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UNIT 1: Social and Cultural Foundations
What We Get Wrong About Black Women's Sexuality, Tamara Winfrey Harris, Cosmopolitan, 2016
Women’s sexuality has historically been defined through the eyes of the dominant power culture – white, cisgender, heterosexual and male. Although women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds may face similar types of discrimination, African-American and Black women are uniquely stereotyped as hypersexual – which has a significant impact for many on how they both see themselves as sexual beings and manage their sexual relationships.
Do Boys Face More Sexism Than Girls? Christina Hoff Sommers, Huffington Post, 2013
This article focuses on how boys and girls are treated in school. She shows the many ways that the school experience is more unsuitable for boys than for girls. It involves unsuitable structure, treatment, attitudes, incentives, judgments, and culture. It is time to improve the treatment of boys without mistreating girls.
The Role of Digital and Social Media in Children’s and Teens’ Development of Body Image, Children, Teens, Media, and Body Image: A Common Sense Media Research Brief, Common Sense Media, Inc., 2015
How young people feel about their bodies has a significant role in the decisions they make about their overall and sexual health. With so many unrealistic images of beauty in the media, and the widespread access to many of these images thanks to digital and social media, what is the impact on young people’s body image?
Is Sex Work Empowering or Enslaving? 12 Experts Weigh In, Ravishly, Huffington Post, 2014
Sex work in all its forms has been around since the beginning of human civilizations, accompanied by both positive and negative responses from those inside and outside the industry. In this blog post, twelve people who have either experienced or studied the sex work industry share their opinions about whether it is simply a career choice, or something more abusive and nefarious.
Sexuality and Gender Role in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Control Study, Susanne Bejerot and Jonna M. Eriksson, PLoS One, 2014
Gender as a social construct is an extremely abstract concept, while people representing various areas on the autism spectrum are often far more concrete thinkers. These researchers explore the possible connections between autism and gender identity an expression.
UNIT 2: Biological Foundations
Advances in Male Hormonal Contraception, Costantino Antonietta et al., Indian Journal of Medical Research, 2014
The vast majority of contraceptive methods currently available in the world are designed for cisgender girls and women, which ends up putting a greater responsibility for sexual decision-making in different-sex couples on the female partner. Over the last few decades, a variety of hormonal methods for use by cisgender men have been developed and put through trials, with varying levels of success.
The Female Viagra, Undone by a Drug Maker’s Dysfunction, Katie Thomas and Gretchen Morgenson, The New York Times, 2016
With so much attention paid to and money spent on creating medication for erectile dysfunction, it had been anticipated that a medication that could address one type of sexual dysfunction affecting cisgender women would be met positively – but it was not. Katie Thomas and Gretchen Morgenson explain the issues that had such a negative impact on Addyi’s potential for success from the outset.
UNIT 3: Sexualities, Education, and Development
Global Perspectives on Peer Sex Education for College Students, Chandra R. Story and June Gorski, International Education, 2013
Peer-to-peer approaches for teaching about sexuality have had mixed results, with some very positive health-related outcomes and other results that are more neutral. More recently, peer education has been embraced by a range of countries around the world, particularly when it comes to addressing HIV and STI reduction. This article discusses peer education around STI and HIV prevention specifically for college-age learners, including the cultural issues that have an impact on whether it has been successfully implemented in certain countries.
How Sex Education Fails People of Color in the United States, Vianca Masucci, Black Girl Dangerous, 2016
Sexuality education has come a long way over the past century, but it still falls short on addressing and representing the needs of communities of color. Viana Masucci writes about what needs to be done to right this historically-based wrong so that all people receive the sexuality-related information and skills they need and deserve.
What Is Behind the Declines in Teen Pregnancy Rates? Heather D. Boonstra, Guttmacher Policy Review, 2014
The teen pregnancy rate in the United States has declined dramatically over the years, both for the country as a whole and in each individual state. According to Guttmacher, these declines are linked directly to increased and improved contraceptive use by teenagers.
How We Can Improve Sex Ed for Boys, Justin Cascio, The Good Men Project, 2013
Much of the formal sexuality education being provided today is done with the needs of girls and women in mind. As a result, boys and men are seen as an afterthought, and transgender youth are ignored altogether. We must do better in being more exclusive of those who are not cisgender and female -- but how?
Sexuality Education in the Age of Digital Media: A Report of Sexuality Education Controversies, 2014-2015, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), SIECUS Report, 2015
Human sexuality remains a controversial topic nationwide. The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) tracks and summarizes these controversies on an annual basis to inform the public of state-specific issues, concerns and remedies.
Microaggressions and Sex Education: Race, Gender, and Sexuality, Jaymie Campbell, Teaching Sex Ed, 2014
“Microaggressions” refer to the everyday, commonplace acts of discrimination meant to target a specific person or group of people. In this blog post, author Jaymie Campbell talks about what microaggressions related to sex and sexuality can look like, and how the intersections between sexuality-, gender- and racially-based microaggressions cannot be ignored.
