Saturday, 10 December 2011

A brief history of Sexting - A blogger missing the point?






Whilst I was interested in reading this article I disagree with some of its conclusions. At the moment I am doing some research in the UK looking at online risk taking behaviour with students aged 13-15. I work as a sex and relationship educator and have started including content on sexting with the lessons we teach in high schools. Whilst the history of sexting you outlined seems true and likely the media has done a great job of whipping up the issue I think the problem of sexting is larger then 1%. Our study which in this round has had 160 young people has a higher rate with 20% having seen a naked picture of someone they know. Now in a group of just 160 young people it could 1 or 2 have sent a naked picture and most have seen copies of these 1% pictures. But 20% seeing a naked picture of someone they know is significant.



Last year we did not ask that question but we did ask have you ever posted a picture that you would be worried about your parent/teacher seeing (combined with this years first round of survey we have now asked 400 young people). Worryingly a solid 10% have admitted to have posting an image online they would be worried about their parents seeing. Now this category is wide and we explained could include images in underwear or pretending to do a sexual act. Not just naked. But what worries me about this the attitude of online risk taking. Young people who say they know how to be safe online are choosing to take risks online. (For a full report click here https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1WcTxxerydUgfixY2SOeujiHYSO-YLw3mNXD6aJzSY-U)



This attitude could lead to all sorts of problems in the future. I think it is important to remember that sex and relationship education is not just about responding to young peoples actions now but to try and prepare them for the future. Lets compare sexting to another issue I teach on HIV. In the UK the rate of HIV for under 18s is less then 0.1% yet we still teach young people how to protect themselves. Why because the skills they learn can help them stay safe in many ways. Equally encouraging young people to take a responsible attitude towards sexting could help them stay safe in other ways relating to online behaviour.



We need to take a balanced approach and be careful not to assume every one is sexting all the time but to claim "1% of teenagers isn’t something we need to have a prevention focus on." shows a lack of understanding about how primary prevention works and a lack of willingness to tackle an emerging issue.





P.S. you mention the role of news agencies and bloggers but forget to include the pop stars influence

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Great news, British u-turn on HPV vaccine


Great news, British u-turn on HPV vaccine

It was always a confusing decision in my eyes. Why choose the vaccine that only prevents cervical cancer when it is easy to also prevent Genital Warts. Now genital warts are not deadly or really very painful but they are uncomfortable and the cost the NHS £1000s in treatment, by laser, liquid of freezing. The original decision was claimed to be made for finical reasons but it has been shown that preventing warts in this way will save money in the long term. Now a moral objection has been claimed by some groups. With the idea that if you prevent people catching warts they will have more unprotected sex with multiple partners outside of committed relationships. I think that this argument has blinked and missed the sexual revolution from the pill and condom. Warts are not stopping people having sex, curing them will just save money and prevent peoples discomfort.

Google: "Switch in cervical cancer vaccine
BBC News


From September next year it will use the Gardasil jab, which also offers protection against genital warts - one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Some sexual health experts criticised the decision in 2008 when the Department of Health opted for the cheaper of the two vaccines ..."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Great article exploring one women's experience of publicly talking about sex I read this article and felt a few…

Great article exploring one women's experience of publicly talking about sex

I read this article and felt a few things, firstly sad for her that she had to go through this grief with some of her family, encouraged that she stood up for herself, especially how her parents stood up for her work and finally I wondered will I ever have to face anything similar?

Specifically by working as a sex and relationship educator from a Christian perspective will I start to get any kick back. Already I find some main stream sexual health workers treating me with suspicion because they hear I'm Christian. And Christians get worried that I am encouraging early sexual activity because I do talk about more then just abstinence. I feel it is a slightly odd position to be in. So far I have been blessed with friends and family that support and encourage me every steep of the way.

I truely hope that I never face criticism from people close to me like +A.V. Flox has. Working in the field of sexual health always generates strong emotional responses. Personally I hope they continue to be positive emotional reactions.

#sexed #bfi

http://www.blogher.com/my-family-found-out-i-blog-about-sex?page=full
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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A growing threats from STIs?



Working as a sex and relationship educator means I am always learning new things.

