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Author Topic: Desire for unprotected sex is ruining my sex life
IndigoEyes
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My boyfriend and I are both in our early 20s and have been in a loving, committed relationship for over 2 years now. We were both virgins when we decided to have sex together and since then have had a wonderful sexual relationship.

Previously, we were careful to use condoms every time we had sex, but after we accidentally ended up practicing the withdrawal method one night, it has become more frequent in our sex sessions. We will often begin without protection and then he will put on a condom before he finishes. I know... I know... I should know better and, rationally, I suppose I do.

What is worse is that lately I have desperately wanted him to finish inside me, so much so that when he reaches to put a condom on (whether we have it on from the beginning or he puts it on later), I lose interest in sex. It's like flipping a switch and I can't seem to get so become interested again. It's almost as if when the possibility of pregnancy is out of the equation, my mind and body just give up. This overwhelming want has become all I can focus on during sex and it is really putting a damper on my sex life with my boyfriend. It is enough to make me just not want to deal with sex at all!

It feels like my biological brain and my rational brain are constantly battling over this issue. I feel awful for admitting that I feel this way. I feel completely guilty for wanting something that I know we shouldn't do. There is still so much, both in our lives as individuals and our life together, that we want to accomplish and the rational part of my brain knows darn well what the effects of a pregnancy would do to those plans. Yet, there is still some deep-rooted part of my brain that feels this intense biological urge. Even reading the "I Want It NOW!" article on Scarleteen isn't enough to quiet my biological brain during sex. It doesn't necessarily want babies (which I know might sound odd), but it wants to be pregnant. It wants it now and it wants it badly. I can always find some excuse to convince myself that unprotected sex is a good idea. I suppose this is normal. All those hormones and things are there to encourage the need to procreate and propagate the species. It is just becoming increasingly difficult to deal with.

I have confided in my boyfriend and he has been extremely supportive even if he doesn't fully understand. We have had some long discussions about this, but are unsure of how to move past my mental block. (One practical avenue that we are pursuing is obtaining some other form of birth control that I can use to prevent pregnancy, but I have had some very unpleasant side effects from using the pill and am wary about how to try again. By the way, this site is very useful in learning about other methods and I have used this as a resource in my search! Thank you!)

I suppose I am just looking for a little support or guidance to overcome the mental aspects of this problem and how to make this feeling go away. I would like to make sex with my boyfriend a fulfilling experience again instead of feeling distracted and disappointed afterward.

Has anyone else felt this way? How do I get my rational brain to stay present during sex instead of having my biological brain completely take over?

[ 06-14-2011, 02:22 AM: Message edited by: IndigoEyes ]

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Heather
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I think the first thing that might help is to avoid conceptualizing your brain in the way that you are. I'm not sure what you're thinking a "biological brain" is, but what I do know is that we've all only got one brain. Sometimes your feelings and thoughts, or things we want, are in conflict, but that's not about parts of our brains being at war with each other. I feel like framing it like they are is probably not going to be very helpful to you.

I want to make sure I'm clear on what you're expressing here: are you saying that your desire to have sex unprotected is expressly -- or even only -- about a desire to try and become pregnant?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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IndigoEyes
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I think I have developed this way of thinking about it as a way to explain it, not only to myself (so it's not just a big mess of thoughts in my head), but to my boyfriend. I was trying to make the distinction between the two very conflicting wants that I am experiencing (getting pregnant and knowing that we shouldn't right now) and what kind of thought processes they are coming from. I was speaking of a "biological brain" as the more basic sexual instincts that are driven by hormones, etc... and are maybe not so well rooted in fully reasoned thought.

I think this whole dichotomy that I have created to explain this has also come from me feeling a little ashamed of this. If my want to get pregnant and have unprotected sex comes from a place that is a little out of my control and is instinctually ingrained, then, in my mind, I don't sound as crazy and baby hungry. I can blame it on something else and I can't help it. If I also express that I have a rational side that knows this is not the best to do, then I don't completely freak my boyfriend out. He knows that I am not going to do anything shady and that I have our best interests at heart.

I hope that made some sense.

