Monday, December 31, 2007

#5-10 in the 2007 Abstinence-Only Countdown

Can you believe it?

5) 16-year-old "Zoe 101" star Jaime Lyn Spears is pregnant and going to have her baby in the deep South. Did she tell her mother first, the dad, or the tabloids?
Washington Post, Dec. 19, 2007

6) JUNO: The new feel-good movie about... a pregnant teenager who decides to go through with the pregnancy, give up the baby for adoption, and keep dating the dad who loves orange tic tacs. Wow! Even her parents were totally cool.
Fox Searchlight, December release

7) MidWest Teen Sex Show: More than 50,000 people subscribe to the new podcast with straight talk about sex for young people. Go Nikol and team (they'll be at our Sex::Tech Conference on January 22, 2008).
Wall Street Journal, Nov. 8, 2007

8) Hip-hop lyrics that celebrate sex have no effect on teen's sexual behavior, researchers from Columbia U. Mailman School of Public Health reported. Carla Stokes (also at our Sex::Tech Conference) decides that's a good thing - and promotes the positive.
Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times, Nov. 6, 2007

9) GREAT ideas coming in from young people about how to improve sex ed for the future. Watch the entries to our Fresh Focus Sex Ed Digital Video Contest today!

10) Make a resolution - to make sex ed comprehensive, non-judgemental, and FUN for 2008! We need your help. Make a video for the contest, or come to our conference, or donate your $$ at

Monday, December 24, 2007

Zoe 101 Needs Sex::Tech 101

I'm sure you've heard by now that Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. She is Zoe, the star of Nickelodeon's popular show, Zoe 101, as well as Britney Spears' sister. She plans to raise the baby in Louisiana, her home state.

AP reporter John Rogers reports that Nickelodeon is considering launching a "Post-Spears Pregnancy Show," with Linda Ellerbee, a veteran newscaster. Ellerbee proposes a broad discussion about youth relationships, including how you know you're in love, the "right" time to have sex, and value systems. Dan Martinsen, the network's spokesperson, said no decision has been made.

Of course, everyone says this story provides the opportunity for parents to talk to their teens about sex. BUT WILL THEY? History shows most parents are uncomfortable talking to their sons and daughters frankly about sex ed.
PARENTS: Try surfing the Web together for information. Have a discussion about what you know to be true, what you learned when you were young, what you learned thru experience... Come to our Sex::Tech Conference -- where researchers, advocates and young people will guide us through the best of the online world for youth.
YOUNG PEOPLE: Make a video! You have till January 7th to submit your version of a better sex ed for the future. Details at (

Friday, December 21, 2007

Puffing Our Chests Like Proud Parents!

The Fresh Focus Sex Ed Videos are rolling in and I, for one couldn't be happier. It's the perfect present for the holidays. If I could, I would put it on the mantel next to my new batch of scented holiday candles.

The submitted videos have all been witty and to the point. The video makers are frankly and openly asking for a sex education that is frank and open.
In Sex Education: An Experimentation several experiments are run on high school students to learn how to make sex ed more interesting and relevant. The third experiment is the abstinence box, which is a cardboard box that covers the person's midsection. Unfortunately, the abstinence box makes it impossible to sit down, fit through door ways or pee. The conclusion that these 'sex education scientists' come to is that; people want to know facts and they need these facts so they can prepare for their lives.

There is still time to enter the contest! As we've mentioned before we've extended the deadline to
January 7, 2008. Submit you videos at

The following is another Fresh Focus entry example. I'm posting it here because... well, frankly... stick figures fill me with the holiday spirit.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Networking with a View

Save the date! Plan on networking and hobnobbing with public health folks, youth advocates, youth and tech geeks at the top of the JW Marriott on Tuesday, January 22nd. Beverages, appetizers, live spinning by DJ JL, co-sponsored by ISIS, Inc. and the Full Circle Fund.

Full Circle Fund folks are cool. Their party line, "Full Circle Fund is an engaged philanthropy organization cultivating the next generation of community leaders and driving lasting social change in the Bay Area."

But really, they have 4 circles - technology, education, homelessness, and environment, where they donate time, money, and expertise to worthy non-profits, like ISIS. Yes, ISIS and San Francisco Dept. of Public Health won the Full Circle Technology Award in 2007 for SexINFO, our text messaging project for urban youth. And we got to sit in the front row for Al Gore's speech at San Francisco City Hall. Woohoo!

