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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » being an older virgin: how to frame it

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Author Topic: being an older virgin: how to frame it
marigold
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Before detailing my problem, i'd like to reflect to my relationship with Scarleteen in general: I have learned a lot from you, and I'm sorry for some of my comments, that weren't balanced and mature enough (I start to understand now, how far exactly from sane I am, and I will try to make some money for counseling etc). For now, I think I will refrain from giving advice to others, but I'd like to say thanks.

so, the question: I am 24 and a virgin (actually with some experiences I shouldn't have pressured myself into, so it's not that I'm starting from 0, but from somewhere the negative zone), so i'm pretty certain, that if i'll enter a relationship, at the beginning (months? a year?) I will have different needs, than an average woman of my age. I understand, that the important things to do for me now are learning to build good relationships and to trust myself and others, and that my sexuality doesn't exist in a vacuum... and that a relationship is complicated to maintain, and they aren't all about just the sex.

yet on the emotional level I still have a problem with the following: how should I frame my different needs?

Should I imagine them like any other kink, that while is perfectly legitimate, certainly limits the number of my possible partners to a certain percent of the persons I otherwise would like (as in "he'd be ok, but I could only go out with a sadist, so that's about it")? There probably doesn't exist many guys with needs matching mines.

Should I get prepared for being refused often by guys who had liked me otherwise, but won't want to deal with all this mess? Maybe by guys I would have got along well if I have had managed to get a better history (if I had succeeded in building myself a better private life in these past years)?

Or should I be an optimist and think, that if otherwise things seem to go well, he will be probably happy to wait untill i'll get ready/healed?

Of course the sure way is just asking directly, what that other person wants, and I would do that sooner or later, but then again, there is the problem of timing - my situation is not just stigmatised by the outside word, but I am myself quite upset to myself for not being able to build a relationship in all these years (it wasn't for religious reasons or anything), so I wouldn't like to mention this fact too early in the discussion.

But of course I wouldn't like to build traps for guys neither, with them assuming that they are dating an average girl for too long. I don't want to manipulate them. With an analogy, I don't want to pretend I'd like to eat pizza with them, so we can invest time and money in baking it, just to admit in the last minute, that I'm actually allergic to flour.

and of course getting too paranoic about this problem doesn't help relationship-building either.

Is there anyone, who has been in such a situation? How has things worked out?

Before you would worry about the guys around me, I tell you, that... I think, that probably I'm not in a good place to start a relationship yet. [Frown] And there isn't anyone interesting around, anyway; this was a theoretical question.

[and sorry for my broken english.]

Posts: 68 | From: slovakia | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ecofem
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Hi Marigold,

I've read your post and thought about it. I'd like to respond but I'm going to bed now so I'll write more tomorrow. [Smile]

One question for you in the meantime if you get a chance to respond: Could you tell me more about yourself outside of a sexual context? I know that you are from Slovakia and express yourself very well in English-- really! [Wink] Are you a student or do you work? What do you study/what's your job? What are your hobbies and your passions? How about family and friends? What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

Also, I understand that you are interested in BDSM. I also see that have had some past sexual experience that you feel somewhat negative about. If you feel ok about it, could you please tell me a bit more about them (or post a link to another post here that you think may give more background about yourself)?

Thanks, and see you tomorrow!

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Ecofem
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Marigold, I wanted to check in again to let you know I'm thinking of you. I could start posting a reply now but if you were to first answer my questions about your life outside relationships, it'd really help give me some background. [Smile]

Also, how familiar are you with the articles here at Scarleteen? I can post some main site links for articles and Sexpert Advice but if you have already read most of the content, I can also focus on giving you other links. For example, have you seen this yet? Working the Kinks Out

[ 01-03-2010, 07:35 PM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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marigold
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hi, ecofem

thanks for the interest,

as about the BDSM, it was just an analogy: as an outsider, I imagine, that, on a statistical basis, someone who is only interested in some rare kink has to accept that his/her dating pool is much smaller that that of a more average person's... and I was thinking about, if my situation is basically the same as his/her, because I also need something unusual for my age: a lot of time and patience to get over my limits. As far as I know I'm pretty vanilla - my "speciality" would be just extreme shyness and lack of trust in myself and in others, but these are temporary problems and not a kink.