Yeah, I too know we only have one brain. I think you're right that putting these "at war with each other" probably isn't very helpful to me. By doing that I have created all of this unnecessary internal tension. I'll try not to conceptualize this the way I have been. It's hard to change the way you think about things, you know? I am a major overthinker. Maybe I just need to go with the flow and, in a way, fully own up to how I feel instead of blaming it on hormones.

When I thought about your question without trying to conceptualize as I have done, the long and the short of it is yes. This is where this is coming from. My desire to have unprotected sex with my boyfriend is mainly fueled by a desire to become pregnant.

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Heather
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One thing to know is that our sexual desires are actually not understood to be mostly driven by hormones. The hormones in our bodies play a part, but just a part. That said, sexual desires -- when that is what the deal is, rather than say, the desire to create a pregnancy, which is often not particularly sexual -- are in a lot of ways not rational, but that's not because the whole brain isn't involved, or because hormones are the drivers of sexuality.

I don't think you need to feel ashamed of this. Mind, I don't think shame is helpful or beneficial no matter what, but it's not like there's anything bad or wrong with having a desire to become pregnant. That's a very common desire, and it's not like that desire harms anyone, it doesn't. Of course, if and when people choose to pursue that desire when they know that creating a pregnancy isn't something they all really want, can handle, or would be best for them -- or a kid -- that's something else. But I still don't think any of this is anything to be ashamed of.

So, if I'm getting you right, this isn't about wanting to parent so much as wanting to be pregnant? If I've got that right, want to maybe talk about what you think being pregnant would offer you? Why that's something you want and have a desire for? What do you think the experience of being pregnant would be like? Or, what does becoming pregnant mean to you: is that about proving anything to yourself or anyone else, for instance?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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IndigoEyes
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Yes, you've got that right. When I think about this I am focused more on being pregnant than taking care of the child that would result from that pregnancy. My boyfriend and I both want to become parents someday down the line, but right now my feelings are more geared toward the pregnancy itself.

I'm not sure there is one obvious answer as to what being pregnant would mean to me. I can say that when I think about pregnancy I am mainly focused on the excitement of it all and how the relationship with my boyfriend would just deepen. Regardless of how we chose to move forward if we ever found out we were pregnant, I think the most appealing thing to me is the fact that we would need to make a decision together. It's not that I think that I need to get pregnant for him to stay with me. We have an amazing relationship and I know that he isn't just going to bolt on me when things get rough. I know he will be there to see that we make the best decision given our circumstances. Maybe it is the magnitude of the decision and the consideration involved that makes it more appealing, as if somehow being presented with a tough situation, going through it together, and coming out the other side will build a stronger connection between us. It's a little complex when I start to think about it, and I hope that was clear enough to understand.

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Heather
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So, hearing what you have to say about your expectations of pregnancy, do you think a little reality-checking around that might help?

If so, I can see some things you're listing here that are either not realistic (or can and often do go another way), or just iffy. I'd be happy to talk about them.

But I think you also touched on some big things here that might offer you some other, sounder opportunities to get the same kinds of things you'd be looking for in pregnancy, so I'd be happy to brainstorm around that with you, too.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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IndigoEyes
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Yeah, I can see the flaws in this kind of thinking. I know that when faced with a decision as large as pregnancy, that many young couples will probably grow apart instead of growing together. Maybe I am being too optimistic? Maybe I think because of our age (one of us has recently graduated college and the other is a year behind) that things will be different? Even so, yeah, a reality check might be in order and I can do that. This goes back to the conflict that I spoke about earlier. The reality of the situation is what keeps me from actually pursuing this. I rationally understand that our case might not be the ideal picture in my head, but what I am more concerned about is that this conflict is enough to impact the sex that I have with my boyfriend.

I am interested to explore some of the other "sounder opportunities" that you mentioned. Do you have any ready suggestions?

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Heather
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You got it! I have to end my workday now and eat some dinner, but I'll pop back here first thing in the morning to go through some of this with you.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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IndigoEyes
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Sure thing. Enjoy your dinner. [Smile]
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Starfire&Shadows
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Also, maybe brainstorming -

"are there any other ways that you and him could take responsibility for something *together*, something that would require the two of you working together to make someone else's (or you guys's) life better"

might come up with another way.

