What Is Healthy Sexual Development?

Depending on your view, the answer to that question might seem really obvious or very tricky and hazy.

At a recent conference I was part of in London, Alan McKee presented Healthy sexual development: a multidisciplinary framework for research. What McKee and his colleagues determined to be the core parts of healthy sexual development had me jumping up and down in my seat with joy (literally: I may have disturbed my fellow attendees with my bouncing). It summed up the things we try to support, encourage and inform our users with and keep core at Scarleteen so well, and so much of what I think -- after many years of thinking hard about and working with these issues, and being fully and broadly immersed in them with a very diverse population -- truly is central to healthy sexual development.

I'm delighted to have permission to excerpt and reprint this framework here.

When you use the pill, do you still have to use condoms?

I'm and 18 years old and have been having sex for a year and been on the pill for about a year. I take my birth control like a ritual at the same time every day (the combination pill). Sometime my boyfriend and I don't use a condom in the beginning to get him hard then we always put one on. My question is, when on the pill do you absolutely have to use condoms?...

Hooking Up Can Be Awkward - Until It's Great

I host consent workshops professionally, and at one point during past workshops, when the audience is generally settled and feeling comfortable opening up, I have asked, “Who here has ever had something silly and awkward happen during a hookup? Even slightly awkward.” Hands have shot straight up and we all ended up getting a good laugh out of it. It just goes to show how awkward connecting with sex can be, whether you're in bed, thinking about it, or just talking about it!

I think a lot of these awkward moments happen because of the conversations we are having around our romance, or, should I say, the conversations we aren't having.

How to See Coercion Clearly Through Love Glasses

I have a boyfriend been dating for about a year next week. We are deeply and truly in love even though we're not even 16. People say you can't really be in love at our age, but I believe you can be. Recently, I said no to sex, so I guess I pushed all the wrong buttons and this is what he said: "I'm so [f-word]ing tired, I don't want to climb a ladder....

Do these pants make me (look) trans?

My early childhood consisted of Legos and Hot Wheels. In junior high, I listened to more metal than pop, wore hoodies and Vans shoes, black nail polish and eyeliner. Nowadays, I've been getting more interested in piercings and tattoos. I've never felt like a girl for the most part, but I've never considered getting some sort of sex change or anything either....

How I Learned About Lube

Sexuality in ColorWhen it comes to sex and sexuality, I was a very, very, very late bloomer.

Raised in a Pentecostal Christian home where sex and sexuality were rarely discussed beyond, "No sex until you are married," as a teen I assumed I would not have sex until my early- to mid-twenties, after I had finished undergrad.

I assumed any boys/men I met would share my religious beliefs about sex. I assumed my values would never change. And I assumed my husband and I would know how to sexually please one another, in spite of having no sexual experience before our wedding night (which, of course, would be a night of unbridled passion and ecstasy).

Three on Going With the Flow

I am going on a graduation-required 28 day backpacking trip. It is likely that this will happen to fall around my period. What is the best way to work with your period when backpacking? Pads are out of the question, as they are not so great for letting your pelvic area "breathe" during exercise. Tampons...meh....

Whoa, There! How to Slow Down When You're Moving Too Fast

Is your sex life or sexual relationship feeling like someone pressed the fast-forward button and now it's spinning out of control? Evaluate whether things are moving too fast for you or a partner, and then get some help on pulling back the reins and slowing things down to a more comfortable pace.