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Solutions to Sexual Problems.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 4:47 am    Post subject: Solutions to Sexual Problems. Reply with quote

I think all the social issues such as homosexuality, premarital and extra marital sex stem from two issues.

- The general illusion or myth created by the society that ultimate happines and fulfilment in life is derived through a healthy sex life. We know from examples from our own history that individuals have had very creative and fulfilled lives without sex.
- Vulnerability of individuals due to the inner vacuum that is created as a result of the lack of balance between the material and the spiritual dimensions of life. Once this vaccum exists, then the mind will justify anything in the name of freedom regardless of the consequences.

In my opinion the solution lies in the practice of our faith enchored in the search for spiritual enlightenment. Correct practice of our traditions with understanding reinforced by correct knowledge and wisdom will enrich the inner (batini) lives. This will provide a shield of peace and wisdom to counter external temptations. The happiness and enlightenment resulting from enriched inner lives far outweigh any happiness or satisfaction that can be attined through the externals and therefore the need to indulge in inappropriate behaviours is minimised.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 6:30 am    Post subject: Ginanic Perspective - Sex and Sins Reply with quote

This is just to add Ginanic perspective on this issue. The following are two verses from the Ginan: "Hardam karo abhiyaas" which can be referenced from the Ginan Section.

ejee ajampiyaa jaap bhaai jis ghatt bhitarjee
sohi ghatt hoeshe ujaash...kareene dekhojee..................7

O brother! The heart which is vibrating with the silent remembrance (unpronounciable word), is the heart which will be enlightened.

ejee ghatt ujaasho paapthi naasojee
saameene japo saas usaas...kareene dekhojee..................8

As the heart is enlightened, you will become aloof from sins[the experience of the higher replaces the lower]. Remember the Lord upon every breath.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2004 8:57 am    Post subject: Calgary Herald Article on Sex Related Issues Reply with quote

The following is an article from todays Calgary Herald discussing problems and issues related to sex. Why people get involved in illicit relationships and the disillusionment about sexual satisfaction. In the end it mentions the virtues and beauty of chastity.


What's sex for, anyway?
Three decades after the Sexual Revolution, North American society has experienced sex as sport, sex as spectacle, sex as freedom, sex as an expression of individual identity, sex as a political statement, even sex as a spiritual pathway. Have we learned anything useful about the meaning of sex?

Joe Woodard
Calgary Herald

Calgary's rock FM stations, with largely teen and 'tween audiences, broadcast commercials promising that young women who use a particular condom brand will improve the chance their young men will stay for breakfast -- or even ask for their phone numbers.
Thirty years on, the Sexual Revolution looks irreversible. Check out any billboard.
And yet, a generation-and-a-half after the Summer of Love -- when hitchhiking boomers were serenaded with "be sure to wear some flowers in your hair" -- the vague promise of happiness through free and natural sex still seems unrealized.
The Sexual Revolution never really answered the central question: Is sex most importantly an arena in every person's search for their identity -- thus deserving almost unlimited rights of self-expression?
Or is sex a social responsibility, designed to forge lifelong relationships and ultimately nurture the next generation -- thus requiring cultural norms and public regulation?
If people really seek intimacy from sex, is that achieved by treating it as self-expression -- or responsibility?
Psychotherapist Garnet Holteen brought the Living Waters Program for Sexual Brokenness to Calgary over a decade ago. He is now one of many counsellors, running multiple group sessions for everything from sexual addiction and transvestism to voyeurism and obsessive pornography consumption.
"I never have any lack of applicants," he says.
"Everyone has the desire to be loved and affirmed, a God-given longing for intimacy," Holteen says, "but the very fact that we're not relationally connected today has a lot to do with how much we now reach out sexually.
"Sex can be a part of intimacy, but it isn't intimacy in itself. It can be merely using another human being.
"What we seek is to know and be known, but we act as if sexual intercourse itself is holy. Then loneliness creates a greater hunger for connectedness" -- interpreted in turn as the need for yet more sex.
Holteen says much of the sexual brokenness he sees is "people turning inward" because reaching out to others seems too high-risk. Their parents weren't there for them or they were missing a parent, so they don't understand or even fear intimacy.
Given a hyper-sexualized culture, self-absorbed sexuality becomes not just a symptom, but even more a cause of the inability to achieve true intimacy, Holteen suggests.
"When school kids start acting out sexually, we say only that they've got to be careful to avoid disease or pregnancy. But otherwise, we tell them there's no right or wrong."
So years before they're capable of mature relationships, they develop the habit of using others as tools for private satisfaction -- short-circuiting their capacity for true intimacy, he says.
The Sexual Revolution has never had a decisive victory. Rather, like most radical movements, it has enjoyed unquestioned support only among the political and cultural elites.
Just after the 2000 U.S. presidential election, former Delaware governor Peter du Pont observed that a map of the percentages of porn movies in the home video market "bore an eerie resemblance to Tuesday night's results" -- Democratic candidate Al Gore carrying areas with high percentages of XXX movie rentals, and Republican George Bush areas with the lowest.
Now, sex is second only to war as a political issue.
In 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton advisers Dick Morris and Mark Penn found economic indicators were no longer reliable predictors of voter trends.
Instead, which way swing votes would go was best revealed by their answers to questions on the morality of homosexuality, pornography, adultery and pre-marital sex. Those taking sexual liberal stances would likely to vote Democratic, and those answering conservatively, Republican.
In a recent Atlantic Monthly article, Thomas Edsall predicted the sexualization of politics will benefit the left.
Among those over the age of 50, 90 per cent of men and 88 per cent of women had had premarital sex, he noted. So many of them "cherish the rights that fall under the post-1960s rubric of autonomy and personal freedom, strongly valuing their sexual and reproductive independence," Edsall wrote, predicting the final victory of the revolution.
Ruth Clarence of Two-gether Ministries says pornography is now a real problem for many couples. Ruth and her husband, Simon, pastor of the Devon Community Church near Edmonton, offer Romance 101 Seminars in churches across Western Canada, coaching couples in how to meet their partners' sexual needs.
"Men in particular become really dependent on that sort of visual stimulation. Their thinking becomes controlled by it," Clarence says.
"They end up thinking about sex as using another body, as if it has nothing to do with giving to another person, and that's really tough on women."
Clarence says the Sexual Revolution made a big mistake, portraying sex simply as an athletic pastime. And now with the Internet, many men who would never have entered an "adult" store are becoming secret addicts.
"The world out there is beginning to recognize that sex outside a meaningful relationship is positively harmful. Real intimacy means understanding and being understood by another person -- and that means monogamy," Clarence said.
"Look, God invented sex; it was his idea. He made them male and female, and it was him who told Adam to become one flesh with Eve. But if you don't do it God's way, you miss the gift. You miss all the happiness that's possible, if you work through it for the long haul."
Sexual autonomy can cut two ways. If the boomers' children have suffered the "collateral damage" of the Sexual Revolution, it seems a new caution is taking hold among some
gen Xers and "millennials."
The Vancouver-based McCreary Centre has polled teens on their sexuality since 1992, with the latest survey involving 30,500 students, grades 7 to 12.
McCreary's Dr. Roger Tonkin said he has clearly detected a "shift to a more conservative lifestyle" among teens, mirroring a trend being documented across North America.
In the centre's survey, 76 per cent of high school students said they have never had sexual intercourse, up from 70 per cent in 1992. Just 16 per cent of sexually active girls (3.8 per cent of all girls) said they were under 14 when they first had sex, down from 30 per cent of the active (9.0 per cent of all girls) in 1992.
Six per cent of sexually active youths (1.4 per cent of the total) said they had been pregnant or caused a pregnancy, down from eight per cent (2.4 per cent of the total) in 1992.
"Most kids are doing OK, and we think we need to say that," Tonkin told the Vancouver Sun.
Edmonton gynecologist Stephen Genuis, author of Teen Sex: Reality Check, is not surprised.
"In teens, sexual activity is almost always an expression of non-sexual needs. Statistically, the absence of a parent, violence at home, excessively permissive or restrictive parents -- kids are looking for love and angry at their parents," Genuis said.
"Sure, there's peer pressure, but the kids most vulnerable to what they perceive their friends as doing are those with a poor home life."
Rabbi Revven Bulka of Ottawa, author of the book Jewish Marriage, says that the Jewish marriage bed has been called "the Holy of Holies" -- like the sanctuary of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem -- because of the conjoined spiritual and physical oneness it gives to those who devote themselves unreservedly to their spouses.
"It's something very sacred, but by virtue of the fact that it can be abused -- that sexuality can run amok and cause all sorts of damage -- it needs much more control," says Bulka.
"After all, it takes a lifetime for real intimacy. You don't have that ultimate trust until you realize you made the right decision, but so many today refuse to let go of their uncertainty. They hang back, and that kills marriages.
"I tell them, if you've made a reasonable decision to marry, don't hold back. Commit."
The rabbi says sexual intimacy and fertility are "not necessarily united," when couples face some medical or other obstacle to child-bearing, but "I'd be leery of a couple who simply decided as a matter of personal convenience to exclude children.
"They seem to me to be risking a mutually reinforcing narcissism that would prevent their relationship from becoming sacred. They'd be denying any larger purpose than themselves."
In his book, Bulka suggests that the frequency of physical intimacy be nightly; but he means simply that there should be no restrictions on the physical expression between a couple -- "couples find their own level."
The point remains that a couple has an obligation to please each other -- "very much so, very much so, but that can't be on demand. If it became on demand, it would lose the spontaneity and the spiritual element."
Why is sex now a political issue?
"It's the end-game of liberalism," says New York University psychologist Paul Vitz, author of Faith of the Fatherless: the Psychology of Atheism.
"Since the French Revolution, modernity has meant the advance of freedom. Early on, the idea of 'freedom' did some good, eliminating slavery and so on. Now we're seeing freedom's historical reductio ad absurdum, the 'divine right of individuals.'
"Carried to further and further extremes, freedom is being defined as 'no restrictions whatsoever on whatever you want to do.' "
Extreme freedom has focused on sex for two reasons, Vitz says.
First, sex is the most powerful social drive.
So as modernity pushed the envelope on individual liberation, that appetite became obsessive for some. And in democracies, minority mono-manias trump moderate majorities.
Second, sexual liberation is an assault on the "repressive" family.
"The family says 'Yes' to commitment, children and grandchildren, and it says 'No' to promiscuity," Vitz says.
"So from the modern perspective, after public suppression of the church, the family is the last repressive institution. The last institution to say 'No'."
Bioethicist Father Tom Lynch of St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto says sexual relations need to be exclusive, not only because healthy children need permanent families, but because healthy adults need the ratification of permanent, physical bonds.
"Nobody wants to be a number, number 6 or number 7; everybody wants to be someone else's number 1," Lynch says.
"We can only be someone else's number 1, if they're our number 1, and that means a complete donation of ourselves to them."
The Sexual Revolution has created "desperately wounded, desperately lonely people," Lynch says.
Betrayed by the promise of easy satisfaction, they failed to see that, body and soul, they weren't hungering simply for physical pleasure, but for intimacy, self-revealing and self-giving.
"I can only disrobe before so many people," Lynch says.
"I can only reveal myself, make myself a gift to someone else so many times. And yet I need to be a gift. You can't buy, borrow or steal me.
"And it takes a long time to let down the barriers. In the beginning, we don't even see our own barriers."
Lynch says people have long misunderstood the nature of the Christian virtue of chastity, confusing it with priestly celibacy. Chastity or purity means directing one's sexuality in a manner suited to one's station in life.
For married couples, that means taking seriously what the church has always called "the marriage debt," the obligation of spouses to give freely and eagerly to each other.
"What do we owe to one another? The totality of our being, naked in body and in soul. But that means we have to risk revealing the totality of our being, and that's why mutual love always surprises lovers -- oh my God, they know me and they still love me."
As Christian pundit Malcolm Muggeridge once observed: sex is the mysticism of the materialists, those who deny -- intellectually or practically -- the reality of the human soul.
For Christian writer Frederica Mathewes-Green, one of the Sexual Revolution's biggest losses has been a sense of "the joys of purity."
"When it comes to moral issues, our age provides no categories of discussion except rights and justice, oppression- and victim-speak," Mathewes-Green wrote in a widely circulated Christianity Today story last year.
While reading a collection of lives of the saints, Mathewes-Green wrote, she slowly realized that all of them -- from the first until the mid-20th century -- shared a view of the body she could barely grasp -- the body as undefiled temple of the soul.
"It was as if they could see a distant mountain peak that was to me just a blur. I could barely discern the elements of joy and serenity, and the invigorating challenge of self-control.
"They saw homosexuality (for example) as a matter-of-fact impediment -- one example among many -- and not an object of special loathing.
"Rather, chastity was the shining object of joy. I could hear themes of the walled garden and of keeping oneself pure, even at the cost of death."
However, she continued, "My own garden I have not kept. Living in an over-sexualized culture, I can barely comprehend purity. It is as if the borders of my garden are trampled and destroyed, and I can only walk the edges and imagine what God meant to be there, what older brothers and sisters in faith so readily saw and loved."
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2004 11:30 am    Post subject: Sexual Promiscuity and Prostrate Cancer. Reply with quote