--------------------
We are all made of Star Stuff...
-Carl Sagan

...Their eyes beheld, first of all things, the stars of heaven.
-Silmarillion

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IndigoEyes
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Hey, thanks for jumping in Starfire&Shadows! That's an interesting way of phrasing it.

I like the idea of us working towards something to make our lives better, a planning for our future sort of thing. I'm still coming up a bit short as to any concrete thing we could do, though. We have both expressed wanting a future together, but it seems that all the plans that go with that which I envision us working together on (moving in together, marriage, kids, etc...) are so far away for us. I wonder if there is anything that still has the same sentiment of commitment and collaboration, but is more appropriate for where we are in life right now. Maybe there is something we can do now that can help make these things more of a reality for us in the future? At this point in our lives, finishing our education is the most important thing that I can think of to better our future, and, while we encourage and support each other, our areas of study are so far apart that this is way more of a solo journey than one we can really work on together.

I don't know. I'm just kind of thinking out loud here.

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Starfire&Shadows
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Just brainstorming/thinking out loud here, too.

Maybe you could start living together short periods at a time. Like going over to eachother's houses/dorms/whatever for a day or even a night. And cooking, doing tasks to improve the place. How would you like it to be that it isn't now? Doing some of the work that synching yourselves up to live together takes. But doing it now.

Also, if there's a hobby you both do, doing something together. Or if there's something that you can do for someone else in your life who really wants it...

Cooking and cleaning (and making some gifts) has given me a kind of closeness that is really different. Not necessarily superior, but different. So I'm just brainstorming from there. So I'm probably missing stuff.

--------------------
We are all made of Star Stuff...
-Carl Sagan

...Their eyes beheld, first of all things, the stars of heaven.
-Silmarillion

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IndigoEyes
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Yeah, we try to do as much of those things as we can. Sometimes time and our circumstances work against us. It's funny that you mention cooking because that is something that we have done together. We've gathered up a few good favorite recipes over time and we usually cook on anniversaries and other special days for us. Oh, and I wish we could spend nights together. For reasons that I won't get into now, that just isn't possible.

I don't know. I feel like because we try to do these things often and I still feel this way, that maybe I should be looking at another solution too. I like your thinking, regardless. There was a time when we started doing these kind of couple-oriented things that it made us feel very connected, but now they seem almost commonplace. I think my view of the significance of these activities has changed over time. Maybe if I view it in a different light or try to go about them a different way then that will make a difference. Hm... but how? Certainly food for thought.

Thanks for brainstorming with me.

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Starfire&Shadows
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Also - we can do things for people as if they were our kids even if they're not young. We're constantly either being helped up in small ways or doing the same for others. And a family (of 2 people even) can be part of a community going all the way out to the entire world.

And one person can be an apprentice, servant, craftsman etc. working towards a purpose, and so can 2 people or a group of people. (which doesn't have to be an obvious one)

And I kind of hate how colleges tend to ignore all that. And not make any attempt to connect back with the world after cutting you off.

Wow... that was a bunch of brainstorm/rambling. Gods, hope it makes some sense.

--------------------
We are all made of Star Stuff...
-Carl Sagan

...Their eyes beheld, first of all things, the stars of heaven.
-Silmarillion

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Heather
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quote:
I know that when faced with a decision as large as pregnancy, that many young couples will probably grow apart instead of growing together. Maybe I am being too optimistic? Maybe I think because of our age (one of us has recently graduated college and the other is a year behind) that things will be different? Even so, yeah, a reality check might be in order and I can do that. This goes back to the conflict that I spoke about earlier. The reality of the situation is what keeps me from actually pursuing this. I rationally understand that our case might not be the ideal picture in my head, but what I am more concerned about is that this conflict is enough to impact the sex that I have with my boyfriend.
Well, pregnancy isn't just a decision, it's a process. Deciding what to do about a pregnancy is only one tiny part of the whole thing, and one usually very early on. Then you have the whole of the 40-ish weeks of being pregnant to deal with, and everything that comes afterwards. If you're not terminating the pregnancy or doing an adoption, that includes parenting a whole other person for the rest of their life.

