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attitudes

Let’s Talk about Six, Baby

This guest post from the wonderful Anne Semans at the Moms in Babeland blog is part of our month-long fundraising effort for Scarleteen. Thanks, Anne!

One day about 20 years ago I was walking down Haight Street with my 6-year-old niece. This was long before I had kids, but well after I started selling sex toys for a living. It was San Francisco in the early Nineties, and Salt n’ Pepa’s song “Let’s Talk About Sex” was blasting out onto the city streets. My niece looked up at me and asked what the song was about.

My moment had arrived! It was my big opportunity to be the “cool aunt” and to seize on a teachable moment to explain the biology without any moralizing or stereotyping.

I nervously launched into a monologue about sex being an intimate act between two adults that brings them pleasure, and how sometimes but not always it can result in a baby being conceived, and that it can be between two women, two men, or one of each.

Finally I paused and asked her if that answered her quest

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How do I approach my college about sexual assault awareness?

Annie W. asks:

Beginning in September, I am going to be employed as Residence Don for an all girls floor at a university. I am pretty excited about the job and really would like to make residence life a positive experience for the students I will be living with (about 170 guys and gals in total).

However, there is one MAJOR issue I have with the residence, they offered no sexual assault awareness education for the students. In the 2008-09 school year, there were 3 sexual assaults reported, which lead to criminal charges, and almost all I have talked to who have lived in this residence for multiple years have either been sexually assaulted themselves or had a friend who was while living there.

So, clearly, something is needed to change this residence culture that seems to be conducive to sexual violence.

I had casual sex, and my friends reacted pretty badly. Now what?

morphobutterfly asks:

I'm a 20 year old girl, who's...well, I'm not going to say perfectly confident, because I do have some fairly major esteem issues, but I know my own mind, I'm independent & I'm not one to go with the crowd just because it's the "done" thing.

Three years ago a guy I was making out with on a regular basis, assaulted me sexually. While I escaped without being raped, it was a terrifying & traumatic experience. Needless to say it was a difficult time. I was a virgin when the assault happened, & because of this incident I was left wary of men, sex & romantic interactions in general. During the years since, a few of my good friends have expressed feelings for me, but given that I was not in the right state of mind to deal with any serious romantic situations, the fact that these guys were looking for the types of relationships that I'm not comfortable with, & also that I was afraid of ruining our friendships, I turned them down, explaining my reasons & repeatedly expressing how important their friendships were to me. All of these guys are still my close friends, & all have had relationships/flings with other girls since asking me out. I'm having a problem with them, though.

Q is for Questioning

What's it mean to be questioning, why would you or someone else identify that way, how do you deal in the process and how might you answer the question?

How to Have Condoms "Interrupt" Sex By No More Than 30 Seconds

My current partner recently got a vasectomy. Because we're also monogamous, well-past six months of monogamy and barrier use, and both are current with our STI testing -- the combination of things and time period I know massively reduces our STI risks -- that means we're not using condoms right now.

This is very unusual for me: in around 25 years of sexual experiences and many partnerships, the vast majority of the times I have had male partners, including long-term partners, there have been condoms. As someone who wants to be able to enjoy her sex life as much as possible, who knows preventing infection is part of that, and also as someone who can't use most other methods of birth control, condoms have been my BFFs.

I've never found them to be the drag some people frame them as. Rather, I often find myself perplexed by folks who frame them that way, even though I know as a sex educator that more often than not, the folks who do frame them that way either a) haven't even used them or

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Why "Gray Rape" Doesn't Exist

This morning, I picked up my mother's copy of “Brigitte”, a German woman's magazine geared at women between 30 an 50. I often borrow the magazine from her, because it tends to have pretty interesting articles. More recently, I've declared myself an out-and-out fan after Brigitte became the first magazine to stop using professional models for their photo spreads. Instead, they now use women they simply approach on the street, and supplement the pictures with information about the woman's life (this particular issue -06/2010- features a 41-year-old woman covered in piercings and tattoos, who has been working as a wrestler and a programmer of computer games).

However, what caught my eye today was one of the titles on the cover: “The sex I didn't want – Confessions from a Gray Area”. In my mind, I immediately flashed to the infamous Cosmopolitan article by Laura Sessions Stepp ( A New Kind of Date Rape ). With a funny feeling in my stomach, I flipped to the article. And lo! - the concep

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How can I trust that someone else will like my body when I hate it so much?

porte asks:

I am 15 years old and about 5'10 and weigh more than 200lbs. I am currently in a long distance relationship and have been for almost 11 months. See, the thing is, I know I'm pretty, but I hate my body. The only thing that I like about it is my boobs. I am very self-conscious about it and I can't seem to lose weight.

My boyfriend and I share everything together. He doesn't lie to me, he comforts me and he tells me I'm beautiful. He loves me a lot. He shares everything with me. He really means a lot to me and would never pressure me to do something I don't want to do. He wants to see me. Or rather, see me below my chest. It doesn't mean like naked or something (but he probably wouldn't mind), but he just wants to see what I look like. Sounds simple enough right? I know what he looks like but...

UK "Repeat" Abortion Rate for Teens Increases: What Does It Mean and What Can We Do?

Originally written for The Guardian, condensed version can be seen there.

In 2008, over 5,000 UK women under the age of 20 had an abortion that was not their first. As was made clear by the alarmist headlines following the publication of those numbers, this is a big concern for the public.

A woman’s reproductive life often spans 30+ years. Around 1/2 of all pregnancies in the US and UK are unplanned. Contraception isn’t used or used properly. It fails sometimes even in perfect use. Female fertility peaks between the ages of 19 and 24: the reason we tend to see the most abortions (and pregnancies) in that group is because it is the most fertile group having the most sex. (Piccinino, LJ, Mosher, WD. Trends in contraceptive method use in the United States: 1982-1994. 1998. Family Planning Perspectives. Vol. 30(1): 4-10 & 6, Table 1) The UK teen pregnancy rate is the highest in Western Europe: six times higher than the Netherlands, nearly three times higher than France and more than twice

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Preventing Teen Pregnancy: Three Words Most Likely to Make My Blood Boil

I hate, hate, hate that phrase. Nearly everywhere I go or look as a young adult sexuality educator anymore, I run into it incessantly.

Let me be clear: I don't hate doing all that we can, to help people of every age to avoid pregnancies or parenting they do not want or do not feel ready for. I'm so glad to do that, and it's a big part of my job at Scarleteen and elsewhere when I work as a sexuality and contraception educator and activist.

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Is intercourse a violence or a violation?

stullis asks:

I've been with my girlfriend for nearly six months now. I've always had a bit of a problem having sex with people (keeping it up) but this problem has never occurred between me and her. However, lately I've begun to feel very guilty about the physical action of having sex. The act of penetration is a great experience physically, but when I think about what I'm doing I feel like I'm stabbing her, or performing some kind of violent act on her. We haven't had sex yet since I started REALLY feeling like this (which was a little more than three weeks ago) but if we are making out and begin to have dry sex I often start to cry from the idea of what I am doing to her. She's very compassionate and understanding, and I have told her all of this, but I want it to stop. I need to know how to make myself stop feeling like I am abusing her when we have sex because considering the times we've had sex before I had this mindset, it's been an incredible experience of expressing our love to each other, and I'd really like to have that back.

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