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Recovering from Sexual Shame

123throwme asks:

When I was younger, I was caught "experimenting" with oral sex by my parents. They reprimanded me severely. Ever since then I've had a hard time coming to terms with my sexuality. It took me a long time to get over my feelings of how "sex is bad," but now I'm in a healthy, sexually active relationship. My problem is that, although I want to be intimate with my boyfriend, there's a part of me that still feels the shame of my younger self. It's led to me being uncomfortable with myself, and especially uncomfortable with oral sex (giving, but mostly just receiving). My sex life is fine, but I can tell that my partner doesn't really understand where I'm coming from. I haven't told him any of this, and I'd rather not. What can I do to get over this feeling?

So, About That Study...

Over the weekend, we linked to reports on the presentation of a study in our Twitter feed and on our Facebook about the effect of sex during adolescence on academics, such as college goals, grade point average, dropout, truancy and absentee rates. On Sunday and Monday, the piece got a whole lot of media and internet airplay, even though it was clear few, if any, reporting on it had yet looked at the study itself.

This morning, we were able to sit down and read the study, Sex and School: Adolescent Sexual Intercourse and Education (Bill McCarthy, Sociology, University of California Davis and Eric Grodsky, Sociology, University of Minnesota), which Bill McCarthy graciously emailed us when we requested it, and he also graciously answered a few of my questions about it directly. We're going to have a larger conversation with them soon that we'll publish here, but as that may take a while, we wanted to clear some of the smoke before it got much thicker. It's a solid study with some importa

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To: Current Resident of That Broken-Down House

I moved to Seattle around four years ago from Minneapolis, where I lived for six years after leaving my hometown of Chicago. Growing up in Chicago, living in Minnesota and after an early childhood on the east coast, I was used to old things, to history, to a total lack of shiny-and-new. Growing up poor and in a number of far less-than-ideal living situations, my normal in how and where I lived was often pretty rough around the edges, and often involved a lot of effort from me, typically more than my fair share.

Seattle, however, is kind of the land of shiny-and-new. Almost every place I looked at when I was apartment-hunting felt sanitized and kind of like Barbie's Dream House to me: without my kind of character and so already-finished that I didn't see where there was room for my own stamp in them. The allure of the fixer-upper was nowhere to be found. I've always liked fixing places up that anyone else would see as hopeless: it's a challenge, and a situation where I might have the

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