Ithaca really IS gorges!

May 11, 2007 at 5:11 am 1 comment

Someday I will stop thinking that’s funny, I promise. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go here. But really, Ithaca is incredibly beautiful. I took a hike today up Six Mile Creek and sang to myself as I walked through the post-storm electric green forest.  There are LOTS of pictures I haven’t uploaded yet, which I’ll do soon, I promise.  Today I had lunch with Natasha and Molly, two educators from Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, which has a national reputation of being one of the most sex-positive Planned Parenthood’s around. 

Over delicious Indian food, we talked about their work and the way they approach it.  Natasha, who does sex education for mostly high school students, told me that when she starts her workshops, she asks the students what they think her main message is – the one thing she wants them to come away  from the workshop remembering. Almost universally, their answer is "Don’t have sex!"

In reality, Natasha’s message is "sex is a part of life", and she teaches youth the skills and tools they need to communicate about sex and form healthy relationships (although the workshop requests overwhelmingly focus on birth control and STD’s).  The incessant focus on the consequences of bad sexual decisions seems designed, in a way, to set people up for failure – it’s almost like saying "you’re going to make bad decisions, and we’re here to try and stop you by scaring you with how terrible the consequences of those decisions will be.  Imagine instead if we talked about how wonderful sex can be and gave people the tools to talk about sex openly and form healthy relationships.  That’s the kind of world I want to live in.

I’ve been having intermittent technical difficulties with the blog, and am super tired right now, so am not going to share as much as I’d like, but I’m going to be guest blogging next week for Choice USA and RH Reality Check, so I’ll cross post more on my observations so far and how the trip has changed me.  


Entry filed under: On the Road. Tags: .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. King Benny  |  May 14, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Hi Nora,
    The continued discussion of sex positivity as it relates to sex education is great. Still, its a tricky thing to talk about the potential dangers of disease transmission while still maintaining positivity toward sex. This can be especially difficult when speaking with people for the first time openly about sex (ie. junior high/high school student). Maybe you can address how these sex educators do this.


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