teens holding hands

Controversial ‘Abstinence Only’ Sex Ed Law Draws Praise, Criticism in Tenn.

Earlier this month, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a controversial new sex education law. According to the bill, the new law “exclusively and emphatically promotes sexual risk avoidance through abstinence” and forbids teachers from mentioning “gateway sexual activity” in the state’s sex education courses. The freshly inked legislation, known as HB 3621 in the state’s House of Representatives and SB 3310 in the Senate, bars teachers from discussing sexual activity such as genital touching as alternatives to intercourse. Under the new law, which passed with large majorities in both chambers, instructors and organizations may be fined $500 for discussing so-called gateway sexual activity in sex education classes. Reactions to the bill, as well as what “gateway sexual activity” entails, have been mixed.

birth control

More Teens Using Contraceptives, Says CDC

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) unveiled new data suggesting more teen girls are using birth control. Part of the “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,” the data was compiled from several National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) cycles. According to the report, approximately 60 percent of sexually active teens reported using contraceptive methods considered “highly effective” by the CDC, such as hormonal treatments or intrauterine devices – an increase from 47 percent in 1995. Additionally, the CDC report estimated that 57 percent of females ages 15 to 19 reported they’d never had sex, up from 49 percent in 1995. The new report analyzed NFSG data collected from three different intervals – 1995, 2002, and a five-year survey encompassing findings from 2006 to 2010.

Cherie K. Miller On Her Boy, Teen Sex and Condoms

There’s a lot of boy-stuff we have to deal with in my household. But that’s what you get when you have seven of them. So believe me when I say, when it comes to sons, I’ve seen it all. Still, there’s one thing that never gets easier, that’s seeing them fall in and out of love and having to deal with all the challenges in between. One of my boys was a freshman in high school when he fell hard for another girl in his class.