Being pregnant is rarely a walk in the park: not for your body or your mind. There is no bigger event a body can go through, and the idea of the blissed-out pregnant woman is a cultural myth not written by women who have been pregnant. That's not to say it's non-stop hell for everyone, it rarely is that way, but it's a struggle for most, physically and emotionally, and it's usually quite trying on a relationship, before and after. And how old the two of you are won't change that.

So, yes, some couples do grow apart, for a bunch of reasons, but one thing that often comes up is that even when partners are super-cooperative, pregnancy isn't really a couple thing, because it's really only happening to one person.

quote:
I can say that when I think about pregnancy I am mainly focused on the excitement of it all and how the relationship with my boyfriend would just deepen. Regardless of how we chose to move forward if we ever found out we were pregnant, I think the most appealing thing to me is the fact that we would need to make a decision together. It's not that I think that I need to get pregnant for him to stay with me. We have an amazing relationship and I know that he isn't just going to bolt on me when things get rough. I know he will be there to see that we make the best decision given our circumstances. Maybe it is the magnitude of the decision and the consideration involved that makes it more appealing, as if somehow being presented with a tough situation, going through it together, and coming out the other side will build a stronger connection between us.
Again, while for sure, when someone wants to be a parent, and feels ready for that, pregnancy can be exciting, but that excitement is only part of the picture. And some days, no one feels excited: some days everyone involved feels exhausted or freaked out or panicked, what have you. Both people can feel that way, but the person who is pregnant can feel that even more often. It can also feel very isolating to be pregnant: even when a partner (who isn't pregnant) is working to be in it with you, it's pretty easy for that to feel a little false or forced when you're the one whose back feels like it's breaking, whose breasts are killing them, and who is living with your head in the toilet.

I keep hearing you focusing on this as being about making a decision together. It might help to really try and understand and remember that making a decision about a pregnancy isn't the end of dealing with a pregnancy, even if and when that decision is to terminate. Pregnancy isn't just something intellectual or emotional, and it's something with lifelong effects on you and your body, effects that stick around LONG after a decision. Know what I mean?

quote:
I am interested to explore some of the other "sounder opportunities" that you mentioned. Do you have any ready suggestions?
Starfire&Shadows seems to have gotten a nice start here, but what I hear you saying you want out of pregnancy actually seems less likely to be something you get from pregnancy -- especially without a host of things you're not accounting for -- than some other things. I hear you saying that you want to make a big decision together, you want to go through a challenge together, you want to do something which requires a shared commitment, and which brings you closer together.

The first possibility that comes to mind about this for me is a big volunteering project you jointly do together, one that's really grueling. You know that Habitat for Humanity and other organizations are still doing huge volunteer projects to rebuild in New Orleans, right? What about doing something like that? That's tough work, involves a lot of cooperation, is a big thing to commit to together, and choosing to do something like that is a big decision to make together. Or heck, what about both trying to join the Peace Corps after college, something you could start planning for right now? That's about as huge as it gets, and that's great work that does amazing things.

Alternately, how about embarking on a big creative project together, like writing a book together?

Or, maybe you step up one of those other big plans you have, like cohabitating sooner rather than later?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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IndigoEyes
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quote:
...but one thing that often comes up is that even when partners are super-cooperative, pregnancy isn't really a couple thing, because it's really only happening to one person.
Wow, that really cut to the core. Given my unrealistic expectations, I guess it goes without saying that I hadn't thought about it that way. That might sound a bit silly. I know that I would be the one to experience pregnancy, but I never really focused on what that would be like for me in those moments when I'm alone. It's not as if I could just stop being pregnant when I leave his house or when he leaves mine. With or without him I would still need to go through my day, right? Thinking about those moments when i would be alone (emotionally, physically, what have you) bring up the complete opposite emotions of what I expressed I wanted to feel. I want to have those lovely connected moments, but, framing it in this way, I can see that pregnancy probably will be, as you said, isolating at times. I didn't think that pregnancy was something to be taken lightly, but remembering the effects that this would have on me sans boyfriend REALLY gives more gravity to the situation.

