PL3 Achieving a More Holistic Norm for Sexual Health

The sexual aspect of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) has for too long been silenced or minimized in efforts to prevent STDs. Yet, sexual themes dominate our popular culture, especially in the media. Scientists and advocates debate the degree of impact of such portrayals on behaviors. Questions such as, “Does “sexy” sex in the media lead to poor sexual health?” or “Why is sex considered by many to be a dirty word?” As STD prevention efforts attempt to reframe prevention efforts to promote sexual health as a critical aspect of preventing disease, such questions must be addressed. To begin to address such challenges, this session will focus on the relationships between sexual socialization as influenced especially by the media, internalized sexuality resulting from individual beliefs and attitudes, and sexual behaviors that lead to disease transmission. Examples of media messages about sexuality as well as data about the prevalence of such messages will provide critical background. With this context and influence, research will be presented about how people think about sexuality and sexual acts (e.g., objectification of sex, respectful/connecting sex). Finally, the relationship between internalized sexuality and behaviors that can lead to (or prevent) STDs will be discussed. Suggestions about how to change negative cultural messages in society about sex as well as approaches to address unhealthy internalized feelings about sexuality will be offered as critical components of an STD prevention strategy.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010: 8:30 AM-9:30 AM
International Ballroom (M2) (Omni Hotel)
8:30 AM
Achieving a More Holistic Norm for Sexual Health
Eileen Zurbriggen, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
9:30 AM
Possibilities for Moving Forward
Kevin Fenton, MD, PhD, The National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC, Atlanta, GA
See more of: Symposium