I was reading this article on the BBC website looking at several new outbreaks of syphilis among heterosexual teenagers in the UK. For me this is an especially worrying development because this is not the only STI that is getting ready for a come back. It has also been recorded that gonorrhea is becoming resistant to antibiotics. HIV also seems poised for a resurgence in the EU. If STIs continue to develop and return bigger and badder then before the role of sexual health workers could become more vital then ever. 

In my work we focus on both the emotional, social and physical aspects of both sex and relationships. It is a key unique theme of our work to help young people deal with the emotional side, an element that some providers skip to target the biological risks. Whilst I feel this is damaging in the long term I can see the point in responding to the biological risk under increasing pressure of these growing threats. With a robust early intervention programme we could equip a generation to deal with these emerging threats. Such a programme could save lives and save thousands of pounds in treatment. Yet no UK government would pay out the money for such a useful early intervention process even in the face of such obvious threats. Sadly this leads on to a sad truth for those working in sexual health prevention. We may never get the funding we deserve from the government. 


The BBC article does make it clear that in regards to syphilis we are still talking about relatively small numbers. The worry is of course that these small numbers are warning signs of a larger problem that is yet to develop. In the work we currently do in Chester schools we have constantly continued to provide education about syphilis because although it is rare it is not extinct and if learning about syphilis also backs up teh prevention we are encouraging for Chlamydia and other STIs why would we leave it out. We have found that the mention of syphilis within the school setting can sometimes help embed the information because of links students make with History about kings and noble men/women suffering from it. 


In Chester we will continue providing education on a variety of STIs avoiding teh temptation to streamline and focus on only one or two most common. Why? because we never know which STI is going to bounce back bigger and badder then before. 











Tuesday, 8 November 2011

US study shows 1 in 10 young people have sent a sext This US study reports that 1 in 10 young people have sent a sext…

US study shows 1 in 10 young people have sent a sext

This US study reports that 1 in 10 young people have sent a sext A similar figure to my own study reporting on risky sexual behaviour http://www.esteemresourcenetwork.org/risk-taking-behaviour-sexting. However this study takes a much larger sample and this report goes on to highlight a link between sexting and mental health issues such as depression.

The report states that " it shows an association but not a causal relationship" this means that they cannot prove sexting is a cause of mental health issues. The two things may be associated because they have the same or similar causes. For example reckless risk taking (such as sexting) might be linked to issues with self esteem which could also have mental health consequences.

Personally I believe that sexting is not a passive consequence but instead I think it is a consequence that feeds back into a young persons complex personal situation often having a negative impact. The best response to this issue is not controls and limits on the use of tech but instead education is key to helping young people to make intelligent informed choices. Hopefully avoiding the large risks that sexting posses.

http://www.freep.com/article/20111105/FEATURES08/111105011/Teen-sexting-more-common-than-you-may-think

#sexed #bfi #fb
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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Why the Socratic Method is unpopular, Just been inspired to write this article about how the Socratic Method of…

Why the Socratic Method is unpopular,

Just been inspired to write this article about how the Socratic Method of education is unpopular after hearing about an american lecturer was fired for using it. It is crazy that in today's post-modern world this ancient method is scorned. Teaching today requires simple learn and repeat like a parrot so that they can be measured. But this method does not help create great workers capable of dealing with the challenges of the current working culture.

http://blindfishideas.blogspot.com/2011/11/fired-for-making-students-think-with.html

#sexed
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#SexEd This is the strangest TED video I've seen buit does give some interesting information for sex and…

#SexEd This is the strangest TED video I've seen buit does give some interesting information for sex and relationship educators

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/mary_roach_10_things_you_didn_t_know_about_orgasm.html
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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

#SexEd Mixed reaction to the new series of 'The Joy of Teen Sex' on channel 4I have mixed feelings as a Sex and…

#SexEd Mixed reaction to the new series of 'The Joy of Teen Sex' on channel 4

I have mixed feelings as a Sex and Relationship Educator and as a community youth worker. I do think that broadly attempts to help teenagers understand sex is a good thing. But this show may have the balance slightly off. The accusation from many conservative observers is that the show encourages and normalises early teenage sex. The whole show does try to present a balanced programme where they show genital health issues, sexual behaviour problems, better sex tips, emotional problems and they investigate issues, like pressures teenagers face on holiday about sex. Even with this wide scope I thinkit may be slightly unbalanced towards promoting more teenage sex.

