Texting sex education

“Why do guys think it’s cool to sleep with a girl and tell their friends?” is one of the (easier) questions North Carolina teens have texted to the Birds and Bees Text Line, a project of the Durham-based Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina. “Within 24 hours, each will receive a cautious, nonjudgmental reply, texted directly to their cellphones, from a nameless, faceless adult at the Campaign,” the New York Times reports. The answer – from staff member James Martin, 31, married and dad of a toddler – was: “Mostly it’s because they believe that having sex makes them cool. Most guys outgrow that phase.” The Times cites epidemiologists and public health experts as saying that sex education in the classroom is “often ineffective or just insufficient,” and North Carolina has the 9th-highest teen pregnancy rate in the US. Certainly, teens are much more engaged in education delivered through their cellphones! But of course the program is not without controversy (though the Campaign hasn’t received complaints from parents yet) – some opposing organizations recommend that parents turn off texting altogether on their kids’ phones so they can’t access the hotline. Pls see the Times for details, info on other such programs in the US, and examples of much tougher questions, among them: “If I was raped when I was little and just had sex was it technically my first time when I was raped or when I recently had sex?” James Martin got it while getting ready for bed. “He read it and sat down abruptly. His wife asked what was wrong. He wrote three drafts. An hour later, he texted back: ‘Your first time is whatever you make it. There is no ‘right’ answer: I believe your first time can be many things (good, bad, fun, embarrassing, wonderful) but it should never be nonconsensual. Your first time is the first time you choose to have sex, not when some horrible person forces you.’”


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