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UNIT: Social and Cultural Foundations

Breastfeeding Is Not Obscene, Catherine Marshall, Eureka Street, 2009
While in our culture breasts are viewed as sexual objects, author Catherine Marshall believes that the act of breastfeeding is an outcome of a mother’s love and generosity to her child. Marshall states that Western society’s belief in the perversion of public breastfeeding obscures the benefits derived from it such as improvement of infants’ health, intellectual outcomes, and environmental advantages.

When Women Become Men at Wellesley, Ruth Padawer, The New York Times Magazine, 2014
Traditionally all-women colleges and universities are coming under fire for perceived inconsistencies in their policies relating to gender inclusion. Currently, cisgender and transgender women who identify as such at application are allowed admission -- as are transgender men, those who were born biologically female but identify as male, who transition during their time at these higher learning institutions. Can these colleges and universities still be considered all-"women?"

Gendercide, The Economist, 2010
This article explores the reasons behind the international epidemic of female infanticide – gendercide. The extent of this problem is nothing less than shocking.

Death by Gender, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Dissent, 2010
One of the greatest inequalities in the world is gender inequality in patriarchal societies. Women and girls are often killed by their fathers, brothers, or male cousins for the “honor” of the family when they have been raped or molested or perceived as contaminated for behaviors that would be normal in other societies. Gender inequality has many other facets, including the trafficking of women as sex slaves and their forced recruitment as suicide bombers.

Female Power, Unknown, The Economist, 2010
Do you agree with the Economist that “The economic empowerment of women across the rich world is one of the most remarkable revolutions of the past 50 years. It is remarkable because of the extent of the change . . . [and] because it has produced so little friction.” This article documents and explains this revolution.

Estranged Spouses Increasingly Waiting out Downturn to Divorce, Donna St. George, The Washington Post, 2010
Divorce is often difficult, and shifts in the world economy can have an impact on our most intimate relationships. Estranged couples now find themselves trapped in houses they are unable to sell, protecting their financial interests as they attempt to co-exist with their estranged, even ex-spouse.

UNIT: Biological Foundations

Women in Developing Countries 300 Times More Likely to Die in Childbirth, Sarah Boseley, The Guardian, 2009
Women in developing countries may lack basic access to health care and often die in childbirth from preventable causes. Lack of access to basic reproductive health care is linked to the roles and status of women.

Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates: Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the U.S., Kathrin F. Stanger-Hall and David W. Hall, PLoS One, 2011
Abstinence-only education programs have little research showing any sort of meaningful impact on young people's behaviors or health; yet continue to be funded by the U.S. government. This article points to the need for more comprehensive sexuality education in high school.

UNIT: Sexualities, Education, and Development

How We Can Improve Sex Ed for Boys, Justin Cascio, The Good Men Project, 2013
Much of the formal sexuality education being provided today is done with the needs of girls and women in mind. As a result, boys and men are seen as an afterthought, and transgender youth are ignored altogether. We must do better in being more exclusive of those who are not cisgender and female—but how?

Truth and Consequences at Pregnancy High, Alex Morris, New York Magazine, 2009
The rate of unmarried teen parenting in the United States is rising, after a decade of decline. Approximately 60% of adolescent moms drop out of school and 64% live in a culture of poverty. Most have no health care, eat junk food, and live dangerously during pregnancy. Response to an on-line survey showed that 20% of girls in the United States want to become teen moms. This article describes the negative outcomes for these women.

Religiosity and Teen Birth Rate in the United States, Joseph M. Strayhorn and Jillian C. Strayhorn, Reproductive Health, 2009
This study examines various sources of publicly available data on religiosity, income, birth rates and abortion. The results are interesting, and give additional information that may be useful to sex educators and other health professionals who work with young people.

What Is Behind the Declines in Teen Pregnancy Rates? Heather D. Boonstra, Guttmacher Policy Review, 2014
The teen pregnancy rate in the United States has declined dramatically over the years, both for the country as a whole and in each individual state. According to Guttmacher, these declines are linked directly to increased and improved contraceptive use by teenagers.

Role Reversal, Sara Eckel, Working Mother, 2010
The stress of the recession with career losses is changing family life. Men do more cleaning and caring for children. Over one-half of employed workers in the United States are women. Problems of bruised egos and low self-esteem occur with gender role-reversals. Some emotions, such as empathy, make marriage easier.

An Affair to Remember, Melinda Henneberger, Slate, 2008
Elderly people, including those in institutional settings, still experience the need for emotional and physical intimacy. These needs may be at odds with prevailing cultural beliefs about sex and the elderly.

UNIT: Intimacies and Relationships

The Expectations Trap, Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today, 2010
Many of the expectations we have for what a potential partner can and should do are culturally determined. We may blame our partners for our unhappiness, and continue seek "the one." Choosing the right partner is important, but by looking at oneself and one’s expectations, it is possible to become the right partner.