I have studied this site in detail.

In my life generally I'm a young professionalist, attending a masters at the moment, in a big city I'm new in (3 months), with few friends (kind-of-friends) but, theoretically, a lot of possibilities, so I can be at least optimistic about finding new people. I'm OK with my profession, and I do have my hobbies (I'm too paranoic to give you all the personal details, but they doesn't matter that much here anyway), the only problem I might encounter there might be the lack of energy to do anything, because I would need more human contact to recharge my batteries. Sometimes I do have things to do, but I'm too lonely and depressed to do them. Finally they end up being done just before the deadline anyway.

As for the future, my main goal is getting stabilized somewhere where I can have a social life, with deep connections, and with some people that share my basic worldview. The professional part of my life seems to go well anyway, and it has an altruist (ecological) component too, so it also satisfies my need to work on something bigger than me. On the other hand, the greater context of my future is drawed by the world tendencies - and it's a bit complicate to be an optimist about the future of the planet [as an ecosystem] right now. Koppenhagen failed, etc.

But even so, I am in the rare situation that I can convert my fears about the situation of the world in motivation for my actual work, which is a privilege, even if there is no guarantee that my work will be useful at the end.

I have problems with relationships in general, frinedships included: I used to be a huge nerd in school, of the really lonely kind, and even now I have problems with imagining, that other people could really need and want me.

I haven't had any kind of romantic relationship until I was 21. Then I had a kind of relationship that I have basically sabotaged before it could have gone anywhere, because it was too good to be true (sounds strange, but my ex-counsellor agrees that it was pure self-sabotaging). We haven't got further than kissing, and I'm still mostly attracted by guys who resemble him, which I don't consider too sane.

Then, after a lot of grieving, I have ended up in a new enviroment, and I have made out with some (4 in total?) guys on a recreational basis (er, not simultaneously [Smile] ), and then kind of forced myself in a sexual situation with someone on the basis of "OMG, I'm sooo old, I must get over all this shit, and get a life, this is the occasion, so let's go!" Which of course didn't work at all, your readiness checklist is so true. I found, that I can force myself to get rid of the shyness, but my emotions can't be forced so easily.

What happened, could have been called sex from any outsider point of view, but I refuse to call it so, because I just wasn't relaxing and feeling good, but tense, not ready, not trusting, and just wanting to prove myself, that I can do this. So when I will finally end up doing "real" sex, it definitely will be very different from this.

Then a period of deep paranoia followed, when I have agreed with myself, that whatever the real odds are, right now I just can't engage in anything, because my fears of getting ill/pregnant are too huge. I just accepted it as a rationalization of a problem I just couldn't deal with. The good part was, that about at 22, I succeeded in permitting myself to masturbate. hell yeah : P

well, there are more episodes of my story, but I'm not sure they're worth telling. Right now I'm not even picking up guys to make out with, because I find practically impossible to do this without manipulating them (I'd be comfortable with wanting to have an one-night-stand and then stopping at some point because I've changed my mind, but I don't have any intentions to go that far with them to begin with, and it's too hard to make them understand my exact offer before doing things).

Right now I don't see anyone that I would want to build a relationship with, but I keep searching... and in the same time I'm afraid, that I'm too strange/damaged/stopped in an early stage of development, to be compatible with anyone, which of course is a fear feeding on my basic fear of not being lovable. I have this fear of trying to start a relationship with someone and then failing because I'm not "owning" my sexuality as an average person of my age would, "because I'm not a real adult from this point of view" - of course, after all I have written here, this wouldn't be the only problem... so that's why I have put the question about framing.

And all these fears have a tendency to manifest themselves in extreme choosieness, which technically IS a working strategy for avoiding being refused, but... not a good one. And it's not even conscious, I only observe myself not being fully attracted to anyone.

PS, as you mentioned BDSM: right now I am a bit inclined to read erotica in which the female protagonists are forced or manipulated into action by various circumstances, but it's basically so because, with my lack of experience and trust, it's easier to me to imagine a mind-controlling alien octopus employed as a gynecologist in a catholic all girl's school, than a guy who would really want me.

