the comparative advantages/disadvantages, that they could have used greater access to information about natural fertility management.
I think this was a response to my comment - is that right? If so, I probably couldn't have told you the exact definitions of NFP vs. FAM, but NFP is indeed what I was using as a back-up to condoms. I abstained altogether on the days that I'd calculated as being the fertile ones, and used condoms consistently on the other days in case I'd made a mistake in calculation. (I suppose you could say I was using condoms as a back-up to NFP, but I always saw it as the other way round.)
(Sorry, must dash, just heard son moving around upstairs)
Damn, I can't manage to split the quotes again. I'll put my responses in in a different colour...
Just a note on Planned Parenthood: yes, they are nominally 'non-profit'. That doesn't actually mean they are not a business or that they don't make money.
I don't know how their finances work, beyond having heard several times that they're non-profit. Is there a profit or benefit for them in prescribing more contraceptives?
And it certainly doesn't mean that they are unbiased!
What biases/views of theirs are you concerned about?
But more important, *if* they specifically are going to partner with public schools to teach Sex Ed, is their *extremely controversial & 100% really really real history which involves a LOT of Eugenic leaders and philosophies*.
You can argue that they have somehow managed to completely divorce themselves from these nefarious ideas & this nefarious history, but you can't deny the actual roots of the organization, because it is amply documented. I suppose you (general) could spin it and say it was just an unfortunate 'product of the times' but unless my child is going to be explicitly informed of the actual roots & history & controversy (yk, accurate historical information), I don't want him to have anything to do with that organization @ all. Because I personally went there for some years, and I never would have if I had the slightest inkling about the roots & past. I was a supporter & a patient and never heard anything about their roots & history. So I consider that a real 'informed consent' issue . . .
I don't know much about that part of their history, but I'm in no way trying to deny or spin anything when I say that that doesn't matter to me when it comes to interacting with an organisation for one specific purpose. If a Christian organisation were teaching sex education at my children's school, I wouldn't feel it necessary to make sure my children knew about the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Catholic church's widespread cover-up of sexual abuse by their priests. I would have concerns about bias in the teaching material, but I wouldn't feel my children needed to be warned about all the terrible things the organisation did in the past (hell, in the case of the sexual abuse cover-up it's in the present) in order to evaluate and consider the information that organisation was giving them in the here-and-now. I'm not trying to defend what they have done in the past in this area, but, unless it's something that's still going on (I haven't seen this, but I'm open to information about it), I don't think it should affect the question of whether they are currently appropriate people to be running sex education programmes.
No, but you'd teach your 6-year-old how to cross roads safely. Which means s/he'd be learning important information about being careful about cars, and about cars driving on the road while people drive on the pavement, and about the direction of traffic (even though you probably wouldn't think in terms of him/her learning those specific lessons). Also, in day-to-day life you'd be teaching your children lessons about turn-taking and not pushing in and about being careful with property. All those things are information that driving lessons build on. It's so basic to us we take for granted that we know it, but it's there.
Well we can disagree there: I think if the Catholic Church specifically (because they are the ones that did the crusades, inquisition, & the sex scandals specifically referenced) were teaching a class in say, avoiding sexual abuse, I would definitely want my child to know their *recent* history (last 75 years) around that issue.
If you want to know more about PP history & finances, it is out there. I think discussing it too much on MDC would be a UA violation sorta but you could start by looking up the P-Mail controversy (where they were sending the Pill to women's homes in an OptOut way b/c women were choosing not to OptIn).
"Good grief - as a GP in the UK, I can say that I sincerely hope the 'you take what you get' attitude is unusual among doctors! No, you can't just walk in and expect to get whatever medication you ask for in the same way as you would expect to get the items you order from a shop, because the doctor is going to take medical appropriateness and, yes, cost-effectiveness into account. But a doctor certainly should be discussing the pros and cons of different options with you, especially with something as personal as contraception. I would always do this with a patient requesting contraception. If you feel your doctor is expecting you to take a contraceptive that isn't really suiting you, without discussion of the options, then I would recommend trying to see a different GP or going to your local family planning clinic."
I think you misunderstand me.
The issue here is over direct marketing to kids in sex ed classes, not whether UK doctors talk through general options, eg around contraception, or whether they are prepared to alter a prescription when it doesn't suit.