The Danger of Viewing Fifty Shades of Grey as Sex Ed, Soraya Chemaly, Huffington Post, 2015
Author Soraya Chemaly discusses the irony of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey being a box office smash in states that are the most politically conservative in the United States. Why, she asks, are we as a culture okay with this movie representing one type of sexual expression and so opposed to teaching young people comprehensive sexuality education in schools?
This Is What Sex Ed for the Intellectually Disabled Looks Like, Monica Heisey, Broadly, 2015
People living with intellectual disabilities are often ignored; when programs do include young people with IDs, the focus tends to be exclusively on avoiding sexualization and coercion. This article discusses what kinds of programs work for youth who are not seen as sexual beings in the first place – in an effort to see people with disabilities as people and not their disabilities.
UNIT 4: Intimacies and Relationships
50,000 First Dates: Online Dating Makes Finding a Partner in NYC Harder Than Ever, Matthew Kassel, Observer, 2014
Thousands of people use online dating sites and apps in their quest to find sexual and romantic partners. In this article, Matthew Kassel discusses his and others’ experiences with online dating, concluding that while there are success stories, he thinks online dating actually makes it more challenging to find a partner.
Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too, Kate Taylor, The New York Times, 2013
A stereotype exists that men are interested only in sex, women only in relationships. This article turns that stereotype on its head by interviewing women who are openly, intentionally—and selectively—seeking sexual connections at college without the accompanying relationship expectations and responsibilities.
Virgin Territory: What Young Adults Say about Sex, Love, Relationships, and The First Time, Amy Kramer, National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2014
Contrary to popular belief or media representations, young people are waiting longer to start having sex, according to this recent research. Rather than simply report data, however, this resource examines the reasons behind the trends relating to sex and relationships among many teens and young adults.
When Will the Media Really Get Polyamory? Robyn L. Trask, Loving More
Author Robyn Trask posits that the general public’s misunderstandings and stereotypes about polyamorous individuals and relationships comes from a misinformed media that, in turn, misinforms the public. It is her hope that polyamory will follow in the footsteps of other types of sexual diversity and be represented publicly as a valid relationship option.
Sex Talk Realness: How I Have Sex with a Disability, Rachel Hills, Cosmopolitan, 2015
In this piece, Rachel Hills interviews five women who are living with different disabilities about how having each of those disabilities affects their sex lives. In discussing how women with disabilities can be misrepresented as helpless, fragile flowers or fetishized for their particular disabilities, these five women correct myths and misinformation about how they manage dating and sexual relationships.
UNIT 5: Gender and Sexual Diversity
Gender Fluidity Has a Toxic Masculinity Problem, Nico Lang, The Daily Beast, 2016
Although gender fluidity is starting to become more discussed in population culture, and in some places, more accepted, the extent of that acceptance is often different based on the sex a person was assigned at birth. Someone who was assigned “female” at birth but who identifies as male, genderqueer or agender, is often given far more leeway than when someone who is assigned “male” at birth and identifies anything other than that.
Transgender Today, The Editorial Board, The New York Times, 2015
In this opinion piece, the New York Times Editorial board discusses the societal attitudes relating to transgender and gender non-conforming people, highlighting both the progress that has been made over the decades and how much farther our society still needs to go before transgender people stop being dehumanized.
The Invention of the Heterosexual, Thomas Rogers, Salon, 2012
There is a presumption that the concept of "heterosexuality" and "homosexuality" have always existed—yet even these terms did not come about until the 19th century. This article explores the many concepts relating to heterosexuality, including the diversity that exists when claiming this identity.
UNIT 6: Sexual Health and Well-Being
10 Ways People Avoid Using Condoms and Why They Are Bullshit, A. X. Ruiz, The Body is Not an Apology, 2016
Today, condoms are available for free or at very low cost, come in a wide range of sizes, materials and styles, and are more easily accessible than ever before. When they play such a key role in significantly reducing the risk for pregnancy and STDs, including HIV, why are so many men still resistant to using them? This piece responds to 10 excuses people often give for not using condoms during sex.
The Evolving Concept of Older Adult Sexual Behavior and Its Benefits, Maggie L. Syme, Generations, 2014
People are living longer, which means they are continuing to engage in shared sexual behaviors into much older age. Ageist beliefs about who can and should be in sexual relationships has led older adults to be asexualized. As a result, healthcare and other providers rarely if ever discuss sexuality-related issues with older adults, leaving these adults without the information and support they need to continue to remain sexually healthy and happy during this life stage.
The Graying of HIV: 1 in 6 new U.S. cases are people older than 50, Lenny Bernstein, The Washington Post, 2016
Thousands of people who are over the age of 50 are diagnosed with HIV each year, with very little media attention paid to it. Lenny Bernstein talks about the overall implications for long-term healthcare provision and health maintenance for people in mid- and later-life.
