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Showing posts from January, 2012

Discrimination with a HPV vaccine

Read this article about how the UK government is rethinking it's decision to only immunise girls against HPV.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/calls-to-immunise-teenage-boys-after-huge-rise-in-throat-cancer-6292679.html

When I read this article I obviously was encouraged that the government was even considering changing the policy. As a male SRE educator I have felt that the current system is deeply unfair ever since the BBC aired a documentary about this on BBC3. The logic of with holding a potentially life saving vaccine on the grounds of cost verges on the ridiculous. Now the body of evidence is growing and hopefully soon the problem will be resolved.

But even the original plan to immunise all girls to provide herd immunity seems to have a huge hole that in my opinion show discrimination at the state level. What about the male homosexual population?

Now when HPV was seen to be linked to cervical cancer it was also shown to be linked to peni…

Teaching 14-15 year olds about porn

76% of teenagers have not thought about how porn distorts what real sex is.
Figures come from my research in this trial run of lessons

Over the last few weeks and months I have been researching and writing a lesson looking at how the media distorts sex and relationships. Pornography has been a big issue to tackle and this week I have tested my lesson and I wanted to share my early results. I've posted the lesson plan, print out resources and powerpoint on my website, just scroll down to the Distortions of media section. The Lesson progresses through a foundation of media distorting what is beautiful, moving on to how films/TV distorts relationships and finishing with an exercise that shows how porn distorts sex and what the consequences of believing porn could be. At the end of the lesson i hand out a feedback sheet. one of the questions asks them to write down what words they associate with porn. I've made their results into a wordle for you. (the bigger the word the more peopl…

Mums want us to teach on porn

Mumsnet survey reveals that parents think that schools should do Sex and Relationship lessons on sexting, Porn and the media. (Click here to read their results)


This survey was done in November last year (not sure when they announced the results) so again I am a little slow on reading it. But it is a great encouragement to be reading this the day before I teach my first test lesson looking at how media (especially pornography) distorts sex. To be honest I have been a bit suspicious of the mumsnet group. I assumed (wrongly, I apologise) that they would be against sex education of their children. I am so glad to be proven wrong. 




The results of this survey are a fantastic stamp of approval to my aims. With 80% of respondents agreeing that sex and relationship education should include "Sex education should explore sex and the media (to include subjects such as sexting* and pornography)." But when they break it down into age groups i was surprised to see that the majority 37% thou…

Ashamed of sex?

In this TEDx presenation Alyssa Royse talks about sexuality and how societal shame about sex is causing lots of problems. How naming and trying to shame what is different is eventually self destructive. By pushing people away out of fear of being a part of their scary world would just damage your own view of sex. Limiting your possibility for sexual enjoyment. But by embracing what is different and accepting people your own self esteem improves. Working in sexual health I often feel myself falling into the trap of mainly talking about the possible negative consequences of sex (which yes is my job to explain STIs) but my job is meant to be more then that. My job is meant to be about helping young people develop safe and healthy sexual attitudes, that translate into safe and healthy sexual behaviour. Now I may not agree with absolutely everything Alyssa Royse says but the core message of acceptance is really important. 


One of the greatest privileges of my work is when I get to help youn…

Review of BBC 3 websex

The BBC is currently running a season on sex on its BBC 3 channel and the first show was a programme called web sex. You can watch it on iPlayer here http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b019gc2h/  (If you live outside of the UK http://www.tunnelbear.com/ can get you around the country restrictions). 


The shows was trying to explore how young people are using the internet and mobile phones for their own sex lives. Now the programme starts with two interviews with a guy and a girl who claim that the interweb has had a very positive impact on their sex lives. The guy has a pretty rotten attitude towards women (in my opinion) with him using social networks to maximise the number of women he can have sex with. The 2nd interview talks to a girl who has found social networks as a way to build her personal confidence and improve her self esteem. 


The show moves on to the detail other ways social networks, mobile apps and websites are used by young people for some kind of sexual purpose. They tell the story …

Playing with figures of sexual health

A single research project can be reported on in different ways depending on what you want to do. Take the following two articles both reporting on the same research by the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. The research shows how many girls in the study thought the HPV vaccine also reduced their risk of catching other STIs.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2083260/One-teenage-girls-thinks-HPV-vaccine-cuts-risk-contracting-STDs.html
http://www.healthnews.com/en/news/Some-Girls-Overestimate-HPV-Vaccine-Protection/3hFUdOev1E8wSjg313QPZq/ 

The daily mail report emphasis 1 in 4, I believe this is because they are trying to show how it is a big problem. Where as Health News states "show that a small percentage of girls" I believe this is because they are trying to show it is not a big problem. Both quoting the same study with the same figure of 23.6% of girls having the HPV vaccine believing it will reduce their risk of catching other STIs. 

Now this is a common o…

Porn causing rise in Multiple Sexual Partners?

Please read this article about a research project looking at teenage multiple sexual partners 
Study of Boston Clinic Users Suggests Teen Group Sex Could Be Emerging Public Health Concern


I know this came out a little while ago but when recently working on the lesson looking at Porn impacts on teenagers view of sex the study floated to my attention again. I wish i could afford the full research report but one quoted section concerns me. "Strong association between exposure to pornography, having been forced to do things that their sex partner saw in pornography" 

I am very curious to find out if this is as causal association? Can we fairly say that porn causes people to engage in sexual activity with multiple sexual partners or is it a case that both higher rates of exposure to porn and MSP are both caused by a 3rd cause.

What to learn from Porn?

I am writing a lesson plan looking at how the media (TV, Film and Porn) distorts our image of Sex and Relationships. First half of the lesson is focusing on relationships and seeing how soaps, sit coms, and rom coms portray them. Second half is focusing on how Porn portrays sex. 


One of my exercises will be handing out a collection of statements about what people can learn from porn. Their task will be to then decide if that think a lesson learnt from porn is true, false or some where in between. This is my list so far. Please let me know what you think, can you learn all this from porn and could you separate true from false



It is normal for women to have hairless vaginasAll men have big penisesSex is better when it is fast, forceful and roughAnal sex is clean and simple Penis shape can vary from one person to anotherNipples can get erect when people arousedMales normally ejaculate about half a cup of semenSex is possible all over the place (not just in a bed)Most people don't use c…