Keystone Coalition for Advancing Sex Education was born out of the fundamental need for comprehensive sex education in Pennsylvania and the United States. We are a coalition of parents, activists, health professionals, and educators that deeply believes sex education is vital to the growth and development of our youth.
In a society where menstrual stigma has been proven to exist, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being embarrassed about your period. A contributor to this stigma is poor health education, where young people are paradoxically taught that their periods are natural, but also something that should be concealed, or worse, ignored. As a result, many have only a basic understanding of their menstrual cycles. Luckily, technology has paved the way for better period insight when health education may have failed. Cycle tracking apps like Clue, Flo, Eve, Spot On, and many many more have revolutionized people’s relationships with their bodies. Increased predictability is only one of the many benefits of these empowering apps.
It’s fairly common to use the term “menstrual cycle” synonymously with the word period. However, tracking apps show that there’s more to your monthly than just bleeding. In addition to highlighting predicted period days, many apps also show fertile days. These are the days immediately before and after ovulation, the time when an egg is released from your ovary. Because of the position of the egg in the fallopian tube, fertile days are when you’re most likely to get pregnant if you have sex. A great thing about these apps is that if you didn’t know what ovulation was, the knowledge is right at your fingertips. Most apps have places where you can read detailed but understandable information about each part of your cycle, and more.
Cycle tracking apps also make room for the important dimension of mental health. These apps frequently have spaces for you to log your moods and take notes on how you are feeling and why. Tracking your emotions, along with other feelings like high sex drive or anxiety, can have many benefits. If you figure out days in your cycle when you’re more prone to feeling sad, you can plan for self care, or you can schedule a first date when you typically feel more confident.
Finally, if something were to go awry with your health, cycle tracking apps can be your saving grace. Doctors often ask the first day of your last period even for non reproductive issues, and being able to whip out your phone and check eliminates uncertainty. In addition to the uterus related things, most apps offer options to track headaches, sleep and fatigue. Collecting this data makes it easier to show your healthcare provider how and when your health has been acting up. Even if you don’t have a period due to an IUD or an Implant, cycle tracking apps can tell you when you need to schedule your next wellness checkup.
Though reproductive education is still lacking, cycle tracking apps are opening the narrative for talking and learning about periods. They’re an informative and empowering way for people with menstrual cycles to get more in tune with their bodies.
If you’re interested in improving health education in schools, check out Keystone’s mission and current goals!
Who I am: My name is Olivia Richman and I’m a 3rd year medical student. I grew up in NJ in a bi-cultural family, with a Cuban mother and a Jewish father. I come from a large, opinionated, and communicative family, which creates an environment of constant growth, introspection, discussion and empowerment for me and my cousins.
What I’m doing: I created a YouTube channel, called , talking about the female reproductive system, and how to take control of one’s reproductive health, in an entertaining and educational way. YouTube is an ideal platform to spread this message because it is one of the main resources adolescents use for information and entertainment on the internet.
What inspired me to create this: I have 10 girl cousins, all under the age of 25, who were educated in good school systems, yet still don’t understand the basics of the female reproductive system. Over the years, I taught them how to put in a tampon (which wasn’t taught at school), different types of birth control methods, the importance of their HPV shot, etc.
I thought to myself, if my cousins are learning this information from me, who are other girls in this country having conversations with? Do they have a mother, older sibling or cousin explaining to them the importance and significance of ovulation? How about STI prevention?
Through research and personal experience, I realized how little girls knew about their own bodies and also, how taboo it was to even talk about!
My second inspiration was the book Half the Sky, by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, which delved into the injustices and inequalities women face around the world, including female genital mutilation, access to healthcare and education, human sex trafficking and the list goes on.
What I envision for the future: I want to create a society where the words “vagina” and “clitoris” are words of pride and empowerment, instead of words that make girls giggle or cringe.
My goal is to unite women, because I believe in creating solutions, instead of problems, empathy instead of gossip and introspection instead of blame. My goal is also to educate women, so we can create a society of limitless opportunity, self-love, and gender equality.
And my last goal is to empower women, so they can communicate fearlessly and realize that they deserve to live a confident and powerful life.
KC Miller, Executive Director of Keystone Coalition for Advancing Sex Education, released the following statement in response to the 60 Minutes Interview with Secretary of Education Betsy Devos:
"When Betsy Devos was going through her confirmation hearings, Keystone Coalition for Advancing Sex Education maintained a strong opposition to her stepping into the position of Secretary of Education. Our list of concerns about Devos are lengthy and continue to grow. We are concerned about her ignorance of public education, her lack of qualification to run a government agency, the pay-to-play way she was nominated by Trump, her lack of interest to advance sex education, her inability to answer basic questions about education, and her refusal to adequately protect students who experience sexual misconduct and other forms of discrimination in the classroom. These are among the many grave concerns we hold about Devos. She recently gave an interview on 60 Minutes and demonstrated just how disastrous she is for our education system. She is a disgrace to our country and needs to be replaced by someone who is competent and a dedicated champion of education."