The first episode had some reat bits of info like "the vagina is cleaner then the mouth." and 75% of women with gonorrhoea have no symptoms. They also gave out some great advice that all sex and relationships should be underpinned with "Love Kindness and Respect". But never once in the entire show did they ask they question of any of the young people are you sure you want to be having sex at the moment. The entire show assumes that young people are having sex and it never appears to approach the issue of if this is a good thing or if it should be challenged.

So I say carry on showing the series with all the positive biological and even emotional advice but please try and show that not all young people need to be having sex and it is ok to delay or avoid having sex as a teenager.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-joy-of-teen-sex/4od
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Monday, 31 October 2011

Huff Po Highlights the moral questions involved with slutty Halloween I have always been surprised how girl react to…

Huff Po Highlights the moral questions involved with slutty Halloween

I have always been surprised how girl react to Halloween. Normally reserved girls may suddenly dress up like vixen exposing more flesh in the middle of Autumn then they ever do at the height of summer. Beyond just the amount on show it surprises me how much much sexually suggestive and provocative content finds it way into to costumes. Now I do believe that for some girls they are choosing this style and may even find it freeing but my concern is the growing social pressure to conform to this pressure.

It is well established that media impacts young minds. I doubt that every young girl is happy in the costume they are finding themselves in. I do feel this issue highlights how sexism is still a strong undercurrent in culture with the expectations it places on women. I believe this is an example of how women are still expected to be sexual objects for men. Objects that must conform to specific pressures. Pressure that can degrade women and long lasting impacts on the self esteem of young people.

It may seem like an overreaction but do feel that the social pressure of Halloween costumes are having a negative impact on girls elf esteem.

#sexed
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learning more about the structure of HIV

learning more about the structure of HIV

Found this up close representation of the HIV virus. Liking how I know kinda understand what the different parts all do.

#sexed
http://ifttt.com/images/no_image_card.png
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Saturday, 29 October 2011

I created this image to use as a discussion starter in my work, what do people think about it? I wanted to think about…

I created this image to use as a discussion starter in my work, what do people think about it? I wanted to think about how gender equality is often present in attitudes towards oral sex, especially (but not always) by me.

#sexed

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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Digital sexual contact

This week I have read 3 separate stories (just on BBC) all talking about how the internet is negatively impacting the sexual health of the nation.

Young get sex health warning
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14837229
MPs told young children accessing explicit porn
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14845299
.XXX web domain registration begins
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14821192

Now the third one might be a bit unconnected but the discussion around it all fits. What is the modern impact of all the sexual content on the internet. For one year I have been teaching on the issue of "sexting" in secondary schools. Working hard to try and help young people understand the emotional consequences of taking the risk of sharing naked or provocative pictures. This work has opened up my perspective to the much larger area of the impact of digital sexual content. Trying to do research on this topic is a lot harder then looking at STIs. Emotional and social consequences can not be tested or measured in the same way. But in the lack of clear empirical evidence you have to go with what you can find. What I have found through news stories, media outlets (http://sexperienceuk.channel4.com/topics/porn is a good resource) and personal experience shows a clear pattern.

Digital sexual content impacts peoples view of sex

Everything from body image, sexual performance, aggression, the use of equipment and relationships. It is all impacted by the media (like it always has been) but the increasingly young age that teenagers encounter digital sexual material is likely to be having a clear impact on their view of what is 'normal'. We are at the early stages, the first decade, of this happening and we do not yet know the long term consequences. Only in 10-20 years will we get a better understanding of the emotional and psychological results.

This is unavoidable, but what we can do is try and equip young people we are in contact with to deal with this issue. This autumn I will be starting a new course looking at the myths of pornography with 14-15 year olds. My first attempt to tackle this huge issue. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

SRE YouTube Playlist

I've put together a YouTube playlist of Videos that may be useful in Sex and Relationship Education. Please have a look and leave any comments or suggestions about the videos.

 

http://www.youtube.com/p/4A843CDAB280FDA3?version=3&hl=en_US&fs=1