Featured Resources

>> The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (July 3, 2011)

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) provides information on disabilities in children and youth (birth to age 22), including on the topic of sexuality; an "aspect of development that’s important not to ignore with children with or without disabilities." On this resource page you will find information on human sexuality in general, how disabilities can affect sexuality, the special role of the parent, the content to be taught, materials developed with specific disabilities in mind, and commercial products.
There’s so much to know and consider on this subject–what sexuality is, its meaning in adolescent and adult life, and the responsibilities that go along with exploring and experiencing one’s own sexuality. Children need information about values, morals, and the subtleties of friendship, dating, love, and intimacy. They also need to know how to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual exploitation. This is especially true when the young person has a disability.
NICHY also offers programs and services for infants, children, and youth with disabilities; IDEA, the nation’s special education law; and research-based information on effective practices for children with disabilities. Anyone can use their services—families, educators, administrators, journalists, students.

NICHY is operated by the nonprofit organization Academy for Educational Development (AED).

>> New Study on Attitudes Toward Bisexuals (June 24, 2011)

Kinsey Confidential
The Center for Sexual Health Promotion is recruiting participants for their new study examining attitudes toward bisexual men and women.

Explains the project coordinator for the Center about the background for the survey:
Alfred Kinsey was the first to acknowledge that sexuality may be fluid rather than simply dichotomous ... However, attitudes toward bisexuality have been varied, with some believing it is just a transition period before one comes out as gay or lesbian and others strongly disagreeing with this idea and being more accepting of the range of sexual and relationship preferences that exist.

Research on sexuality across cultures has shown that substantial numbers of men and women report bisexuality, or sexual or intimate activity with both genders, during their lifetime ... However, as yet, valid and reliable scales have not been developed to assess attitudes toward bisexual men and women in diverse populations.
Women and men who are at least 18 years of age are invited to participate. The survey will not take longer than 20 minutes. To participate, click here.

>> No More Excuses! campaign (June 17, 2011)

At least 1 in 6 women in the U.S. will be raped in their lifetime. An estimated 1 in 10 rape victims are male, and studies have suggested that 1 in 2 transgender people will be sexually assaulted. But unless a rape fits the FBI’s 82-year-old definition, “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will,” it will never be counted in the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report (UCR).*

Ms. Magazine has launched a No More Excuses! campaign to update the definition of rape used by the FBI, which still uses "an impossibly narrow and outmoded definition of 'forcible' rape to gather its statistics."
The FBI needs a modern definition of rape that reflects a popular understanding of the crime and doesn't exclude the vast majority of rapes. Rape is rape. Period.

Without an accurate definition we won't have accurate statistics about rape, and without accurate statistics we will never have adequate funding for law enforcement to solve these crimes and stop violence against women.

The campaign also demands that city police departments must test every rape kit in their backlog and make sure untested kits don't accumulate again:
The backlog of untested kits around the country is outrageous, as it leaves serial rapists—and the vast majority of rapes are committed by serial rapists—free to rape again.
Read more at Ms. Magazine or go directly to the online campaign headquarters.

>> Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross (May 30, 2011)

Known for her work to empower women sexually, Betty Dodson (b. 1929) today runs Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross: Sex Information Online with the thirty-something Carlin Ross who left her career in law to devote herself to sex information. In addition to their own texts and podcasts, their website also includes the posts of several sex informed guest bloggers, each with their own specific profile and expertise; a sex column featuring Dodson's practical advice to readers; a reader forum; a book and video shop; galleries and more.

Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross is an interactive and comprehensive website with both shorter updates and longer features addressing a wide range of topics on sex and relationship, many in response to readers' questions and current news and trends, covering several topics: orgasm, intercourse, sex positions, anal play, birth control, abortion, body image, cross dressing, menstruation and sex, disability and sex, female ejaculation and the G-spot, sex after menopause, oral sex, porn, sex during pregnancy and motherhood, STDs and sexual health, sex toys, sex play, relationship issues, and more.

Recognizing early on the need for more attention to women's genitalia and masturbation, New York-based Dodson hosted regular masturbation workshops for women in the seventies and eighties. Currently she is not offering group sex coaching, but she does still offer private sex coaching sessions for women. Her first book, Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving (1974; also published under Selflove and Orgasm and Liberating Masturbation), is a feminist classic. Orgasms for Two (2002) is devoted to partner sex.

Among Dodson's sexological DVDs are Self-Loving: Portrait of a Woman’s Sexuality Seminar (1991), Celebrating Orgasm: Women's Private Selfloving Sessions (1997), and Orgasmic Women: 13 Selfloving Divas (2006).