What I mean is that if you walk into the GPs surgery and ask for, say, an IUD you do not get a choice of brands. You get an IUD. I've never heard of anyone getting a choice. I guess you might, probably only if you raised it and were quite assertive, get to discuss different types of IUD but not different brands. Ditto, if you need antibiotics, you basically get the antibiotics the GP thinks are best. I have a science background and doctor friends, and I still pretty much take what I get, because there is the - to me, fundamentally reasonable- assumption that the doctor knows the best medicine for your situation. Also, its not like its a realistic choice-the surgery is unlikely to have a selection of nearly identical IUDs to choose from according to our personal brand affinities. We're simply not expected to argue with our doctors, and doctors don't usually welcome it when we are assertive. Thats just the culture. Thank god we also have a midwife system. I believe in universal healthcare and I think the NHS is in enough trouble without beating up on it. Its just how it is.
Whereas in the US my understanding is that patients might have some sway in terms of what brand of IUD or antibiotics were prescribed and do request particular brands. Direct marketing to patients of prescription drugs is not allowed in the UK but it is in the US.
My point was in response to the concern over pharmaceuticals marketing direct to kids in sex ed classes and my point, which I stand by, is that in the UK there would be no point doing this because we don't have a choice-we don't even usually know-which company has made our drugs, unless we are unusually interested. That's not the case in the US and if that's resulting in direct marketing to kids in sex ed classes then I'd say that is concerning.
Just something else I'd like to point out. Some of the practices people are objecting to are actually fairly common in same-gender sexual practice, and they are things that I'd say same gender orientated teens need to be aware of. Including their risks, because some of these practices are more risky than others and do carry a higher risk of STD transmission, primarily among males. YK, these practices that maybe seem a bit exotic and OTT to some, are just part of life for others and its reasonable, I think, for their education to be respectful of that. I don't think not discussing them on risk grounds is reasonable. Even if it were the case that discussing sexual practice caused kids to go out and try it and there is no evidence at all for that, hetersexual unprotected sex is plenty risky enough that its practioners don't get to judge anyone else for their risky behaviour.
If people are worried about STD transmission and feel that sex ed should reflect those risk, the safest form of sex in terms of STD transmission is of course lesbian sex. How I would love to see that from the abstinence only crew. "Girls, if you can't abstain, wave the rainbow flag. We're only interested in protecting you from STDs and pregnancy, and statistically, sticking to lesbian sex is very nearly as good as abstaining.".
So isn't it interesting that abstinence programs usually, at best, actively exclude gay youth, and more generally are linked to organisations who also fight any representation at all for them? And that often these same organisations which promote abstinence to kids, then promote repeated pregnancies and, consequently, a lot of unprotected sex-sometimes even with multiple partners in some religions-once you're married. I know which class I want my daughters in.
Its about morality, not STD figures.
( ETA if anyone wants to quote refuting figures back please do me a favour and make sure that these are figures for lesbians, not lesbians and bisexual women, for obvious reasons. Most of the scaremongering on the internet falls into the latter category and that's awesomely bad sampling)
I'm a Canadian GP and I believe our situation is more similar to the UK than the US. I will say, though, that even in the absence of direct marketing, patients do sometimes come to their GPs with specific requests. Usually it's a comment like "My sister-in-law had exactly the same problem, and she didn't get better with that drug. She ended up on something called ___. Is that a possibility?"
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
What I imagine happening in US Sex Ed classes are statements like 'Oral Contraceptives reduce Endometrial Cancer!!!' without a corresponding admission that they increase rates of Breast Cancer which is exponentially more common. Or Depo Provera is so highly effective, without a discussion of bone density loss or irreversibility for up to 18 months. So not exactly direct BRAND marketing, more like Pharma Spin Science.
One website I feel like comes really close to doing this whole Sex Ed thing right is http://bedsider.org
They even give a fair treatment of the natural methods.
When I was in school - ages ago - we learned about birth control in more general terms. Like, we learned about birth control pills - that they existed - but no brand names and no discussion really about either potential benefits outside contraception either. We did hear that there are health concerns and you should talk to your health provider about them but we didn't learn specifics. I'd like to see that. I want kids to know what is available, but I want them to know that they're only available by prescription for a reason and they need to discuss them with a doctor if they think that a potential choice for them.
moominmamma, dinahx hey. I'm not a GP and I'm not saying it doesn't happen that people will ask for a particular drug. I'm sure that people must have personal preference some times. My point really is that I'd guess it to be uncommon, partly because we don't have access to information about different types of drugs (I mean, unless we research it specially), but more than that, because of the culture. Its just not something that really exists in a non-medical persons psyche, The assumption-certainly in idle conversation- is that a doctor is generally better placed to make the decision than us. I have to be honest though, I don't think UK doctors expect to be challenged at all and its not a particularly nice thing to be a patient questioning your treatment, even in the most non-confrontational way. And I can see how this works and I can see how it doesn't.
