Human Sexuality and Relationships (HS&R)
A favorite Milton optional course, HS&R enrolls students in Classes I-III who are interested in learning about sexuality and relationships in a fun, comfortable, supportive environment. Groups of 12 students (six girls, six boys) meet with two adults (one female, one male) once each week in the evening to cover topics ranging from anatomy, to safe sex, to sex-role stereotyping, to relationships. The HS&R course runs for ten weeks through the winter term and into the spring term.
Class IV students take Health, a required course that includes learning about sexuality. Many then enroll in HS&R as upperclassmen.
Response to HS&R has been so enthusiastic, students have been so eager to continue the conversations begun in Class III, that a course for Class II, Advanced HS&R, has been offered. Participants take a more active role in the ideas covered. This course often delves more deeply into the topics and issues laid out in the initial course. Students can take an advanced course more than once, as the agenda is set each year by the group.
The overwhelmingly positive response to the HS&R courses led to the formation of the campus group Students Educating the Community about Sexuality (SECS). SECS is a group of 12 Milton seniors selected from those who have taken the two courses, Beginning and Advanced HS&R, to serve as aides in the beginning HS&R classes.
HISTORY OF HS&R
The course was started in 1978 at the request of students who wanted a forum to discuss relationship issues that weren’t addressed anywhere else. Since then, the original program has undergone many revisions, but retains the same comfortable, relaxed atmosphere that it developed at the start in 1978.
VALUES STATEMENT FOR THE HS&R COURSES:
Adolescents do make decisions about sex, and we hold as a value that those decisions should be based on accurate information, not on ignorance.
We hold as a value that relationships function better when based on clear communication and mutual respect than on sex-role stereotypes, assumptions, and coercion.
We hold as a value that sexual decisions must be made responsibly and with regard to their consequences.
We hold as a value that it is better to deal openly with the issues of birth control, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, masturbation, premarital intercourse, and homosexuality than to relegate them to a closet of unmentionables.
We hold as a value that it is good for students to realize that they are not alone in their apprehensions and uncertainties, but that many of their concerns are commonly shared.
We hold as a value respect for the beliefs of others, even when they are different from one’s own.
We hold as a value the paramount right of each group member to state any opinion or to pass on any issue without fear of ridicule or judgment.
HS&R Resources: Telephone Numbers
Planned Parenthood Counseling
and Referral Line 617-616-1616
AIDS Hotline (AIDS Action Committee)
Boston Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Youth
(22 and under) 800-42-BAGLY
Crisis Intervention and Suicide Hotline
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
MA Battered Women’s Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline
HS&R Resources: Websites
Created by The Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media, TeensHealth and KidsHealth provide teens and families with accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health information they can use.
MEDLINEplus medical Encyclopedia
Welcome to MEDLINEplus, a goldmine of good health information from the world’s largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts:
This Web site contains information on contraception, pregnancy testing, emergency contraception, abortions, STI and HIV testing and treatments, and pregnancy options counseling. It also contains details about a pro-choice action network.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
Links, information and resources pertaining to sexual education, pregnancy and related issues.
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States(SIECUS): SIECUS provides information on contraception, pregnancy, abortions, STI’s, laws, sexuality education, sexuality orientation, date violence and much more.
Teenwire by Planned Parenthood:
Sexuality and relationship information for teens, an “Ask the Expert” section where experts answer real questions from teens, a place to ask your own questions, and a section in Spanish containing information on sex, sexuality and relationships.
AIDS Action Committee (Boston):
The AIDS Action Committee Web site contains facts about HIV and AIDS, facts on condoms, and information on the AIDS Action 24-hour hotline number and email. The site helps answer questions pertaining to anxieties about AIDS and HIV , including information about HIV testing.
BAGLY: (Boston Alliance of GLBT Youth):
The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Youth is a youth led, adult supported social support organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, questioning youth and their straight allies, ages 22 and under.
National Youth Empowerment Organization:
The Global Youth ACTION Network is an international collaboration among youth and youth-serving organizations to share information, resources and solutions. Its purpose is to promote greater youth engagement.
Advocates for Youth
Advocates for Youth is dedicated to creating programs and advocating for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. The organization provides information, training and strategic assistance to youth activists and the media in the United States and the developing world.
The Truth: Facts Every Student Should Know
The information below was taken from http://www.siecus.org/, “Playing Roles: A Course for Adolescents in Sexuality and Relationships,” and http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/. These sources support teaching the world about sexuality and relationships, and support sexuality education in schools.
SEX AND ABSTINENCE
- More than half of U.S. teenagers are virgins until they are at least 17 years of age.
- 61 percent of males and 48 percent of females have had sex in high school.
- Uncertainty about sexual orientation declines with age, from 25.9 percent of 12-year-old students to 5 percent of 17-year-old students.
PREGNANCY AND ABORTION
- Each year, almost 1 million teenage women – 10 percent of all women between 15 and 19, and 19 percent of those who have had sexual intercourse – become pregnant.
- A woman who wants only two children will need to practice contraception for at least 20 years of her life.
- One in every 115 men fathers a child while he is a teenager.
- Among women 19 years and younger, 35 percent of all pregnancies end in abortion.
CONTRACEPTIVES (USE AND RELIABILITY)
- Abstinence is the most reliable form of birth control. It has few if any side effects, is 100 percent efficient, and costs nothing. Unfortunately, when indiscretion occurs, often the result is unprotected intercourse.
- A sexually active teenager who does not use contraceptives has a 90 percent chance of becoming pregnant within one year.
- Using a condom is more than 10,000 times safer than not using a condom.
- Condoms are 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly–and up to 99.9 percent effective in reducing the risk of STI transmission when combined with a spermicide.
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS (STIs)
- There are more than 20 STIs which affect men and women of all backgrounds and economic levels.
- Almost two thirds of all STIs occur in people younger than 25.
- Young adults are at greater risk of acquiring an STI because they are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, they may be more likely to engage in unprotected intercourse, and their partners may be at a higher risk of being infected.
- Every year, 3 million teens – about 1 in 4 sexually experienced teens – acquire an STI.
DATE VIOLENCE, RAPE, AND HARRASSMENT
- In one study, one in four students indicated that he or she would have sexual intercourse to a keep a relationship intact.
- 55 percent of females and 40 percent of males have done something sexually or felt pressure to do something sexually that they felt unready to do.
- 62 percent of students believed that a male is not at fault if he rapes a girl who dresses “provocatively” on a date. Significantly more females (45 percent) than males (31 percent) believed that the male is totally at fault.
- Any women under the age of 18 may have an abortion with either the permission of a parent or the permission of a judge.
- Definition of rape in Massachusetts: The penetration of any orifice by any instrument without the person’s consent and against his or her will. Children (anyone under 16 years of age) are considering non-consenting.
- Definition of sexual abuse: Touching, stimulation or penetration of sexual parts of a child under 16, or asking the child to provide sexual stimulation by or to someone who has more power than the child.
These Web pages were created as resources for Milton Academy students— present and future—to help learn about sex, sexuality and relationships. The pages provide information about a few of the many resources available to help with these issues. The pages help students who are interested in getting information about something themselves before talking to someone else. Having multiple resources close at hand can be helpful and comforting, and can make dealing with a topic of interest or concern easier.
Milton Academy does not promote sexual activities, but continues to believe strongly and to promote the practice of sexual abstinence as the safest and best choice. However, when students do choose to partake in sexual activities, Milton believes in providing safe and accurate information and resources (i.e. condoms, counseling, etc.)