>> Heart to Heart (May 21, 2011)

Heart to Heart: A Couples' Enrichment Weekend Retreat is a nondenominational program for opposite-sex and same-sex couples, married or not. Founded in 1994 by three local Twin Cities couples, Friday-Sunday retreats are organized twice a year in Minnesota and Wisconsin where they volunteer as leaders.

The Star Tribune recently featured an article on Heart to Heart, which further describes their programming. The retreats include presentations on finances, parenting, intimacy, relationship crises and communication. The volunteer leaders also take turn talking about their own difficulties as tools for couples to find their own way together. There are no group sharing sessions; the retreat includes time for the leaders' presentations and for individual couples to communicate privately, sharing their thoughts in conversation and journaling activities.

Heart to Heart "is rooted in the continuing belief that the heart of the family, the couple, mirrors and shapes the future transformation of the world. It is also rooted in the action taken by a group of people who volunteer their time and who are committed to bringing about change because of their belief that when people connect as people, not labels, they can meet face-to-face to overcome differences in how to define the words "marriage" and "family."

>> The Kinsey Institute (May 4, 2011)

Founded at Indiana University in 1947, just before the publication of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) by pioneering sex researcher Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey, the Kinsey Institute works towards advancing sexual health and knowledge worldwide and has become a trusted resource for investigating and informing the world about critical issues in sex, gender and reproduction.

Today the institute carries out its mission for the public through, among other:

  • Events such as the current exhibit, Storytellers, which includes pulp fiction paperbacks from the 1960s, illustrated erotic novels, underground comic books, Japanese pillow books, other narrative texts, as well as vintage photographs, prints, watercolors, and drawings by anonymous and known artists.
  • Accessible online resources for the public including:
    • FAQ covering age at first intercourse, internet porn, penis size, contraception, infidelity, masturbation, and much, much more 
    • sexuality information links with loads of information, covering a wide range of topics from aging & midlife to women's sexual health, sexual abuse & assault, asexuality, sexual orientation, transgender, sex & disability, and more.
  • Kinsey Confidential: A Sex, Love & Relationships Blog
  • Library and Art Collections
As for its more scholarly purposes, the Kinsey Institute also offers:

  • An active Research Program with Resources for Researches
  • Research Publications
  • Graduate Education

>> Our Bodies Ourselves (May 1, 2011)

Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS) began in 1970 with the publication of the first edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. Also known as the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (BWHBC), OBOS is a nonprofit, public interest women’s health education, advocacy, and consulting organization, which has inspired countless women and the women’s health movement; in particular by producing books that make accurate health and medical information accessible to a broad audience, weaving women’s stories into a framework of practical and clearly written text.

Gearing up for a celebration of its 40th year anniversary, OBOS is currently inviting readers to submit their personal stories and will release the ninth edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves (revised with the help of more than 200 contributors) on October 1, 2011. If Our Bodies, Ourselves has made a difference in your life, or in the lives of your family or friends, consider submitting your story.

>> SIECUS (April 21, 2011)

The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) is the largest clearinghouse on sexuality information and a recognized leader in the field of sexuality and sexuality education. SIECUS was founded in 1964 by Dr. Mary S. Calderone, who during her previous tenure as the Medical Director for the Planned Parenthood Federation became concerned with the lack of accurate information about sexuality for both young people and adults in the United States.

SIECUS publishes numerous books, journals, and resources for parents, professionals, and the public, which are available at no cost online, from numerous accessible fact sheets to educator, policy, and research resources. Available as free downloads or for purchase as hard copies, its booklets include: "Right from the Start: Guidelines for Sexuality Issues, Birth to Five Years," a framework to help childcare centers and preschools address age appropriate sexuality issues, and also of value to parents before discussing with their children's teachers their approach to sexuality issues; "Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Kindergarten-12th Grade," a handbook for  parents, caregivers, educators, policymakers, and activists; "Innovative Approaches to Increase Parent-Child Communication about Sexuality," also a guide for parents, caregivers, educators, policymakers, and public agencies; and "Talk About Sex," which provides young people with basic information about a range of sexuality topics, as well as referrals to reputable websites for more information.

In the 1990s, SIECUS expanded its outreach to policymakers and communities by opening a public policy office in Washington DC; developing a community advocacy project to help fight attacks on sexuality related issues; creating a media outreach initiative to ensure that sexuality related issues are accurately represented in the media; and by establishing an international program.

>> Scarleteen (April 4, 2011)

Scarleteen.com is a widely recognized independent, grassroots sexuality education and support organization founded in 1998 by Heather Corinna (author of the highly praised S.E.X.) after expressed need in response to abstinence-only mandates.

Catering primarily to young adults, Scarleteen's sex-positive educational model is guided by both "unschooling" and the Montessori method. Its online content and approach is strongly youth-driven while in alignment with current guidelines for comprehensive sexuality education for adolescents such as those suggested by SIECUS (US), UNESCO (International), the National Health Education Standards (US) and Sex and Relationships Education (UK).