Virgin Territory: What Young Adults Say about Sex, Love, Relationships and The First Time, Amy Kramer, National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2014
Contrary to popular belief or media representations, young people are waiting longer to start having sex, according to this recent research. Rather than simply report data, however, this resource examines the reasons behind the trends relating to sex and relationships among many teens and young adults.

Married to a Doll: Why One Man Advocates Synthetic Love, Julie Beck, The Atlantic, 2013
For several thousand dollars, some men are choosing to purchase synthetic dolls. Although these are initially considered sex toys, in some cases, men create a relationship with these inanimate objects and make significant efforts to care for them.

Contributing to the Debate over Same-Sex Marriage, Gwendolyn Puryear Keita, Monitor on Psychology, 2009
Dr. Gwendolyn Puryear Keita, APA Executive Director for the Public Interest, provides the position of the American Psychological Association regarding the major impact of stigma on well-being, the benefits of marriage, and the lack of difference between lesbian and gay parents and heterosexual parents.

The Polygamists, Scott Anderson, National Geographic, 2010
This intimate look inside a fundamentalist polygamist community describes attitudes, standards, and beliefs related to plural marriage from the insiders’ perspective of members of the community.

Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too, Kate Taylor, The New York Times, 2013
A stereotype exists that men are interested only in sex, women only in relationships. This article turns that stereotype on its head by interviewing women who are openly, intentionally -- and selectively -- seeking sexual connections at college without the accompanying relationship expectations and responsibilities.

The No-Baby Boom, Anne Kingston, Maclean’s, 2013
As the number of childless women has increased to 47% in 2010, the focus has shifted from pity and judgment to a deeper sense of understanding of childlessness.

UNIT: Gender and Sexual Diversity

Transgender Transitioning and Change of Self-Reported Sexual Orientation, Matthias K. Auer, et al., PLoS One, 2014
Sexual orientation has to do with feelings of attraction. It is considered by most research to not change -- although our understanding of it can change and new feelings can be discovered. This article examines how some transgender people's sense of their sexual orientation changed after sex realignment surgery.

The End of Men, Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic, 2010
Hanna Rosin overstates her case in the title, but she does show that women are advantaged over men in many ways. More women are working than men. Over 50 percent of managers are women. Three-fifths of college degrees will be earned by women. The deeper question behind these facts is whether modern life that favors verbal skills over physical skills is loading the dice in favor of women.

Sexuality and Gender Role in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Control Study, Susanne Bejerot and Jonna M. Eriksson, PLoS One, 2014
Gender as a social construct is an extremely abstract concept, while people representing various areas on the autism spectrum are often far more concrete thinkers. These researchers explore the possible connections between autism and gender identity an expression.

(Rethinking) Gender, Debra Rosenberg, Newsweek, 2007
Debra Rosenberg opens the window on people who are born one gender but feel that they are the other gender. Some use surgery and/or hormones to bring their bodies into compliance with their identity . . . Their stories are riveting and their lived experiences raise many questions about gender.

Kids Born with Disorders of Sex Development, Megan Krueger, Metro Parent, 2014
Having moved beyond the term "hermaphrodite" and "intersex," Krueger describes some parents' experiences with having children with DSD, or Disorders of Sex Differences. These children will have chromosomal composition that results in diverse genitals and reproductive organs.

Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents, Charlotte J. Patterson, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2006
Does parental sexual orientation affect child development? After years of research, it has been determined that there is little difference between the children of heterosexual and homosexual parents. In fact, the quality of relationships in the family seems to matter more than the parents' sexual orientation.

Do Boys Face More Sexism Than Girls? Christina Hoff Sommers, Huffington Post, 2013
Christina Hoff Sommers focuses on how boys and girls are treated in school. She shows the many ways that the school experience is more unsuitable for boys than for girls. It involves unsuitable structure, treatment, attitudes, incentives, judgments, and culture. It is time to improve the treatment of boys without mistreating girls.

Majority Decision, United States v. Windsor, Anthony Kennedy, Supreme Court of the United States, 2013
Anthony Kennedy argues that same-sex couples face unconstitutional discrimination from the federal government when their relationships are not recognized. Kennedy argues that the Defense of Marriage Act discriminates against and demeans same-sex couples.

Thoughts on the Timing of Puberty and the "Treatment" of Gender Dysphoria, Emi Koyama, Original Work, 2013
Emi Koyama, writer and activist, argues that while delaying puberty in transgender youth can have benefits, inducing cross-sex puberty at an age consistent with pubertal development of a child's cisgender peers may be even more beneficial.

Under the Gaydar, Alison Gash, Washington Monthly, 2013
Alison Gash contrasts the lack of controversy with which gays and lesbians' rights to child custody and adoption were achieved with the public struggle and conflict over same-sex marriage.

