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HIV infection is decidedly no longer a death sentence, and no longer a major inhibitor of quality of life. HIV-positive people can live long and healthy lives. For those with access to care, some sex educators now talk about HIV infection as more of a nuisance to be managed than than a life-altering diagnosis.
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"What we're taught is that sex is evil and that women should be punished for partaking in ways that men aren't."
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To keep our children safe and healthy, we teach them never to run with scissors. We put bike helmets on them. We ensure they floss. We make them eat broccoli and try to limit the sweets. Isn't it equally important that they are well-informed about sexual health?
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No exceptions will be made.
And they're probably not all that different from adults'.
The curriculum is aimed at preparing kids to navigate the complicated interpersonal and sexual situations in today's hyper-sexualized world. But opponents have latched on to a number of provisions. It should be clearly understood that the new curriculum is not a "How to Manual" and that the state is not promoting a particular relationship structure. Ultimately, the government must do a better job of convincing some parents that it is responding to the changing realities. All stakeholders must feel that at least some of their concerns are heard and validated.
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The misinformation about the new curriculum rivals the inaccuracies kids get about sex from their friends and our culture. Some parents are convinced that their kids will be asked to touch themselves at school. The actual curriculum stresses respecting yourself and respecting others. If you oppose it, fine. At least know what you are opposing. Parents are entitled to pass on their religious or moral beliefs to their kids, but they are not entitled to pass on their religious or moral beliefs to my child. By trying to force the Ontario government to yank the evidence-based, updated portions of the health curriculum for all Ontario kids, they are trying to prevent the majority who support this initiative from benefiting from it. And that's wrong.
Last week, Ontario released a new Health and Physical Education Curriculum for 2015. Much of the fear stems from the early introduction of sex education teaching, even in grade one. Are we that scared of our kids knowing the real word for their genitals?
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In my province (Ontario), the government is currently revamping the sex ed curriculum, and it has the conservative circles in which I travel up in arms. They are deeply offended that the government is taking the teaching of sex ed out of the control of the parents and into the classrooms. I get that, I truly do. I want my daughter to know my beliefs and convictions about this matter, and she will, but she also needs to learn them at school. Why? Until each and every parent can tell me they have taught their children what consent is and looks like, when sex is okay, what healthy sex looks like, I will continue to support sex ed in our schools -- because there is no way I can raise my daughters in a world of kids who learned about sex from the Internet.
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You may have learned the basics of the birds and the bees, but chances are your grade school teachers probably left out a few important details. For example, what is it really like to have sex on the...
Well, we've been having some interesting family discussions over dinner recently. Topics have included: marijuana, driver reaction time after consuming alcohol, how nicotine stains your fingers; the intense pain caused by Tasering; bras and body hair. One night, we even examined diagrams of male and female reproductive organs.
Valentine's Day is fast approaching. What a perfect time to talk about condoms. We need to think of condoms as disease preventers, rather than just contraception. We need to think about the infections we can reduce and perhaps eliminate with the use of condoms as well as the number of people we can save.
As the product of private, religious schools that didn't offer classes in sexual education, I can tell you with some degree of assurance that young men do not necessarily need to be taught about sex in school -- they do just fine figuring it out for themselves. I'll go a step further: any young male or female with even the slightest modicum of common sense should instinctively comprehend the many values of practicing sex safely.
Like fellow Huffington Post blogger Yoni Goldstein, I too figured out safe sex without classes. The problem is, not everyone is like us. Even those with the "slightest modicum of common sense" can get tripped up in the complex world of sexual health and sexual relationships. If common sense were all it took to keep one healthy, then I wouldn't see so many sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies walk through my office door.
There's a lot of know: pregnancy, periods, erections, contraception, modes of infectious transmission, normal anatomical variations, and the physiology of desire, arousal and orgasm are all complex topics.