MEDIA, PA - Abstinence is the only way to stay 100% safe from sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy. That fact alone is one of the biggest reasons why schools across the country focus on abstinence-only education programs. However, a recent study published by the Journal of Adolescent Health says these programs are totally ineffective.
Researchers clearly state, "Policies or programs offering abstinence as a single option for unmarried adolescents are scientifically and ethically flawed." This new study falls in line with a plethora of scientific research that finds abstinence-only education is unhelpful and potentially dangerous to the health of kids.
A 2009 mandated congressional study on abstinence programs also found them to be totally useless. According to the report, students in abstinence-only programs are not more deterred from sex than those who are not enrolled in abstinence-only education.
"Adolescence is marked by the emergence of human sexuality, sexual identity and the initiation of intimate relations; within this context, abstinence from sexual intercourse can be a healthy choice. However, programs that promote abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) or sexual risk avoidance (SRA), are scientifically and ethically problematic and—as such—have been widely rejected by medical and public health professionals." says researchers at the Journal of Adolescent Health. (
Educators, scientists, and health professionals alike have been working together to change sex education programs across the country. Comprehensive sex dducation has been proven far more effective.
Comprehensive Sex Education is defined by Advocates for Youth as “A planned, sequential K-12 curriculum that is part of a comprehensive school health education approach which addresses age-appropriate physical, mental, emotional and social dimensions of human sexuality. The curriculum should be designed to motivate and assist students to maintain and improve their sexual health, prevent disease and reduce sexual health-related risk behaviors. It should allow students to develop and demonstrate developmentally appropriate sexual health-related knowledge, attitudes, skills, and practices. The comprehensive sexuality education curriculum should include a variety of topics including anatomy, physiology, families, personal safety, healthy relationships, pregnancy and birth, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, contraceptives, sexual orientation, pregnancy options, media literacy and more. It should be medically accurate. Qualified, trained teachers should provide sexuality education.”
These programs have been found to delay the initiation of sex, lessen the number of sexual partners, increase the use of contraceptives, and overall protect students health. You can read a full report of the effectiveness of comprehensive sex education here.
KC Miller, Executive Director of Keystone Coalition for Advancing Sex Education, released the following statement in response to Donald Trump officially endorsing Roy Moore's Senate candidacy via Twitter:
"Today, Donald Trump endorsed a sexual predator for the United States Senate. This is a direct attack on survivors of sexual assault and harassment. No political race or agenda is more important than the safety of women and the voices of survivors. His endorsement is intended to suppress those accusing Moore of serious sexual misconduct and violence, but it will not work. We will continue to not only talk about Moore's lack of basic human decency but also of Trump's own accusers."
"Not only does this endorsement show Trump's heartless demeanor towards survivors of sexual assault and harassment, but also his lies to the LGBTQ+ community. Moore has long been an opponent of the equality movement for queer individuals and remains a threat to LGBTQ+ safety and equality. He does not belong in the United States Senate or as a public official in any capacity."
Jake Tapper explains each allegation against Donald Trump:
Do you know where the President of the United States of America is today, October 13th, 2017?
Donald Trump isn't hard at work trying to make sure every American receives quality affordable Health Care. He's not on Capital Hill helping to simplify the tax code and give the working class a break. And surpassingly, he's not even at one of his resort properties or luxury golf courses wasting away his first term.
Donald Trump is actually addressing a registered hate group. Yes, you read that correctly. The President of the United States is addressing–with open arms–a registered extremist organization.
He is now the first President to speak at this hate group's gathering according to Independent UK.
Trump is Friday's keynote speaker at the Value Voters Summit. The organizers gave this convergence of anti-LGBTQ extremists a cute name to disguise their hatred, but it only takes a few seconds of research to expose the group.
In a fundraising email to supporters, Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council said, “The videos are titled 'It Gets Better.' They are aimed at persuading kids that although they'll face struggles and perhaps bullying for 'coming out' as homosexual (or transgendered or some other perversion), life will get better. …It's disgusting. And it's part of a concerted effort to persuade kids that homosexuality is okay and actually to recruit them into that lifestyle."
Perkins has also been quoted saying, "Those who understand the homosexual community—the activists—they're very aggressive, they're—everything they accuse us of they are in triplicate. They're intolerant, they're hateful, vile, they're spiteful. .... To me, that is the height of hatred, to be silent when we know there are individuals that are engaged in activity, behavior, and an agenda that will destroy them and our nation."
