Am I paranoid?

I loved the concept of the YouTube democratic debates and I appreciated the fact that there was a token question about sexuality education! However, to my chagrin, the video to that particular question on the site only has the actual question as asked by Planned Parenthood and not the two responses by Edwards and Obama (note: blogs written by people with more sexually conservative blogs are appalled by the fact that the question was actually asked by an affiliate of PPH called Planned Parenthood Votes and believe that this is an example the pervasive liberal media bias and promotion of improper values).

If you want to hear the question along with the two responses, as well as commentary about them, go to American Sexuality Magazine’s blog.

Reality Bites

Newsweek covers Second Life, a virtual 3-D world where almost anything goes for the over 8 million people who roam there. And although Newsweek overall gives the concept of a computer-based society a positive spin, it does point out some of the negatives, such as the incredibly controversial criminal investigation in Germany against people who have virtual sex with a child avatar (note: the person behind the avatar was a legal adult).

There are stories of people who have become IRL millionaires through selling items such as clothing and land in Second Life. There are case studies of how businesses are using Second Life to enhance customer service. But the most startling statistic to me? “By 2011, four of every five people who use the Internet will actively participate in Second Life or some similar medium.”

We need to treat this prediction as truth of the inevitable and start teaching virtual etiquette and develop general relationship education to prepare for this phenomenon.

Post It, and They Will Come

Controversy continues over the running of a Trojan ad, Evolve, which features a bar scene where women are surrounded by pigs. Then, one pig goes to the restroom and returns with a condom, and transforms into an attractive man.

Sort of a cute idea, trying to not only normalize condom use, but also make it look as though condoms make you hot — better than sending the message that beer makes you attractive. But apparently not everyone feels that way. According to the Kaiser Women’s Health Report, the Pittsburgh market is not receiving the Trojan ad favorably; in contrast, Seattle has given it “the green light.” This follows on the heels of the announcements by CBS and Fox that they would not run the ad because, according to the New York Times, “Fox said it objected to the message that condoms can prevent pregnancy, while CBS said it was not ‘appropriate'” (note: these are the stations that bring you such shows as CSI, full of sexual fetish story lines and the recently canceled OC, which oozed sex).

But not to worry, the same NYT article also states that: “The commercial has been viewed nearly 100,000 times on YouTube, while trojanevolve.com has drawn more than 400,000 unique visitors since June 18.” Of course, this topic has been discussed on several blogs, such as this one as well as the widely read and respected Huffington Post, drawing even more attention to it.

Let’s hope these conversations get people — especially the younger generation — to talk about safer sex. No one wants to be a pig.

(insert phallic joke here)

A little break from my normal serious posts. BoingBoing, a “directory of wonderful things” covered a story close to my town about some controversial bollards that have been installed in the city of Keizer, OR. Personally, I didn’t think they looked THAT phallic, but my vote doesn’t count in that more conservative area of Oregon.

What I find wonderful is that several people have now posted numerous comments to this blog entry, adding their own links to and pictures of the most phallic landmarks throughout the world. Ha! Now people of all ages have convenient access to penis– (and boob-, and even a “moon-“) look-alikes everywhere!

I don’t think this is what the citizens of Keizer had in mind when they began complaining.

One Abstinence Program Down, Many More to Go

The federal Title V abstinence education program has expired — however, President Bush is still looking to increase the amount of abstinence-only dollars from $163 million to $191 million for the fiscal year 2008.

Abstinence-only funds require that its recipients teach that sex outside of marriage has harmful physical and psychological effects and bans most discussions concerning condoms and other contraceptive methods. These programs alienate children of single or non-heterosexual parents, sexual minority youth, and teens who have already chosen to have sex. In it’s earlier versions, this program also implied that children who had been abused or raped had been “sexually active,” but thankfully that had changed. Still, there are a lot of people this program does not speak to. Is it possible to create a sex ed program that speaks to everyone?

Smile! You’ve been cyberbullied

A new study by Pew Internet and American Life reports that 9% of social networking youth have had an “embarrassing picture” of them posted online. In addition, 16% reported that they have had a rumor spread about them online. Although the content of this cyberbullying is not sexual by default, the content of rumors often is about sex. As for pictures? They could range from partying (or, more likely, its after effects) or just a picture showing someone’s “bad side.” But they could also show people hooking up or pretending to be a Girl Gone Wild.

When conducting my own interviews of college youth about their use of social networking sites, I heard of a group of guys who contacted girls for anonymous sex. While the boys were receiving blow jobs, they took pictures of the act and posted them on their MySpace accounts — and showed off the evidence of their conquests to anyone in the dorm who cared to see. Another group of guys turned on their webcams before taking a girl to bed after a party. I am not sure what happened to those videos.

Point is, it is really easy for “embarrassing pictures” to end up online. Is it more common among high school or college youth? Who knows, but the long-term effects can be serious and devastating — not just humiliating.