That's it, just what seems -- to me, anyway -- to be a relatively simple request I'm putting out to the universe today, because it's something that comes up almost constantly in work and discussions around sexuality, something where I've grown impatient waiting for change.
I'm asking what I'm asking as an advocate for survivors, as a survivor myself and as someone deeply invested in sex being something truly beneficial for people, and which we only define as something people willingly, wantedly, choose to do when they do choose it.
Please stop calling rape sex (especially if you are not talking about your own experiences with sexual abuse and assault, where those experiences are things you yourself choose to call sex). Please stop calling rape or other kinds of sexual violence things like "unwanted sex."
Please stop saying someone engaged in sex when you know it was abuse or assault, suspect that it was, or just don't know if everyone involved was consenting. Please stop asking whRead more...
Here’s something that happened to me last month: I got asked my preferred gender pronoun.
For those who aren’t familiar, this is a thing that tends to happen a lot at queer-positive conferences and gatherings these days. When you go around the room at the beginning of a session, you’ll say your name, something about yourself, maybe answer an ice-breaker question, and state your preferred gender pronoun.
It can be he/him, she/her, they/their, or one of the newer invented substitutes like ze or hir. Or, you can say you’d prefer to be referred to by your name.
I first encountered this tradition in 2011, I think. Maybe 2010. Most likely it was at a United States Student Association conference. The not-so-radical-anymore idea behind it is that respecting people’s gender identity is important, and volunteering your identity can be awkward, and misgendering someone is hurtful. So rather than guessing, or asking individual people to speak up if their preferences are non-standard or non-obvioRead more...
It occurs to me that the "we both forgot to use condoms" thing that comes up often enough is a bit like suggesting that a person forgot to wear pants.
For a whole day.
And didn't notice.
They got home, and after hours of being out in the cold or the sun, at work, getting lunch, taking the bus back and forth, only when they saw their pants laying on the bed did they go, "Whoah! I haven't had pants on ALL DAY! I had NO IDEA WHATSOEVER!"
Just think about it. Seriously. Think about it. If in doubt, try The Great Pantsless Experiment and see how long you go without noticing.
Here's a thing to know: chances are AWFULLY good that at least one person in that situation, and certainly the person who would be WEARING the condom realizes they're not wearing a condom. Probably right from the start, but if not then pretty darn shortly thereafter.
That person is highly unlikely not to feel any difference at all, because even though various kinds of sex can feel just as awesome with condomsRead more...
I don't celebrate most holidays, but I've always been a fan of New Year's. New Year's Day, actually, more than New Year's Eve. I relish fresh starts and new beginnings.
I even like New Year's resolutions. I know, they're cliche, and that much of the time, when we make them, we don't stick with them or know where that list is come February. But even just the practice of taking stock of where we've been and where we're at, thinking about what we want for ourselves and our lives in a new year; thinking out or writing down ideas or mantras to help support us in living the life we want? I'm a big fan of that kind of self-evaluation, meditation and positive affirmation.
However, so much of the time, the leading words in resolution lists look a whole lot like these:
Obviously, none of that's exactly the language of shiny beginnings. They're negatives, rather than positives. But even more so, those areRead more...
This blog post is part of a series here at Scarleteen profiling young people worldwide who are activists in some way in the fields of sexuality, sex education and sexual health.
Patsy Niklas is someone I consider myself privileged to know in person. Until recently, she worked as the program manager for YEAH (Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS) in Melbourne, coordinating volunteer training and taking care of the organisation's social media.
Now she works with the Foundation for Young Australians on their Young People Without Borders project, helping young Australians get involved in volunteering and activism. In addition to all that, she hosts a weekly show about sex and relationships on Melbourne's youth-run radio station, SYN. You can follow the awesomeness that is Patsy on twitter at @apatsy.
(Note: This interview was done while Patsy was still working for YEAH, so it focuses on her work there rather than her current work with FYA.)
What is it that got you started doing the work tRead more...
If you're someone who takes part in end-of-year giving, we'd like to ask you to consider giving to Scarleteen.
As you may already know, Scarleteen was one of the first online resources for young people about sex and sexuality, and remains the leading, most visited online resource expressly created and maintained for young people to get extensive and excellent sex and sexuality information, education and support.
We provide opt-in, youth-driven content and direct services every year through articles that don't shortcut, but give young people the depth they ask for, advice columns done with the aim of support and education, not entertainment; a staffed SMS service and fully moderated message boards available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, where young people talk to real people with the skills to do so well, not templates, machines or some random yahoo on Yahoo; an ever-growing database of referrals to direct, in-person services and to other credible websites or organizations; in-perRead more...
You were so tired you literally fell asleep in the middle of sex, leaving your partner all, "Umm? Hello?" You tried to do something sexual you thought was super-sexy but the other person thought was weird, silly or downright gross. You were pretty sure you were rubbing someone's clitoris until they mentioned, and only afterward, that you were nowhere near when you thought you were right on target. Something one partner of yours thought was the hottest thing ever turned out to be something that, when you tried it with another person, bored the pants not even off of them, but right back onto them. Your biggest turn-on is someone else's buzzkill. Your idea of what your own sexy is doesn't match up to someone else's. Your earnest sexuality right now is someone else's tired sexual cliche, or a phase in their own sexuality they're now past.
In any of these situations or many others like them, you might feel like you were bad in bed or someone else might think that about you. Despite how cruRead more...
Do you feel anxious about the idea of getting tested for sexually transmitted infections and diseases? Some of our readers certainly do.
Some never had adequate sex-education and did not realize that sexual activity with a partner -- and not just anal or vaginal intercourse -- can pose STI risks in the first place. Some are not sure where to go for testing or how to ask for it. Others feel uncomfortable discussing STIs with a partner or potential partner. We get it: this stuff can be hard, and it is usually not the kind of thing where someone just takes us by the hand and leads us through.
This is why we're doing this series at Scarleteen. In it, some of our volunteers share their own stories of how they deal with different aspects of STI testing and reproductive healthcare.
I was going to be taking my STI test with a friend today, with the idea we would both get tested and I could've written in the style of a comedy bromance movie like "Dude. Where's My Car?"Read more...
…was the major overall theme yesterday in our anonymous texting service’s inbox here at Scarleteen!
Was some misleading info about dry humping + pregnancy starring in some big TV show we must have missed last night?
Seriously though, dry humping is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.
It’s “dry” because it does not involve the potential for the exchange of bodily fluids.
But just because we get this kind of question so often, it seemed best for a volunteer (Hey, I’m Claire!)
to try to make sure everyone ever is down with the real deets on dry humping.
The main question: CAN I GET PREGNANT FROM DRY-HUMPING?!
The quick answer here is no!
The just-a-bit-longer answer I know you all want anyway will be illustrated
in a collection of super scientific charts and venn diagrams below.
THE REAL DRY HUMPING DEAL:
in order for there to be a risk of pregnancRead more...
This blog post is the first in a series here at Scarleteen profiling young people worldwide who are activists in some way in the fields of sexuality, sex education and sexual health.
Jessica Danforth is a one-person whirlwind for change. The 26-year-old founder of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, with headquarters in Toronto and Oneida, Wisconsin, she travels around North America and internationally advocating for culturally appropriate sex education in indigenous communities. A self-described “multiracial Two Spirit Indigenous hip-hop feminist reproductive justice freedom fighter,” she’s the executive director of NYSHN, the first chair of the National Indigenous HIV/AIDS Council, a North American co-chair of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and has somehow found the time in her seriously packed schedule to edit two books and pick up several awards for her work along the way. I managed to catch up with her during anRead more...