The following is an excerpt of an article titled "Promiscuity Linked to Protrate Cancer" that appeared in today's Calgary Herald.

"Men who are sexually promiscuous when they are young could be increasing their risk of contracting prostrate cancer later in life, a study has found.

The research suggests sex with lots of partners increases the risk of exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV) and that such infections may kick-start the chain of genetic mutations that lead to cancer, often decades later.

HPV is already linked to cervical cancer in women but the suggestion it might also cause prostrate cancer in men is new. If confirmed, it could explain why rates of the disease have surged to about 27,000 new diagnoses and 10,000 deaths in Britain a year. It is now almost as big a killer as breast cancer in women."
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:01 am    Post subject: Quote on Promisicuity Reply with quote

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

- Steve Bartkowski
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If a disciple abandons observance of courtesy, he will backslide to where he first came from.

-Dhuíl-Hun Al-Misri in Qushayri: al-Risalat
From The Wisdom of Sufism, compiled by Leonard Lewisohn
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:36 am    Post subject: Sex and the Unmarried Christian Reply with quote

Sex and the Unmarried Christian
The author of a frank book on chastity talks about sex ed, 'just say no,' and 're-writing' her own sexual history.

Interviewed by Holly Lebowitz Rossi

Lauren F. Winner started a lot of conversations when she published her 2003 memoir, "Girl Meets God," about her journey from Orthodox Judaism to evangelical Christianity. Now, with the publication of her new book, "Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity," Winner, a former Beliefnet books editor, again is turning heads with her frank arguments about Christian sexual ethics. Winner spoke to Beliefnet about everything from why masturbation is a "separation from reality" to how she and her now-husband reined in their sexual impulses while they were dating.

What is the sexual ethic of "Real Sex?" Is it as simple as, "just say no?"

I think capturing the core message of the book in the phrase 'just say no' is problematic. Whenever I speak with youth groups or college student groups about sex and chastity, I often start by asking them, what does the Bible tell us about sex? Every single time, the first person who speaks says you shouldn't have sex before marriage.

Starting with that negative doesnít make any sense. So I start from the positive point that sex was created by God, our bodies were created by God, and they are good. Sex was made for marriage, and therefore sex doesnít belong any other context than marriage. The second reason I wouldnít want to summarize it as 'just say no,' is that I think that catchphrase puts us into a place where we resist strong bodily urges like sexual desire solely through the will. And while I think the will is certainly a part of Christian living, it's the will that is empowered through God's grace. The catch phrase of 'just say no' places too much burden on our will and doesnít acknowledge the crucial place of God's activity in our faithful living.

In the book, you share a lot of personal information and personal stories. Have there been moments when you wished you could re-write history?

Sure. I wrote this book because sex and chastity have been such huge issues in my own life, and I didnít feel that any of the books that people were giving me, or any of the seminars that I was attending, were quite fitting the bill.

Sexual sin in my life is something that I feel real shame and discomfort about. This is not something about which I feel cavalier.

It is also something that I think God forgives. Finding the balance between beating oneís breast but also appreciating Godís forgiveness is difficult. Thereís part of me that of course wishes I could re-write history. If thereís a part of me that doesnít wish that, itís the part that knows that I couldnít have written this particular book were it not for my particular life experiences.

In the book, you share a lot of personal information and personal stories. Have there been moments when you wished you could re-write history?
Sure. I wrote this book because sex and chastity have been such huge issues in my own life, and I didnít feel that any of the books that people were giving me, or any of the seminars that I was attending, were quite fitting the bill.

Sexual sin in my life is something that I feel real shame and discomfort about. This is not something about which I feel cavalier.

It is also something that I think God forgives. Finding the balance between beating oneís breast but also appreciating Godís forgiveness is difficult. Thereís part of me that of course wishes I could re-write history. If thereís a part of me that doesnít wish that, itís the part that knows that I couldnít have written this particular book were it not for my particular life experiences.

Can you explain the concept of "on the steps of the Rotunda?"

Itís the story of how the man that Iím now married to and I navigated sexuality when we were dating. We got this advice from a very good friend of my husband Griffís, a man whoís a campus pastor at the University of Virginia, which is near where we live. He said, what you can do sexually with each other in private is whatever you would feel comfortable doing standing on the steps of the Rotunda, which is the architectural capstone of the university's campus.

There were two really important pieces of wisdom in that. One was simply the fact that we had a conversation partner, it wasnít Griff and me in the throes of passion trying to make this decision for ourselves. It was a decision made in community with someone who knew us well and was able to give us guidance that took our particular stories into consideration. Second, the pastor recognized that there are public dimensions to sexuality and private dimensions to sexuality.

Weíve heard about college students at Christian colleges who are sexually active but also very religiously committed. What is the disconnect there?

While a large percentage of college-aged Christians are not having sex, a lot of them are. Then thereís the sort of equally large category of unmarried Christians who are having oral sex and saying this doesnít count, Iím still a virgin because Iím not having genital intercourse. Part of whatís going on is that the society in which we live is ever more sex-saturated, and people get married later. Itís obviously easier to stay chaste if you think youíre going to get married at 19 than if youíre getting married at 35. But, though the church is often accused of being too obsessed with sex, and while I think people in the church are very well-meaning about wanting to help unmarried Christians stay chaste, some of the tools that the church gives unmarried Christians are a little thin.

