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Author Topic: why doesnt ANYTHING work?
georgiexx
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Okay so the advice you gave me before was really helpful and made me realise some stuff. But i still feel so down about it all. Heather, you suggested that because I never feel anything sexually that I try masturbating some more, just to practise. I have been doing that. but it really does NOTHING for me. I even brought a vibrator. I used it and I was literally sitting there like "so is this supposed to feel like something?" it just felt like a vibration down there, not good not bad, just... nothing. surely that is not normal? not even a vibrator makes me feel good. argh. sorry I keep going on about this. I havent yet been to the doctors about seeing a psycho-sexual counsellor because I need to get some courage to, (i get nervous about these things)but i am going to.
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Heather
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Happy to talk more with you about this.

I still think you really need to take the step to seek out that counseling, okay?

But in the meantime, let's talk about that vibrator use. When you tried it, were you only using it when you were ALREADY, before you even turned it on, very excited and aroused?

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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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georgiexx
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well, i dunno, a little bit. i dont really get aroused or excited when im on my own, so i guess not
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Heather
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Then no.

If and when we are not aroused or excited, then often yes, stimulus to the genitals won't feel bad or good, just meh, or like not much at all. In order for those areas to feel very sensitive and especially pleasurable, we've got to already have things happening in our brains, and usually already be sexually excited.

The parts, all by themselves, NEED our brains and central nervous systems to really feel things: that's how they work. So, someone can go mad trying every kind of stimulation possible, but if they don't have sexual interest or excitement when they do, it's very typical for whatever they try to be just whatever, or even to feel like nothing at all.

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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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georgiexx
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okay. what confuses me is, in my head i really want to do stuff. i fantasise about sex and masturbation, and i imagine it feeling good. i think about it all the time. but nothing happens down there, so it doesnt work. im probably just repeating all the things i've said before, im sorry.
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Heather
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There's wanting to want something or wanting to feel something, but then there is actually wanting something and actually feeling something. Those are very different things. Do you know what I mean?

And we can't make ourselves feel something we're just not feeling simply by wanting to most of the time, especially with sex. We can't make ourselves want something that we simply don't want, or only want to want because we think we should or think we're missing out by not wanting a thing.

You don't have to be sorry, I just think that until you get some good help around what may or may not be going on with you emotionally and psychologically around sex and sexuality, you're going to drive yourself bananas, and potentially wind up with even MORE frustration and baggage around this than you have already. I feel the same way about you setting yourself up to be in any sexual relationships right now, too. I think that is only likely to make all of this worse and/or feel worse.

Now, if you do not CARE about not having or experiencing genital sex, and are cool with not feeling that desire and just choose to nix those kinds of sex, I totally support you in that and would then not see any need to seek out help, since you'd have that sorted. But if you are -- as you clearly seem to be -- very troubled by this, and feel you do want these things but have barriers you're just not identifying or knowing how to deal with, then that's something else, something you need help with.

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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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Heather
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georgiexx: By the way, if you want to talk about what a life and sexuality can look like for someone who simply doesn't feel any desire for genital sex, if you think doing that would be helpful to you, we can do that.

Mind, I'm not sure you never will, or that this isn't about some psych/emotional/interpersonal issues, but that is also always a possibility, that you're just someone who does not feel those desires, and if that should be the case, it's not like life is over. I think maybe even talking about that a little might make all of this feel less scary and limiting to 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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georgiexx
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I dont want a life without sex. and i do have desire for it! it just doesnt work. and even if i wasnt bothered about it, how would i be in a relationship? it wouldnt be one, it would just be friendship.
the idea that i might just be someone who 'isnt a sexual person' scares me to be honest. i have a boyfriend and i want to be sexual with him, thats how i want to express myself, but its not working.

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Heather
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I think it's important to recognize the difference between not (yet, but also ever, if and when that's the case) enjoying or wanting (not wanting to want) some kinds of sex and someone just not being sexual. Genital sex is not all there is to sexuality nor is it the core of sexuality for a lot of people.

Do you get what I'm saying? It sounds to me like you are defining sex and being sexual as only genital.

We can talk about how people can be in romantic relationships or other committed relationships that aren't sexual if you want, because some folks DO have those relationships and are in those relationships.

(Can I also ask that you try and manage your anger and frustration in our talks? It's seeming like it's starting to seep out here, so I want to remind you that however you're feeling or are not feeling isn't anything I'm responsible for or can control.)

