High School students under the age of 19 account for approximately one-third of all newly diagnosed sexually transmitted infections in New York State. And not surprisingly, teen mothers are much less likely to graduate from high school than their peers who didn't give birth.
That evangelicals are ready to follow Mitt Romney down the fairy tale narrative rabbit hole to his "family values" scorched earth of opportunistic individualism in the name of pro-life beliefs is one of the greatest political not to mention religious ironies imaginable.
I know too many women who are menopausal, suffering with hot flashes and have reached adulthood with sex education under their belts, but without a firm grasp on their our own gynecological and hormone health.
To shed anxiety-driven notions about talking to children about sex, we adults need simply to identify and revisit the maladaptive associations we absorbed early in life and use our "we're all grown up now" good sense and perspective to whack them apart.
When we deliberately or inadvertently support our children's use of slang, it's as if we tell them: Yes, there is something gross or silly or ugly about that body part. Don't ever call it by its real name.
We all have our list of those words. Not the banned-by-the-FCC ones -- I figure all parents agree that those should probably not be part of a 3-year-old's vocabulary. But words that are loaded, words that are hurtful, words that feel personal.
They're going to hear about orgasms but won't have any idea that when they're mature enough to handle the responsibilities, an orgasm is a magical feeling you can share with someone you love on a Hawaiian shore just as the sun sets. Or even in the bathroom with someone you just met at Starbucks.
If teens are ready to have oral (or any other) sex, then we, as a society, need to do our utmost to help them recognize that "being ready" means more than just understanding the mechanics or being afraid of STDs.
Christine J. Gardner convincingly argues that the abstinence movement works against the most profound Christian values of selflessness and sacrifice and instead adopts rock concert style techniques of pop culture as a tool to get people to turn against that pop culture.
As a rabbi, I find the reluctance to talk clearly about sex rather odd. In Talmudic tradition, human sexual behavior is discussed with the same unflinching analysis as matters of commerce. It's part of life.