Is the ĎTrue Love Waitsí pledge program one of those?

I don't want to pick apart a particular program. Recent studies have come out to show that abstinence pledge card programs tend to delay sexual activity in teenagers by 18 months. So the average non-pledge-card-signing teenager has sex at 18, the average person who signs a pledge card has sex at 19 and a half.

But these programs also don't do college-aged or teenage girls any favors in basically denying that women have sexual desires and saying that their job in remaining chaste is to fend off the walking ball of hormones who takes them to the movies and tries to have sex with them.

One of the things I talk about in the book is in particular how we talk about womenís sexuality. So many ĎChristianí books that Iíve read on sexuality really donít acknowledge that women have libidos. I donít think that we have to say that men and women are identical, or that men and women experience sexuality in identical ways, to recognize that women do have libidos. We would better serve unmarried women in the church to instead say, look, women also feel sexual desire, and here are some ways that you can discipline that desire rather than saying, eh, youíre not really going to have to worry about this.

What do you suggest that women do with their sexual needs if they find themselves in their 30s and havenít met the right guy yet?

I donít necessarily suggest that women 'do' anything. One of the questions that constantly comes up in this discussion is, how can I be sexual as an unmarried person and a Christian? And that question always means one of two things. Itís either a coded question about masturbation, or itís a question which invites some answer like, just take a bubble bath and drink a glass of Chablis, and that will be a sensual experience for you.

People keep asking that question hoping that thereís some third answer. What we have to recognize is that the Christian life is full of loss, suffering, and difficulty, in addition to being full of joy, contentment, and peace. Part of what unmarried Christians cope with is that stark recognition that chastity is sometimes really difficult. You have sexual desires and longings that are not fulfilled, just as married Christians sometimes do. The answer involves recognizing that this is a discipline of abstinence, and sometimes it is really difficult and doesnít feel good.

You write that masturbation, if itís done frequently, can become Ďa substitute for reality.í What do you mean by that?

One of the guidelines or benchmarks that I use in thinking about sex, and here again this is where itís important to start with a positive vision of sex, is that sex was created to be relational. In Godís vision, any sexual activity that takes sex outside of a relational reality is something to worry about. Now, there are Christians who think that any masturbation, ever, is horrible and should be avoided at all costs. I would not say that. The Bible doesnít have anything to say about masturbation. A lot of Christian ethicists today would agree that masturbation falls into a gray area.

I would get concerned not with the occasional masturbating experience, but rather with habitual, regular masturbation. I donít have some magic number in my head, for how many times a month crosses the line into habitual masturbation, but if someone is masturbating really frequently, I would worry about how that is forming youíre his or her expectations and thoughts about sexuality, and what it's teaching about sex being instantly gratifying. I would also wonder if there were something going on emotionally, such as taking emotional refuge in masturbation the same way people might take emotional refuge in porn or promiscuous sex or whatever.

What is your advice to couples who get married but who come from different sexual backgrounds from each other?

Speaking from my own experience, marrying someone who was a virginóand I wasnítóit has not been easy. My mother died right before I got married, and comatose libido tends to be associated with bereavement. But thatís how real sex works, there are added layers: youíre stressed out because of things at work, your mother has died and your libido is in a coma, or whatever. One of the major themes of this book is community. Chastity is a community discipline and we need to be in conversation with our brothers and sisters in Christ about sexuality. But Iím well aware that itís not easy.

Itís not just sex but marriage that we need to be open with our community about. Marriage is hard, and married sexuality is only one of many aspects of married life that is difficult, and you feel like youíre not doing it right. I have innumerable friends whoíve said, ĎI felt like on my wedding night or my honeymoon, I was supposed to be rariní to go, wanting to have sex 24/7, and I didnít feel that way so I felt like a failure.í We have so many expectations coming from so many different places. Itís crucial that you try to be reflective not only with your spouse, but with some wise friends who can walk with you.

Can sex ever become too big a part of someoneís marriage? Would you use the language of chastity to talk to a couple that was in that situation?

Certainly I think sexual brokenness can manifest itself in marriages just as easily as it can manifest itself outside of marriage, and I can imagine marriages where sex becomes too all-consuming. Some couples might use sex as an escape from some other issues. In the book, the way I talk about marital sexuality has more to do with wanting to suggest that our contemporary society has started defining good sex in a marriage as that sex which parrots unmarried sex as much as possible, that itís always swinging from the chandeliers, and that it is not grounded in domesticity. Flipping through contemporary magazines and talk shows, I think we get the message that domestic routine is at odds with what sex is.

The Christian message would actually be the opposite of that. We would say, if sex was made for marriage, we must learn from that something about what good sex looks like. That doesnít mean itís not exciting--of course married sex can be exciting--but rather that it is part and parcel of married life and oneís domestic economy. In general in the book, I try to remember that there are lots of disciplines of abstinence in the church, like fasting and simplicity and tithing and so forth, and that what these disciplines have in common is that they clear out a space to allow us to attend to God in a particular way. I wouldnít suggest that everyone has to adopt a Lenten sex fast like some of my friends did. But sex does require discipline--the discipline of fidelity, along with figuring out the discipline of having sex when you donít want to, or refraining from having sex when you really want to.

What are your views on sexual education? When, and whereópublic schools, churches, families?

I would say, from the womb. I imagine that when one has kids, these are not soundbites weíre trying to impart to our children, but ways of faithfulness that weíre trying to form in our children. Itís not going to work if you wait till theyíre 13 and sit them down and have one conversation about the birds and the bees. Rather, that should be a process that starts from day one. Itís unfortunate that socially weíre in a situation where we have to have curricula about these things. You donít form character by having experts come in and teach a seminar to 9th graders.

I would hope that schools, churches, and other groups would think about sexual education in pretty broad terms, as part and parcel of fostering good character. It might somehow be something thatís integrated into the life of a school and not something thatís taught in PE class one month a year. That sounds like a pipe dream, though.
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following article that appeared in today's Calgary Herald, reinforces the assertion of our tradition that sex is not an important factor in life. It is only an illusion created by society to give it any significance beyond its procreative purpose. Many Japanese have abandoned sex for all intents and purposes even in their marriages! So what is wrong with a life of celibacy?

Sexless marriages contribute to plunging Japanese birth rate

Colin Joyce
The Telegraph

Friday, May 20, 2005

Teruo Yamada remembers with a mixture of pleasure and sadness the day his wife told him she was pregnant.

It heralded not just the birth of his son, now nine months old, but also the end of sexual relations with his wife.

His case is far from unique. A recent survey by Japan's health ministry found as many as one-third of marriages in Japan are sexless. The problem is now so widespread that the government fears it is contributing to the dramatic plunge in Japan's birth rate.

Researchers admit the phenomenon is poorly understood and has various causes. But they stress that sexlessness is not only found in couples whose relationships have broken down and are headed for divorce.

"I wouldn't say my marriage is unhappy, but the better part of two years is a long time to go without,'' says Yamada, a Tokyo office worker in his 30s who has no intention of separating, even if he is dissatisfied with the lack of intimacy.

Sex experts say there is a high correlation between sexlessness and poor communication on crucial subjects such as contraception and sexual likes and dislikes. Yamada says he has not discussed sex with his wife in the past year and, for that reason, asked that his real name not be used.

The term "sexless," adopted from English, began to be used in Japan in the early 1990s. But now it is instantly recognizable to Japanese and widely discussed in the media. There are books on the subject and numerous websites, including heartbreaking blogs, while letters on the subject fill agony columns.

One woman writes: "I have been married for a year, but we have had sex just a handful of times. I know my husband feels stress at work and I don't want to bother him. But I sometimes doubt he really loves me."

The reason most commonly cited for lack of sex is tiredness from work. Japanese are famous for the long hours they work and their long commuting journeys. In Japan, a marriage is called sexless if the couple does not have sex for at least a month, a period that many Japanese say is too short.

As many as one in five sexless couples say they view sex simply as a nuisance. A small number cite the lack of a private space, because children or elderly parents often sleep just the other side of a paper door.

Yamada and his wife are typical of couples who cease to have sex after conception and never return to regular sex. Couples begin to refer to each other as "mother" and "father" after childbirth, indicating their primary relationship is not to each other as lovers, but to their child as parents.

Japanese women now bear just 1.29 children each, with the figure falling annually for almost 25 years. Today, just 13.8 per cent of Japanese are under 15 compared with 18.3 per cent in Britain.

© The Calgary Herald 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

reinforces the assertion of our tradition that sex is not an important factor in life.

Karim, please explain what you mean by "our tradition". I'm confused now. Never heard that sex was not important in our tradition. -thanks.
(BTW, haven't got a chance to read the whole thread yet, so pls go easy on me) icon_lol.gif
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

curious2 wrote:
reinforces the assertion of our tradition that sex is not an important factor in life.

Karim, please explain what you mean by "our tradition". I'm confused now. Never heard that sex was not important in our tradition. -thanks.
(BTW, haven't got a chance to read the whole thread yet, so pls go easy on me) icon_lol.gif

It has to be understood in relative terms. All mystical traditions assert that there is form of happiness beyond the animal instincts of sex. Once a person experiences the superior and higher modes of spiritual happiness, sex will feel like a nuisance and garbage that can be discarded.