WOW, total paradigm shift in thinking there. THANK YOU!! That is definitely a major take home message for me! Hell, the entire thing was a great take home message!


As for something we could do together, cohabitation, even if we would LOVE to start, just isn't in the cards for us right now due to monetary reasons. Without a steady source of income, those plans are pretty much at a standstill and the date for that to happen is pretty much just a big question mark. One step at a time. The starving college students first need jobs.

Ooh, I liked your other suggestions about a creative or volunteer project. Those would suit us well, actually. I think the volunteer project goes back to what Starfire&Shadows was saying about "working together to make someone else's life better". That is definitely something worth looking into. Are there any other organizations that you know of besides Habitat for Humanity that I could show my boyfriend or where we could go to explore such organizations together?

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Heather
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You're so welcome! One thing to also bear in mind is that, for a pregnant person, even when their partner IS right there with them, and even being supportive, they can still feel very alone. It's not like pregnant people don't frequently experience annoyance with even well-meaning partners who say it's a "team" event, when their teammate isn't the one dealing with all the huge physical and emotional changes. (I personally have a memory of telling a totally-great partner of mine who was being fantastic about a pregnancy that even smelling him for a while there was making me feel homicidal, and if he said one more time how we were in it together, I might consider vomiting on him next instead of in the toilet so we could even come close to being truly together in the experience.)

In terms of what you said about finances and moving in together, those limitations would be another big thing, then, to keep at the forefront of your mind when inclined to try babymaking. Raising a kind, even paying for all the costs of a pregnancy, costs WAY more than a security deposit and monthly rent on a place, after all. In fact, those costs would be part of the cost of starting a family, but only one of many costs.

With volunteering, why don't you give me an idea of the kinds of causes you both feel strongly about? Once I have that, I can probably give you some good orgs to start with.

[ 06-16-2011, 12:14 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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IndigoEyes
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I think we would be happy with a number of organizations, actually. I have some experience helping with special needs adults and have also volunteered in nursing homes. They're smaller scale projects than ones to rebuild New Orleans, but I have found them to be fulfilling. Hm, thinking larger scale here, are there any organizations that we can look at which are helping those affected by the recent tornadoes? I'm not sure how much traveling we will be able to do with our limited funds, but maybe something that we both can do to help out here?

One thing that I think he would definitely be on board with is something related to music education. Are there any organizations that maybe relate to that?

When I bring it up to my boyfriend maybe he and I can brainstorm a bit more.

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Heather
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I'll do some poking around for you on these tomorrow! [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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IndigoEyes
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That sounds wonderful. Thank you!
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Kawani3792
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I thought I might poke my head in...
A quick google search brought this up, and it appears to be headquartered in LA, which at least is in the right state, although I don't know where you are in relation (don't need to know, personal info isn't a big deal).
http://www.etmla.org/how_to_help/volunteer
Ah! "Volunteer Music Education California" brought these up
http://www.mfm.org/
http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/org49051.jsp
http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/org59091.jsp
That first one looks great, it trains people to teach music to children, one half-hour class a week.

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Heather
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Kawani: you're so awesome for picking this up!

IndigoEyes: I'm so sorry that I spaced this out!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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IndigoEyes
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No worries, Heather. [Smile] My boyfriend and I have also been brainstorming to find some projects we can do together so the conversation hasn't stopped there.

Thanks so much for the suggestions, Kawani! I hadn't come across some of these when I searched.

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Kawani3792
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I've heard that google realizes what area (like country and/or vague state region) you're in and tailors the top results to that, so I might get a different result than you?
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Starfire&Shadows
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It does seem to give me things in my region an awful lot, even when I haven't typed in any city or state name. So yeah, I would try it from your computer too.

--------------------
We are all made of Star Stuff...
-Carl Sagan

...Their eyes beheld, first of all things, the stars of heaven.
-Silmarillion

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