Protective School Climates and Reduced Risk for Suicide Ideation in Sexual Minority Youths, Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, et al., American Journal of Public Health, 2014
Researchers examined the rates of suicide in states and cities where school climates protected students who were Lesbian, gay, and bisexual. Factors that indicated a protective school climate were discussed. Results indicate that suicidal thoughts were nearly eliminated in states and cities with protective school climates.

UNIT: Sexual Health and Well-Being

New Mammogram Guidelines Raise Questions, Jocelyn Noveck, Ap news Report, 2009
A government task force announced that women in their 40s don’t need mammograms, contrary to the American Cancer Society’s long-standing guidelines. The panel of physicians and scientists determined that getting screened for breast cancer that early in life may actually cause more harm than good, leading to too many false positives and unneeded biopsies and surgeries without significantly increasing women’s chances of surviving the disease.

Health and Access to Care and Coverage for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals in the U.S., Usha Ranji, et al., The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2014
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people often experience significant health disparities. What has the impact of the Affordable Care Act been on access to health-related services for these populations?

Better Birth Control for Men: 8 Promising Possibilities, Valerie Tarico, RH Reality Check, 2013
With the vast majority of birth control methods currently available made for girls and women, this article talks about 8 promising methods in the works that would be designed to work on the male body.

Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2012 Update, Jennifer J. Frost, Mia R. Zolna, and Lori Frohwirth, Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2012 Update, 2014
The most recent data relating to the need to continue public funding for contraceptives and contraceptive services are discussed, along with their link to reducing unplanned pregnancies and the social, emotional and financial impact of that reduction.

Health Disparities among Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Older Adults: Results from a Population-Based Study, Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, et al., American Journal of Public Health, 2013
The author points out the need for tailored interventions to address health disparities among lesbian, gay and bisexual older adults. Furthermore, there is also a need for ongoing research across the life course to better understand health disparities by sexual orientation and age.

Much Ado about Nothing? Aram A. Schvey, Human Rights, 2013
Attorney and Policy Counsel for Foreign Policy and Human Rights at the Center for Reproductive Rights Aram A. Schvey argues that access to affordable contraception is a cornerstone of women’s independence and equality and that the Affordable Care Act does not violate religious freedom.

UNIT: Sexualities and Social Issues

The Science of Sex Abuse, Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, 2013
Currently, sex offender programs in existence only treat people once they have offended against another person. Should people with pedophiliac or other tendencies that are against the law be targeted—even arrested—before they have the chance to harm someone?

When Bitter Breakups and Digital Photography Meet: What to Teach Our Kids about Revenge Porn, Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check, 2013
Two states currently have laws relating to people posting sexually explicit photos of their ex-partners in retaliation for a breakup. In most documented cases to date, these are men posting photos of their female partners, along with negative comments and identifying information about their exes. Should people share naked pictures with their partners, even when things are going well?

Sex Trafficking and the Sex Industry: The Need for Evidence-Based Theory and Legislation, Ronald Weitzer, Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 2012
Human sex trafficking is a very real, very cruel practice in many parts of the world. But how much of what actually takes place is reportedly accurately? This article works to debunk some myths and discuss implications of the realities of this crime on laws and policies.

Domestic Abuse Myths, Raina Kelley, Newsweek, 2009
Even when it involves rich and privileged celebrities, incidents of domestic violence are accompanied by myths and mistaken assumptions about choices both parties make. Domestic violence is, in fact, underlain by elements of power, control, and domination.

Meet the College Women Who Are Starting a Revolution Against Campus Sexual Assault, Vanessa Grigoriadis, New York Magazine, 2014
It is astounding those attitudes toward women by far too many men is that they deserve to be raped. Part of the reason for this, according to these authors, is that the legal system does not sufficiently punish sexual assaults, particularly when it comes to offenses at colleges and universities. This article explores criminal sexual assault and rape laws in all fifty states, connecting them to the recent push for proactive consent policies and laws.

Reporting Rape and Wishing She Hadn't: How One College Handled a Sexual Assault Complaint, Walt Bogdanich, The New York Times, 2014
At a time of great emotional turmoil, students who say they were raped must make a choice: Seek help from their school, turn to the criminal justice system or simply remain silent. The great majority choose their school, because of the expectation of anonymity and the belief that administrators will offer the sort of support the police will not. Many come to regret that decision.

Receiving Online Sexual Requests and Producing Online Sexual Images: The Multifaceted and Dialogic Nature of Adolescents’ Online Sexual Interactions, Joyce Kerstens and Wouter Stol, Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 2014
Researchers at the Cybersafety Research Group analyzed data from a national survey among 4,453 Dutch adolescents. They compared the prevalence of receiving online sexual requests with the prevalence of producing online sexual images, finding that receiving sexual requests is common while producing sexual images is relatively rare.

Sexting at School: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, Lisa E. Soronen, Nicole Vitale, and Karen A. Haase, Inquiry & Analysis, 2010
Lisa E. Soronen, Nicole Vitale, and Karen A. Haase are writing on legal issues for the National School Boards Association. This article encourages administrators to hand over cell phone sexting cases to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.