Category Archives: Teen Sexuality

The Local Scene ~ Teen Pregnancy Prevention in Maine Schools

Kathy Kerr, Teacher at Mount Blue Middle School, Farmington

So far during Teen Pregnancy Prevention month, we have taken a global, national and statewide look at teen pregnancy.  Now we’re narrowing our focus even more — to the classroom level — to see what some Maine teachers and schools are doing.

FPA’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program works with schools and community organizations dedicated to providing youth with comprehensive sexuality education.  Our program’s main goal is to strengthen the capacity of Maine educators and schools as they provide sexuality education programs that deliver positive results.

We promote the use of evidence-based programs because they’ve been proven to change sexual behaviors among youth, like: Continue reading

Teen Pregnancy — How Does the U.S. Measure Up?

Last week, as we began our celebration of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, I noted that the U.S. has experienced dramatic decreases in teen pregnancy rates over the past decades. While this is an excellent trend, our teens still lag far behind their peers in other countries.

Take a look for yourself: the U.S. has much higher teen birth rates than other western,
industrialized countries and it doesn’t stop there– teen pregnancy and abortion rates are also much higher in the U.S.

On average, U.S. teens initiate sexual activity around the same age and are no more sexuality active than teens in other countries.

So, what are we, in the U.S. doing wrong?

Or to put a more positive spin on the question, what are other countries doing right? Continue reading

Take the Quiz ~ National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Here in Maine, spring has finally sprung—the birds are singing, bees are buzzing, the trees and flowers are budding and blooming. It’s so wonderful.

All this talk about the birds and the bees has me thinking about Maine’s highly successful efforts to reduce the rate of teen pregnancy!

On May 1, 2013, the FPA joins organizations across the country to recognize the 12th annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The purpose of the National Day is to focus the attention of teens and their parents on the value of avoiding too-early pregnancy and parenthood. How are we doing that? Continue reading

What I Learned from Project AWARE Teens

The premiere of the short dramatic film Two Seconds is less than three weeks away and we’re busy getting ready for the big night. As I’m pulling together this special event, I’ve been reflecting on the experience of working with a group of teens over the course of nearly a year.

When we started the project I didn’t know a single one of these young people and most of them didn’t know each other either. Ten months later I feel so lucky to have shared this time with them, working together to create movies to raise awareness of teen sexual health issues.

Here’s what I learned from the teens involved with this project… Continue reading

Where Do Teens Go For Answers?

When teens have questions about sexual health issues, where do they go for answers?

Some may turn to parents or other trusted adults in their lives.

Others will ask their friends or youngish relatives, like that cousin who’s a couple of years older.

Most rely on the internet, using Google and YouTube to search for the information they want.

Luckily for Maine teens, the FPA — with lots of input from Maine teens and young adults — has created a new online resource.

Maineteenhealth.org has useful information about birth control and STD’s. And it has links to resources about LGBTQ health, relationships, mental health, and substance abuse.

And, it’s got two ways for young people to submit their own anonymous questions – directly through the website or using a new text-messaging service.

Check it out and share it with teens you know who may have sexual health questions.

If you’re a teacher or school nurse who wants some FREE posters promoting the new website & texting service for your school, contact askmth@fpam.org with the words ‘mth poster order’ in the subject line.

If you’d rather print your own poster, click here for a PDF file.

~ Nancy

Sound…Camera…Action! Maine Teens Making Movies

This week, we welcome a guest blogger — Faith, a high school student from the greater Bangor area.

A group of twenty-five teens sat in a room, buzzing with excitement at the chance to voice their opinion. In public, the topic they were discussing would cause some awkward stares, hushed voices, and very quiet teenagers.

Sexual health is one of those topics that is rarely discussed seriously, but is incredibly important to be informed about. When I was given the chance to educate parents and  teens, I – along with many others – jumped on it.

I’m Faith, a teen heavily involved with a group called Project AWARE. Project AWARE is a non-profit organization based in Southern Maine, whose goal is to empower and educate youth by giving them the opportunity to make movies or videos on very important topics in life.

The Family Planning Association of Maine contracted with Project AWARE to help them create a 10-20 minute movie on teen sexual health, along with four one-to-two-minute videos, called scenarios.

This long journey to create the movie began last December. Continue reading

Don’t Have Sex — Because You Will Get Pregnant & Die

Coach teaches a sex ed class in the movie "Mean Girls"

Last week, we talked about the high teen pregnancy and STD infection rates in the U.S. compared to other developed countries. It turns out that differing societal attitudes towards teen sexuality is the biggest factor accounting for the huge gap. European parents and other adults are much more accepting of teen sexuality and teens consider it the norm to take precautions when engaging in sexual activity.

Quite different from the “sex is bad” approach so common in this country.

Aside from changing our entire country’s cultural norms around sexuality, what can we do to reduce teen pregnancy and STD infection rates? Continue reading

Why Other Countries “Do It” Better


“In any given society, at any given moment in history, people become sexual the same way they become anything else. Without much reflection, they pick up directions from their social environment.”

~ John H. Gagnon, Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Stony Brook University

Well said!

Professor Gagnon’s statement speaks to one of my biggest questions:

Why does the U.S. have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates of any developed country? Continue reading

What About the Boys?

Continuing our focus on National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, this week’s post is written by one of FPA’s Pregnancy Prevention Coordinators.

I’ll never forget it. Standing in front of a hundred or so eighth-grade boys, I asked them where they got their information about sex and staying healthy.  After an uncomfortable silence, one brave soul shrugged and said “Mostly…from the streets.”

The ‘streets’ he was referring to are lined with oak trees and sidewalks.  But, I knew what he meant. I had been asked to speak to that group of boys because the principal discovered an underground condom ring going on within the school.  Yep, that’s right.  Some entrepreneurial boy realized he could make good money selling condoms to his classmates.  The same condoms, mind you, that can be legally obtained in about ten different stores in their town.  This makes you wonder…

When I asked them if they had these conversations with an adult at home, they slowly shook their heads.  A few gave me a patronizing smile with that “You’re outta your mind, lady.” look.  I have posed this question to students before, so I wasn’t surprised by their reaction.  But, something about that particular instance has always stuck with me.  Continue reading

What are You Doing for the ‘Jessie’ in Your Life?

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month.

Here at the FPA, every day is devoted to the prevention of teen and unplanned pregnancy. Our clinical staff, prevention staff, legislative advocacy staff, and the administrative staff that keep the business side of things going are all committed to helping women and men plan their families and avoid unwanted pregnancy.

But what about all the folks who aren’t doing teen pregnancy prevention work as part of their day job — is there anything the average person can do?

By way of answering that question, I’d like to tell you about Jessie.

Continue reading