Thursday, August 21, 2008

Texas Sexuality Education Law and Policy

SIECUS - Texas State Profile
Texas does not require sexuality education. However, Texas Education Code states that if a school district does teach sexuality education, HIV/AIDS prevention, or sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention education, then it must:

  • present abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior for unmarried persons of school age;
  • devote more attention to abstinence from sexual activity than to any other behavior;
  • emphasize that abstinence from sexual activity, if used consistently and correctly, is the only method that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, infection with human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity;
  • direct adolescents to a standard of behavior in which abstinence from sexual activity before marriage is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS);
  • teach contraception and condom use in terms of human use reality rates instead of theoretical laboratory rates, if instruction on contraception and condoms is included in curriculum content;
  • not distribute condoms in connection with instruction relating to human sexuality; and
  • separate students according to sex for instructional purposes.

Sexuality education and STD/HIV-prevention education are also included in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Health Education, which are written by the Texas Education Agency.

Sounds all lovey dovey and Christian like doesn't it? And yet when you look at the real life stats about teens and sex behavior, it's a lot scarier and messier:

The Status of Adolescent Sexual Health
During the last year, a series of data concerning the sexual health of adolescents has filled newspapers, startling the public as statistics reveal a quarter of female adolescents have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and for the first time in 15 years the teen birth rate is on the rise.
Also disturbing, the worst health outcomes are often segmented along racial, ethnic, and geographic lines, with minority communities and southern communities experiencing the highest rates of STDs and teenage birth. These communities, already made vulnerable by cultural and structural barriers, experience the worst sexual health outcomes.[2] By examining the major data released throughout the last year, this becomes more apparent.

This is why I am constantly bitching and moaning about this. We have spent millions of dollars on abstinence only funding and yet despite this, STDs/HIV prevalence and incidence are not improving and in fact are worse than we thought. And while I know some people might be tired of the whole "race issue" (because of course it isn't really an issue XD) I can't help but believe that a huge part of the problem is that people perceive that this is all a problem faced by poor, young, black/brown people and hence those in charge of funding decisions don't really give a damn. After all, if only we "hot blooded" types would learn to curb our sexuality like all those nice, Christian, white people do-*cough*Larry Craig Eliot Spitzer*cough*- then we wouldn't have these issues! *sigh* The major problem with all of this is tha tit has to do with sex and especially with the sexuality of young people and nothing freaks out Americans more than that combination of topics. As a whole, we are incapable of discussing and confronting issues related to sex without making all kinds of moral/religious/highly subjective judgments regarding "other people" and their sex lives. It is almost impossible to get implement sound, sane sensible health policy as a result and that means more STDs, more HIV, more teen pregnancies and all the ensuing complications which in the end, hit the most vulnerable among us the hardest: young people, poor people, people of color.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wow, a voice of reason in the wilderness of sordid reporting

I had an exchange with someone on my Friends list about this recently. I agree with the author of this piece but my friend seemed to feel that a person's infidelity was relevant to their campaign. I continue to strongly disagree with that and I would be more than happy to see the media keep out of politicians' sex lives. Aside from it being none of our business or irrelevant, it's just not something I want to know. Seriously folks, who else felt they needed to bleach their brain after the details of Monica and Bill's escapades were released?

It’s high time to leave the sex out of politics
Basing your vote on a candidate’s sex life is a dicey proposition in any election. Not only because it’s hard to have knowledge about such things, but more important because it doesn’t seem to be a good indicator of a person’s performance as a public official. Many people voted for Bush in 2000 because of his pledge to "restore honor and dignity to the White House" after Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. So far, the Bush administration has been a grand success in this regard. Not even one hint of sexual indiscretion. Of course, the war in Iraq has lasted longer than World War II, we have the largest trade-deficit of all time, a budget surplus that was turned into the largest budget deficit of all time, a devalued currency, high unemployment, a housing and financial market meltdown and subsequent bailout, stagnant wages and record gas prices. You might lose your house, but at least you can be comforted in knowing that the prez is not fooling around with the interns.
Technorati Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Violence against women: It's all in your head

No really. It is. We women are well known for making up such stuff and becoming drama/attention whores about it all.

Everyone knows it's all made up and that in reality we have nothing to fear. Right?


I am constantly amazed how frequently people meet legitimate concerns women have for their well being with "OMG you're such a drama whore shut up!" as if somehow the numbers of rape, stalking, harassment and domestic violence are all made up. Even worse are the men who laugh at us for being such silly girls and then drag out the usual bullshit about how "men get raped too and you don't see me worrying about it so much!"

Uh huh. With the exception of prison, the numbers of male rape do not begin to compare with female rape victims. Add to that the fact that from the time we are old enough to understand danger, we women are taught that we are prey and that we must be careful lest something we do/wear/say causes some vicious animal of a man to attack us. A rather effective means of control, dontcha think?