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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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georgiexx
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I'm sorry, I really didnt mean to come across like that.
I guess I just have to accept that I dont like it, whether I'm happy with that or not. I know it isn't only genital, it just sucks that I can only feel mental pleasure, like I can only have feelings like "this feels loving" and "this is comforting and cosy" i cant have physical pleasure, where i literally feel something nice.
i know other people are in relationships like that, but thats just not for me. and its not that i want to want it. i actually do just want it.
I think that maybe I should just think about other things, because there is nothing anybody else can do, and you have given me plenty of advice, so thank you.
i dunno, i will just have to try and accept it.
thank you for your help

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Heather
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How about you just go for this: you don't like it AS OF NOW. You haven't found genital sex -- again, that's not the only way people can be or are sexual, nor is sexuality either genital or mental, you have this whole body, not just a brain and a vulva -- pleasurable or anything, really TO THIS POINT.

And that is OKAY.

I think if you can even just work to get to THAT place, you're going to feel a lot better and be able to approach this is ways that are much more likely to be workable for you and will feel more comfortable for you.

Then I think you really, really need to seek out that sex therapist, given all you have expressed feeling throughout this whole conversation. I know you say you're reluctant to, but in some ways you've been kind of trying to do that kind of work with me here when I think you will be much better served in an ongoing, in-person therapy environment.

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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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georgiexx
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I feel calmer now. and you are right if i keep working myself up so much about this its not going to help anything.
So I don't like it as of now, an that's just the way it is.
I am going to go to the doctor (a different doctor from usual) tomorrow, and ask about a referral.
I'm sorry once again for bringing it up, sometimes when I think about it too much I get so upset and just, want to talk about it really.
Thank you again, you are so helpful, and this site is amazing, I haven't come across any other sites that are quite like this one. So thanks [Smile]

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Heather
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You do not need to apologize for asking for help. Seriously. [Smile] It's also okay for you to feel however you feel.

Moving forward though, it seems like what the real issue is is how you FEEL about this and how upset you do get, so maybe the next time we do talk we want to talk about that in some more depth?

I think we could probably find some ways to talk that through and address some of that upset that might be helpful, certainly more so than getting stuck on physiology, you know?

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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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georgiexx
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Yes, I do get really upset, but it's never when I'm actually with my boyfriend. When I'm with him I am fine, well I'm fine on the surface, usually I have things on my mind I just don't talk about them. But it's an automatic thing, I act fine, so he thinks I'm fine. But when I come home, I think about stuff, especially this problem and I get so upset, and when I tell my mum she tries to help, and then comments about how I am 'very tense and angry' because she can sense it in how I am talking.
I get very very upset when I see and hear other people my age talking about sex. its everywhere, there are tv programmes about it, basically saying how everyone is doing it and giving you 'sex tips' which won't work with me. Then my friends talk about it, about their experience which are nothing like mine. It's in magazines, on the front covers saying things like "have the best sex this weekend" and other such things, that I look at and think "I'm supposed to like it, everyone else likes it, everyone seems to love it, why don't I?"
and i know that this is silly, because magazines just want to make money, as do tv shows and 'sex sells', but it makes me feel so crap and I cant avoid it!

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Heather
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Well, I'd suggest that it sounds to me, then like part of the issue is you still being with this boyfriend and not talking about this, pretending you're fine when you're not. Bottling up our feelings with someone rarely makes us feel good and usually makes us feel worse.

You know, it might help you to know a few things:
everyone is NOT "doing it"
media "sex tips: don't work for a LOT of people save people in media who benefit from them drawing profit and reads/vies (In fact, some of the folks who make up some of those tips even know they are hooey or that they don't work for them: I know people who've worked for mainstream women's mags who've even told me about first-hand witnessing editorial rooms or groups making up that stuff knowing it was a joke, but having it published as in earnest)
The "have the best sex this weekend" headlines, and such, on mags actually gives you information I think you're interpreting backwards: that's one there and sells mags because SO MANY PEOPLE are NOT having what they think or experience as "the best sex ever"

The idea that everyone loves sex -- or, again, since you are often talking only about some kinds of sex, loves THOSE kinds of sex -- is false. As any sexuality educator or therapist will tell you, LOADS of people are sexually unhappy and dissatisfied. And a good deal of the time, that has to do with people trying to fit their sexuality or sex life into a tiny box that a lot of folks think almost everyone fits in but that, in reality, most people don't fit into, especially over a lifetime.

With the media? I actually do think you can avoid a lot of it. There's a lot that's pretty emotionally toxic in mainstream media, and if and when we want to, we can make some choices that really limit our exposure to it. It's something I've done in my own life a whole lot, and something I feel comfortable saying has very positive effects on how I feel about myself and my life, including my sex life, all of which are often very much outside the tiny box.

If you want to talk about ways to change your media intake or exposure, happy to help.