Juan Mascaro in his introduction to his translation of Bhagavad Gita says:

"At the same time, if we consider that the essence of our Being, our Self, is joy, ANANDA, we might think of the words of Spinoza about virtue: 'Blessedness is not the reward of virtue: it is virtue itself. We do not find joy in virtue because we control our lusts: but, contrariwise, because we find joy in virtue we are able to control our lusts.....

The great psychological problem of self control can be solved in different ways, and some are much easier than others. The spiritual answer is 'Seek ye first the kigdom of God.' If the joy of the inner kingdom is found, then the words of Spinoza previously quoted, have found their spiritual setting. As soon as the joy of the higher comes, the pleasure of the lower disappears."

Please note that I did not say that sex is absolutely useless. I said it is useless and unimportant beyond its essential purpose of procreation.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an ongoing debate in some parts of America particularly those with a strong active Christian presence, as to whether to have an 'abstinence - only' approach to educating our young, that is, to teach and encourage abstinence as the only safe and healthy behaviour outside marriage or to have a comprehensive sex education whereby students are educated to take responsible actions based on knowledge of the various dimensions of sex.

The following are two interviews reflecting the debate above. The first one is with Dr. Joe McIlhaney who supports the former approach and the second one with Shelby Knox who supports the latter. Both of the interviews highlight the key issues, controversies and perspectives raised in the debate.

'Abstinence Programs Are More Truthful'
'For their best health, young people shouldn't be involved sexually,' says a doctor who argues that some sex ed fails teens.

Interview with Dr. Joe McIlhaney

Joe S. McIlhaney is a board-certified OB/GYN and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. In 1995, he left his private practice to work with the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, a pro-abstinence medical research organization he established in 1992.

Excerpted from a longer interview by P.O.V. in conjunction with their documentary The Education of Shelby Knox. The film chronicles the debate in a conservative Christian town over sex education in its public schools.

What is your position on abstinence-only, abstinence-plus, and comprehensive sex education in America's high schools? What type of sexuality education would you recommend?

Our thought is that what we should have programs that work. I won't just say any program that works, because that program has to be evaluated in different ways. But the first and the fundamental issue is, does a program work? For example, if I was talking to Shelby, I'd say, "Okay Shelby, now I know that you mean well" - and I believe she does, from what you've described and from what I've read about the movie - "Now I want you send me a program, a model of a program or a curriculum, that has shown an appreciable decline in STD rates and non-marital pregnancy rates, since that's what you want."

That being said, what she'll find is that comprehensive sex-ed programs are not among the [programs] that have ever lowered HIV rates, STD rates or non-marital pregnancy rates--except for one program in New York (Children's Aid Society-Carrera), which did it by becoming basically mothers to the girls in the program there. This program was able to get the girls in to get their Depro-Provera shots every three months. That's the only program that's lowered pregnancy rates in the country that's based on a comprehensive approach, the kind of thing that [Shelby's] advocating.

So what we say and what I believe is that if that's so and those are the programs that have had the majority of the money, the best teachers, the best curriculum writers, the best researchers for years, is that they basically have all failed. In fact, most of them haven't even measured the pregnancy rates and STD rates. And if that's so then it's only good wisdom to try something different. And the obvious other direction to go is in the direction of abstinence education.

We don't like the term abstinence-only because we believe it's a pejorative term. It's sort of saying, "Well, these are just stupid programs that are denying kids information." Well, that's just flat out not true. If you look at most of the new abstinence education programs, they're actually more comprehensive than most of the comprehensive programs are as far as the information they provide.

We interviewed Dr. Douglas Kirby and he said that he feels that there haven't been enough studies of abstinence-only, or abstinence, programs to know whether they work. Would you agree with him?

There are two [studies] that have been published in peer-reviewed literature and there's another one coming out about the Best Friends program--it's been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal and it will be coming out pretty soon. There's a program in a county in Georgia that has had a 47% decrease incidence of sexual intercourse among the kids and a program in Amarillo, Texas that has had a measurable decline in pregnancies. So there are abstinence programs that are beginning to show some real appreciable impact, an impact that has never been shown by comprehensive sex ed programs. And I think we need an open mind to see what these programs actually show us.

Dr. Kirby's study, Emerging Answers concluded that several comprehensive sex ed programs had a positive impact on teen behavior. What would be your response to that?

Well, anyone can set their own standards for what they want to look at, which is what he did. There are lots of other ways to evaluate than the evaluation standards that he set. He set good high standards but the particular design of the program or the evaluation that he was looking at, there are other types of evaluations that are equally legitimate that he ignored.

By what standards would you assert that a program is successful?

Appreciable and practical declines in pregnancy rates. Most of the time, sex ed programs are brought in because pregnancy rates are too high and STD rates are too high. I would like to see appreciable declines in teen pregnancies, the number of kids with STDs, and also a decline in the number of kids having sexual activity, so that a parent can say, "they told me the pregnancy rates are too high here. I can send my girl or my son to this program and be fairly well assured that they will have a good chance of not getting involved sexually and not getting pregnant or not getting a disease."

How would you define an "appreciable decline"?

I would say where you see a 50 percent drop in pregnancy and disease. Ultimately the goal for all of us in this country ought to be an 80 percent decline. I think that's achievable, but it would only happen in a community where the whole community surrounds the children and their families to support those choices. For instance, there's a program that was done in Denmark, South Carolina that was funded by the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, the OAPP, by a guy that was a comprehensive sex ed-oriented person, Murray Vincent, but because OAPP was an abstinence program, he saw a pot of money and designed a program that was abstinence-based. Now, Dr. Kirby denies that it was an abstinence program because there was a nurse in the high school that was recommending condoms and giving out condoms, but he personally told me way back in the early days of our argument about this that he didn't really think it made any difference whether she was there or not in his eventual outcome because pregnancy rates weren't going down until he came in with his program.

Vincent's program is a program of the kind that I would advocate, that I would say is probably going to be the most successful. He got a whole community - the churches, the newspapers, the healthcare providers, the teachers and the parents - all on board with saying to young people, "You should not be having sex as a young person - as a young unmarried person. You just shouldn't be doing that." And that was the message in the whole half of the county where he did his program. Everybody got on board. The instance in pregnancy in that part of the county dropped dramatically in comparison to the other half of the county and to the counties that were surrounding. So as an organization, we believe that the solution to this is where everybody in a community - and perhaps even everybody in the whole country - is associating sexual behavior with risk behavior for kids, as they should.

I'd like to follow up on your comments about "abstinence programs being more comprehensive" than comprehensive programs. What do you mean by that?

There is a misunderstanding about the funding for - for example, the Title Five programs - that are federally funded programs. That is, that they can't talk about contraceptives. They can talk about them, which means telling people what they are and how they work. It's just that they can't promote them. But, and I think this is appropriate personally, they are to tell people the true failure rates of them. And there is absolutely no evidence that telling young people the failure rates of condoms and contraceptives causes them not to use them. [Critics] will say that if you tell them that they won't work, then they won't use them. Well, there is no data to show that at all.

We have not seen, as a matter of fact, a single comprehensive sex ed program that gives accurate data about the effectiveness of condoms and the failure rates of condoms. That is where I think that the abstinence programs are more comprehensive than the comprehensive programs, because they are actually more truthful. The kids need to know what they can and cannot expect from condoms. As a matter of fact, it's real easy to tell. That's what's so confusing about it when they won't do it. If condoms are used 100% of the time, condoms reduce the risk of HIV by 85%. If they are used 100% of the time they reduce the risk of common diseases for kids, for example, herpes and syphilis and gonorrhea and chlamydia by about 50%. And as far as HPV goes, there is no evidence that condoms reduce the risk of HPV infection at all. It is the most common viral infection. There is one study that came out last year that showed there is some decreased incidence of HPV for guys, but it is only a study. Most studies show no decreased risk of infection from HPV even when condoms are used every single time.

Except for herpes and HIV, if condoms are not used 100% of the time, there is no evidence that they provide any risk reduction at all for things like chlamydia - which is, for a reproductive medicine guy like I am, the most horrendous disease a woman can get, because it is what is associated so much in fertility. STD are the most common reason for infertility in America today.

And by the way, most of those studies on condoms were only carried out for a year or two. So if a kid at 16 starts having sex, they usually are not going to stop. They'll then have sex, you know, off and on for the next few years, of which, as time goes by, there probably is a higher failure rate of condoms in college as young adults if they continue the sexual behavior.

We really do have this epidemic. So we believe that for their best health, young people shouldn't be involved sexually. It's just like we recommend that they not be using drugs. And that, obviously applying to the homosexual youth too, that they shouldn't be involved sexually either as far as their health is concerned. We're talking pure health, not morals or values here, but just as far as their health is concerned.

What advice would you give to parents?

Well, first I would want them to be aware of how much disease there is among the adolescent population. If your kid starts getting sexually involved, among that group of kids that are doing that, there is a lot of disease and the child probably will ultimately get infected with one of these things.

Most kids do not even know what the values of their parents are or what is expected of them in the area of risky behavior. They pretty well know it about tobacco and drugs, but they don't know it about sex. It's just as important for parents to communicate their values about this. Parents need to make clear what they expect the kids to do and not do in this area.

