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Top 10 sexual health events of 2011

Metro Creative | BDN
Metro Creative | BDN
By Patty Brisben,

This year has been filled with many exciting, groundbreaking and interesting events in the sexual health arena. Check out the top 10 sexual health milestones of 2011.

10. Columbia University ranks No. 1 in report card of sexually healthy schools in 2011

Columbia University continues to model sexual health excellence. For the second year in a row, Columbia ranked the best in the U.S. regarding the ability to provide sexual health resources to its students. They ranked especially high in categories like contraceptive availability and their renowned “Go Ask Alice” sexual health website. Columbia’s clear focus on sexual health is supported by students, faculty and staff.

9. Sexting among tweens and teens is decreasing

A 2011 study revealed that sexting among teens and tweens may be lower than we thought. When compared to a 2008 study, the current study that will be published in the January 2012 issue of Pediatrics revealed that sexting in this age group had dropped from 20 percent to 10 percent since 2008. This included sexually explicit wording as well as inappropriate pictures of the body.

8. Largest national representative sexual health study published by Indiana University gains popularity

Researchers from Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion published nine separate research articles in a special issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine in October 2010. The Center for Sexual Health Promotion partnered with Pure Romance to provide much needed research in the area of sexual health and sexuality. The study received an enormous amount of press among academic and non-academic outlets because of its revealing data regarding sexual behaviors from the largest nationally representative sample to date. Its groundbreaking findings have helped develop public health programs specially designed to improve the sexual health of Americans.

7. Second annual World Sexual Health Day celebrated

The second annual World Sexual Health Day was celebrated on Sept. 4, 2011. Sponsored by the World Association for Sexual Health, the day highlights young people shaping their own sexual health and encouraging a respectful and open conversation about their sexual rights and responsibilities.

6. Sex ed required in New York Public School System

Due to the high volume of sexual activity between young adolescents, the New York public school system has voted to provide students with sexual education courses. Students will now learn more about sexuality as well as different forms of contraception.

5. Individuals with HIV are living longer in 2011

New studies suggest that research on HIV is making progress. Life expectancy for those living with an HIV positive diagnosis has improved. Those with the disease in the U.K. are now living an average of 15 years longer than they did 13 years ago.

4. Singles over 50 believe sex is an important part of their health

Although younger people often think that sexuality ceases to exist after the age of 50, new research suggests otherwise. A survey of singles over the age of 50 indicated that 97 percent of these individuals believe that regular sex is good for their health. The majority of this population is also more comfortable talking openly about sexuality with their partner and practicing safer sex. These findings indicate that individuals over the age of 50 should be included in receiving regular information regarding sexual health.

3. Sexual health linked to self-esteem, empathy and autonomy

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published a study in June 2011 indicating that sexual pleasure among young adults is linked to healthy social and psychological development. The relationship between regular orgasms and enjoyment of receiving or performing oral sex were positively associated to self-esteem, autonomy and empathy. In essence, the ability to enjoy sexual pleasure can play an important role in boosting self-esteem and sense of autonomy.

2. Legalization of same sex partnerships gains momentum in U.S.

In June 2011, New York state lawmakers passed a vote to legalize same-sex marriage, making it the largest state where homosexual couples will be able to wed. The national gay-rights movement was born in New York and continues to gain momentum into 2012.

1. The world population hits 7 billion people

The planet Earth hit another population milestone with the birth of its 7 billionth person. Born on Oct. 30, 2011, Danica May Camacho was officially chosen by the United Nations to symbolically represent this global milestone. The birth of the 7 billionth person gives the United Nations Population Fund a platform to raise awareness about reproductive health and women’s rights.

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