Emily Boyer: Secular Facts on Sexual Acts

At the Oklahoma Freethought Convention a couple of weeks ago, Emily Boyer, a sexual and reproductive health activist, spoke about “Secular Facts on Sexual Acts” (possibly NSFW language). It’s the sex-ed class you (probably) didn’t have in high school but really should have:

If any moments stand out to you, please leave the timestamp and summary in the comments!

(via TheThinkingAtheist)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Anon

    7:20 – HIV/AIDS is 100% fatal.
    Life is 100% fatal.
    Everybody dies sometime.

    • flyb

      But only 16% of the time! ;)

  • L.Long

    Anon/flyb beat me to it. That exact thought went thru my head when she said it.

    The abstinence part shows that it is not a bad system it is down right awful religious indoctrination and their is no word awful enough to show how awful it is. Having NO sex ed is better then abstinence classes.

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com/ KevinKat

    This was extremely well-timed, I’ve just started a relationship with a lovely woman and this is stuff that I really need to know before we engage in any further sexual activity.

  • Jayn

    10:37–Wait, do parents actually tell their kids the stork story? And expect them to believe it? I saw it in cartoons and such, but I knew at least since age 6 that wasn’t how things really happened (maybe this is more common in smaller families? I had two cousins born at that age). I didn’t get the full story, but I knew that making babies had something to do with a mommy and a daddy sleeping together, and then the baby would grow in the mommy’s belly. There was some omission, but no one ever outright lied to me about it.

    Then again I also grew up in an area where the biggest controversy over sex ed was about how explicit the images were. Telling girls that at age 14 they could get birth control without parental consent? No one seemed to have a problem with that.

    • allein

      I also don’t recall the stork as anything other than a silly story in cartoons.

      I can’t watch the video right now (hoping The Thinking Atheist puts them up as podcasts again like he did last year; I miss the visuals but at least I can listen in the car) but I don’t recall any controversy surrounding sex ed in my public school, either (in 1993). The only real criticism I had is that they didn’t do it until senior year and by then a lot of kids were already having sex. They even covered abortion in an even-handed way without anyone complaining. (I hope that’s still the case in my school system, and hopefully they’ve also added LGBT issues and the like to the curriculum.)

  • Caniel

    I just started the video but I will be quite honest. I abstain from sex as an atheist, more so than I did when I was a Christian. In fact, in the three years I have openly identified myself as an atheist I have no had sex. Not even outside the box(anal, mutual masturbation, oral) forms.

    Abstinence was something I was taught in church, and it didn’t work. I ignored the warnings because I knew nothing was wrong with sex. I still don’t see anything wrong with sex. Being safe, cautious of who I participated with were essential. I had a fear of pregnancy and disease, as well as emotional torture once I decided to cut ties. But it didn’t stop me.

    However as an atheist I have abstained for a more logical reasoning that the religious groups push. To me, abstinence isn’t keeping myself from doing something wrong by committing the act. Abstinence is insuring that I don’t end up with a child by a woman I don’t plan to stick with. At this point in my life if I have sex with someone, I will take full responsibility if a child is brought into the picture.

    I don’t want to have a child with a person I know I can’t see myself living with the for the rest of my life.

    • sophieuk

      Interesting perspective Caniel. To be honest, if I was a man I would be way more cautious about sex than I am as a woman (I’m still pretty careful) because men don’t have anywhere near as much control over outcomes as a woman does. They need to hurry up and improve contraception options for men. Does anyone know anything about how much money and time are being devoted to it because if it were women who were in that position I think they’d be far more vocal about needing improvements in the r+d needed for that kind of project.

      Changing the subject slightly, I have a fairly major criticism of something that was said in the video. The speaker really went to town on criticising some abstinence only programmes and other such “misleading” (is that the word she used?) information – she then said she was using that word meaning “lie”, which is fair enough. That type of education is built on lies. But she then talks about STDs being effectively rebranded as STIs. She actually calls them diseases and then says that there’s a move to destigmatize them and call them infections. This might be well intentioned but it doesn’t sit well with me. Surely science based education should actually be based on science and we shouldn’t be calling diseases something else just because it makes some people feel better? Are there not other, more honest ways to destigmatise them that don’t make “our side” as bad as the abstinence only bunch?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Well… an infection is a sub-type of disease, if you think about it.

      • Mogg

        It’s probably more because disease and infection are actually two different things, and the word infection is more appropriate when discussing bugs that can be transmitted via sexual activity. You can have an infection without disease (like some HPV infections), and a disease without infection (heart disease, cancer).

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          That’s a better explanation than mine.

  • Devon M

    Just started watching, but Emily Boyer is already my new hero.

  • Mitch

    I’m almost 25 years old and this is some of the first “real talk” I’ve ever gotten about sex (unfortunate enough to get the abstinence-only program as a kid and was too embarassed and/or ashamed to inquire further). Much more helpful this time around!