The Adolescent Health Study - the biggest study ever done on adolescent behavior in America - showed that kids who are most likely to avoid risky behaviors, were those who had a good connectiveness with their parents. And connectiveness was defined very clearly. The fact that the parents were there when the kids got up in the morning, they were there when they came home from school, they were there with them for meals in the evening and they were there when they went to bed.

So I would advocate that parents do that with their kids. Be there with them. Communicate your values and what you expect, and then support your kids in making good decisions. Then applaud them.


The Case Against Abstinence-Only Sex Education
'I started seeing girls my age getting pregnant, getting STDs,' says a former chastity pledger who advocates broader sex ed.

Interview with Shelby Knox

Shelby Knox grew up a Southern Baptist in the conservative town of Lubbock, Texas. Now almost 19, she is the subject of a P.O.V. documentary The Education of Shelby Knox, which chronicles the controversy over sex education in her district's public schools.

When you were 15, you pledged abstinence in a True Love Waits ceremony. When it comes to premarital sex and marriage, what do you want in terms of your own life?

For me, I think that when I find the person that I want to have sex with, I will, whether itís before our wedding night or... the important thing is I have the education to protect myself.

As for marriage, itís not something that I see myself doing for a very long time. Iím very independent and donít really want to enter into a partnership with someone when Iím so selfish with all my career aspirations and things like that, so I donít see marriage for myself for quite a long time.

In an ideal world, would it be your preference for everyone to wait until marriage?

I think that everyone should wait to have sex until they feel that they are emotionally and physically ready to have sex and they have the education to protect themselves from STDs and unwanted pregnancies.

When you started high school in Lubbock, Texas, what was the school's official policy about sex education?

The Lubbock Independent School District high schools have an abstinence-only policy, which means they do not discuss condoms and contraception except in terms of failure rates. And they teach abstinence as the only acceptable behavior for teens that are not married.

You started campaigning for comprehensive sex ed at your high school. What did you see at your school in Texas that made you do this?

I started seeing girls my age getting pregnant. I started seeing kids my age getting STDs and disappearing from school and not having any information about what was happening to them. I heard the myths about teen pregnancyóif you had sex the first time you couldnít get pregnant, or use two condoms, itís better protection. Really scary myths like that. I realized that a lack of sex education in the schools was putting the kids at risk.

Some would say that high school students wouldnít want to ask their teachers about birth control.

I think that high school students would much rather ask their teachers than their parents or church officials, just from personal experience. I think that if a teacher or a nurse or a counselor is allowed to answer questions, then they would get a lot more.

What are the teachers in Lubbock required to say?

They are required to say that abstinence is the only acceptable behavior and if they have any other questions they should direct that to their parents.

What would happen to a teacher if a student asked about preventing pregnancy, and the teacher, for example, described a method of birth control?

I believe that if it was reported that they would get a warning from the school board.

Pastor Ed Ainsworth, a youth speaker and a True Love Waits advocate, appears in the documentary. He gives talks in many public schools. His talks seem pretty explicit--he talks about STDs and more. Why isn't his kind of talk enough?

The problem with Ed Ainsworthís programs is that they are medically inaccurate. There is medically inaccurate information being fed to students as absolute truth from a religious figure of authority, which we had all been taught to respect.

Thereís a time in the film where he insinuates that you can get an STD by shaking hands with someone, which is completely untrue. So really his programs arenít providing factual information and thatís the most frightening part.

If you were running the schools in your area and you were the teacher in all sex ed classes, what would your lesson plan for the students be?

I think that abstinence should be taught as the first and foremost method. However, I think that all methods of birth control--condoms, birth control pills, diaphragms--should be taught in explicit detail. Kids should be taught how to use them. They have great rates of success if they are taught how to use them correctly. And it doesnít take long to teach kids how to. I also think you need to talk about relationships, you need to talk about talking about getting tested for STDs, you need to talk about when youíre ready to have sex and how to communicate in that matter.

What would you say to conservative parents who are afraid of what their kids might hear in a public school sex ed class?

You know, to protect yourself in marriage or out of marriage, you need to have good sex education. Thatís something you need, even if you wait until you get married, you still need to know how to protect yourself from pregnancy until you want it and things like that.

I would tell parents that this is information thatís a life skill like science or math or reading or writing and that this should be part of the curriculum. Parents do not have the medically accurate information that they need to give their kids and so the school should step in and take up the slack.

If [kids] have a comprehensive sex education program which includes an abstinence message, they are more likely to delay the onset of intercourse. But an abstinence-only program doesnít seem to do that, because kids donít have any information. Some of them donít even know what sex actually is. Their education comes when theyíre fooling around in the back of a car or when theyíre with their boyfriend or girlfriend in the pressure of the moment.

I would say that information never hurts anyone. Just because you teach a kid how to use a fire extinguisher, doesnít mean theyíre going to go and start a fire.

What criticism from your friends or your Christian community has been hardest for you to answer?

Basically people just blatantly telling me Iím going to hell. With no reason in saying it, just, "This is not the place for a young women. Youíre going to hell.Ē And thatís really difficult to hear, because in the Baptist community they feel as if you should try to improve each other and tell each other when you think youíre on the wrong path. But it became very difficult for me when all my friends turned against me and thought that I didnít know what it meant to be a good Christian. I felt like what I was doing was actually part of my spiritual path.

What are some of the things your friends did?

I was basically ostracized from my church eventually. It just became a very unwelcoming place for me to be.

When you walked into church on Sunday morning, what would happen?

People would talk about me and make comments about what Iíve been doing. I felt that it was a very hypocritical environment, in that some kids were going out and having sex every night. I was merely talking about it in the news, and they were telling me I was going to hell. It was a very hypocritical way to look at things.

Are you still active in a Christian church?

I am still a Christian. I still am very active in my faith and have quiet time and read the Bible and pray, but I do not go to church. One reason is because I just moved to Austin and have not found a church. Another is that I have always found that a church environment can turn hypocritical and sort of hinder your walk with Christ, instead of help it.

In the film, you sat down and spoke with Pastor Ainsworth. In the video it seemed like a very civil conversation. It seemed you both respected each other a lot.

You know, I had always been taught to respect a pastor. I did and I still do. I think that weíre both working for the same thing, which the health of the kids. We just have a different way to go about it.

Do you still see any value in programs like True Love Waits?

As a component of church life, theyíre acceptable as long as kids are receiving a good, comprehensive sex education to correspond with it. Abstinence-only pledges in themselves are very frightening scare tactics that scare kids away from their sexuality.

Can you describe what happens in a True Love Waits ceremony?

You make a promise in front of God, your church, and your family that you will remain sexually pure until the night of your marriage.
Your parents have the ring and it usually has a [Bible] message. They place it on the ring finger of your left hand, where a wedding ring would go.

Are they expected to wear the ring all the time?

Yes, most teens who go through the ceremony are expected to wear the ring.

Where is your ring?

It got stolen in eleventh grade when I was a competitive swimmerósomeone stole the jewelry out of my locker.

If you still had it, would you wear it?

No. I am still a virgin. I have not had sex. But I really think that itís my decision to make. Itís not the decision of my parents or my family or my church to decide when I have sex.

Whatís the most important thing about being Christian for you?

Sharing my life with the Lord Savior Jesus Christ and knowing that I am his child and that he died for me.

Is there a favorite Bible verse that has helped you over the past few years?

"For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," [Romans 3:23], but only he offers eternal life. I have it written on my mirror.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 7:13 am    Post subject: Being "differently oriented" Reply with quote

Just wanted to share this with you..

I am an Ismaili who loves my faith and Hazer Imam...and I am very close to my family. I have strong values which I believe comes from being raised by an Ismaili parents. I do not have bad habits such as smoking , drinking and so on...

It is my hope and wish that someday soon I would find the love of my life to share the joy and happiness , and to grow together spiritually and materially.

I happen to be gay but I do sincerely hope that when a person hears the this word , they should not equate in terms of sex but rather one's love for another human being and emotional feeling for the other person.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 11:55 am    Post subject: Re: Being "differently oriented" Reply with quote

finni wrote:
Just wanted to share this with you..

It is my hope and wish that someday soon I would find the love of my life to share the joy and happiness , and to grow together spiritually and materially.

I happen to be gay but I do sincerely hope that when a person hears the this word , they should not equate in terms of sex but rather one's love for another human being and emotional feeling for the other person.


I do not think that same sex marriages are sanctioned by our faith nor they ever will be. However the kind of relationship you are suggesting i.e someone to grow spiritually and materially with is always available in our brotherhood. That is the essential purpose of our brotherhoods and our institutions.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 3:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Being "differently oriented" Reply with quote

finni wrote:
Just wanted to share this with you..

I am an Ismaili who loves my faith and Hazer Imam...and I am very close to my family. I have strong values which I believe comes from being raised by an Ismaili parents. I do not have bad habits such as smoking , drinking and so on...

It is my hope and wish that someday soon I would find the love of my life to share the joy and happiness , and to grow together spiritually and materially.

I happen to be gay but I do sincerely hope that when a person hears the this word , they should not equate in terms of sex but rather one's love for another human being and emotional feeling for the other person.

You are free to love as you want, and no one has a right to tell you otherwise.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 3:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Being "differently oriented" Reply with quote

alnoord wrote:

You are free to love as you want, and no one has a right to tell you otherwise.
Yes, we are free to love as we wish and we should ideally love everyone in that respect. But there are accepted social norms of expressing it. Otherwise we would have a wild society. That is the reason behind the debate on same sex marriages.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2005 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"All mankind are children except him that is intoxicated with God; none is
grown up except him that is freed from sensual desire.

