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Of SlutWalks, Perfect Storms and Getting Out of the Way

From SlutWalk Manchester by Man Alive!From SlutWalk Manchester by Man Alive!On Monday, I talked about some of my own life, and the central, very personal, issue which kept me from attending one of the SlutWalks, an issue which also central to the walks themselves. On Tuesday, I brought up what appears to be a clear misrepresentation by the media, especially visually, of the walks. In both pieces, I expressed unwavering support for the walks.

While I did not agree with a good deal of it, I appreciated Rebecca Traister writing in the New York Times magazine last week.

But at a moment when questions of sex and power, blame and credibility, and gender and justice are so ubiquitous and so urgent, I have mostly felt irritation that stripping down to skivvies and calling ourselves sluts is passing for keen retort.

To object to these ugly characterizations is right and righteous. But to do so while dressed in what look like sexy stewardess Halloween costumes seems less like victory than capitulation (linguistic and sartorial)

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Because yes, it really DOES happen: A thank you to SlutWalks

I want to tell you something very personal about me. Not because I want to. I really don't want to. But I'm going to do it anyway.

It's one of those things where even though it's incredibly uncomfortable for me, I feel like sharing despite my discomfort might be able to make a positive difference. And since this has to do with something where I believe others have been making a positive difference in a way I, myself, have not also been able to, it seems the least I can do. I've been largely silent around the Slutwalks. There are a few reasons for that, but the biggest one of all is that what inspired them simply struck me much, much to close to home. So, my silence has not been about nonsupport of the walks. In more ways than one, it's been about my stepping out of the way of them in part based on my own limitations.

If you're triggered by candid stories about sexual or other forms of assault, this may be triggering for you. I know it still is for me, very much so. Telling this sto

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Letting Go of the Wrong Stuff to Get a Hold on the Right Stuff

Kyra asks:

I am 22 years old and have been with my one and only boyfriend for over 2 1/2 years now. I love him very much and we get along well, but our sexual life has always had problems. These are the main issues: 1) I cannot orgasm except through the use of a vibrator, 2) I'm often not interested in sex/don't really feel anything enjoyable from sex, and 3) I never initiate anything, which makes my boyfriend very frustrated. We've been having sex for about 2 years now, and these issues are as much of a problem as they were when we first started. Regarding the problem #1 (no orgasm except with vibrator), my boyfriend has tried everything. He will pleasure me for long periods of time, try to make me feel sexy, but NOTHING happens--I don't even come close to orgasming (in fact, I usually just get sore from the contact). I've tried to pleasure myself, but this is even worse--I hate the feeling of masturbating and don't derive any pleasure from it. When we discovered that I CAN orgasm via a vibrator, we were both thrilled; however, it usually takes me a good 15-25 minutes to orgasm from the vibrator (on the highest setting), and the orgasm usually lasts only a few seconds--it just feels like a lot of work for barely any result to me. Because I'm not interested in sex very often and I cannot orgasm via penetration or manual stimulation, my boyfriend believes I'm not sexually attracted to him and is quite upset. I don't know what to do and it is ruining our relationship. I am religious and come from a home schooled background where sex was not talked about much, and so I often feel awkward when my boyfriend tries to discuss it with me (and going to a sex therapist is out of the question).

I Used to Be a Pro-Life Republican

I had a favorite line, in high school, when debating people on the subject of abortion. It was "Hey, that thing in your stomach's not gonna come out a toaster, right? It's a baby!"

Oh, I thought I was really, super clever with that one. Because I loved talking about the babies. I talked about the babies at the high school Young Republicans Club--not only was I the president, but also the founder. I talked about the babies at Club 412, the evangelical punk teen hang-out in Fort Worth I frequented with my friends. I talked about the babies in class. I cried about the babies while I strummed my guitar. I wrote songs about the babies, imagining myself as a broken, murderous whore who regretted her abortions.

I didn't have an opinion one way or the other on abortion until I started hanging out with right-wing punk rock kids in high school. Then, somebody -- probably one of the older teenage punk rock boys I would later fend off in the back of a car or behind the chapel at church camp -- ha

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Feeling unhappy in or unsure about your relationship? Having problems you don't know how to work through, or don't even know if you should? We'll talk you through making these choices, including how-to's on conflict resolution and doing breakups better.

Getting Past the Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda.

heartbroken117 asks:

My boyfriend (20) and I (19) have been together for three years. We really do love each other and so we decided to have sex about two years into our relationship. First things were great, but a few months after we had been having sex regularly he changed his mind. He said he liked me better when I was innocent and that he hated what we did. He stopped all those cute romantic things like telling me I was pretty and writing me love notes. No matter how hard I try, I can't get him interested in me again. He used to tell me he was going to marry me and we always talked about the future and everything but now he just says he doesn't know what the future will be. Obviously, had I thought this would happen we wouldn't have had sex in the first place but since I'm stupid... we did. What do I do? To call it quits after three years is just too much for me to handle... but I can't live like this anymore. HELP!

How Scarleteen and Sex Ed Saved My Life

This is a guest entry from Shanna Katz, M.Ed, as part of the month-long blogathon to help support Scarleteen!

When I was 10 or so, I discovered the wonders of the internet. It was back in the mid-90s, before most people had access, but my father was a computer scientist, and I was rocking out on Mosaic, way before IE or Eathlink or Netscape or AOL made their brands so popular. I didn’t use it for much, as there wasn’t that much info out there pertaining to me, but I did have an email, and learned how to search.

Around the late 90s, I was in my “oh em gee, want to learn everything possible about puberty and sex” and after my parents exhausted the info available at the local library, I was lucky enough to discover Scarleteen.

It was still quite young back then, but it was knowledge, and that was something I was desperately hungry for. More importantly, it was more than just information; it was interactive. I could learn from older teens, from educators, from people my age. I became obs

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Heather and Dan on How It Gets Better

In hindsight, I knew when I was around ten or eleven that I was queer: that I had and was experiencing growing sexual and romantic feelings for people of all genders, not just those of one of for those of a different sex or gender than me, feelings I'd continue to have throughout my teen years and my adult life to date. I didn't have the language for it then, though, even though there were queer adults in my orbit I could have gotten it from, adults I naturally gravitated towards without realizing a big part of why was because I saw myself in them and I really needed them. Looking back, others identified my orientation before I did: a homophobic grandparent, an uncomfortable parent as well as a comfortable and readily accepting parent, and, most important to this particular tale, a group of teenage meanies in the blessedly brief time I spent in a suburban public high school in the 80's who sometimes whispered but other times yelled, "Dyke!" or "Lesbo!" as they passed me in the halls.

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We did everything for it to go just right... but it didn't.

Hedo asks:

My girlfriend and I are both non-op transsexuals; (i.e., she's MtF, I'm FtM, and we haven't had "the surgery" and don't intend to.) On a visit with her a little while ago, she and I were sitting in her car and talking about our feelings regarding sex. When our relationship started over a year ago she asked me to wait, which I was fine with, but didn't know she had been open to what we considered "in between" kind of stuff like oral (she doesn't want to go "all the way" because she was raped a little while before I met her and she feels like penetrating me is putting me in her position--it isn't, but I'm not going to pressure her), and while we had been discussing it we realized we were both in the mood and I asked her if she wanted to find some place more private and explore, and she said "only if you want to." I did.

Before we got started, I asked her if she still wanted to continue and if she had any other boundaries she wanted to set in place, and she said no. I reminded her that if she wanted me to stop at any time she could say so and I would stop everything.

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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