Which is kind of sad, and also makes reading about tender and loving whatnots rather frustrating and depressing. And the texts a subgenre of science-ficton.
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I have gave some background here, but I know, that this is not a place to resolve miraculously all my life's problems, so my actual question is still that first one, in the previous post, about framing.

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Posts: 68 | From: slovakia | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
marigold
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oops, this came out long! Sorry.

and I haven't changed my signature, the text below the line is still part of the message.

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Heather
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I want to be sure to give you a little perspective when you say you're an "older virgin."

In general, the average age for those who have intercourse the first time is around 17. What that means is that while a lot of people do have intercourse at that age, a lot of people also do earlier than that AND later. Now, if you were 40 or 50, then I'd feel like this was a bigger issue. But at 24, I'm not sure it's the huge issue you're thinking it is.

In other words, I think you may be both overthinking this, and also projecting exactly how much someone else is going to put on this as well as forgetting other people you date could possibly be in the same position.

Just in my personal life alone, I've dated at least two people (in other words, two for sure, as they told me as much) who were older than you when they first started having any kind of sexual relationships: one woman was 27, another guy was in his thirties. As someone who became sexually active earlier than most, that made us very different in that way, but for the most part, it really was not that big of a deal on the sex-side.

What it sounds to me like is that the bigger concern here -- and this is where it can get really tough being with someone else w/little or no interpersonal experience -- is being without a lot of relationship skills with ANY kind of relationship, not just sexual ones. How about friendships? Do you have any of those? If so, how is having friendships (the basis, really, of any relationship) going for you?

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Aguyfromoz
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As a bookish type myself, I understand the fears you're having and from what I can tell you're an academic bookish type that is a little uncomfortable with intimacy and social interaction.?
As far as the age goes this is only a big deal if you make it one. My current gf is just slightly younger than you and it is her first 'real' relationship so you are by no means 'too late'.

An assignment for you should you wish to accept that should help you feel more atuned to your sexuality and to know yourself better:

* Read up on fertility and contraception, and pick a method or two that matches up to your risk appetite and personal beliefs. See birth control bingo for your choices. Get some condoms and be comfortable putting them on a banana or dildo.

* Be comfortable with your anatomy downstairs and reliably obtain orgasmic release with your hand and with the aid of a vibrator or dildo. Don't forget to get a water based lubricant, you don't want a sore pussy from too much friction! I say this because it is very hard for a man to satisfy you sexually if you don't know how to push your own 'love buttons'

* If your hymen is still intact it is your choice whether to let it be, but if you want it 'over and done with' your doctor can perform a hymenectomy to puncture your hymen with relatively little pain and your partners will be none the wiser about your lack of experience.

*Find relaxation music and some breathing exercises that will help you to relax your vaginal muscles so a dildo can comfortably fit inside. Despite rumour to the contrary, penetrative sex should not hurt and if it does then you are not sufficiently relaxed.

I think this will do for now; I can suggest some more things to do to be more confident about your sexuality if you like.

[ 01-04-2010, 11:05 AM: Message edited by: Aguyfromoz ]

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marigold
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you're right: I should concentrate to frienships. I am quite miserable in that domain too, but I don't think, that rambling about that here could help... it's just too big as a problem.

thanks anyway.

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Heather
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Well, how about talking through some ways to take steps with initiating and developing friendships?

Want to fill us in on what that situation is like now for 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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marigold
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aguyfromoz: I swear I haven't seen your post the last time. I don't want to ignore you, and sorry, if it looked like that. Thanks for the more down-to-earth advices, but I would prefer to ask you about the way your relationship has developed generally, and how you have felt when realising that there was a problem, and not the technical part.

Heather, thanks for the questions, but I think, that I do have most of the social skills, my problem is more with basic attitudes, which are harder to change.

An example: in an ironic way, one of the few girls I became almost-friends-with last year was the one I got to know because we have found out, that a guy was kind of cheating on us with each other (there were more people involved, I don't want to go into details. It wasn't about actual cheating, because we weren't together, he just made me believe that he wants to get into some monogamous stuff with me, while he actually had other projects running).

