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Thou Shalt Not

Name: Lynn
Gender: Female
Age: 36
Location: Toronto
I’m a mother of three great kids. My oldest, who is in middle school, went to camp for the first time this past summer. A local church group sponsors the camp every year. When my husband and I asked him about his time away from home, he said rather noncommittally; “It was ok.” He seemed to like it well enough, but you know how uncommunicative kids can be at that stage.
Anyhow, yesterday I was packing away some summer stuff for the winter and discovered a pamphlet in my son’s backpack that he used at camp. It was for an “Abstinence Only” program. It was full of the most dreadful sex-negative fear and shame. It was awful. We are not raising our kids like that; my husband and I were appalled.
Now we’re wondering if this is why our son was so unenthusiastic about his camp experience. Do you think we should quiz him on this?
What gives with this kind of indoctrination anyway? I thought that those “Abstinence Only” programs had been discredited.

So wait; are you sayin’ that you think just because a social engineering strategy, like abstinence-only, has been debunked that it wouldn’t still be employed by certain factions of our culture? Oh hun, I think you oughta rethink that supposition right away, don’t cha know.abstinence_only-1

I mean, come on! There are loads of outdated and discredited philosophies still being promulgated as a means to ensnare the uninformed and gullible. I don’t know about ya’ll up there in Canadaville, but here in Amercanski land we have a whole segment of our population who believes that creationism as a viable explanation for the universe. In fact, one or another of these idiots runs for national office, even for President of these here United States, as a Republican in every election cycle.

So, as you can see, there’s not necessarily a connection between what has been discredited and what is still wildly popular in some segments of our population.

Way back in the spring of 2007, a long-awaited congressionally funded national study concluded that abstinence-only sex education does not keep teenagers from having sex. Nor does it increase the likelihood that, if they do have sex, they will use a condom.

Authorized by Congress in 1997, the study followed 2000 children from elementary and middle school into high school. The children lived in four communities — two urban, two rural. All of the children received the family life services available in their community; in addition, slightly more than half of them also received abstinence-only education.

By the end of the study, when the average child was just shy of 17, half of both groups had remained abstinent. The sexually active teenagers had sex the first time at about age 15. Less than a quarter of them, in both groups, reported using a condom every time they had sex. More than a third of both groups had two or more partners.

So if abstinence-only programs don’t work, at least the way they are supposed to; why do we still have them? Ahhh, good question. We still have them because for a large segment of the population, especially those who are makin’ all them babies, it’s easier to just tell their kids “NO” than to step up to the plate and educate their kids about sex in a wholesome and holistic way.

Bennett editorial cartoonAnother problem is that the word abstinence often means something quite different to kids than it does to adults. That’s one reason why abstinence-only programs do not have strong effects in preventing teenage sexual activity. At least that’s what a University of Washington study found.

The researchers found that interventions that encourage abstinence treat abstinence and sexual activity as opposites. Teenagers, on the other hand, don’t consider them to be mutually exclusive concepts. Like in the congressionally sponsored study, the UW researchers found abstinence-only programs are less likely to work than more comprehensive sex-education programs because they are not speaking the same language as adolescents.

The study also showed that attitudes and intentions about sex were more powerful than attitudes and intentions about being abstinent. No surprise there, I suppose.

Again, I don’t know how things are there in Canada, but down here there is no federal funding for comprehensive sex-education. But there’s a shit-load of funding for abstinence-only programs. Funding mushroomed from $9 million in1997 to $176 million in 2007. Leave it to congress to dump loads of money into a program that doesn’t work. But such is the power of the conservative religious lobby. They are the people who back these programs.

This wouldn’t be such a big issue if it didn’t hold such dire consequences. For example, the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate among all first-world nations. The rates of sexually transmitted diseases in this country are also astronomical. If we want to keep our young people safe from the negative aspects of casual sex, abstinence-only programs are not the way to go.abstinence

However, more comprehensive programs that include abstinence as one choice are much more likely to have a more productive outcome. Besides, is it ever a good idea to try and motivate people with fear and shame? I don’t think so.

Since abstinence-only programs often only look at the negatives of sex, it doesn’t really empower a young person to take responsibility for his/her behaviors. This is particularly thorny for young women who often bear the brunt the peer pressures to be sexual. And they have way more at stake in terms of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

When kids aren’t expected to take responsibility for their behaviors, especially in terms of sexuality, it cripples their ability to make good life-affirming choices. Abstinence-only programs disqualify all sexual options, even the relatively innocuous behaviors like mutual masturbation and oral sex. So if all sexual options are equally out of bounds, there’s no way for the average kid to distinguish between harmless and risky behaviors. And this is what leads to the high rate of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.

If we want our kids to grow up with healthy and integrated attitudes about sex, ones that will lead to more loving and fulfilling sexual relationships later in life, we ought teach from a more sex-positive theory.

Back to the other question you raise; the one about quizzing your son about his camp experience. I think that would be great. It would let him know that you care, that you don’t support this fear and shame-based approach to human sexuality and that he doesn’t have to embrace it either.

Good Luck

Like Cats And Dogs

Name: Karen
Gender: Female
Age: 33
Location: Dorchester, MA
My marriage of 12 years has hit a real rocky patch. I know my husband loves me and I certainly love him and we both love our 3 kids dearly. It’s just that we (he and I) have been fighting like cats and dogs lately. Every discussion, not just about sex, turns into a huge dust-up. It’s getting us both down. I don’t know where to turn. I was reading about your counseling practice and wanted to ask if you thought couple’s counseling was worth our while. Unfortunately we live on the other side of the country, so we can’t see you. But I’d look around here for help it you thought it would help. Thanks.

