Thursday, June 3, 2010

Teens Aren't Getting Any Smarter about Sex

I found this on AOL.

Thanks,

Preston



____________________

(June 2) -- Attitudes among American teens about birth control, sexual activity and pregnancy have remained largely unchanged since 2002, according to a new federal report.

Stalled progress is bad enough, but some subtle changes also have experts concerned.

Most notably, more teens than ever are using the "rhythm method" to prevent pregnancy, and a growing number of teen girls approve of underage childbirth.

The report, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is based on interviews with 2,767 teens, ages 15 to 19, between 2006 and 2008.

At the foundation of the report is the prevalence of teen sexual activity. It's remained nearly unchanged since 2002, with 40 percent of teens reporting at least one sexual encounter.

But in a 6 percent increase from 2002, 17 percent of sexually active girls reported timing their sexual encounters in an attempt to prevent pregnancy. The so-called rhythm method has long been debunked as ineffective, as it only works about 25 percent of the time, according to the study's authors.

Attitudes about pregnancy are also changing. Nearly 64 percent of teenage boys think it's acceptable for a teen to have a baby, compared with 50 percent in 2002. Among girls, more than 70 percent now approve, compared with 65 percent in 2002.

Only 12 percent of boys who weren't sexually active said they opted out of sex because they feared impregnating their partner.

Combined, the two worrisome trends might help explain a related issue: the uptick in teen pregnancies, which occurred around the same time as this survey.

After dropping steadily for more than a decade, the teen birth rate in the U.S. rose between 2005 and 2007. Compared with other developed countries, the U.S. posted the remarkably high rate in 2007 of 42 babies per 1,000 teen girls. In Canada, by contrast, only 13 babies are born per 1,000 teen girls.

"We've known the decline in childbearing stalled out. This report kind of fills in the why," Bill Albert, spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, told The Associated Press.

Laura Lindberg, senior research associate at the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, speculates that the growing number of glamorous celebrities bearing children -- especially as single mothers -- is having an impact on the attitudes of America's youth.

"Teens don't live in a vacuum," she told USA Today. "What they see adults doing around them is going to reflect in their own behaviors and attitudes."

Other advocates are speaking out about the need for immediate solutions, particularly in regards to sex education.

"[W]e cannot afford to keep our heads in the sand about ensuring that our young people have access to comprehensive sex education," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who cited a need for sex ed that incorporates "abstinence, contraception, healthy relationships, and responsible decision-making."
Filed under: Nation, Health

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Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

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Bio


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.