Welcome to the Blog Series

By [in]Visible Staff

This week on the blog, we’re doing something a bit different: each day, we’ll be featuring a new topic and a new take on issues related to sexual health, from STDs and birth control to the language of the “war on women” and what needs to be done to make it more inclusive.

According to the CDC, the average age of “first sexual intercourse” for Americans is 17. Unfortunately, this limited definition of sex means that all other sexual encounters, particularly those between same-sex partners, do not factor into the statistics, but it still seems likely that a significant portion of the population has not had sex before high school graduation—and may choose to first engage in sex while in college.

Why is this important? Even among our blog team, the grade in which we had our most recent sex ed class varied widely, from fifth to tenth grade. Can you really expect a ten- or eleven-year-old to retain that information for six or ten (or more) years before their first sexual encounter?

In February, President Obama proposed eliminating the Department of Health and Human Service’s $10 million-a-year abstinence-only sex education grant program from the federal government’s fiscal year 2017 budget. This is good news, considering that abstinence-only education doesn’t work, but those of us who have already completed our secondary educations may still be left with incomplete or inaccurate ideas about our bodies and the choices available to us.

To be sure, we want to recognize that not everyone is sexually active. A 2015 poll of college students found that “from freshman to seniors, 41 percent of women and 49 percent of men said they were not sexually active. And 39 percent said they were virgins.” Even if one chooses not to engage in sexual activity, it can still be helpful to know the relevant information in the event that one begins to engage in sexual activity in the future.

While we love the conversations happening on Facebook groups and in casual conversations between friends, we also know the value of having information (with links to more information) in one place, and we hope that you find the posts this week both enjoyable and helpful.