[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhFZ7qjrw5U?wmode=transparent]In the past few weeks it seems like there has been an obsession with teen sexuality. From Gawker's coverage of studies linking oral sex as a "gateway" to other forms of penetrative sex to the study of this week, conducted by lead researcher Dr. Scott Frank focused on 4,200 students in 20 public schools in Cleveland, Ohio showing the correlation between hyper texting teens, that is over 120 texts per day, and an increased likelihood of sexual activity. It would seem like there is an epidemic of teen sex or is it really our preoccupation that teen sexuality exists in the first place? Is the US sending mixed messages about its attitudes toward same sex relationships? While Argentina, the first country in Latin America to allows same sex marriage is celebrating the 500 marriages that have taken place since July 21st and Israel's Dancing With The Stars features a same sex couple, where does the US measure up? This past week the news has been filled with conversations about Hawaii's same sex civil unions and the ongoing legal cases that have been launched to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, "a 1996 law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing marriages of same sex couples." While these issues populate the news headlines in regards to same sex relationships, several celebrities such as Denise Richards, Gene Simmons, Dave Navarro have launched a new video PSA campaign to give LGBT teens hope. Even Cindy McCain speaks out in the PSA to call for an end of the bullying and confusing messaging, which falls in contrast to her husband's political positioning of being in favor of Don't Ask, Don't Tell as well as his opposition to gay marriage. One of the key take aways of the campaign is in relationship to the mixed messages that are being sent to teens, with many messages being negative or unclear at best. While some might think expressions such as "that is so gay' are meaningless, this PSA highlights how phrases like this are a part of that larger problem of mixed messaging. How do we expect society and specifically LGBT teenagers to negotiate these ideas?
Sex toys: Instruments of pleasure, illegal contraband or tools of violence?
Alabama, the last state to maintain a ban on sex toys, is the location of a new drive-thru sex retailer known as Pleasure, owned by Sherri Williams. Currently customers are required to fill out a medial questionnaire to purchase an item that causes "stimulation of the human genitals." Currently, items of this type can only be used for "a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial or law enforcement purpose." William has actively worked to see this ban overturned, bringing a case to the US Supreme Court in 2007, with negligible results. While the population of Alabama is unable to freely purchase a sex toy, Carolee Bildstein of Gumee, Illinois has used a "rigid female device" as a weapon against a police officer who was required to escort her home to recover payment for an unpaid bill at Joe's Crab Shack. While it is reported that Bildstein was intoxicated at the time, she will be charged with one misdemeanor count of aggravated assault and theft of labor. Learning Station:
To read more about our texting teens:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/09/texting-teens-sex-and-dru_n_780863.html
To read more about Argentina's same sex marriage celebration: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131131741or Israel's same sex dancing stars: http://www.theinsider.com/news/3375555_Same_sex_Israeli_couple_on_Dancing_with_Stars
or an update on the legal action in protection of same sex marriage rights: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/us/09marriage.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a22
To read more about the Alabama sex toy ban: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2010/11/alabama_sex_toy_drive-thru.html or the sex toy assult: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40136384/ns/local_news-chicago_il