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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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Where do I even get started in educating myself about sex?

aguynamedrourke asks:

I'm a 19-year-old virgin and I don't know enough about sex, period. I went to Catholic and Christian schools with terrible sex-ed classes (I learned the basic biology but virtually nothing about actual sex, condoms, safe sex, or anything like that). I looked at your list of books to read and I've browsed through the questions, but I still don't know where to start. I know a lot about gender but very little about sex. What kinds of books should this straight pro-feminist college freshman read?

These are Good Things.

This is a guest post from Wendy Blackheart, at Heart Full of Black, for the Scarleteen blogathon. Want to take part? Toss us an email and we'll get you in touch with Laura, our blogathon organizer!

Ah, Scarleteen. I can actually remember a time before Scarleteen – they started up in 1998, when I was in 8th grade. See, I went to a school where 99.9% of our sexual health information was from an abstinence only program.

The school sex ed actually started out okay – in grades 3 and 5 we had health classes where we learned about the human body and how it works. In 5th grade, we separated out into groups of just boys and just girls, and got some of the details of puberty and what would happen to our bodies. We learned where babies came from and all that before the abstinence-only programs were started.

By high school, however, we were not getting much in the way of good information. We didn’t learn about birth control at all – it wasn’t even mentioned, not even in a negative way. We saw lo

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How can I give my sister a good sex education?

RespectIsSexy asks:

I am 17, and I have a 15 year old sister who is Autistic. I also come from an EXTREMELY Catholic family. I never got a sex talk - I straight-up asked my dad what sex meant when I was 9 or 10, and he gave me some very unhelpful answer about a gift that God intended to be shared between a man and a woman in marriage. I, however, had enough resources like gurl.com and, you know, friends with older sisters to eventually get the full picture. My sister does not.

Katie knows about menstruation and deals very well with it, but at last check she barely knew what her parts were and she does not appear to be receiving any meaningful sex education in school - that's my school district through and through. But Katie is physically mature, and I'd bet almost anything that she's experiencing age-appropriate sexual feelings.

An Immodest Proposal

Just last Tuesday, right down the street from you, or perhaps even right where you live, two teenagers had sex for the very first time, and it was exactly as we all wish those first experiences to be. Or was it?

The Road Back From Whatever

While out of town this weekend, between two plane trips and a couple late evenings up reading, I started and polished off Elliott Currie's The Road to Whatever: Middle-Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence in very short order.

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Toni Weschler's Cycle Savvy

The website for the wonderful young women's menstrual cycle book "Cycle Savvy."

Everyone Loves S.E.X.!

...and we love them back!

We interrupt your regular programming for a little bit of shameless and self-congratulatory self-promotion.

The reviews of our young adult sex guide, S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College have been coming in, and we're elated to hear that readers and reviewers of the book seem to think it's just as special and essential as we do.

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