Expanding Sex-Ed

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A lot of my work centers on making it more okay in our culture to talk about sexuality. That means expanding sex-ed, both for students and adults.

Here is some of the work I’ve done related to sex education:

• I wrote a chapter for the book The V-Word (Simon & Schuster, 2016), which collects women’s stories of the first time they had sex. While it’s geared toward teenagers age 14 and up, the stories in the book are very moving for adults to read, too. Here’s a description from the publisher:
Funny, hot, meaningful, cringe-worthy, gross, forgettable, magnificent, empowering, and transformative, the stories in The V-Word are never preachy, but provide a map for teens to chart their own course through the steamy waters of sex. With The V-Word girls can finally take control, learn what’s on the horizon, and eliminate the fear and mystery surrounding this important milestone.

The V-Word won a spot on the Chicago Public Library’s list of 2016’s six best teen nonfiction books and the New York Public Library’s list of 2016’s best books for teens. In January 2017, The V-Word was named to the American Library Association’s “Amelia Bloomer” list of the best feminist nonfiction books for teens in 2016.

• Fascinated by my own experiences watching very outdated and cringe-worthy educational films in high school sex-ed, I researched and wrote a history of American sex-ed films for Bitch. It was such an interesting project! Here’s an excerpt:

Instead of becoming steadily better in quality over time, the content, messages, and accuracy of sex-ed films have fluctuated with the moral and political forces of each era. What’s especially surprising in looking at the history of sex-ed films is how the medium has changed in its approach to contraception. Condoms, over time, have gone from being framed as a straightforward way to prevent disease to a failure-prone and risky option.

• I wrote an article looking at the history of sex-ed funding in the United States—and the politics behind how sex-ed has evolved. Read “The Empowerment Cure.”  Here’s an excerpt:

Conservatives often rail against the cost of paying for birth control, but preventing unplanned pregnancies is a sweet deal financially. According to 2010 data from the Guttmacher Institute, the annual public cost of contraception per-client is $239, while the public cost of each unplanned pregnancy is $12,770. Blue states are saving way more money than red states by preventing unwanted pregnancies—states that voted for Obama in 2012 save $5 billion annually by preventing unplanned pregnancies, nearly twice as much as states that vote Republican (who save $2.6 billion).

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