I consider this to be one of the most important films of our time.

I was just at a screening. The filmmaker was also there. She’s the mother of a former student in the Raza Studies program (the one that was silenced in Tucson).

No History is Illegal.

Banned books and some responses by authors.

Relevant. Also relevant:

In Lak Ech
Tú eres mi otro yo.
Si te hago daño a ti, me hago daño a mí mismo.
Si te amo y respeto, me amo y respeto yo
You are my other me.
If I do harm to you, I do harm to myself.
If I love and respect you, I love and respect myself.

Racism is not over. Sexism is not over. Classism is not over. It is a luxury to ignore the suffering of others.

Controversy of the Day: A Leaflet by UK’s National Health Service

What is it?

- an informational leaflet entitled “Pleasure,” informing students over the age of 14 about sexual enjoyment.

I couldn’t find the actual brochure on the web. You can order it for £1 here, and you can see part of it here (PDF).

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My thoughts, if you’re interested

Let’s consider the controversy over sexual education in the United States today: abstinence-only vs. comprehensive. Now you can, of course, get pregnant even with knowledge of proper precautions - but the chance is less when taking precautions, so education allows the sexually active to reduce chances of pregnancy. The argument against this goes something like “RAGHH they shouldn’t have sex at all or even think about it or even know about it and you’re enabling them!”

Now, abstinence-only education is ineffective, harmful, and contradictory - really, why call it education when it’s actually the deliberate withholding of information? There’s an abundance of research showing how abstinence-only education has almost no effect on patterns of sexual activity in youth… significantly riskier sexual activity, since the participants are uneducated on the subject. Here’s one of those studies.

I’ll summarize before moving on: Education contributes to the making of informed decisions. Withholding information prevents this.

Let’s turn back to this idea of telling kids that sex is fun when performed correctly. I think the objection goes something like “RAGHH if we tell them it’s fun they’ll want to try it!”

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1. According to the Guttmacher Institute: “Countries with low levels of adolescent pregnancy, childbearing and STDs are characterized by societal acceptance of adolescent sexual relationships, combined with comprehensive and balanced information about sexuality and clear expectations about commitment and prevention of pregnancy and STDs within these relationships.”

Oh yeah::”U.S. teenagers have higher pregnancy rates, birthrates and abortion rates than adolescents in other developed countries.” …Abstinence-only education what?

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2. Quote from Nikkhah’s article [see link at bottom of this post]: “Steve Slack, the director of the Centre for HIV and Sexual Health at NHS Sheffield, who is one of the leaflet’s authors, says that instead of promoting teenage sex, it could encourage young people to delay losing their virginity until they are certain they will enjoy the experience.”

Maybe your first sexual experience was fantastic. Maybe it wasn’t. If you’ve ever read anyone else’s “first time” sex stories, you know a lot of them aren’t so great. ::Some examples (bottom of the page).

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3. The pamphlet discusses masturbation, and encourages kids to figure out their bodies.

Now, sexual research varies a lot, but most studies suggest that females in general have more trouble reaching orgasm and are less comfortable with sexual intimacy to some degree. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to every woman - but there are many who have never experienced orgasm, even after decades of sexual activity.

Why is this? A lot of people blame female anatomy. Personally, I’m really distrustful of this. After all, for a long time people thought that there was a gender gap in arousal time, and that was just silly. Studies on female sexuality are really sparse, especially in comparison to those on male sexuality. It’s kinda sad. I say the jury’s still out.

So. Let’s consider what might happen if schools started treating sexuality as a healthy topic, and encouraged males and females alike to explore themselves. This seems much healthier than relying on current cultural assumptions, many of which are clearly faulty.

The bottom line: A program that treats the desires of both genders with equal importance and encourages individuals to value and be familiar with their own pleasure is a positive influence.

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4. Back to “RAGHH if we tell them it’s fun they’ll want to try it!”

Pick your response:

a) if they haven’t already tried it, they’re going to be trying it in the near future. This is a fact.

b) Kids hear about lots of things being fun for adults that they don’t want to try until they’re older. Examples: cheesecake, alcohol, drugs, dark chocolate. Some kids like these things when they’re younger than the norm, but most don’t.

c) Kids already hear a lot about sex, and obviously have become aware, by age 14, that adults like it. Why make it scary and mysterious and pressure-filled? If we taught them what it’s like, and that it’s okay to wait, and that it will be even better if they’re safe and comfortable, wouldn’t that be a good thing to teach? Wouldn’t you want your child to know that?

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Worth reading, if you’re interested

Blogpost by Archbishop Cranmer

Post and forum discussion on AboveTopSecret

Article by Daniel Martin (Dailymail.co.uk) - highlights objections by public figures in the UK

Article by Roya Nikkhah (Telegraph.co.uk) - highlights explanation behind booklet

Article by Hilary White (LifeSiteNews.com) - more of the same, but additional quotes in explanation of the booklet