As Scarleteen asserts, young adults today cannot rely on their schools alone for comprehensive, accurate sex education, nor can they solely rely on families. Hence the need for progressive sexuality education offered by resources such as Scarleteen, which can be paired with what schools and parents do have to offer.

Providing a wealth or resources, Scarleteen is worthy of our attention. Please consider supporting its work.

>> Good Vibrations (March 27, 2011)

Good Vibrations is one of the oldest sex-positive female oriented sex shops in the United States, which were launched to provide a "clean, well-lighted" alternative to conventional "adult" bookstores. Following the New York retailers Adam & Eve, which opened in 1970, and Eve’s Garden from 1974 where men were only allowed in the company of women, sex educator Joani Blank founded Good Vibrations in San Francisco's Mission District in 1977. Originally a retailer of books and sex toys, it has added on adult sex films, including its own movie production line, and has opened up three more stores, today covering coast to coast.

Good Vibrations presents itself as "a diverse, woman-focused retailer providing high-quality, sex-positive products and non-judgmental, accurate sex information through our clean and comfortable stores, catalog, web site, wholesale division, product and movie production lines in order to enhance our customers’ sex lives and promote healthy attitudes about sex." A personal fan for years, I vouch for the quality of their products and information and am proud to now be an affiliate of their sex-positive value oriented team. When safety concerns over phthalates in sex toys arose, Good Vibrations were among the first companies to remove those products from their shelves and launching a new line of Ecorotic® Green Sex Toys.

Although the emphasis of Good Vibration is on items that provide healthy consensual physical stimulation, they also carry books that focus on sexuality, relationships, love, gender, health, and reproduction.

>> Office of Adolescent Health (March 21, 2011)

While significantly cutting abstinence-only programs, the Obama Administration has also signaled the importance of addressing the inter-related health needs of adolescents by establishing the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH), charged with coordinating all activities within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “related to adolescent health promotion and disease prevention.” The office is responsible for implementing and administering “a new discretionary grant program to support evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention approaches” (OAH).

At least $75 million is slated for replicating evidence-based programs that have been proven effective to reduce teenage pregnancy behavioral risk factors underlying teenage pregnancy, and at least $25 million for testing additional models and innovative strategies.

OAH has already released three Funding Opportunity Announcements: Tier 1 for evidence-based programs, Tier 2 for innovative approaches, and Tier 3 for community-wide approaches.

>> Freedom to Marry (March 18, 2011)

Anne Hathaway, Jane Lynch, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Ellen and Portia DeGeneres are among the over 43,000 people (and counting) who have signed a letter written by the Freedom to Marry campaign, which seeks to legalize gay marriage nationwide and end discrimination based on sexual orientation. In February, President Obama made a powerful statement about the unconstitutionality of the law prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex marriage; the letter asks the President to follow up by ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.

Forty-five states continue to exclude same-sex couples from marriage, and through the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), the federal government refuses to honor the marriages of thousands of legally-wed same-sex couples, depriving them of the 1,000+ federal protections and responsibilities that come with marriage.

Find out more on the Freedom to Marry website and support by signing the letter and taking the pledge to add your voice to those supporting the freedom to marry.

>> Planned Parenthood (March 9, 2011)

I encourage you to stand with Planned Parenthood and sign the open letter to the representatives who voted to cut funding, and to the senators who still have a chance to stop it. Click here to sign.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives’ voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from all federal funding for birth control, HIV testing, cancer screenings, and other lifesaving care. Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider and an informed educator, providing vital reproductive health care, as well as sex education and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.

Since taking office, President Obama has ended three decades of presidential promotion of abstinence-only-until-marriage funds and programs while introducing new funding to comprehensive sex education initiatives. However, with policies and funding taking a major turn, much of this has yet to lead to real program implementation on state and local level. The new funding initiatives are encountering resistance particularly in the South, which continues to receive the highest amounts of federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funding while surveys also show that a larger percentage of youth in the South engage in riskier sexual health behaviors compared to their counterparts in the rest of the country.

Notably, California saw the steepest decline in their teen pregnancy rate between 1992 and 2005 (52% decline versus a national decline of 37%) and is the only state that never accepted federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funding, ending its own experiment with abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in the mid-1990s, shifting its resources to comprehensive sex education programs. Now more than ever, is a time to promote substantial human sexuality education in all American schools, ensuring the success and furthering of new policies where it matters.

SIECUS. "A Portrait of Sexuality Education and Abstinence-Only-Until Marriage Programs in the States. An Overview. Fiscal Year 2009 Edition" (2010).