The Future of Sex Education

If it’s been years—or decades—since you started a new school year, you may be surprised to learn that some areas of high school curriculum haven’t evolved for the better since you roamed the halls of your alma mater. This is especially true when it comes to sex education.

Young people today are less likely to receive instruction on key sex-education topics than they were 25 years ago. To get a sense of what the future of sex ed might look like, I interviewed several professionals and students about their own sex ed experiences and their visions on how sex ed can be improved.

Martha Kempner on Sexuality in the U.S.: ‘This Is a Really Scary Moment for Sexuality and Sexual Agency’

Martha Kempner spoke to Ms. about her weekly newsletter ‘Sex on Wednesday’ and the current political climate in the U.S. Sex, sexuality and sexual health are her subjects—and lately, she has no shortage of material to draw from.

“We are in a really critical period right now. This is a really scary moment for sexuality and sexual agency.”

Now More Than Ever, It’s Time for Universal Menstrual Education for Gender Equality

Ninety-two percent of high school students reported needing a new pad or tampon during school. Yet, period poverty, a lack of access to menstrual products due to economic circumstances, impacts students’ ability to safely address menstruation.

“Some girls find out about their periods when they actually get them. It’s just never talked about in schooling.”

Sexual Abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention Points to Subordination of Women and Girls

The recently released investigative report on the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) mishandling of clergy sex abuse allegations is damning. Research suggests a strong correlation between perpetrator beliefs about gender, social context and sexual abuse.

“Why should it be up to the men to decide what constitutes justice for the women and children, while the women are expected to abide by the decisions made for them?”

What My Ancestors Might Think of This Moment in U.S. History

I read the draft decision by the Supreme Court in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and wondered what my ancestors would think of us—the U.S.—at this moment.

I knew immediately what one might think. Her name is Lillie and her story motivates my work as an obstetrician-gynecologist and as an advocate for sexual and reproductive rights globally. She would say that history is repeating itself after learning little from its past.

Colleges Must Fill the Sex Ed Gap Left by High Schools

When it comes to preparing youth to lead healthy, sex-positive lives, we know that the state of sex education in our middle and high schools is dire. And although teaching sex ed is often considered the responsibility of middle and high schools, colleges often end up dealing with the fallout related to this lack of education.

Many first-year U.S. college students enroll in a college in the state where they live, so it’s especially important for states with lackluster high school sex ed to address it at the college level.

‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bills Groom Children for Sexual Abuse, and May Even Violate Title IX

“Don’t Say Gay” bills don’t protect children—they play into the hands of child abusers, while also putting school districts in violation of Title IX. Denying a school district’s right to define a curriculum based on evidence-based research plays directly into the hands of predators who want, very much, naïve and disempowered children to prey upon.

If the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Met the Dynamic Mrs. Dennett—Sex Ed And Censorship Would Be So 20th Century

Like other fans of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I’ll be binge-watching when the fourth season of the hit series finally drops on Friday, Feb. 18.

I can’t help but wonder if the fictional Midge Maisel was influenced by the real-life Mary Ware Dennett or what would happen if they met. From 1915 through the 1930s, Dennett’s pioneering battles against U.S. government censorship helped pave the way for the freedom of speech Mrs. Maisel relies on and fights to expand.