Posts Tagged ‘sexologist’
Many sexologists have studied sexuality with an interdisciplinary approach, since sexuality encompasses issues related to biology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, anatomy, medicine, law, and more. In my definition, a sexologist must have education and training in the field of sexuality. Therefore, it would be a misnomer to use the term to refer to someone who writes a sex advice column or book, or who gives lectures about sex, but who has no formal training in sexuality education, sexuality counseling, sex research, or sexuality therapy.
I co-hosted an episode of the nationally syndicated TV show THE DOCTORS with three other women: the hilarious comedienne Margaret Cho, Dr. Jennifer Berman, and Dr. Lisa Masterson (the show’s regular co-host). The topic of the show is The Vagina. This goofy promo for “The Vagina Show” is on You Tube, and an excerpt of the promo was even on E!’s The Soup and on the Style channel’s The Dish. However, the show has not yet aired. I’ve been getting e-mails asking me if I know when it will air, since it did not air as scheduled… Sorry, but I have no news about it. I’ll keep you posted if I find out the airdate.
(Note: To give you the context for my line in the You Tube clip: What I had actually said on the show was that a study from New Zealand found that women prefer uncircumcised penises, but here in the US most women prefer them circumcised.)
In addition to telling me that there was no “pregnancy pact,” they also told me that there was no “homeless guy” impregnating the girls of Gloucester.
I recently talked to two pregnant teenagers from Gloucester, MA and the mother of one of the girls (who had also been a teen mother). We discussed their sex ed, sexual choices, and their feelings about being pregnant (and in the public eye). I also asked about the babies’ fathers… and THE question that many had wanted answered, but no one seemed to have asked. Yes, I asked about the “24-year-old homeless guy.”
You surely remember the Time magazine article that claimed that teens were trying to get pregnant as part of a “pregnancy pact” at Gloucester High School (GHS). In it, the principal was quoted as saying that they, “found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy.” Well, the pregnant girls from Gloucester who I met told me that they were not trying to have babies, and they were not seeking out random men to impregnate them. They had boyfriends their age, and their pregnancies occurred because they didn’t use birth control — not because they wanted babies. They did not understand how the “homeless guy” rumor got started, or why the principal would have stated it to a reporter. They said very definitively that the other girls in their school also got pregnant “by mistake” from boys their age – boyfriends, not homeless men. Also noteworthy, they confirmed that some of the 18 pregnant girls have gotten abortions.
Of course, I must emphasize that I am reporting what two pregnant Gloucester teens told me. I did not talk to all 18 girls, and no one will truly know who got pregnant from whom and why, except each of girls who got pregnant and the guys who got them pregnant.
The press latched on to the “pregnancy pact” story because America loves a “shocking teen sex story.” The reality of the Gloucester pregnancies may be far more mundane, but no less troubling. One of the Gloucester girls told me that she, “didn’t think that pregnancy would happen,” to her. She said that she knew about birth control, but she and her boyfriend didn’t think they needed to “bother with it” — even though they did not want a baby. It’s that type of denial that is often at the root of teen pregnancy. Other reasons commonly cited for why teens get pregnant include: perpetuating a cycle of teen motherhood when their parents had them as a teen; when parents do not encourage them to wait or don’t teach them any values about sex; and when the teen does not have future goals, dreams or aspirations to provide an incentive for why they would want to delay pregnancy until much later in their lives. The girls from Gloucester who I spoke with fit these models.
Will there be a chance to focus the media’s attention on the realities at Gloucester High School? Is there hope that Gloucester can teach teens to wait to have sex and to use birth control when they have sex? Gloucester is a small, predominately Catholic, blue-collar community that seems reluctant to help teens get birth control and learn how and why to use it. The town is organizing “listening posts” to get the community talking about teen pregnancy, but they are not planning to get teens and their parents together to talk about values about sex. It is imperative that parents and teens discuss these issues. If GHS would let me facilitate these conversations, you know I would. Though now the school is not open to having a sex educator visit (especially one who works on television). In fact, there have been many health educators who have recently advised GHS about how to provide access for their students to contraception and how to implement comprehensive sex education, but they have yet to begin these programs. (GHS curently offers sex ed to freshman, but it is not a comprehensive course, and is not offered after freshman year.) To understand some of the reaction to these issues in Gloucester, check out their local paper, including the recent editorial written by the school track coach, in which he equates condom distribution to giving drugs or “alcoholic beverages to the students, and… a “safe” place to booze it up, such as in the high school field house.”
The Gloucester Fisherman, and effective birth control.
Posted by Dr. Sari Locker
Here’s my ‘behind the scenes’ report – and photos — from my appearance on NBC’s Baby Borrowers’ Town Hall Meeting, which will air Wednesday, August 6, at 9 pm. The objective of the show was to discuss the ethics of The Baby Borrowers, reunite the cast, as well as unpack some of the issues about the show. That’s where I came in.
I was on in one segment — the third segment of the show — about how the media impacts teens’ attitudes about sex. As NBC reporter Josh Mankiewicz pointed out in the taped package that preceded our segment, news venues usually want to take the easy way out by blaming teen pregnancy on Jamie Lynn Spears and Juno. It was great to be part of a segment that was intended to debunk the myth that JLS affected teens’ sex choices. (For more of my thoughts on this topic, read my article about “America’s Glamorization of Pregnant Sixteen Year Olds.”)
The segment was hosted by Hode Kotbe, and also appearing in the segment was the executive producer of The Baby Borrowers. I appeared along side the delightful Paula Froelich best known as the Page Six gossip columnist, and the extraordinary Sarah Brown, the CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. They were excellent, and I was honored to share the stage with them.
The “stage” by the way, was actually Conan O’Brien’s stage, since we filmed this show in the Late Night with Conan O’Brien studio, 6A. (It was my third time there. The first time was when I was on Conan’s show. The second, I was at NBC appearing on another show, and I was invited to sit in on a closed rehearsal/pre-taping of Conan’s show. Very cool: He strummed his guitar between takes.) When we taped the Baby Borrowers’ show, Conan was not around, of course, but all of the costumes that his cast members wear for skits and the suits that the band members wear were hanging on rolling racks lining the hallway. I saw one of the “Baby Borrowers” attempting to put on the Late Night ape suit! Didn’t snap a photo of that, but here are pix of some of the “cast” of NBC’s Baby Borrowers’ Town Hall Meeting.
Dr. Sari Locker with Paula Froelich, Page Six columnist
with Morgan, “Baby Borrower”
with “Baby Lenders”
with Hode Kotb
Posted by Dr. Sari Locker
This graph is from a survey of 12-19 year olds, conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (2003) in “Science Says: The Case for the Cautious Generation.” Only 2% of teens say their sex decisions are affected by the media, and 53% say that they are influenced by their parents or morals, values or religious beliefs. This is teens’ self-evaluation of what they think affects them. From my work with teens and parents, I believe this chart accurately reflects their greatest influences. Also the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has a great fact sheet about this to help parents.