The US Government is Poised to Move Backwards on Sex Education

The US Government is Poised to Move Backwards on Sex Education

In the final budget proposal submitted by the Obama administration last year, funding for abstinence-only sex education was put on the chopping block. They proposed eliminating abstinence-only programs entirely and, although it didn't ultimately come to pass, their proposal at least showed recognition of the fact that we need a new approach to sex education in this country. Study after study has shown that promoting abstinence only just doesn’t work. In fact, if anything, it seems to be counterproductive. For example, research has found that the U.S. states with the most abstinence-only programs actually have the highest rates of teen pregnancy [1]!

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The Way We Think About Teen Sexting is All Wrong (Video)

The Way We Think About Teen Sexting is All Wrong (Video)

Teen sexting is an issue that parents and politicians alike are increasingly worried about. The message they’ve been sending to teens has been pretty uniform: don’t do it. Of course, a lot of teenagers do it anyway—and, unfortunately, some of them end up facing criminal consequences as a result. Sharing nude images of persons under age 18--even if they are images of yourself--falls under the category of child pornography. Sadly, more and more teens are being arrested for child porn for having done nothing more than engage in consensual sexting with their peers. Believe it or not, 7% of all arrests for possession of child pornography in the U.S. are among teens aged 17 and under—a figure that has more than double since the year 2000.

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10 Things You Should Know About the Sex Lives of American Teenagers

10 Things You Should Know About the Sex Lives of American Teenagers

Popular media articles on adolescent sexuality usually paint a portrait of the modern American teenager as hypersexual. Among other things, these articles give the impression that teens are having sex at younger and younger ages, they’re constantly hooking up and sexting, and they’re engaging in a lot of risky sexual behavior, thanks to a diet of highly sexual movies and TV shows. By contrast, scientific research on the sex lives of adolescents suggests a very different set of conclusions. Here are 10 things you should know about the sex lives of American teenagers, according to science.

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The U.S. Teen Birth Rate Has Reached A Historic Low (Infographic)

The U.S. Teen Birth Rate Has Reached A Historic Low (Infographic)

The teenage birth rate in the United States has hit a record low, according to a new report from the CDC. Check out the infographic below for a look at some of the major highlights and statistics from the CDC's analysis. As you’ll see, the changes that have occurred over the last two decades are truly staggering.

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Teen Sexting May Predict Who Has Sex, But Not Who Engages In Risky Sexual Behavior

Teen Sexting May Predict Who Has Sex, But Not Who Engages In Risky Sexual Behavior

A number of research studies have emerged in the last few years reporting a link between sexting and sexual behavior among teenagers. However, the inherent weakness of this body of research is that most of these studies involved surveying teens at one point in time and asking about both sexting and sexual behavior, which makes it impossible to know which one came first. That is, does sexting increase the odds of future sexual activity, or is it just the case that being sexually active predisposes teens to sexting? A new study published in the journal Pediatrics provides our first clue to this “chicken and egg” question by analyzing data from a longitudinal study of teen sexting.

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Why The Daily Mail Is A Terrible Source For Sex News

One of the reasons I started this blog is because I saw too many media reports about sex research that were sensationalized, misleading, and (in some cases) just plain wrong. In response, I have sought to create a resource for the public that provides an accurate and unbiased look at the science of sex. If there’s one media outlet that I wish would take a page from my book, it has to be The Daily Mail. I frequently come across sex headlines from them that make me cringe. Below, I take a look at five of their worst headlines of all time and clarify what the research actually says.
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No-Cost Contraception May Reduce Abortion Rates and Teenage Pregnancies

Although the teenage birth rate has decreased in the United States in recent years, the percentage of teen girls giving birth is still higher here than anywhere else in the developed world. Likewise, while the U.S. abortion rate has also fallen, the number of abortions performed in this country each year is higher than it is in Canada, Europe, and a number of other countries. In order to address these issues, some doctors and sexual health experts have proposed making free or low-cost contraceptives more widely available. And, in fact, as of August 1, 2012, the Affordable Care Act now makes contraceptives available without a copay for women who begin new insurance plans or renew their old plans. But will greater access to contraceptives actually reduce abortion and teen pregnancy rates? According to a new study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, the answer is a resounding yes.
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As Many As 1 In 5 Pharmacists May Deny Emergency Contraception To Teenage Girls

In 2009, the United States Food and Drug Administration made Plan B, a form of emergency contraception, available to anyone over the age of 17 without a prescription. To obtain the medication, an individual must request it from a pharmacist and provide proof of age. Despite the fact that there are no legal restrictions on their ability to purchase Plan B, a new study reveals that a shockingly high number of 17-year-old girls may be incorrectly told by their pharmacists that they cannot purchase the medication, even in pharmacies where the drug is in stock.
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Ten of the Most Sensationalized Sex Headlines From the Past Few Years

Ten of the Most Sensationalized Sex Headlines From the Past Few Years
I make it a point to keep up with the latest sex and relationships news but, unfortunately, I find that a lot of the media reports on these topics are not very well written and tend to be overly sensationalized. Part of the problem is that many of the people we trust to report on science don’t have a solid understanding of statistics and the scientific method. As a result, I constantly come across articles that are misleading or, in some cases, completely false. What I’d like to do in this article is share some of most sensationalized articles I’ve come across in recent years and explain where the reporting went wrong.
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Are Sexually Active Teenagers At Greater Risk For Depression? "Yes," Say Hamsters

I recently read an article entitled Teen Sex May Affect Brain Development, which suggested that sexually active adolescents may have an elevated risk of mood disorders compared to their peers who remain abstinent. Several prominent news sites have run similar stories in recent days. This got me wondering whether there was anything to this idea. Are sexually active teenagers really more prone to psychological problems? My analysis of the research in this area suggests that this is not the case.
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