So we had some conversations about him and what was happening behind the back of each other, and then we continued for a while to be almost friends. And I remember once staying with her in a bar and laughing on myself in the inside, that if only I had better methods for finding nice people and starting speaking to them! : P

and the other thing that has happened in our friendship, and illustrates the kind of problems I have, is that I have kept thinking, that maybe she doesn't really like me as a friend, and only hangs out and helps me because of feeling sorry for me, and that just because we have met in this stupid way, our friendship can't be a legitimate one - but this is a constant thing, I did have "non-real" friends in school who had only hanged out with me, I guessed, because our parents were friends, and don't let me start about the magic kingdom of my sister's friends, who were interesting, but I knew, that any niceness from them would be given to me just because I was her little sister, and not because of who I was.

Returning to this girl, it's quite obvious that noone is forcing her to be friendly with me, she had iniciated a lot of things, even despite the fact, that I do remind her of unpleasant events... but it's just too hard to imagine, that she had done it out of some general simpathy and not some other complicated reasons.

But then again, if one has few of them in her life, any act of friendliness looks disproportionately huge and strange.

It seems that a part of me is convinced that I can't be liked just so, and tries to analyze to dead any counter-evidence.

Thanks for the offer (that we could speak about my relationship-building steps), but it seems, that I have a problem with the axioms in my head and not with actual skills...

which of course doesn't mean, that I should stop working on making my life better. For a start, I'm trying to be friendly to more kinds of people, and to appreciate their company for what they are, and to not compare them all the time with that imaginary ideal partner, who would see the world exactly as I do. And I keep going to events, do volunteer etc, so this part of the problem is covered. I think, that I also should work on accepting that not BEST FRIENDS EVER - type connections have their value too, and again, I should learn to enjoy them for what they are.

Do you have any practical advice for applying these last two in real life? Or do you think, that some important practical thing is missing from my strategy?

[Besides the effort of changing the axiom itself, of course, which is, on one hand, slowly eroding by itself, and on the other hand, is too complicated to get resolved on a message board.]

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marigold
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maybe it wasn't clear enough: that in point 1, this whole story is told to illustate, that if the sitution is set up, I am perfectly able to be sociable etc.

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Heather
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(You were clear, marigold, I just can't get to this today. I'll be back tomorrow.)

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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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strange_girl
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Hello marigold. [Smile]

First let me say that there is no shame in the fact that you are still a virgin. It takes some people longer than others to be comfortable with having sex, and some people have sex too soon for all the wrong reasons. There are a lot of things that figure into the decision.

I myself lost my virginity when I was 20. In high school I only dated one guy, we went on 2 dates, and that was pretty much it. (I think my dad and brother scared him off! [Razz] ) I have a history of sexual abuse/molestation, and for a long time, anytime I found myself in a sexual situation that went beyond kissing, I would get physically ill (nauseous). Which can definitely make things....ummm.... difficult. *sigh*

I think that first and foremost, you need to figure out what is causing you to have such difficulty with trust issues. Of course trusting others can be a tricky business, but you should ALWAYS be able to trust yourself. Admitttedly, I grapple with this too... although I think I am better than I was before, but I am still not fully confident... I honestly think that's a lifelong journey for most. If, like me, you have a history of some sort of abuse or trauma (and I wonder about this, since you did mention "healing" in one of your posts... although I also see that English is not your first language, so this makes me hesitate to assume), then you should deal with that, whether it be talk therapy, reading books by and about survivors of whatever trauma is relevant.

If this is not the case, then try to figure out logically what the deal is. I know that growing up is rough, I was a loner when I was a kid, didn't have a ton of friends, so I was kind of similar to you in that I didn't always trust the motives of people who were kind to me. But whatever it is, look into it, and see if you can work through it any of the ways mentioned above.

As to your expectation that a potential sex partner would need to give you extra care and attention, that is a completely normal and rational expectation that anyone is entitled to have, no matter what the situation. Any man who is unwilling to give you this, is being selfish and should be avoided anyway, in my opinion.

Unfortunately we live in a very cynical age. An age where the gut reaction most people seem to have to learning that one is still a virgin beyond a certain point is incredulous surprise. Which of course can be interpreted and misinterpreted in so many ways. [Frown]

I can see that you are a very private person (there's those trust issues again) so I don't want to ask any uncomfortable questions, so any advice I can give is a bit limited. I hope this was even a little bit helpful?