He (God) said, "This world is a play and pastime, and ye are children"; and God speaks truth.

If you have not gone forth from (taken leave of) play, you are a child:
without purity of spirit how will you be fully intelligent (like an adult)?"

Know, O youth, that the lust in which men are indulging here (in this
world) is like the sexual intercourse of children.

What is the child's sexual intercourse? An idle play, compared with the
sexual intercourse of a Rustam and a brave champion of Islam." (Mathnavi of Rumi Book 1, 3430 onwards)
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following quotes from the Buddhist tradition allude to how spiritual enlightenment attained through Ibaadat may assist in overcoming lower passion and ignorance.

ďWhen tranquility is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Passion is abandoned.

When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Discernment is developed. And when discernment is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned.Ē

-Anguttara Nikaya
From "The Pocket Buddha Reader,

Drinking the nourishment,
the flavor,
of seclusion & calm,
one is freed from evil, devoid
of distress,
refreshed with the nourishment
of rapture in the Dhamma.

-Dhammapada, 16, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Don't give way to heedlessness
or to intimacy
with sensual delight--
for a heedful person,
absorbed in jhana,
attains an abundance of ease.

-Dhammapada, 2, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is Sex Good for You?
by Daphne Howland

In the age of AIDS and busy, two-career households, sex is in somewhat of a decline. According to the Masters and Johnson Institute, at least a third of American couples experience "inhibited sexual desire." Yet research shows that people who neglect their sex lives may be missing out on real physiological and psychological benefits.

What Is Good Sex?
When doctors and therapists say sex is good for you, they really mean that "good" sex is good for you. But what is good sex?

"Anything that promotes intimacy and closeness seems to be good for your health," says Anthony Fiore, PhD, a sex therapist in Santa Ana, CA. "Everybody has different standards for what good sex is."

Making time and saving energy for sex should be a priority for even the most harried couples, therapists say. Sexual ability and physicality can atrophy.

The Human Touch
Studies have shown that physical touch between mothers and babies is essential to infant health. Today, hospitals finally allow skin-to-skin contact between new mothers and their newborns because this early touching is so essential to the mother-and-child bond. But many researchers now believe that we never lose the need for human touch. Throughout our lifetime, physical touch enables our bodies to relax and feel comfortable and protected.

Other Physical Benefits of Sex
There is evidence that sex has measurable physical health benefits. Some researchers believe that regular sex promotes a regular menstrual cycle in women, improves women's fertility, and may have a role in promoting calcium into bone. There is even evicence that postmenopausal women who have sex at least once a week have higher levels of blood estrogen and fewer detrimental changes in their vaginal lining.

The Side Effects
While the health benefits of sex may be very real, that's no reason to jump in bed with just anyone. Sexually transmitted diseases are perhaps the most obvious threat to health that can come with indiscriminate sex.

Sex without intimacy is also potentially devastating psychologically. Men and women may find that sex without love or intimacy leaves them vulnerable and depressed.

The Health Benefits of Sex
Many researchers believe that sex and masturbation may provide the following benefits:

Helps regulate menstrual cycles in women whose cycles are irregular
Helps promote fertility
Increases estrogen in women's blood, especially important to post-menopausal women
Lessens vaginal dryness and hot flashes in post-menopausal women
Helps men and women relax
Eases pain in joints and muscles, including the pain of conditions like arthritis
Shields the body from illness and the mind from depression or aggression
Promotes a healthy heart
Lengthens lifespan


American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about masturbation? Is it good or bad for health? How soon is it normal to have masturbation? I see it as human instinct but what would be a typical normal age when anyone starts.

Ahh...I wonder if we are brave enough to even talk about these things in open. LOL.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="curious2"]What about masturbation? Is it good or bad for health? How soon is it normal to have masturbation? I see it as human instinct but what would be a typical normal age when anyone starts.

Ahh...I wonder if we are brave enough to even talk about these things in open. LOL.[/quote]


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
by Amy Scholten, M.P.H.

What are STDs?

Also known as venereal diseases, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are acquired through sexual contact-vaginal, oral or anal-with an infected person. They are passed to a sexual partner through semen, vaginal fluids and blood, or by direct contact with infections on the skin. STDs afflict the lives of sexually active men and women of all ages, teens, children, homosexuals as well as heterosexuals, and people of all races and colors. Approximately one in five adults in the United States has an STD.

If left untreated, many STDs pose significant health risks, leading to problems such as infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and diseases in newborns. In some cases, untreated STDs can lead to cancers, blindness and even death. If you have an STD, it is important that you be treated by your doctor or an STD clinic right away. Most STDs need some form of treatment to be cured. There are several STDs that cannot be cured at the present time, although they can and should be treated. Incurable STDs include herpes, genital warts, chronic hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS.

What are symptoms of STDs?

Do not assume that just because you have no symptoms, you do not have an STD infection. Many people with STDs have no symptoms, and they look and feel healthy. For this reason, you should seek testing from your doctor if you have had sex with someone who you think may have an STD infection.

It's important to know what symptoms to look for in yourself and others (since anyone can have an STD). Typically, symptoms affect the genital area. They may appear and disappear-or they may not show up for a period of weeks or even months. Even if the symptoms go away, you can still infect other people if you have sex with them. Likewise, they can infect you.

Common symptoms of STDs include:

redness or swelling in or around the genital area or throat
blisters, sores, or bumps near the genitals, anal area, or mouth
burning or pain in the genital area, especially during urination
any burning or itching in or around the vaginal area
unusual vaginal bleeding (not during the menses), unusual vaginal discharge or odor
pain in the pelvic area or vagina during sexual intercourse
any discharge from the penis
pain in the testicles

How are STDs diagnosed and treated?

How an STD is treated depends upon which particular STD you have. Your health care provider, Planned Parenthood clinic or STD clinic will provide a private and safe examination and whatever testing they think is necessary to identify the source of infection. Usually this is a very simple process. Some STDs can be diagnosed with a urine specimen or by taking a sample of vaginal secretions and looking at it under a microscope. Other STDs are diagnosed through blood samples or by taking a sample of fluid from sores or blisters. Most STDs can be cured with antibiotics which are taken orally. Even if you have an STD that cannot be cured such as herpes, genital warts, chronic hepatitis B, and HIV/AIDS, you still need to be treated. Medications for herpes can help reduce the number and severity of outbreaks. Genital warts can be surgically removed, although the virus that causes them remains active on the skin.

What should I do if I'm diagnosed with an STD?

1. The first thing you need to do is contact anyone you may have infected so that they can get tested. If you are unsure of how to go about doing this, your local health department should be able to help.
2. Take all of your medicine and see your health care provider as prescribed, even if your symptoms have disappeared before your treatment schedule is over.
3. Do not have sex while being treated.

How are STDs prevented?

The most certain ways to avoid contacting an STD are abstaining from sexual relations (including vaginal, oral or anal sex) or having sex with only one partner-someone who only has sex with you. Also, keep in mind that some STDs, such as HIV/AIDS can be spread through the sharing of intravenous drug needles.

In general, your risk of acquiring an STD increases with the number of people with whom you have sex . However, even if you are having sex with only one person, your risk increases if he or she has sex with other people, something which you may or may not know. Keep in mind too that some people who know they have an STD won't tell you. If you or your partner are having sex with more than one person, or if you are unsure of your partner's sexual history, the following steps can reduce your risk of getting STDs:

Use condoms correctly every time you have vaginal, oral and anal sex. Latex condoms offer the best protection against HIV, which is a small enough virus to penetrate other condoms.
Spermicides used in birth control foam, cream or jelly can kill certain STDs. They can offer some extra protection if used along with condoms.
If you use a lubricant along with a latex condom, make sure it's water-based (such as K-Y Jelly). Oil-based lubricants such as Vaseline damage latex.
If you have more than one sexual partner, make sure you are examined for STDs by your health care provider several times per year, even if you have no symptoms.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 12:41 am    Post subject: Sex during menstruation! Reply with quote

Medically it is ok having sex during menses, but prohibited in the Holy Quran [fa'tazilunnisa' fil maheezi]. What are your thoughts o­n this issue?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 6:29 am    Post subject: Re: Sex during menstruation! Reply with quote

GMR wrote:
Medically it is ok having sex during menses, but prohibited in the Holy Quran [fa'tazilunnisa' fil maheezi]. What are your thoughts o≠n this issue?

Know any person who likes to do that??? I don't. icon_redface.gif
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prairie youths having less sex
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Dr. April Elliot, a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist at the Alberta Children's Hospital, holds a copy of a new study on sexual behaviour and attitudes of teens Tuesday.

CanWest News Service, Calgary Herald
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Canadian kids are having lots of casual, unprotected sex -- many with multiple partners -- although Prairie teens appear to be doing it less.

According to new research released Tuesday, 18 per cent of Prairie kids aged 14 to 17 are sexually active, compared with 28 per cent in B.C. and 37 per cent in Quebec.

Those figures are in line with what Calgary student Roz G. sees among her peers at Queen Elizabeth High School.

Roz, who asked that her last name not be published, called that reality "frightening."