[ 02-09-2011, 05:42 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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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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georgiexx
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I know it is you are right, and it's not even like he's hard to talk to, I'm just automatically very closed about how I feel, I'm uncomfortable with conversations about deep feelings, which was where I got stuck when I used to go counselling.
That has made me feel a bit better. to be honest I don't even think my boyfriend is all that experienced with it all either. He has had many sexual partners before me, but he still seems not that confident, and also doesnt like trying new things. He wouldn't like sex toys or dressing up or anything like that, he just likes basic sex in bed. Which is fine with me at the moment obviously, as I dont think I would like those things either, I think neither of us are confident in bed really, thinking about it now. But we don't really talk about it, and we should.
And with the media, I know you are right, but it just sticks in my head you know? I guess I just have to keep repeating to myself it's all a load of rubbish when I see it. Sometimes it angers me that they do it. At the moment there is a tv series on about teen sex, and it's supposed to be helpful, yet it isn't, it makes you feel worse. it basically says that everyone has done it before they are 16 and this is how you can do it better. it made me feel like crap to be honest. It almost encourages you to do it. No one ever talks about the emotional side of it. They just talks about how to do stuff to get pleasure, which makes people like me feel worse, because I don't get any, because there is obviously an emotional issue, buit they never talk about it! they just say 'use a condom boys and girls' and thats it!
I do find it hard to avoid, but maybe it's because I'm drawn to it, because in my head its all true (even though i know its not)

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Heather
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I know we've talked about this before, so I'm not going to go into it in depth again, but I think it'd be worthwhile for you to really give a lot of thought to a) if you really feel ready and able to have an intimate relationship right now JUST around emotional intimacy like this and b) if so, if you and the current beau really are the best fit for each other right now.

If this is also someone who has a very hard time conceptualizing sexuality as anything but say, vaginal intercourse and oral sex, I think this also might be someone who is not a good choice of partner for you in a sexual relationship, and is probably triggering some of these feelings, even without you being truly honest about them.

Are you talking about The Joy of Teen Sex? If so, I've been wishing I could see it (can't here stateside) because a HUGE number of UK sex educators, sexologists, researchers and youth workers have been driving themselves up a tree trying to address and undo all the inaccuracy of that show. Several of them I know were even asked to take part when it started and then never talked to again because when speaking about all the concerns they had about the inaccuracy of the show (like them citing everyone has had intercourse by 16 when in fact, that is not what broad data on teen sexuality in the UK shows at ALL), the producers didn't want to hear it and didn't care.

And some of their complaints, so you know, that they continue to make, including a piece in the Guardian this week, involve talking about the impact something so knowingly inaccurate and purposefully salacious can have on young people, like making them feel like crap. If that makes you feel any better. [Smile]

But you can choose your media. Like with this show: you know it makes you feel like crap, so you know not to watch it. Don't watch it: doing that is like looking at a car wreck, you know? If you watch a lot of TV, period, cut back, big time, or switch to watching shows you like -- and that doesn't make you feel like crap -- when they come out on DVD so you don't have to watch all the ads that come with them when broadcast live.

With things like magazines at the market, look away. Seriously, look at something else. Or grab a magazine off the rack to read while you're standing there that is NOT trash, like a news mag or a good health mag. Another cool trick a fellow activist pointed out to me years back was to take the cards out of those mags you can send in for free for subscriptions, bring them home, and write out your anger and upset on them. Then send them in, at no cost to you!

Or, you can make parodies in your head when you're looking at them. Like, you can change, "Have the best sex EVER this weekend!" to something like "...because ending a Saturday night in the ER with something lodged in your bum is everyone's idea of a great time!" [Smile]

[ 02-09-2011, 06:15 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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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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georgiexx
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Well, I love cuddling him and being close to him, I love kissing, I actually quite like being naked with him, and I am comfortable with that. We do that alot and lately, we havent been having sex or genital touching that often, only once a week or so. It was my birthday the other day and he took me on a day out and paid for everything, and it was just like an innocent, romantic date. I liked that. I love him a lot, and we are very close, so I think it's ok to be with him, as a couple, but just hold back on sexual stuff, do to with down there? I would be heartbroken if we wernt together.
Yes it is The joy of teen sex! and i am so happy you said that! thank god there are other (real) sex educators who don't agree with what it says. seriously, that has made me feel alot better! the show really does make you feel rubbish, and the 'experts' on the show don't sound like experts in the slightest, the 'advice' they give to people on there is not advice to me, they sound like gossipy women sharing sex tips with friends!
I like the idea about the subscription cards, I would love to just rant and let out my anger to them!
I could also just learn to take things with a pinch of salt if i do ever find myself seeing something like this, and just remember that its not accurate and they are wrong, they are just trying to make money.
you really have made me feel better heather, thank you

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Heather
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On that show and a good start about the other educators, you might want to read this: http://www.drpetra.co.uk/blog/channel-4-sent-complaint-from-practitioners-re-problem-sex-broadcasting/

(Petra is awesome, for the record. Looking forward to doing a talk with her in the UK in May.)