The group regularly uses suedo-science ("fake science") to make outlandish claims about the queer community. On many occasions equating homosexuality with pedophilia and extreme violence.
The same man who–on the campaign trail–was pictured holding an upside down pride flag with "LGBT+ for Trump", made history as the first Republican candidate for President to address the queer community on the floor of the Republican Convention, and made promises to keep queer people safe from violence and terrorism, is now joining forces with the Family Research Council.
Donald Trump is no friend of the queer community. He is a liar, a phony, a white supremacist sympathizer, and now an anti-LGBTQ extremist leader. Are you really that surprised?
Drag Queen Superstar & first runner up on season 9 of RuPaul's Drag Race, Miss Peppermint, met up with team members from Keystone Coalition for Advancing Sex Education to endorse LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education. Peppermint was the headlining performer for this year's Lehigh Valley Pride in the Park festival.
"We are all feeling proud, we are feeling gorgeous and fabulous, and we are also getting some very important work done with Keystone CASE," says Peppermint.
Learn more about Keystone Coalition for Advancing Sex Education's mission here!
HPV is an extremely common virus in sexually active adults. There are may different strains of the virus. Strains 6 and 11 could cause genital warts and strains 16 and 18 are the strains that could lead to cancer, most notably, cervical cancer, which is the 2nd most common and most lethal malignancy in women worldwide. Other strains of HPV are harmless and may go away on their own.
HPV could affect any of the following body parts: the cervix, vulva, vagina, and the penis, scrotum, and urethra. It could also affect the perianal, anal and oropharyngeal cavity.
The recommended age for the HPV vaccine is 11 or 12 years old, but your child can receive their HPV vaccine up until age 26. The ideal time to receive the HPV vaccine is BEFORE your child engages in sexual activity. This will dramatically reduce their chances of acquiring the virus.
Here are some common parental concerns about the HPV vaccine:
1. My child is only 11 years old and I don’t want to think about her/him having sex just yet (or ever).
Yes, 11 years old is a young age to think about “sex” and “my child”, but giving them the HPV vaccine doesn’t mean they are going to have sex right now. Figuring out your sex life as a teenager was challenging, and our parents were the last people we went to for advice about sex or love. Although it may be uncomfortable to think about, your child will inevitably grow into adolescence. Why not protect them as much as you can now, before they grow into that period of isolation and get to distance themselves from you?
2. How does it work?
The HPV vaccine uses small pieces of the actual HPV virus to generate an immune response in the body. The small pieces aren’t potent enough to give someone HPV, though. They are just the right size to allow the body to neutralize the virus with the body’s own protective forces (our immune system). The mechanism of action is very similar to other vaccines that already are safely administered to children.
3. If I have a boy, does he need his HPV vaccine as well?
Yes, absolutely and DEFINITELY! Boys can carry the virus and spread it to their male or female partners through vaginal or anal sex. Not only would giving your son the HPV vaccine help prevent the spread of cancer, but it would protect them as well since the virus can affect their scrotum, penis, urethra, anus and throat!
We are finally making progress with cancer research and have a vaccine that could prevent cancer in your child, so why not take advantage of your child’s health while you still can?
Learn more by watching my full video on HPV here:
Kasper, Dennis, et al. Harrisons Principles of Internal Medicine. McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
The following post was contributed by Olivia Richman, the brains and personality behind the up-and-coming youtube channel GlamourPuss, M.D. The information on this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.
KC Miller, President of Keystone Coalition for Advancing Sex Education, released the following statement in response to the roll-back of the Affordable Care Act's birth control benefit:
"Conveniently, on the one year anniversary of Donald Trump's Access Hollywood tapes surfacing to show him bragging about sexual assault and harassment, the White House launched an attack on women's rights and birth control. Keystone Coalition for Advancing Sex education urges our members to demand action. We must hold Trump accountable for his actions. This is an obvious attack on women, reproductive rights, and health care as a whole."
98% of Alabama parents think it is "very important children learn about HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections".
91% of Alabama parents think it is "very important children learn how to talk to their partner about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases".
86% of Alabama parents think it is "very important that the effectiveness of birth control is addressed in a sex education class".
In a quote given to AL.com, Jamie Keith, the executive director of ACPTP said "For parents, talking to their children about sexual health and relationships can be a very difficult and complicated conversation.One of the Campaign's priorities is to ensure young people receive medically-accurate, age-appropriate and evidence informed sexual health education. In our public schools qualified professionals can answer questions parents may not feel comfortable with answering or for which they may not have the answers"
This survey further proves an assumption that sex education is a liberal vs. conservative issue. Alabama, one of the most conservative states in the United States, have disproved this theory by overwhelmingly supporting sex education programs.
Sex education is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. It is a public health issue.