Ack, I really do not want to be NHS bashing. I think it gives a great service to the greatest number and I think to do that certain things have to happen. We are not the American system. In the UK, if a homeless teenager comes in with heart failure and a rich guy comes in with a splinter, the homeless kid is seen first. I'd take a system like that over one who offers lots of choice to those who can pay any day.
But the other side to that is we do lack choice. We lack time to make the choices. There really is not an expectation that we will make any choices at all, not at GP level and certainly not once we get to hospital. Our doctors do make a lot of choices for us in practice, I feel, mainly by predeciding the extent of our choices. I have to say, personally I'm pretty comfortable with that. I approach medical care on the assumption that doctors do basically know their stuff and are able to make a good decision for me. Yeah I'd like more time at doctors appointments to explore options, but thats partly a political funding issue. I d think that not having direct pharmaceutical marketing to patients is basically a good thing, especially as its not like the information isn't out there on unbiased websites like Cochrane.
To get to the point in the UK where you went in and asked for a certain pill would I think for most people, be fairly nerve wracking and require a breakdown of taboos. Of course this will bother some people more than others.
There's a flip side to this that I do want to mention, in further defence of the NHS, which is that services where talking and choice are seen as especially important do usually operate so as to give some talking space. Maternity services, well women clincs/Brook (contraception). Oncology departments have specialist nurses to talk with patient and certainly round here assign a nurse-caseworker, even if you never see them.
So in conclusion to my accidental essay, I think our system works for the majority. I think the US system works for the minority who can pay. And, yk, if you really want a particular brand of something, there's nothing stopping you from going private.
ETA mamazee that is the UK system as I understand it and that's what I am saying is better than the US system if that allows direct, scaremongering advertising to kids.
Most clinics, especially state clinics, do have a BCP preference. And certainly women decide if the want Mirena vs. Paragard.
I guess in the US, doctors/clinics are more open to honoring contraceptive requests than ones for, say controlled substances or a specific GI or Obstetric drug.
At home amongst the redwoods with my husband and my son, born 7/5/11, and #2 due in October 2015 Instant CNM, just add !
I'm now trying to recall my own sex ed from 15 years ago. The way I remember it, it was a pretty all-encompassing program that I think I liked: we learned about contraceptive options, all sorts, from abstinence to the pill to condoms, etc. A big part of it was psychological and moral, which I know not everyone likes, but I think it was smart to address the mental and emotional aspects of sex. There was no brand-naming that I can remember.
I am a physician and see the consequences of lack of sex ed in my practice. It is amazing what people don't know. I think we need better sex ed in schools (though I wish there would be more emphasis on fertility awareness, not necessarily as a birth control technique, but as a way of learning about health and what is normal.
That being said, I am Catholic and remember back to my 9th grade (very comprehensive) sex ed class and being incredibly offended. I was not bothered by the graphic STD slide show, the graphic and candid discussions about sex positions, oral/anal sex etc. What still to this day infuriates me is that when the teacher had a session of practice putting a condom on a banana, I didn't want to participate. When she asked, I explained to her that I was not planning to have sex until I was married, and that I didn't think I needed practice at age 14 with condoms. She looked right at me, laughed, and said "no one waits till they are married to have sex."
If we are going to include sex ed in schools, we need to make sure that the instructors show respect for the students and their belief systems.
In my ideal world, sex ed might be taught by a bio teacher or by the school nurse. It'd include lots of information on safer sex, including abstinence, NFP/FAM, monogamy, barrier methods, implantable devices, and pharmaceuticals (and anything else I've missed), but it wouldn't engage in shaming. I'd like some sex-positivity, please! I'd love any child of mine to be able to enjoy his/her sexuality without fear, or with only the minimum of fear required by something so inherently emotional and risky.
I especially don't want a sex ed that shames "alternative" practices (quotes very much skeptical), like fisting, anal sex, etc. I really loved what a poster above said about the LGBTQ kids. Why should their sexuality be some dark shameful secret, while penis-in-vagina sex is spoken of openly? Not OK.
I came from the link on the main page this morning, too! My kiddo is in utero and so a long way from school age (though s/he will go to school) but this topic is near and dear to my heart.
pepperedmoth, I saw your last night. Please let me address it. Do not report a post and then post to the thread yourself, quoting what you deem offensive. I have asked for an edit to clarify intent so let's wait for that. If you have any concerns you can PM me to discuss.
