Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Early Relationships for Teens/Young Adults: When Desire Leads to Danger

Hello everyone! As you know I'm an advocate for GYN cancers and women's health. Matt Phillips that is a reader of my blog offered to guest blog. He's a young professional who has found his voice in advocating for women's health. He's currently enrolled at the University of Central Florida, enjoys writing and voicing his opinion on women's health and other issues. Please show him some love.

Early Relationships for Teens/Young Adults: When Desire Leads to Danger  by Matt Phillips

Love happens quickly for teens and young adults. Suddenly that special person becomes their reason to floss at night and eat healthier. Young couples even allow drastic changes to take over their lives. They often feel pressured to take actions because of an overwhelming desire to act mature. However, it’s dangerous to let these compromises take hold because these patterns can become the norm in a relationship and hard to break. Young adults often make hasty choices to initially satisfy their partner, not knowing these actions set the tone for the rest of the relationship.

Physical intimacy is where so many young couples get themselves in trouble. Women are usually in the position to compromise the most. Often out of low self-esteem and peer pressure, young women will succumb to their partner and give in to demands they might not be comfortable without contraception or protection.

Unfortunately, not all contraceptive choices are safe for women. Sex for these couples, especially at the early stage, is often about selfish satisfaction, and men are often willing to let their partner utilize any drug possible that will facilitate this early intimacy. An emotional bond and concern for each other’s well-being is simply absent at this stage. Unfortunately, this pressure to use unsafe forms of contraception can have serious, even fatal side effects.

Sadly, sex education in this country doesn’t do enough and rarely teaches teens about responsible physical relationships. The U.S. government’s funding goes towards abstinence-focused education; the entire teen population still engaging in sex is disregarded. This abstinence education is almost useless to these teens, as it fails to address questions and concerns they might have. Proponents of this education feel that open discussion of birth control and safe sex would legitimize the physical act. Instead, they feel more comfortable not addressing statistics, like the ever-growing rise in teen sexuality.

According to this legislation, programs receiving this funding which was extended by 5 years must "teach that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems," the Department of Health and Human Services explains. However, opponents to this legislation promoting evidence-based sex education are concerned that $250 million is going to state programs that haven’t shown effectiveness.

While attempting to provide teens with the safest, most useful information, it actually might prompt more negative results associated with sex than good. With the government renewing its abstinence-focused education programs this year, unbiased information for teens still choosing to be sexually active might be absent in schools. However, this lack of information about adult sexuality is best exemplified in the most vital areas of discussion such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. While pregnancy rates in this country have decreased in the last few years, the spread of sexually transmitted disease hasn’t. Many birth control methods, while relatively effective at preventing pregnancy, can falsely imply complete protection to all outcomes of casual sex, including sexually transmitted disease.

Instead of responsible institutions, companies out for profit have largely replaced sex education for teens, pandering to the sexually active through various forms of media. It appears these companies have found a solid market too, embracing that portion of the teen population turned away by federal legislation.

Oral contraceptive companies, especially, have been recognized as feeders of unreliable and dangerous information to teens and young women. Misconceptions about oral contraceptives are easily understood after examining the marketing done for these products. Despite these revelations about this drug manufacturer’s credibility, by far the worst side effect of this drug is the serious physical results it has on women. These hormone-altering pills lead to permanent side effects, like the possibility of infertility. An example of one is the growing number of complaints against oral contraceptives, exemplified by pending Yaz lawsuits, indicates that the short-term safety of such birth control options is far from guaranteed. Users of this particular product have seen serious, and sometimes fatal, side effects including heart attack, stroke, blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, and gallbladder disease. However, because schools either refuse to recognize or are anything but abstinence as a legitimate lifestyle, these facts are never discussed with teens.

With so little being done to educate teens and young people about responsible sexuality, it rests with parents and other role models to provide responsible lifestyle information. Emotional attachment, especially early in relationships, can lead to dangerous compromises with lasting results. However, the sooner we take the lead as role models and address those teens that need attention the most, the quicker we’ll see the resolution of dangerous national trends, like sexually transmitted disease infection and dangerous contraceptive use. Then we can let young people discover the beauty and joy of love in the safest way possible.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Let Freedom Rain

This is a piece I wrote on election night 2008. A client of mine has a 16x20 frame of this piece hanging up in her foyer to keep her inspired. Be blessed and let's stand behind our President!

Let Freedom Rain

History is HIS-STORY
God’s breath that created everything we see
Obama said you want to be on the right side of history
And be a leader by showing your people what you’ve built and not what you can destroy
Dr. King said he wants his children to live in a country
Where they are judged on the content of their character and not the complexion of their skin
Now is the time for change
No more time for affliction nor pain
Hatred has overcome our world
Blanketing miles of cities, states and nations
Time to take action
Grasping our heritage
And what love is left
Are we going to lead our children into a life of mass destruction?
Or step back and start the process of reconstruction
We have too many foes called
Demoralization, racism, classism
All alive and known to well
Babies are having babies
Dropping out of school
Unemployment lines wrapped around the corner
People were given pink slips and given the boot like they were somebody’s fool
What are we to do?
Take back our children
Learn a new trade
Start a new business, fulfill your dreams and not let them fade away
March with our fists raised in the air
Demonstrating to those worldwide that we do care
Revitalize our neighborhoods
Take the broken rocks and pebbles that represent what we’ve been through to rebuild
Our communities
Reestablish dignity
Everlasting fight for freedom
Let it rain…let freedom rain
Of debt collectors, bad financial decisions and savings down to zero
Let the rain wash all of that away as we reeducate ourselves to do better
Smoothing out the path for future generations
Rain pour on us to unite what was once divided
Nations in this together and not against one another
Free from those slave masters currently wanting to see us in fear
Torrential down pour as I watch the tsunami take place in my life
Instead of it doing damage
It has left my self esteem, internal being pure and whole
Freedom has rained on us
New leader, new vision in sight
I can see now…following his footsteps
As he is following those who came before him
The Martins, Malcolm’s, Medgar’s, Shirley’s, Harriets and all
Pour on me a freedom
An experience that I have never imagined
Freedom rain….on me

Written By
Serena T. Wills

Copyright Serena Wills 2008

Monday, November 1, 2010

Always There

Dedicated to Apa and Alexis Garay! Your union this weekend inspired me and as you both were doing the toast I wrote this piece at the wedding reception (gotta love technology). Alexis baby you did it...I've known you since I was in 4th grade and we were riding on the "Russ Bus" to our after school program to take swim classes! I'm so happy for you and may our friendship continue to flourish throughout the years. May God bless the both of you!

Always There
Waiting in the wings
Humming bird singing
Praises that I reconnected with you
Days, months and years have gone by
And I won't lie
As I tell you that I've had my eye
On what I saw as my future
Baby I would have had it no other way
As we lay
In unison tonight
I've been your future for years
Have even shed happy tears
Thinking of the night we would unite in holy matrimony
Being my inspiration
Memories glistening
Remembering our long past
God has granted permission for us to last
Many years to come
Prayers, answers and clarity have come along
Visions of you is that picture perfect song
Always there
To bare all that I've been through
You've been my friend since the days of school
Through ups and downs
The bad and the good
Knowing deep in my heart we would
Become one
I will always be there
Not a fair weather friend
I'm the divine partner God designed that will be with you until the end
Love as pure as a birds flight in the clear sky
Full moon hanging on a crisp night
Sunlight as it shines its rays
Looking forward to the many days
Journeys ahead
Of us lovingly dancing down a beautiful path
In unity

Congrats Apa and Alexis Garay

October 31st, 2010
Written at the Waldorf Astoria Towers