A school trustee addresses some of the myths about the new sex ed program in Ontario

jake skinner

This was posted by a student in the comment section (thanks!) and it seemed important to publish it on the main page.

From Jake Skinner’s site:

The 2015 Sex-ed Curriculum

On Monday 23 February 2015 the new sex-ed curriculum for Ontario was released. The physical documents are available at http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum. This post includes a myth/fact document provided to school trustees which I am passing on to you. I will continue to add to this blog post as more resources become available for parents concerned about how the new curriculum will address the question of health. I appreciate that this is a sensitive topic and there are some strong views but let’s keep the comment section civil.

Myth vs. Fact

Release of the revised curriculum for Health and Physical Education, Grades 1 to 12

Myth: Students will be learning about having sex in Grade 1.

Fact: In Grade 1, students will be learning about anatomy, personal hygiene (e.g. hand washing), and how to interact respectfully with their peers. Young children need to be able to identify the correct names for their body parts in order to communicate clearly and get help if they need to in cases of abuse, illness or injury. They start to learn about expressing their romantic feelings in Grade 5, and only start to learn about sexual activity in Grade 7.

Myth: Students will be learning about masturbation in Grade 6.

Fact: While the concept of masturbation is included in Grade 6 curriculum, it is mentioned in an optional prompt. It is there to support teachers in responding to student questions that may arise. Teachers have repeatedly stated that students often ask questions on this topic, and they need guidance on how to answer in a factual and consistent manner. This is not a mandatory learning expectation. Experts have also pointed out that many children in fact start masturbating before puberty begins.[1]

Myth: Students will be learning about anal and oral sex in Grade 7.

Fact: In Grade 7, the curriculum expects students identify ways of preventing STIs (including HIV) and/or unintended pregnancy. It talks about delaying intercourse and other sexual activities until a person is older, and using condoms consistently if and when they become sexually active. Oral and anal sex are included as topics for discussion to ensure all students are aware of the risks associated with any form of sexual behaviour. Many students believe oral and anal sex are safer alternatives as they cannot get pregnant, but Public Health Agency of Canada data tells us the rate of chlamydia and gonorrhea has been increasing since the late 90s and mostly affects teenagers and young adults. From 2002 to 2011, Ontario’s reported chlamydia rate has increased by 81% while the reported gonorrhea rate has increased by more than 20%.[2]

Read the rest here. The comments are worth reading, too, if you want to get an idea of how polarizing the debate is.

Female ideal body shapes throughout the ages.

The week before break we started discussing physical attraction in class. I made the distinction between cultural influences on what we idealize, and the aesthetic preferences that seem to be hard-wired (i.e., across cultures and time). Often, the two are difficult to untangle. With that in mind, the following video from Buzzfeed purports to show varying female body ideals throughout history. Aside from the fact that all the models are ridiculously attractive, it’s still an interesting clip, if not entirely reliable. It is also necessary to point out that there is large individual variation in what people find attractive, and the importance people place on physical attractiveness. In other words, people’s individual preferences often deviate from the ideals, and physical attraction often takes a back seat to other traits that are more important in terms of attraction (e.g., personality, interpersonal style, etc.).

End of legal ban on adultery in Korea; condom sales explode.

Inside a Unidus Condom Factory Ahead Of Export Price Index Release

From NBC News:

Korean Court Scraps Adultery Ban, Condom Stock Soars

Here’s one way to get a rise out of a stock price. South Korea’s highest court on Thursday struck down as unconstitutional a decades-old law banning adultery, triggering a surge in shares of condom makers and morning-after pills.

The 1953 law aimed to protect women in a male-dominated society where divorce was rare, by making marital infidelity punishable with jail. “The law is unconstitutional as it infringes people’s right to make their own decisions on sex and secrecy and freedom of their private life, violating the principle banning excessive enforcement,” said Seo Ki-seok, a Constitutional Court judge, reading an opinion on behalf of five judges.

Seven members of the nine-judge panel deemed the law to be unconstitutional. After the ruling, shares in Unidus Corp, which makes latex products, including condoms, soared to the 15 percent daily limit gain. Hyundai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, a maker of morning-after birth control pills and pregnancy tests, ended up 9.7 percent.

Updated HPV vaccine.

gardasil9

Passed along by Laura (thanks!). From IFL Science:

Trial Shows New Vaccine Safe And Effective Against 9 Strains Of HPV
by Justine Alford

Despite being effective and invaluable weapons against several different types of cancer, the vaccines for HPV have received a lot of undeserved negative attention. Perhaps that’s because there’s a stigma attached to HPV, given that it’s the most common STI. Alternatively, it could be due to misinformation spread about vaccines in general, but in particular about one of the HPV vaccines, Gardasil, which was wrongly attributed to numerous deaths during its trial (the real causes were things like drowning and malaria).

Regardless, as ars technica points out, uptake has been disappointedly low in some countries—particularly the United States—and it’s time that changed, especially since we now have an even more powerful weapon on our side: Gardasil 9. This new vaccine protects against five more strains of HPV than its predecessor and seven more than the first HPV vaccine Cervarix. It’s just been put through its paces in a huge trial, and the positive results showcase its effectiveness.

According to the study, this vaccine has the potential to prevent around 90% of cervical cancers and might even be suitable for use in boys, which could further reduce the incidence of cancers associated with HPV. The results of the trial have been published inNEJM.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is not one virus, but a group of more than 150 related viruses. It’s the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract and most sexually active people will be infected at some stage in their lives. Although many types of HPV don’t cause problems, a small percentage of infections with certain types can persist and lead to cancer. At least 13 are known to be able to cause cancer, which are the so-called high risk, or oncogenic, types.

Almost all cases of cervical cancer are attributable to HPV and two types in particular, HPV-16 and 18, cause 70% of cervical cancers. But it’s not just women that are affected. HPV-6 and 11, for example, cause genital warts in men and women, and some types have been associated with other cancers, such as mouth, anus and penile cancer.

The first HPV vaccine to be invented, Cervarix, addressed 16 and 18, but it was followed shortly by an improved version, Gardasil, which bestowed added protection against 6 and 11. Now, scientists have added five more oncogenic HPV types to the vaccine, producing the most effective agent yet.

This new vaccine, Gardasil 9, was tested on more than 14,000 women between the ages of 16 to 26. Because an effective vaccine already exists against HPV, it was considered unethical to compare the new vaccine against a placebo, so the study used the earlier Gardasil instead.

Participants given Gardasil 9 were found to have the same amount of protection against the strains that Gardasil defends against alongside additional protection against other genital cancers. Overall, Gardasil 9 has the potential to protect against 90% of cervical cancers, a 20% improvement on Gardasil. Given that the new virus contains more bits of virus, side-effects were more common in those given Gardasil 9, but these were generally minor, such as pain at the injection site.

Taken together, Gardasil 9 seems to be a promising addition to our ever-growing vaccine arsenal, and further studies will shed light on whether it would also be useful in boys.