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Driver's Ed for the Sexual Superhighway: Navigating Consent

Most of us understand being in transit means there's a possibility of getting hurt, hurting others, having a good time turn into a bad one or just not getting to where we intended, and to try and prevent those outcomes, we need to follow basic rules of the road like being attentive to and actively giving clear signs and signals. Just like it's important on the road, it's important between the sheets.

What's Sex?

It's obviously important if you're here for information that you know what we mean when we talk about sex, so we thought we'd make it clear.

The Scarleteen Safety Plan

If you're in an abusive relationship, to make abuse stop you've got to get away and stay away. Here's help to do that safely, and to be as safe as you can before leaving.

A Pair of Jealous Boyfriends AKA Red Flags Aplenty

Sparknolee asks:

I'm 16 and I'm going through relationship problems that I'm not sure how to handle or what to think of. My boyfriend wants me to change the way I dress because he says I look "slutty." He says he doesn't like me wearing shorts, skirts, dresses or a plain vest top on its own (and I'm quite flat chested so I never show off any cleavage). I'm the type of person who likes wearing what I want. I'm into trends and fashion but now that he's in my life I feel like I'm not allowed to like or wear any of my skirts and dresses in my closet that I love.

But even though he says I can wear what I want, he gets pissed off when I do.

You're Not Pregnant. Why Do You Think You Are?

Some people struggle with strong pregnancy fears when there isn't a pregnancy or hasn't even been any real risk of pregnancy. What's that really about, and how can you move forward?

If Guys are Coerced by Girls, Is It Still Sexual Abuse?

arielleknowles asks:

A friend of mine was in a relationship about 2 years ago. He's a guy. His girlfriend at the time pressured him into doing oral sex by saying that if he didn't do it that meant he didn't love her. Would that be sexual abuse? Because if a guy pressured a girl into giving him a blow job that would be considered sexual abuse and I'm just double-checking to see if that goes both ways.

50 Shades of BS - How to tell the Difference Between Kink and Abuse

Most of us who work or volunteer here at Scarleteen are bookworms, and are also really interested in following popular culture to see what's happening, especially in terms of frank conversations about sex, sexuality, desire and fantasies. When a lot of people started talking about 50 Shades of Grey, we started paying attention. And when a bunch of media outlets started falling over each other to either hail the book for making BDSM mainstream and celebrating female sexuality or condemn it for those same reasons, we got curious.

As a woman who often enjoys being sexually submissive and as someone who has moved in kink circles, I set out many times to start reading the book, but shied away from it again and again. BDSM, in all its variations and manifestations, has a pretty bad rep: a lot of the time when we meet characters in books or on TV who engage in BDSM, they are either leather-clad outsiders (who are also often involved in sex work - think Lady Heather from CSI Las Vegas), or de

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He's Pressuring Me: How Do I Tell Him?

BeckisBack asks:

My boyfriend of 2 years is pressuring me to send him nude pictures of myself to him. My question is not whether or not I should send him the pictures, because I'm not going to. It's regarding what I should do about his overwhelming sexual desire and uncontrollable temper, and recent accusations he has made towards me.

From Emily, Who Really Gets It.

Scarleteen's users are diverse, as are the reasons they find us, and the issues they bring to us. For some, the needs are as basic as needing to know how and when to use a condom or a hormonal contraceptive, or learning the names and functions of body parts. Some want help figuring out if sex with another person is something they want or not, or are ready for; some need help learning to negotiate or assert their sexual or interpersonal wants and needs. Many just need to know, from especially from someone who doesn't want anything from them, that it's okay for them to have sexual feelings and a sexuality. Many users like these have access to sexual healthcare, supportive and caring families or communities, and haven't experienced great sexual or interpersonal traumas. For those users, we're often something they need, but not something they can't manage without. We're a valuable helper, but not the only help they've got to draw on.

Some of our users come to Scarleteen just once or twic

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Please Stop Calling Rape Sex

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 wh

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