With your boyfriend, it sounds like there is certainly some parts of the relationship that feel great to you and that you really enjoy. It also sounds like you really want to be in that relationship.

So, can I ask you what you think it would take, what you'd need, to feel able to be more open and honest and to talk about deeper feelings? Or even just to revisit the conversation we talked about back when about stepping away from any genital sex for now, full-stop, that does not feel good for you?

--------------------
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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georgiexx
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I have been reading all of that since you sent it and still havent finished reading! dr petra is so right in everything she is saying, and I'm actually pretty shocked about how the makers of the show have gone about it (but its also made me feel better knowing the programme is complete nonsense)its so bad!
i'm not sure what will encourage me to talk more, i think maybe i should do it in a different way, perhaps write my boyfriend a letter? its alot easier to write down how i feel then to say it. but i wouldnt want to be there when he reads it, i would feel uncomfortable. i think i would feel alot better in the relationship if he knew the real me, even the horrible feelings i have, so he can understand, and maybe help me a little bit. sometimes he says things he doesnt realise will affect me, but its not his fault, its because he doesnt know, hes not a mind reader! i need to be clear with him

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georgiexx
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btw, i dont know if you can go on the channel 4 website, if its accessible in the US, but the joy of teen sex is on their website, 4od. you might be able to watch it there?
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Heather
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You know, I bet Petra would LOVE to add some youth voices to her address of that show, so by all means, if you'd want to voice some of what you have, which I think is all totally on-point, you could certainly email her and let her know I sent you. That could be a good, pro-active way for you to dump some of your anger around this so you don't have to carry it around all by yourself. [Smile]

There's no one right way for people to communicate. Some people feel most comfortable with verbal communication face-to-face, others with a buffer like a phone. Others prefer to write or express themselves in another way. So, if you're someone who feels most comfortable communicating deeply by writing, by all means, writing would be a great choice, because it's all about just finding how YOU best and most comfortable communicate and doing it that way as you can.

Mind, if that's not how HE best communicates, you may wind up combining some letter writing with whatever way he wants to do this too, so you'll also just want to make sure you can have room for that middle ground sometimes, as well.

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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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georgiexx
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Another thing I've heard that they said on that show is "8 out of 10 teenagers lost their virginity when they were drunk" that cant be right!
i would be very nervous doing so, but i would really like to do that, if its alright for you to send me her address? i do have such strong views on this, but i never really speak about them, because whenever i have, people look at me like im a bit mental, and once again, i find it hard to articulate my words when i speak out loud, i am much better writing. but i really do agree, and after everything you have said and everything i have just read in that article, i cant be the only girl that feels the way i do, but others probably feel so abnormal like i do and dont talk about it.
yes, i think i will do that actually, i will tell him that i want to talk to him, in fact the other night i texted him saying how i wished i could talk to him about deeper stuff more easily, and he text back saying that he would really like it if i did, and he will always listen [Smile] i will tell him i want to talk, but find it easier through writing, and then see how he responds to the letter.

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Heather
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If that's accurate, your rape rates in the UK are WAY higher than they are usually reported. But again, I think this show is being purposefully provocative without care for accuracy.

But seriously, that show has been shown again and again, by qualified people, to be full of baloney. Ditch it, protect it, make some noise, but I'd say you do yourself a favor and stop watching it. You know it's making you feel crappy and that it's inaccurate, so it's not like you're missing out on learning anything, other than that mainstream media, per usual, usually does an awful job addressing young adult or teen sexuality. And you know that already.

Petra's email addie should be right on her blog (don't like to post email addresses on message boards because that usually results in a person winding up with a ton of spam). [Smile]

You're sounding pretty powerful and confident and together right now. Hope you can take a minute to let yourself feel that and experience it!

[ 02-09-2011, 07:29 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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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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georgiexx
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I will stop watching it, now I know for sure that its ridiculous. oh okay then, I'll have a look and send her a message [Smile]
I do feel quite good right now, I think i've just calmed down alot from when i started this conversation and also what you said, basically I feel alot better, its just a case of talking to my boyfriend now.
thank you SO much, this site is great [Big Grin]

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Glad to hear it: I'll take even a minor improvement in you feeling more okay. [Smile]

--------------------
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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