This new attitude of "it's all in your head" is a new take on the whole issue. If we get assaulted, then it's our fault. If we express concern about assault, then we're being attention whores. It's a no win situation and the next person who tells me that having a forum of men saying that you should be raped and discussing how they have been keeping tabs on your whereabouts is no cause for worry shall be summarily kicked in the gonads.

Seriously folks, this is not rocket science. Stop being so goddamned disingenuous.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Late Night Food Therapy

Recipe: Gazpacho de Andalucia
gazpacho…a light tomato soup made simply with tomatoes, bread, olive oil, vinegar and garlic.

When it comes to late night/early morning food therapy, nothing beats Gazpacho de Andalucia. Here in Texas, it's tomato season so y'all need to try this recipe because OMG. It is DIVINE! Even at 2 AM when you are drunk on vodka and sleeping pills this stuff is like a bolt of lightning on the road to Damascus. And even better? It is so simple as to be ludicrous.

Trust me, it is so worth it. The utter fail of my day has been reversed by the luscious, tart, garlicky goodness that is this recipe.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Thursday, August 07, 2008

HIV PRevention Strategies: Pay attention to science

AIDS 2008 | Governments Overlook Behavior Change in HIV Strategies, Experts Say at AIDS Conference -
Jorge Saavedra, director of Mexico's HIV/AIDS program, said political leaders worldwide need to follow epidemiological and scientific evidence when planning HIV strategies

Imagine that. We should listen to the facts and the evidence in order to do prevention and not ideology and religion. What a novel concept.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Postmodern Geek's Guide to Sex Show #29: I'm BAAAACK!!!!

That's right sexgeeks! I'm back. Today's podcast is a random hodge podge of things and is basically just me coming back and saying hello and letting you know what's up in my world. Some of the things I discuss are:

Intro and Outro music is Temple of Love by Enigma

~*~*~*To download the podcast directly, click HERE~*~*~*

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Men aren't from Mars?

Turn-ons, turn-offs, desire varies widely among men
Among the revelations from their focus groups in which men talked about what influenced their sexual desire and arousal: one man's turn-on is often another's turn-off; an erection doesn't always signal arousal; and not every guy wants to jump into bed at the drop of a hat.

OMG! You mean men aren't the Borg? They actually, like, you know, have individual preferences and stuff? What a novel concept...

Really, if you are someone who has sex/falls in love with men, I'd say this is hardly news despite all the (often sexist) jokes we may make to the contrary. And thank god for variety because that means there really is someone for everyone.

What I really loved was this:
And for many men, a self-confident partner was also more desirable than one who didn't feel good about herself. In addition to a nice body and a pretty face, many men found intelligence "really attractive" and "a big turn on."

Imagine that, a woman with confidence is sexy. Go figure. Now I've been as guilty as the next woman of having poor body image and feeling really ugly/fat/too old/etc. but even on those days, I know that this is a truth. Yes, guys (and girls) really do make passes at sexgeeks who wear glasses.

What I do think is interesting is that studies like this are done so rarely. I think our society does men a disservice by trying to paint them all with a broad brush when it comes to discussing men's sexuality. And this study was only done with predominantly white men who were all straight. Can you imagine the richness of variety they would find if they were studying men of all ethnicities and orientations?

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Saturday, August 02, 2008

U.S. Study Says H.I.V. Infection Is 40% Higher Than Estimated

U.S. Study Says H.I.V. Infection Is 40% Higher Than Estimated -
MEXICO CITY — The United States has significantly underreported the number of new H.I.V. infections occurring nationally each year, with a study released here on Saturday showing that the annual infection rate is 40 percent higher than previously estimated.

And yet the president has asked for a cut in HIV prevention funding for the US. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

And a point of clarification: This isn't info from a study. It's information from a new form of HIV surveillance that is now a permanent part of our stat gathering here in the US.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Friday, August 01, 2008

U.S. Blacks

U.S. Blacks, if a Nation, Would Rank High on AIDS
If black America were a country, it would rank 16th in the world in the number of people living with the AIDS virus...

You know, it amazes me that in a country like ours, the epidemic can have such a stranglehold on an entire community, although I suppose it shouldn't. We are after all the same country that spends millions of dollars on abstinence only education that has been proven NOT to work, we can barely bring ourselves to discuss the gender inequities that exist in every community that lead to the victimization and exploitation of women, we will not confront homophobia, despite the fact that it helps fuel the epidemic, poverty is solely a matter of personal responsibility and the rest of us have no need to think about it and we still have blind spots when it comes to the widespread and systemic racism that exists today.

The prevalence of HIV infection in several communities is affected by and affects all of the above and you cannot separate one from the other. The solutions are never simple, as we would like them to be. They instead require every one of us to not only look deeply into ourselves for how we contribute to these problems but it also requires us to call others out when they evidence thoughts or actions that contribute to the problem and that, dear readers, is fucking difficult! I have no easy answers for you on how to go about this. All I can say is that we need to take action ASAP or before you know it, it will indeed be knocking on your door, if it hasn't already.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,