Join us on the 22nd, and meet some great folks.
text "contest" to 61827

Monday, December 17, 2007

You asked for time to perfect your entries - Fresh Focus deadline extended!

You can now submit your Fresh Focus Sex Ed Video Contest entries until January 7th! You've asked and we've listened...use your winter break to the fullest.

For inspiration check out a few of the latest entries here. An outstanding one was recently submitted by Antgreen.

This awesome Wed MD article points out that, "it's a lot easier to showcase flaws in sex ed curricula than offer an ideal one." So grab your camera, your phone, your video savvy friends, and tell us what YOU want from sex education.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fries, Toast and Kisses

are but three reasons I love the French.

Another reason to tip our hats to the French is this amazing AIDS awareness campaign. Since I don't speak a lick of French the information I have is a bit spotty and colored by questionable google translations. The campaign seems to have started in 2005 with an animated short called Baby, Baby. The animation chronicles the sexual journey of one woman as she searches for the mythical "one". Along the way she freely experiments with sex and always protects herself. Next in the installment was Sugar Baby Love (which I've embedded below) in 2005 which follows a similar formula except it follows a gay man in search of love. The final installation is Love Stories (2007) and this time the main character is a straight man.

The great thing about all the animations is how condom use is integrated into the act of having sex. There is no awkward discussion, sex and condoms just go together. The animation never shies from its ultimate subject- how to have good and safe sex. Its explicit enough to be entertaining while managing not to show any 'bits and pieces.' (Of course its not perfect, I mean, why does the black internet date have to have a XXXL penis?)

The creators of the campaign,, have recently created a micro-site that houses all three animations
The site also has a funny chat room function that my lack of French keeps me from fully understanding. What I do know is that I can choose an avatar for myself from an array of undies (I went for briefs) and I could either chat on the beach or in a disco two of my favorite places.

Fresh blogger face for Friday

ISIS has been changing whether you realize or not. Our new program manager, Allegra Madsen, will be guest blogging on Technically, it's About Sex! She's both cooler and nerdier than me and has blog ideas pouring out of her ears...I just can't hold her back any longer. Stay tuned for future sex/tech/health salads she'll concoct.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Teen birth rates may be rising - Let the "why?" debate rage on

In the Washington Post today, an article by Rob Stein called "Teen Birth Rate Rises in U.S., Reversing 14 Year Decline" ponders just why teen birth rates might be rising. The opinions couldn't be more different.

Is it that abstinence only messages have left our teens without the tools to protect themselves, or is it that condom promotion messages are encouraging increased sexual behavior?

Allegra Madsen, ISIS' new program manager, asked John Santelli, teen health expert at Columbia University, about his thoughts on the new data:

"Multiple social and policy factors are presumably influencing the recent rise in teen birth rates," offered Santelli. "One possibility is a decline in contraceptive use. The 2005 YRBS [Youth risk Behavior Surveillance] data suggests such a decline (a small decrease in condom use and a small increase in non use compared to 2003). One factor that may have contributed to a decline in contraceptive use would be the negative information on condom and contraceptive use that many abstinence only programs include."

Another thing is also clear. This debate is being played out among adults, health professionals, politicians, etc. But what do that teens want? What do they think they need?

The Fresh Focus Sex Ed Video Contest gives young adults (under 30) a chance to say what they want. We're asking film makers to imagine the future of sex ed, and what they think would work better. We're offering a $3500 first place prize, along with a chance to screen their videos at the Sex::Tech Conference in SF on January 22nd.

As I posted yesterday, Jennifer Garner isn't the only one who didn't get any formal sex education, check out the Fresh Focus submissions so far and judge for yourself.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Search without belonging - Copenda

I just saw this on one of my favorite blogs, the Online Dating Insider. Copenda allows you to search multiple dating and social sites at the same time. Then you can click over to the interesting profiles on its native site. Pretty cool.

So far the site has indexed over one million profiles. You can search Myspace, Facebook, hi5, Friendster, and plentyofish. It's really surprising, as the Insider notes, that these sites would open up their networks to a third party. But the bottom line still remains, if you find someone you like, you need to sign up with the original service to actually message them.

It will be interesting to see what methods evolve for being "seen" or being ranked high on the Copenda search results. It's unclear at this point how one gets to the top of the barrel, aside from geographical proximity. Does updating your profile frequently help here? I dunno.

Also, the people you come up with on Myspace for example, might not be looking for dates. So, the sifting you may need to do is potentially more involved if you're looking for dating specifically.

In other news, Jennifer Garner didn't get any sex education, and she's not the only one.