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marigold
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thank you, strangegirl, it was good to read.

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Ecofem
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Hi Marigold,

I think Heather and Strangegirl brought up a lot of good points here but I'll share a bit more, too. [Smile]

I would agree that you're actually not sexually inexperienced per se, although it really wouldn't be a problem even if were the case. Twenty-four isn't that "old" and regardless of age or experience, each new relationship or encounter is going to be different. (Although masturbation tends to always be great and can only help make partnered sexual activities better!) And having years of bad experiences as some people have, unfortunately, are really only going to make coming to a positive sexuality from a neutral place. That said, we've *all* got our various challenges.

It sounds like you have a *lot* going for you career-wise. Even if your current job may not be your dream job, you're doing something in a field you not just like but have a passion for. Any job can be really draining but I'd agree that working on something ecological/environmental can be really hard at times if you consider the current state of the environment and how change either doesn't happen or happens very slowly!

I think finding that hope and feeling the power to keep going is really important for activists and when you're not feeling it, like in your local community, it can be especially hard. I understand how that can be draining. Finding a local group of hands-on activists, where you're actually doing stuff with your hands and seeing results, would help you find that power to keep you going in the big-picture stuff you're doing at work. Plus, if you're doing something hands-on like planting a garden or clearing a trail (and maybe you already are [Wink] ), you don't need to worry about making small talk or even talking much at all.

I assume you're from Slovakia, where you were living before, and that you've now just moved to a bigger city there? Moving and settling in are HUGE things that take a ton of time and energy. Feeling like you're just at an in between place or state is also really hard; when you're not finding yourself meeting the people you'd like or doing the things you wish you were, it also can make you want to give up on that in a way. I get that.

I've lived abroad for longer periods of time on my own and have been there; I was super active one place I lived and got so frustrated that while I was meeting tons of people and doing stuff I loved, having a really dream life in many ways, I was still not making close friends or finding dating possibilities. (But this was a new experience for me because I'm quite outgoing when I want to be.) I think it can help, regardless, of trying to see where you are right now as your life to make the most of rather than that you're stuck waiting for a better place to live and get involved in. Really, so much is what you make of it, whether it's a city with millions or village with 10 people. That's not to say that you're going to love it but there are always positives and challenges.

I can relate to the bit about regretting the "missed opportunity" in a past relationship. For years, while I was ok with how things turned out, I also regretting not having broken up with my first, crappy boyfriend for my "dream" person of that time. But I no longer feel that way: I'm with someone pretty awesome and, even if I weren't, I recognize that the timing wasn't right (and I'm glad not to be with that other guy now anyway. :-)) While it's too bad that your positive relationship didn't work out, I also don't see anything wrong with saying it wasn't right for whatever reason and it was the right decision to end it.

Finally, I don't believe in the idea that there is one person out there who is our "perfect" match or soul mate but I also believe it generally takes a lot of tries or time to find a truly great partner. (And that need not be a goal: I love the freedom and excitement dating provides!) I don't think you have an unusual demands but also would agree that it can take people with a similar life path as you or me maybe takes a bit longer than some others to find a partner who seems great. (I mean similar in that even though we're different in many ways, we share stuff like being young professionals with a lot of education and high ideals, moving around a lot, wanting to help bring positive change in the world, having specific interests in partners.) And I consider being "picky" (or you could say knowing what you want and not settling!) is really only a positive thing in the long-run. Hey, it worked for me! [Wink] And I'll say that the people who I dated who weren't really what I wanted were fun to date and I don't regret anything in my dating/relationship life but I also think it would have better to NOT have gotten into relationships with some of the people I later realized I "settled" for in some ways.

Anyway, I see a lot of positive dating potential in the future but now may just not be the right time. In the mean time, focusing on what you love and your job, and growing your friendship network, are going to help improve your life and well-being and maybe you'll even meet someone special along the way. But I can assure that you, while I hear your concerns, I really wish you'd feel better about all the positives you have going for you and trust someone/s will eventually come along and it'll work out. [Smile]

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marigold
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thanks. i will think of this at times when I'll have doubts.

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