"It's not right that kids that young are having sex that often," she said. "Some of them have no supervision or they don't know better."

While those numbers may shock some, it's the 24 per cent of sexually active Canadian teens who do not use protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) -- and the nearly 70 per cent who have engaged in oral sex -- that has health officials concerned.

"Risky business," said Dr. April Elliot, spokeswoman for the Canadian Association for Adolescent Health, the Montreal-based group behind the online survey of Canadian youth.

"There is all this information out there that says when you have unprotected sex you are at risk of STIs, yet when you get down to the nitty-gritty these teens are not very knowledgeable," said Elliot, a Calgary pediatrician.

"There are 100,000 kids in this country engaging in very unsafe sexual practices."

Nearly 1,200 teens between 14 and 17 years old and 1,100 mothers were interviewed by Ipsos-Reid last fall. The survey results are considered accurate within 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

In another national finding, about 25 per cent of sexually active teens didn't use condoms the last time they had sex, even though 16 per cent knew their partner wasn't monogamous.

Nearly 70 per cent had had oral sex, but many don't know syphilis and gonorrhea can be transmitted via oral sex, the survey found.

"That's so concerning because 90 per cent of teens claim to be knowledgeable and think they are having oral sex to be safer . . . they really don't know the consequences," said Elliot.

"(About) 25 per cent think it can be contracted by sitting on the toilet seat or swimming in a pool," added Montreal pediatrician Jean-Yves Frappier, head of the adolescent division at Sainte Justine Hospital and president of the association.

Roz blames the sex education programming in schools.

The survey appears to support her claim students ignore the lessons. While 82 per cent said they took classes in school, only 22 per cent characterized the information as "very useful."

"It's hard to take a 50-year-old woman talking about sex seriously," Roz said.

But Elliot said parents need to shoulder more responsibility for their teens' sexual knowledge. The survey found an overwhelming number of kids rely on their parents for information, but most parents expect their children to learn from media and movies, she said.

Nationally, about five per cent of sexually active teens say they've been infected with STIs.

On average, teens report having had three partners in their sexual history, and 38 per cent of them engage in casual sex.

In another finding, researchers said more than half the teens identified their parents as their most significant source of information about sex and sexual behaviour.

The Prairie figures, representing Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, are not broken down by province.

© The Calgary Herald 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teen sex survey alarms adolescent health experts
Parents 'in denial,' says pregnancy centre director

Joe Woodard, Calgary Herald
Published: Saturday, March 25, 2006

Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre director Wendy Lowe was not surprised at survey figures from the Canadian Association of Adolescent Health, late last month, showing that almost one in three Grade 9 boys (32 per cent) and one in four Grade 9 girls (22 per cent) have taken part in oral sex.

Centre volunteers teach Take Charge abstinence education in Calgary junior and senior high schools, and they've found that many of their students don't see oral sex as sex.

When one young innocent heard the act described, she blurted out, "Oh, gross!" But then her more jaded classmate responded brusquely, "Get used to it; this is life!" It was a sign, Lowe says, of "a culture in collapse."

"They think, because they can't get pregnant, oral sex is not sex; it's no big deal," Lowe says.

"When we tell them about STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) being transmitted orally, they say, 'No waaay!' Well, yaaah, waaay!"

For the CAAH, Ipsos-Reid surveyed 1,200 teens and 1,100 mothers. They found the proportion of sexually active teens climbed from seven per cent at age 14, to 20 per cent at 15, 34 per cent at 16, and 45 per cent at 17 years of age.

Fully 58 per cent of teens -- and 29 per cent of their moms -- considered oral sex "a good alternative for someone who wants to remain a virgin."

"Parents are in denial," Lowe says.

"It's sex without relationship. The girls call it 'friends with benefit.' Not boyfriend-girlfriend, but friends with benefit. But the benefit's all the boys'. When I ask girls, 'What's the benefit for you?' they can't say anything."

Most media commentary on the CAAH survey focuses on the dangers of sexually transmitted disease among the 17 per cent of youth who believe that oral sex has no STD risks.

But Lowe worries as much or more about the cultural and spiritual risks for everyone. In the survey, teens say their parents have by far the greatest influence on their sexual attitudes -- but their mothers assume that their peers do. So, Lowe says, "the failure of feminism" has created a youth culture where the girls are desperately needy and the boys, mindless spasms.

An article in The Atlantic (Jan/Feb 2006) described the trend as "a nation of girls on their knees."

And a 2005 Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry study of 1,413 girls under 16 strongly links adolescent sexual activity with serious psychological and social problems: "more symptoms of depression, a more pessimistic outlook, less motivation."

Says Lowe, "What's driving this is a desperate need for intimacy. Teenage girls are doing oral sex because it makes them popular with the guys.

"The boys have no need to court. So they're hardwiring their young brains for impersonal sex, and don't realize they're setting a pattern for the rest of their lives -- lives without intimacy."

Multiple surveys show that almost all youth want a lifelong marriage and a stable family, Lowe says, but "when we don't teach adolescents about self-restraint, how can we expect them to practise fidelity in marriage?"

Colorado Springs therapist Doug Weiss, who periodically runs sexual addiction workshops at Centre Street Church, says North America is facing "a long nightmare" because kids now live in "a sexual sewer."

"Sex without meaning, sex without emotional or spiritual commitment, sex that's lost its soul," says Weiss, who has appeared on Oprah and Good Morning America, among others.

"The relatively tame Playboy of the '50s gave us the marriage breakups of the '70s. So what'll the Internet and latchkey homes give us?"

Weiss predicts adolescent "object sex" will result in "more divorce, more abandoned children, more disease and more empty hearts." He begs parents, teachers and pastors to "bring the soul back into sex." And, "It wouldn't hurt if parents knew where their kids were."

"Kids want moral guidance. But the parents forfeit that, because of their own guilt and shame. So they leave their kids defenceless, when they have a responsibility to keep them safe."

Youth pastor Carmen Kokol, 33, with Friends Church in the city's northwest, says STDs are now "old news." And "no-one talks about the repercussions" of adolescent sex "from a psychological and spiritual perspective."

"I tell kids, there's no such thing as 'just sex,' and anyone who says there is, is lying," Kokol says.

"Sure, kids give their parents grief, but they respect them a lot more than parents realize. They want their parents to be honest with them, to say what they really think."

A 17-year-old Sir Winston Churchill High student says oral sex is now "a common thing."

"There's a lot of it," says the teenager. "Girls do it, 'cause they think they'll have a relationship, and then the boys dump them in a week."

CPCC's Wendy Lowe likens the trend to the degraded sexuality of slave-holding ancient Rome, "where men did whatever they wanted with women, because they owned them." Only now the girls are disposable.

In the end, Lowe says, "Rome could be redeemed only by the Gospel. And our kids are so far gone, there's no other answer for us."

© The Calgary Herald 2006
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok now this something goes against my principals because I have not read this forum nor I know what it is all about but thought about writing as one of those journal entries that you just write.
I usually have post sex problems (I am not sure if that is considered a problem):
In my teenage years, after my rendezvous with my girlfriend(s) Iíd be thirsty and hungry.
In my post teenage years I remember my girlfriend calling sex my sleeping pill.
And now afterwards it is like I would like to go hunting for a buffalo, just too much energy!
I must admit I did go see alice (I know how to spell the brad name, just humor me, and no not the city in France either) -once, but it was like winning a world series with a corked bat in 50 minutes or so; although I didnít mind the extra 15 minutes of overtime, Iíd say the ED-Pills are just overrated.
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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Talking to Your Kids About Sexually Transmitted Infections
by Skye Schulte, MS, MPH

It used to be that all kids had to worry about was the math test they didnít study enough for or who they were going to go with to the prom. As a parent, it may be difficult to accept that your children are sexualóand even harder to think of them engaging in behaviors that would put them at risk for diseases like AIDS or herpes.

More than three million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are diagnosed in teenagers each year, making conversations with children about prevention, screening, and early treatment very important. Below are a few strategies you can use when talking to your children about sex and sexually transmitted infections.

Strategies for Talking to Your Kids
-Educate yourself about the facts. See Facts about Sexually Transmitted Infections for information on common symptoms, risk factors, treatments, and ways to protect against specific STIs. Share this information with your children.
-Donít use scare tactics. Empower your children with the facts and try to correct misconceptions about STIs. For instance, many teens may think that oral sex or mutual masturbation is safe even though many STIs can be passed on these ways.
-Be a good communicator.
It is ideal to start talking to your children about sex and sexually transmitted infections as soon as they first ask about it. This communication can start when they are very young and just asking about their body parts and ďwhat makes babies?Ē
-Focus on the facts. Try not to spread sexual misconceptions like ďyouíll grow hair on your palms if you masturbate.Ē
-Express compassion, morals, and your position, without harsh or oppressive words.
-Answer questions simply and look for ways to expand the conversation. Make the talk more of a dialog than a lecture.
-Use age-appropriate language. How you talk to a four-year-old about his body is very different than the teenage pre-prom talk. Children ask for and need different information at different ages.
-Shift focus of your talks to the social and emotional aspects of sex, including:
Dating/date rape
Setting limits to sexual activity
Resisting peer pressure
Birth control and STIs
Masturbation and other activities

-Be prepared to learn that your children have become interested in sex. It may be difficult to think of your children as sexual, but ignoring the issue could put them in danger.
-Talk about prevention techniques. Abstinence, masturbation, other types of intimacy (massages, talking, cuddling) and safer-sex are all ways your chidren can reduce their risk of getting an STI.
-Remember your childhood and adolescence. What were the risks you took? The consequences? Relating personal stories and experiences can make the threat of STIs seem more real.
-Provide a variety of resources for later questions. Your children may have questions that they are embarrassed to ask. Help them find resources or information that may answer such questions. This could also include encouraging them to talk with their doctor or other trusted adults if they have questions.
-Take advantage of ďteachable moments.Ē Television programs, a friendís pregnancy, or other times that sex or STIs are mentioned are good times to initiate discussions about STIs and how your children can protect themselves. It is generally better to have many smaller discussions about sex than one big talk.