Yeah, I think couple’s counseling might very well help, and it might even help a lot. It sounds like you have a bank of good will eye_contact_cartoongoin with your hubby. You guys still love each other. Maybe that’s a good enough and strong enough foundation to get you through this rough patch. But you’ll never know unless you invest some time and energy into getting to the bottom of what’s eating at you guys. A good counselor will be able to assist you with that.

It’s true; you are on the other side of the country from me, but we could still work together. The thing is, I kept hearing from folks like you, far-flung from my home base here in Seattle, so I decided to introduce a remote therapy option for those who can’t see me at my office. I now offer counseling and coaching sessions by phone or through Skype. For more information about this see the Therapy Available page in the header (under the heading About Dr Dick).

Regardless of where you find the help you are looking for, let me say from the outset; this intervention won’t be inexpensive, but no worthy endeavor ever is. Besides a good marriage is worth the investment, don’t you think? As you guys consider taking your problems to a professional, allow me to direct your attention to the CATEGORIES section in the sidebar. Search for the main category — Sex Therapy. Under that heading you will find the subcategory — “Fair Fight Training.” These postings and podcasts will help you begin working on your communication skills. In fact, if you guys can learn to fight fair, you will have gone a long distance to healing whatever ails you.fight1

Basically, this is what any good therapist will help you do. He/she ain’t gonna solve your problems for you, but she/he will teach you how to effectively communicate with each other, find solutions to your problems, and do so without battering one another to death in the process.

Most of us have really poor communication skills, if we have any skills at all. We generally fight first and ask questions later. We immediately get into a defensive posture, even before being attacked. We know how to manipulate, whine, or blame and “cover our own ass,” but that’s not communicating.

Effective communication begins with “EFFECTIVE LISTENING. ”

Here’s how I see it; even if we were to express our feelings, thoughts and opinions clearly and effectively that’s only half the task. Equally important is listening to and understanding what our partner communicates. If I’m too busy formulating my response to what my partner is saying, I’m not really listening to what’s being communicated. In fact, if I’m all balled up in preparing my defense, I may be missing the most important part of the message — the nonverbal cues coming from my partner. If I’m inside my own head, I have no resources available to decode or interpret the message coming from my partner, like through body language.effective-communication-cycle

In other words, effective communication only happens when both partners are able to receive, decipher, interpret and understand the full message coming from the other in precisely the way he/she intends it. This is a difficult skill to master, mostly because it means I have to put the interests of my partner before my own interests. And who among us can say we do that with ease?

Effective listening is dependent on being an active listener. Active listening is being genuinely interested in understanding what our partner thinks, feels and wants. An active listener is concerned with the full message coming from our partner — the verbal part as well as the nonverbal. I mean, think about it; sometimes we say one thing, but our body language says something quite different. So if I’m only attentive to the words I will surely miss the other, and possibly more important, non-verbal message coming from my partner.

When I listen actively I am more concerned with grasping what is being communicated than formulating my response. If I can accurately paraphrase my partner’s message as I receive it, as well as ask my partner for verification; then I’m on the right track. This verification or feedback process is what distinguishes active listening and makes it so effective.

When you practice this feedback method, try to:

  • Grasp the feelings or intent beyond the words.
  • Resist the impulse to immediately answer questions that come from your partner. Because questions are often not always questions; sometimes they’re rhetorical statements.
  • If you’re confused by what you hear, or you don’t understand what is being said, say so.
  • Acknowledge your partner’s feelings. If you hear anger, hurt, or fear let your partner know that’s what you hear.
  • Use eye contact and be conscious of his body language.
  • Be empathic and nonjudgmental.
  • Finally, thank your partner for entrusting his thoughts, feeling or whatever to you.

Good luck

More of The Erotic Mind of Erika Moen — Podcast #379 — 06/10/13


Hey sex fans,Erika002

Cartoonist, Erika Moen, is back today and she here to dish out even more of her signature delightfulness for this The Erotic Mind show.

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of this chat, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #378 and Voilà! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Erika and I discuss:

 

Erika invites you to visit her on her website HERE! And look for her on Facebook HERE! And Twitter HERE! Her Tumblr page is HERE! And her kick-ass blog is HERE!

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: SPUNK Lube.

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The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

You know we’re on holiday, right?

Good!

Play nicely among yourselves.

More of The Erotic Mind of Michael Derry — Podcast #303 — 10/10/11


Hey sex fans, welcome back!

Are you ready for more of The Erotic Mind that amazing artist, illustrator and cartoonist, Michael Derry? I know you are! Well let’s hustle on down to West Hollywood, CA, again this week and look in on Michael. I believe he is expecting us.

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of our chat, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #302 and PRESTO! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Michael and I discuss:

  • His bio;
  • His partner, his muse;
  • When the erotic element began to show up in his work;
  • Artist or illustrator;
  • The ethnic diversity of his characters
  • Bent-con and our mutual friend, Sean-Z;
  • Those who inspire him;
  • Future plans; advice for the aspiring erotic artist.

For more of Michael and his ‘toon Troy visit him on his site HERE! For all of Michael’s other artistic endeavors see his other site HERE! Find him on Facebook and Twitter HERE and HERE!

(Click on the thumbnails below for another slideshow of some of Michael’s fanciful work.)

[nggallery id=106]

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

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