Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sexual Literary 101- check out SexSmartFilms!

Lookie here! The sexual revolution has finally come full circle with the newest addition to the Internet, SexSmartFilms. SexSmartFilms promotes online sexual literacy. The website boasts: "Imagine having access to a constantly updated digital warehouse of sexuality education, research, and therapy films from the past 70 years. That describes SexSmartFilms."

Founded in 2008 by Dr. Mark Schoen, who was also a presenter at the ISIS Sex::Tech 2008 conference (don't miss Sex::Tech 2009 scheduled for March 22-23), he has collected hundreds of rarely seen or heard of sex education training videos that were produced for the U.S. military, sexual health professionals and educators. These short films/videos are now available to download and view at little or no charge. The underlying theme is that all of the shorts are "educational tools" and can be used by educators, health care professionals, corporations or just curious folk for relevant content on sexual health issues.

SexSmartFilms actually provides the context for the films listed. That is, there will be pre and post viewing suggestions along with a brief synopsis that includes the appropriate audience for any title viewed.

You can either purchase a "monthly viewing plan" that gives you access to the entire video library, including some classic U.S. military shorts on STD prevention for our WWII boys; or, watch the "free" videos. All the videos are categorized by topic, and there are over 20 "channels" from which to choose.

SexSmartFilms also aquires videos and is currently looking for either amateur or professional media.

Take a look, you will DEFINITELY learn something - the feature video this week is The Internal Clitoris with Betty Dodson and I learned a heck of a lot in 3 minutes!


Friday, November 21, 2008


Computer nerds unite! An extensive study by UC Irvine researcher Dr. Mizuko Ito found that teens using the Internet are not only excelling in meeting the requirements of new technology, but are improving their social and networking skills as well. And all those parents that thought little Timmy needed monitoring are just wrong, wrong, wrong.

The three-year study interviewed over 800 youth and their parents and monitored over 5000 hours of on-line social networking communities. What Dr. Ito and her team discovered was that today's youth are facing a completely different type of socialization than their parents, where the virtual world of technology can enhance "self-directed" learning - i.e., youth can choose what they want to learn about, in an inf0rmal, tailored manner. By pursuing their own interests, youth can find social networks with like interests that serve as tutors, helping to enhance the learning experience and empower the user. "Ito and her team of researchers found that participation in the digital age means more than being able to access serious online information and culture. Youth using new media often learn from their peers, and notions of expertise and authority are being redefined."

The prevalent thought of parents today is that spending too much time on the computer will create social isolation have been proven false. Come to find out that there are two distinct "types" of internet use: friendship-driven and interest-driven. In fact, the study goes on to state that as opposed to youth learning from one source (school teacher in a static setting), the advent of the internet as a learning tool is allowing youth to branch out far beyond their geographical location, literally increasing their social circle on a global scale.

So Mom, Dad - next time you think your kid(s) are just "wasting their time" surfing the 'net - don't be alarmed, whether they know it or not, they are really enhancing their technical and social skills to fit tomorrow's needs. But don't tell them that - it wouldn't be cool.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mobile Gaming For Change

Everyone and their mom has a mobile device in their pocket with a variety of games on it (even if they don’t know it). Now imagine if those games were used to increase awareness around important social issues, like, say, HIV/AIDS.

Freedom HIV/AIDS is maximizing the ubiquitous nature of mobile devices by creating the first ever initiative on HIV/AIDS awareness using mobile phones games.

Believe it or not, games are an effective way of spreading messages and generating awareness by the “play and learn” method, which makes absorbing new information fun and engaging, while also helping retention.

Freedom HIV/AIDS has four mobile games targeting different mindsets and psychology of mobile users on an array of devices with high end and low end displays for accessibility to consumers at every price point.

You can read about the games and their mechanics in detail here. So far there have been 10.3 million downloads since the initiatives’ launch in December 2005. This is one of the largest ever social initiatives on mobile devices and is an amazing, fun, convenient and semi private way to learn about HIV/AIDS issues from the palm of one’s had.

We can only hope that other health initiatives expand their education outreach into the realm of mobile games in an effort to reach a larger demographic.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A cure for AIDS? A German Doctor thinks yes

I was surfing the 'net yesterday and came across an astonishing article about a U.S. citizen living in Germany who was diagnosed with leukemia and AIDS was cured of both!

The patient had prior treatment for his leukemia which failed. His physician, Dr. Gero Hütter, tried a second treatment, a bone marrow transplant using a molecule called CCR5. CCR5 acts as a kind of door for the virus. Since most HIV strains must bind to CCR5 to enter cells, the mutation bars the virus from entering. About 1% of Europeans, and even more in northern Europe, inherit the CCR5 mutation from both parents. People of African, Asian and South American descent almost never carry it. The bone marrow transplant was a success and for the last 600 days no AIDS virus has been detected in the patient's blood cells.

This treatment may lead to gene therapy as the solution to curing HIV and AIDS, which is a whole different argument, as gene therapy is a lot riskier than antiviral treatment.

Let's just hope we are that much closer to finding a cure - for all, for good.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Is this what they meant by meet me under the rubber tree?

There must be something said for creativity - sexual and otherwise! Check out this article on how non-profits and condom companies are "expanding" there outreach in countries that are not "big" on safe sex practices.

In Ethiopia, which currently accounts for 10 percent of the world's total HIV/AIDS infections, DKT International, has distributed "coffee-condoms that actually smell like a macchiato, an espresso with cream and sugar - trying order one of those at Starbucks!

In order to reach young men in Western Australia, health care professionals hang condom-filled cannisters from trees for the youth to retrieve - hopefully the branches are low enough for the shorter folks!

In all, these novel approaches point to the fact that prevention is only as effective as access. Social stigmas and religious taboos create an impasse in many countries, including our own. Thanks to these organizations to have the foresight and wherewithall to meet the needs of the people on their own terms.......heck, some of those ideas would work well right here in the Bay Area!

There is no effectiveness data that I could find on these practices, but I will keep looking for updates and write about anything I find that provides feedback on how well these attempts are working.......

Have a blessed weekend and be the change you want to see in the world!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Channel 4 and Embarrassing Teenage Bodies

In an earlier post I went on and on about this great UK based online sex education show called obviously enough The Sex Education Show. After doing a little more digging on the host site, Channel 4, I found the "Embarrassing Bodies" section. The idea behind the section and its accompanying webisodes (Called "Am I Normal") is to remind you not to let embarrassment stop you from keeping your body healthy. The Am I Normal webisodes are frank open and honest. What I think is most helpful and informative about them is that if they are talking about a penis, they will show you a penis. When they try to assure the viewer that there is a wide range of normal for a vagina they show you actual vaginas representing that range. They've just blown past innuendo and started talking facts. I love the Brits!

Check out the info video:

Am I normal penis:

Am I Normal Vagina