Just to say, I've certainly reported things and then argued. (well, once I reported something), Obviously you guys have a lot on your plate and it was important to me that it was dealt with, but also important that the person who said what they said understood that it wasn't on, and that a mood was created where people felt able to say it wasn't on. I had/have no idea what the protocol is, but it is tricky if we feel some action needs to be taken quickly. Apologies but I do find the site hard to navigate. Is there a central place where such ettiquette is laid out for us?
Our Forum Basics tutorial explains the how-to's of reporting
The purpose of reporting a post is so that when you see something you feel to be offensive it can be looked at by a moderator and handled in the thread by the mod or privately rather than members attempting to deal with it and the whole discussion become a train wreck of accusation and argument. I know members DO call BS on stuff and argue it out right in the thread. Sometimes it works out well but often it doesn't.
I haven't yet heard back from the member so I removed her post until she does reply. But keep in mind that it's pointless for us to remove a post when members quote the very post that offends them. If it offends you do you really want to repost it? It makes our work more tedious because we have to go through and remove the quotes. If you find it necessary to refer to what you think is offensive you can always place a link to the post. But even better - let us handle it.
oh sure, I know how to report a thread and i'm familiar with the forum basics. I just don't know what to do next. I think i've also been guilty of copying and pasting a text I've complained about, because you just kind of do, yk? Had never thought of it in that light.But reposting offensive stuff can be helpful for clarity. Other forums I'm on would tend to remove all the threads.
I'm just saying really that, based on this thread, peppermoth seems to have made an entirely reasonable mistake that any of us could have made, because I don't think most of us would have known there was a rule about that. And different fora do have different policies here so while I'm sure the Mothering one makes good sense to you guys, its not intuitive to me.
Sex education is a very relevant topic that should be taught in schools. With what is going today, a lot of teenagers get pregnant because they engage in something uncautiously. It is about time for these kids to know more about sex to guide them and to let them know about the consequences they might encounter when engaging in sex.
This is a great thread! I'm searching out all the Mothering site threads related to teaching kids about sex and sexuality and the discourse is really great.
I think its important to remember that every jurisdiction in the US and Canada is different in terms of what and when sex education curriculum is expected to be taught. Regardless, I'm a big believer in comprehensive sex education in schools and at home. Teachers should teach science which includes physiology, reproduction, puberty, and so much more. They should also teach about healthy relationships and respectful communication - these are anti-bullying and consent lessons. It isn't a teachers responsibility (nor should it be) to teach values around sex (ie. the right time to become sexually intimate, sex outside of marriage, etc).
Kids don't just want the facts but want tools for grappling with those facts. Parents must share their values around sex and sexuality. We need to do so in a way that is dynamic and respectful of the fact that our kids are formulating their own values and ideas about the world, and we need to reinforce that every person is entitled to sound information about the topic. My hope is that we raise people who feel less sexual shame than our generation and the generations before us.
Schools have a role to play. Parents have a role to play. We can't keep leaving it up to mass media.
I started a blog on raising sexually intelligent kids. I'd be honoured if the Mothering community had a look. www.sexplainer.com
I have a serious issue with SexEd being turned into a Pharmaception & PP sales pitch. Just like AF education in schools is 'sponsored by Tampax'. Do y'all see that is *just* as offensive as any religious POV?
It is corporate & it is anti-feminist as women are encouraged to bear the risk burden by taking hormones, placing devices, getting shots, etc.
I went to Catholic school & was taught NFP in Senior Year religion class. That knowledge, about my body & my cycle has served me WAY better than a sales pitch for synthetic estrogen would have! As far as STDs go: I learned about those in Biology.
I believe that Sex Ed as conceived by PP & pals actively limits women's choices & stunts their own understanding of their bodies.
I am all for STD education, I am all for CONDOM education. I am not a fan of education on perversions & way out practices that can damage the body tho . . .
This!!! I'm not by any means against birth control as a whole but as someone who has had adverse reactions to multiple types of birth control it isn't something I'm rushing out to shove into my daughters' bodies anymore than I want them popping Tylenol every other day or standing in line for a flu shot every season. I do think sex ed is something that should be taught at home and I wouldn't want my children being taught at school without my knowledge and understanding of the program first mostly without me having a chance to teach them myself first at an appropriate age. That said I have no objection to my kids getting sex ed from school as well as at home. The discussion about the 'out there' sexual practices and LGBT I can see there being hang ups over and I can't say I'm thrilled about my kids learning those things but I know they will so I'd rather they get that information from me or a teacher than their buddies (who probably heard it from a misinformed older sibling to begin with) or google. I honestly believe that if a child is given all the information and open dialogue and taught to think for themselves and make their own decisions they will often make good ones.
Michelle mom to DD , DS , & lil DD and spending my days