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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!

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 obsessive about checking the forums every day. It was a way for me to connect, to get information, to teach myself about sexuality, to have my questions answered, and to get to know my body.

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.

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....

To: Current Resident of That Broken-Down House

Why was I staying in a house that was falling apart all around me more and more? Why did I keep trying to convince myself I could fix everything when I knew I couldn't, or that my landlord would suddenly do all kinds of things he'd never done? Why did I keep focusing on the small things that I loved about the house when the big things were so awful? Why was I staying so focused on what this house could be, rather than focusing on the way it actually was and was most likely to remain?

One of the big things that got me to these realizations about my house were conversations with some of you about your unhealthy, abusive or otherwise crummy relationships.

I want to come out to my friends, but how do I make sure they'll accept me?

thatonequietgirl
asks:
I'm bisexual, and I really would like to tell my friends. I mean, they seem pretty open-minded, being pro-gay rights and generally accepting. The thing is, they're being open-minded from afar. If they found out that one of their closest friends is bisexual, I'm not sure they'd be too keen on the idea of having a bisexual girl friend....

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?

Love, Growth, Fear & Other Kinds of Big-Scary-Wonderful

pixie9000
asks:
Can you explain to me what love is please? How does one feel? Can you describe the effects for me? or, is it the kind of thing you just have to know? Does it go away? Or is it something permanent? I think that I am falling in love with my boyfriend. He is a senior, and I am a junior. Next year he is going off to college, most likely a really prestigious one far away....

I don't feel safe with him: how can I change my feelings?

Becca
asks:
I'm in my late teens and have been dating my first boyfriend for one and a half years. Early on in the relationship he broke my trust and later on has done a few things that have made me really uncomfortable: touching me where I've told him not to before, being very rough, and the worst, making a negative comment about my body....

Should I be concerned about his sexuality?

pagangirl
asks:
Although I feel a little ridiculous asking this considering I should be more openminded towards sexuality and experimentation, I haven't been able to get it out of my mind. I started dating a man 10 months ago. I'm 18, he turned 26 around three weeks ago. He was married before, and she left because of her claiming to have been bored in bed and in general....

The Pursuit of Hope

It was my personal mission to break the silence, not just for myself but for others who were not yet ready to speak. I wanted to share my story with whoever was willing to listen in hopes of making a difference in someone’s life. Look out world; I am on a mission to end sexual violence!