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That Guy

Anyone who knows me or who knows anything about me usually knows that my pre-teen and teen years were incredibly difficult. I dealt with neglect and abuse in my family, starting from about the time I was 10. I was sexually assaulted twice before I even became a teenager. I was queer. I was suicidal and was a self-injurer. I struggled to find safe shelter sometimes. Few people seemed to notice, even though after I gave up trying to use my words, I still used my eyes to try and tell them constantly. The one adult I could count on over time to be unilaterally supportive of me had (still has) serious mental illness. I had to take more adult responsibility at the end of my teen years than anyone else I knew. Like many adolescents, I constantly heard directly or got indirect messages from adults who talked about how awful teenagers were, how awful I was, how difficult, how impossible, how loathesome. Four days after my sixteenth birthday, the first real-deal big-love-me-lover I had, who tre

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How can I talk about sex without pressuring her?

DaltonTopiary asks:

I'm 17. I love my girlfriend. Really. Real love. Love as in "I want to marry you. I want to respect you. I want to commit my life to you." We brought up the topic of sex a few months ago, but it didn't go any farther than "How do you feel about it?" From that little talk we concluded that it was something we both wanted to do.

That was nearly three months ago and I want to talk about it. Nothing dirty or anything, I just want to know how important (or how un-important) it is to her. I want to know that she wants to have sex with me because she loves me, not because she feels she has to. The problem is...I don't know what to say or what to do to bring it up to her. I fear she might think that I'm trying to tell her that I am waiting and begging for sex, which I am not. I'll wait for her forever. Any advice?

Was it sexual harassment? Was it my fault?

Ms.dee asks:

Is it consider sexual harassment if some guy fingered my vagina, but I didn't want him to...I'm now 17 and this happened when I was 13, I haven't told anyone about this...I wanna know if it's my fault that this happened. We were on a bus and this guy undid my pants and fingered me. I didn't want it to happen, but I was too scared to stop him. Is it my fault? I mean, when he tried to kiss me I did sort of slide away. Is this my fault?

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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Sound Counsel: A Conversation With Lynn Ponton

Considering counseling or think you or a friend might benefit from some therapy? Here's a basic introduction and a shared conversation with adolescent therapist and author Dr. Lynn Ponton to clue you in on what to expect from the couch.

What Safer Sex Isn't

Maybe you know what safer sex is. But do you also know what it isn't? Take a minute and fact-check your ideas about what can protect you from STIs and what cannot.

Abused Women

No matter what you call it, it hurts. You want to do something about it, but what can you do that won't make your life even worse?

Why I Escort

I am a volunteer abortion clinic escort. This means I am there to walk with women coming into the abortion clinic. It's usually no more than a minute's walk from their cars to the front door of the clinic. Under normal circumstances, my help would hardly be needed. Except the circumstances outside an abortion clinic are rarely "normal."

Did rape ruin my vagina forever?

Adrienne7777 asks:

I was raped about seven months ago and my vagina hasn't felt the same ever since: it has felt more open. My boyfriend and I just started having sex about a month ago. I asked him if I felt loose, because ever since the incident I haven't felt good about my vagina. He said that I am definitely not tight. I looked at my vagina with a mirror and noticed that the opening isn't completely closed. I tried inserting a small dildo and standing up but the dildo fell out. I can easily insert one finger with little resistance. I have tried doing kegels but still feel like my vagina is open and loose. I cry about this and feel really self conscious. Is it possible that because when I was raped the rapist was really rough with me that my vagina is broken forever? Thank you.

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