UNIT 7: Sexuality and Social Issues
Obergefell v. Hodges, United States Supreme Court, 2016
At the end of 2014, 35 states and the District of Columbia had legalized same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court decision the following year, Obergefell v. Hodges, legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Although this was a significant victory for those working to ensure equality for all, more work needs to be done to combat ongoing discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the workplace, in housing and elsewhere.
Less to Do with Marriage, More to Do with Equality, Elizabeth Schroeder, drschroe.com, 2015
The 2015 US Supreme Court Decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, granted marriage equality to same-sex couples nationwide. The implications of this decision, however, go much farther than the right to marry another person independent of that person’s gender.
Sexting at School: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, Lisa E. Soronen, Nicole Vitale, and Karen A. Haase, Inquiry & Analysis, 2010
Lisa E. Soronen, Nicole Vitale, and Karen A. Haase are writing on legal issues for the National School Boards Association. This article encourages administrators to hand over cell phone sexting cases to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
New Survey Debunks the Myth of Black Homophobia, Zack Ford, ThinkProgress.org, 2016
For a long time, African-American and Black communities have been characterized as being more homophobic than people of other racial or ethnic backgrounds. A recent survey collected data that challenges this assertion as more stereotypical than factual.
25 Years of Transphobia in Comedy, Meredith Talusan, BuzzFeed, 2016
Historically, transgender women have been the ill-conceived targets of jokes in movies created primarily for boys and men. While this has improved over the years, more recent releases like Deadpool and Zoolander 2 demonstrate that trans and gender-nonconforming people are still used offensively as punchlines in the mainstream media.
Sentenced to Abuse: Trans People in Prison Suffer Rape, Coercion, Denial of Medical Treatment, Zoe Greenberg, Rewire, 2015
Being incarcerated as a transgender person is far more complex and complicated than it is for cisgender inmates. From being housed with inmates who are the same sex they were all assigned at birth, but of a different gender, to being deprived the hormone and other medical treatment they need, transgender people are subjected to unique forms of sexual, medical and social abuses that make surviving inside prison a risk every day of their incarceration.
Reporting Rape and Wishing She Hadn't: How One College Handled a Sexual Assault Complaint, Walt Bogdanich, The New York Times, 2014
At a time of great emotional turmoil, students who say they were raped must make a choice: Seek help from their school, turn to the criminal justice system or simply remain silent. The great majority choose their school, because of the expectation of anonymity and the belief that administrators will offer the sort of support the police will not. Many come to regret that decision.
On Victim Blaming: When Rape Culture Exists Amongst America’s Heroes, Taylor Steele, The Body is Not an Apology, 2016
Taylor Steele discusses two celebrities in the news, David Bowie and Bill Cosby, and the allegations of rape and sexual assault, and the complicated layers when people who are accused of sexual crimes are seen as cultural heroes in one way, shape or form. Through the lens of race and racism, Steele describes the conflicts she and other people of color struggle with in particular when addressing Cosby’s alleged crimes.
When Bitter Breakups and Digital Photography Meet: What to Teach Our Kids about Revenge Porn, Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check, 2013
Two states currently have laws relating to people posting sexually explicit photos of their ex-partners in retaliation for a breakup. In most documented cases to date, these are men posting photos of their female partners, along with negative comments and identifying information about their exes. Should people share naked pictures with their partners, even when things are going well?
Sex Trafficking and the Sex Industry: The Need for Evidence-Based Theory and Legislation, Ronald Weitzer, Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 2012
Human sex trafficking is a very real, very cruel practice in many parts of the world. But how much of what actually takes place is reportedly accurately? This article works to debunk some myths and discuss implications of the realities of this crime on laws and policies.
And Boys Too, ECPAT USA, 2013
While there has been some increased awareness about sexually exploited boys in the U.S. over the past few years, sexually exploited boys are often missed as victims, seen instead as exploiters, pimps and buyers of sex, or as active and willing participants in sex work. Even with the progress being made, law enforcement efforts and statistics still focus primarily on girls and women, adding issues relating to boys and men as a foot note or afterthought. ECPAT-USA discusses specific ways this can and should change.
Cyber-sex Trafficking: A 21st Century Scourge, Sunshine de Leon, CNN.com, 2013
The advent of technology has brought with it many positive things—and yet with the many positives comes the many ways in which some people choose to abuse it. Sunshine de Leon discusses in this article how girls in the Philippines are being forced into sex work that is transmitted via the internet around the world, and how the anonymity of the World Wide Web makes it more challenging to prosecute the online traffickers.
Sex Trafficking in the U.S.: A Closer Look at U.S. Citizen Victims, Polaris, 2015
There is a prevalent myth that human sexual trafficking occurs in countries around the world, but not in the United States – or that human trafficking only involves bringing people from other countries to the US and vice versa. Yet tens of thousands of people, mostly women and children, are trafficked for sexual purposes within the United States. The Polaris Project, which is dedicated to combating human trafficking for both general and sexual purposes, describes the most current data we have relating to US-based sex trafficking.