Emotional Investment in Sexuality

By Ryane

Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, sex and sexuality is a very pertinent part of becoming who you are. Adolescence is probably one of the most trying times when it comes to sexuality as it is a time of exploration, discovering, and learning who you are physically, emotionally, and mentally. Discovering your sexuality is not something that should be frowned upon or seen in a negative light. Society uses scare tactics when it comes to educating young people about sex, sexuality, STIs, and reproduction in hopes that it will in some way deter their need and or want for sex when in actuality, it’s impossible. Sex is something that is natural and part of being human. Whether we choose to disguise or satisfy them, they are there and ignoring such does more harm than good.

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Teen Voices – Thoughts from the Lake

At the start of every new school year, our Teen Council members attend a weekend retreat and participate in team building activities with peers from Indianapolis and Louisville. New and returning members learn about reproductive anatomy, discuss values, communication and more while having fun away from the busy city life most are used to. Here are thoughts from two of our Louisville Teen Council members, Madison and Meghan.

Hi! My name is Meghan Sharma, I am 16, and I am currently living in Louisville, Kentucky. I was drawn to Planned Parenthood’s Teen Council due to the fact that I’m quite passionate about women receiving adequate reproductive health care, as well as students receiving a complete, accurate and inclusive health
education. I find a comprehensive sex education crucial to prevent the contraction of STIs and to maintain sexual health.

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As someone who aspires to work in the medical field as an adult, working with these issues now is important to me. Teen Council has provided an incredible way for me to have a voice in my community regarding issues that I am passionate about, as well as giving me an opportunity to share comprehensive sex ed with my peers. I was able to work on my skills as a peer educator at the retreat, where I bonded with other educators from my state and Indiana. I learned critical information about reproductive justice, anatomical facts surrounding vaginal and phallic health, and birth control methods. Overall, Teen Council is an incredible opportunity that I truly hope to continue to learn and grow from, and the retreat reaffirmed that for me.

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No one at school taught me how to use a condom. No one at school taught me the history behind the reproductive rights I have (and don’t have) today. No one at school taught me that it is okay to talk about sex. It is okay to say no and it is equally okay to say yes — with protection. I learned so much on our Planned Parenthood Teen Council retreat, and that was just the beginning.

I joined PPINK’s Teen Council at the urging of a good friend, and I immediately fell in love. Even at our interview day in the application process, everyone involved wa
s so welcoming and so passionate about such important topics. I hear20160821_101432d talks about consent, inclusive sexuality education, and healthy relationships—all concepts that need increased exposure in schools.

Since joining Teen Council, I have learned important, if not vital, information about sex ed. Comprehensive Sex Ed includes everything from healthy relationships to birth control to preventing HIV and STIs. Planned Parenthood seems to stop at nothing to educate our youth, and I am thrilled to be a part of that. As sex ed in schools continues to decline, I am proud to be on the Teen Council, fighting to keep it and improve it.

Teen Voices serves as a space for our peer educators to speak on topics important to them in the scope of sexuality education.

What does women’s health mean 365 days a year?

By Candice

For 17 years, the US Department of Women’s Health has recognized Women’s health week in early May. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority. But when we refer to health, many don’t realize that the term goes beyond occasional visits to the doctor’s office or a trip to the park once a month.  It means taking care of your mental and physical state all the time throughout all stages of your life.

Part of your physical care falls under seeking medical care when needed. Statistics show 26%, or 1 in 4 women delayed or did not seek health care due to costs1. By delaying care, annual screenings, STD testing, prenatal treatment and other medical services go untreated or diagnosed, leading to lower qualities of life. More affordable health plans through employers, federal and private insurance companies as well as accessible education on plans can hopefully reduce the amount of women not getting the care they deserve and need.

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Another part of taking care of your health is developing and strengthening positive behaviors. Smoking, texting while driving, healthy diets, and not getting enough physical activity/exercise are concerns that many women struggle with. Body types, mobility, chronic disease (think obesity, arthritis, diabetes) all factor into what women are able to complete in regards to exercise, but lower rates of smoking, healthier diets (and access to healthy food options) and not texting while driving are all steps women can take on at any time of their life. Mental health is a huge deal as well. It is estimated that 1 in 5 women deals with mental health problems such as PTSD, eating disorders or depression2. Seeking diagnosis/treatment and taking time to do things you love (with people or pets you also love) helps to recharge your batteries.

Check out US Women’s Health to get tips, resources and more info on self-care, self-love and self-efficacy. Taking care of your health goes beyond a week or a month—it’s a lifetime commitment.

1Women and Health Care in the Early Years of the ACA: Key Findings from the 2013 Kaiser Women’s Health Survey
2SAMHSA, Past Year Mental Disorders among Adults in the United States: Results from the 2008-2012 Mental Health Surveillance Study