Help Your Children Protect Themselves

-Provide good role models: Children can learn from your example and the example of other good role models like older siblings, relatives, and friends.
-Promote self-confidence: Praise honesty, independence, talent, effort, responsibility, and good decision-making. This will promote self-confidence, which can help your children to overcome peer pressure and to make good decisions about sex.
-Encourage positive feelings about sex: People who have positive feelings about sex, their bodies, and masturbation are more likely to protect themselves from STIs, unintended pregnancy, and sexual abuse. Try to instill these positive feelings about sex in your children.
-Foster good decision-making skills: Offer options instead of giving orders. By making good choices and decisions from an early age, children will gain practice in making good decisions.
-Develop trust: If your children know that you will be there for them no matter what errors of judgment they make, they may be more willing to trust you with information about their sexual activity and ask questions. Try to be patient and reasonable to foster this trusting relationship. Respecting your children's privacy, personal space, and individuality can also help gain trust.
Reassure your child: Children can feel isolated and depressed going through the teen years. Stress that "being different is normal" and that other teens have similar feelings. This will help to reassure them that the experiences they are going through are normal.

Preventing and Minimizing the Impact of STIs
Getting vaccinated: A vaccination is available for hepatitis B. Vaccines are also being developed for other STIs caused by viruses. Ask you doctor about new vaccines that may be available.
Avoiding contact: It is much easier to prevent an STI than to cure or treat it afterward. The only way to completely prevent STIs is to have no type of sexual contact.
Reducing the risk of exposure when having sex: Condoms are the only birth control method that offers protection against STIs. The risk of getting an STI can also be reduced by having sex within a monogamous relationship and by making sure you and your partner have tested negative for infection.
Getting annual medical check-ups: These are important even if you do not believe your child is sexually active. You child should have regular gynecological or male genital exams by the time they are 18 years old, or sooner if they are sexually active.
Accessing confidential health care: Often teens will have a difficult time telling their parents or even friends about STI symptoms or exposures. Having access to confidential health care assures that they will get the medical attention and tests that they need.

What to Do if Your Child Has an STI
Provide access to treatment. STIs must be accurately diagnosed and fully treated (when possible) to prevent long-term health problems and permanent disability or even death.
Reassure your child that having an STI does not make him or her a bad person.
Offer access to counseling to address any sexual, emotional, or relationship issues.
Encourage your child to communicate his or her sexual health status to future sexual partners.
Work with your health care provider to develop strategies for reducing complications from an STI.
Donít play the blame game. There are some STIs, including hepatitis B and bacterial vaginosis, which may be spread in other ways than through sexual activity. Jumping to conclusions and accusing your child can have a negative impact on your relationship.


Kidshealth for Parents

Planned Parenthood Federation of America


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Komaroff AL. Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster; 1999
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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2006 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following article that appeared in today's Calgary Herald makes one wonder whether there is any ethical method of contraception apart from abstinence.

Study raises rhythm method ethical questions

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2006
A British medical ethics journal has published a new and controversial claim -- that the rhythm method of birth control could be creating more "embryonic deaths" than morning-after pills, IUDs or other methods often attacked by groups opposed to abortion.

Luc Bovens, a London School of Economics political science professor, says "massive" numbers of embryos are conceived through the rhythm method, but lost when those early embryos are unable to implant in the womb because they are made from "old" eggs or "old" sperm lingering at the fringes of a woman's most fertile period.

It's an argument that rests heavily on the assumption that embryos conceived outside the "heightened fertility period" are less viable than those created in the middle. Doctors say no firm evidence exists to prove that theory.

However, a prominent Canadian fertility expert says the argument is valid, raising the possibility that the success of the only birth control method sanctioned by the Catholic Church partly hinges on creating embryos that cannot survive.

Author Bovens, who fielded calls Wednesday from media outlets, says he wrote the article, published today in the Journal of Medical Ethics, out of a concern for consistency.

The philosopher and professor of ethics says the same logic that turns groups opposed to abortion away from morning-after pills, IUDS and oral contraceptives "should also make them nervous about the rhythm method."

He says condoms, long opposed by the Catholic Church, would cause fewer embryonic deaths than the rhythm method.

"Even a policy of practising condom usage and having an abortion in case of failure would cause less embryonic deaths than the rhythm method," Bovens writes.

The method relies on abstinence during the most fertile period of a woman's menstrual cycle -- around days 10 to 17 for a woman who has regular 28-day cycles.

"If you really care about a conceived ovum, and consider it to be a full-fledged human being . . . you have to give up the fact that you're deeply concerned about embryos" if using the rhythm method, Bovens said in an interview.

The Catholic Church decrees that life begins at the moment of conception.

"I think they're really in a tricky position here," Bovens said.

© The Calgary Herald 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Birth defects tied to father's age
Quality of sperm deteriorates in older men

Published: Tuesday, June 06, 2006
From the female point of view, one of nature's seeming inequities is that men can father children well into their senior years, while women's child-bearing window slams shut many decades earlier. Well, it turns out that becoming a dad later in life may not be such a hot idea after all, researchers say.

In a study of sperm from almost 100 healthy, non-smoking men aged 22 to 80, U.S. scientists found that the prevalence of certain genetic damage appears to increase with age -- and that can lead to infertility, unsuccessful pregnancies for their partners and the risk of passing on such genetic diseases as dwarfism to their offspring.

"There is consequence to delaying fatherhood," said principal investigator Andrew Wyrobek, a biophysicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. "The probability of infertility goes up, the risk of abnormal pregnancy goes up and the risk of dwarfism goes up, and perhaps other genetic diseases as well."

The researchers found that the more birthdays a man had seen come and go, the higher the prevalence of DNA breakage in their sperm, a condition that can lead to infertility or pregnancies that end in miscarriage. Also more common with age was a gene mutation that causes dwarfism, an inherited defect that occurs in about one in every 25,000 births. Affected individuals have shortened arms and legs and reach a full adult height of about only four feet.

Compared with men in their 20s, a 50-year-old has a 34 per cent higher risk of producing a child who is a dwarf, while an 80-year-old's risk is 85 per cent higher. Put another way, "one-third of men will have double the risk of having a child with dwarfism," Wyrobek said Monday from Livermore, Calif.

However, the multicentre study found no correlation between male aging and an increased risk of Down syndrome or other forms of birth defects associated with too few or two many chromosomes, including Turner syndrome and triple X syndrome.

© The Calgary Herald 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unlike a virgin: the power of music
Sexy tunes fuel teen promiscuity, survey suggests

Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Teenagers whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, a study suggests.

Whether it's hip-hop, rap, pop or rock, much of popular music aimed at teens contains sexual overtones. Its influence on their behaviour appears to depend on how the sex is portrayed, researchers found.

Songs depicting men as "sex-driven studs," women as sex objects and with explicit references to sex acts are more likely to trigger early sexual behaviour than those where sexual references are more veiled and relationships appear more committed, the study found.

Teens who said they listened to lots of music with degrading sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having intercourse or other sexual activities within the following two years as were teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music.

Among heavy listeners, 51 per cent started having sex within two years, versus 29 per cent of those who said they listened to little or no sexually degrading music.

Exposure to lots of sexually degrading music "gives them a specific message about sex," said lead author Steven Martino, a researcher for Rand Corp. in Pittsburgh. Boys learn they should be relentless in pursuit of women and girls learn to view themselves as sex objects, he said.

"We think that really lowers kids' inhibitions and makes them less thoughtful" about sexual decisions and may influence them to make decisions they regret, he said.

The study, based on telephone interviews with 1,461 participants aged 12 to 17, appears in the August issue of Pediatrics, released Monday.

Most participants were virgins when they were first questioned in 2001. Followup interviews were done in 2002 and 2004 to see if music choice had influenced subsequent behaviour.

Natasha Ramsey, a 17-year-old from New Brunswick, N.J., said she sometimes listens to sexually explicit songs because she likes the beat.

"I won't really realize that the person is talking about having sex or raping a girl," Natasha said.

Even so, the message "is being beaten into the teens' heads," she said.

"A lot of teens think that's the way they're supposed to be, they think that's the cool thing to do. Because it's so common, it's accepted," said Natasha, a teen editor for , a teen sexual health website produced at Rutgers University.

"Teens will try to deny it, they'll say 'No, it's not the music,' but it is the music. That has one of the biggest impacts on our lives," Natasha said.

Benjamin Chavis, CEO of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, a coalition of hip-hop musicians and recording industry executives, said explicit music lyrics reflect "social and economic realities."

© The Calgary Herald 2006
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