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So, About That Study...

Over the weekend, we linked to reports on the presentation of a study in our Twitter feed and on our Facebook about the effect of sex during adolescence on academics, such as college goals, grade point average, dropout, truancy and absentee rates. On Sunday and Monday, the piece got a whole lot of media and internet airplay, even though it was clear few, if any, reporting on it had yet looked at the study itself.

This morning, we were able to sit down and read the study, Sex and School: Adolescent Sexual Intercourse and Education (Bill McCarthy, Sociology, University of California Davis and Eric Grodsky, Sociology, University of Minnesota), which Bill McCarthy graciously emailed us when we requested it, and he also graciously answered a few of my questions about it directly. We're going to have a larger conversation with them soon that we'll publish here, but as that may take a while, we wanted to clear some of the smoke before it got much thicker. It's a solid study with some importa

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I'm her one and only...and I don't think that's a good thing.

somethingeasytoremember asks:

My friend wants to be in a relationship with me, but I am afraid to because I am her only means of support (that's not me being full of myself, she's actually said that) and if things were to turn sour I have two parents and countless friends and trusted adults whom I have no problems talking to, whereas she would have no one to talk to, me being her only confidant, and she can't very well talk to me about me, can she?

She's just so shy and not good with people and she and her parents are not exactly on good terms. I don't want to enter an unhealthy relationship! What should I do?

Too Easy, My Aunt Fanny.

Charleen B. asks:

Me and my boyfriend have been dating for about a year now. I am 16 and he is 18. We live in Egypt. In the first 2 months I used to ask him embarrassing questions about sex - I thought it would break the ice between us. He used to say that he does not want things to go too far, at least not for now. I kept asking those those questions, feeling pushy, but he started asking me if it was okay if he touches me and so on...I said that it was okay. From the 4th month and till now we have been having regular anal sex - as he wants me to stay a virgin - yesterday he said that he does not want to do any more sexual activities with me. He said that he still loves me and that we are still together and that he does not want any other girl but he said that I was too easy - I know that I was easy but it was only because I truly love him - Did I do anything wrong?!?

Did I have sex? Did I lose my virginity?

Roxanne asks:

I'm 14. My boyfriend rubbed his penis on my vulva and I rubbed my vagina on his penis, but we were both wearing our underwear. Am I still a virgin? Was it sex? I don't even know what it was... I don't want to lose my virginity at such a young age! I hope I didn't lose my virginity to him! Can someone please tell me?

A Birth Control Pill Five by Five

Sensei Martini asks:

I want to begin taking the birth control pill for the first time. Is it possible for me to start taking my first birth control pill on the SECOND day of my period? I won't be having unprotected sex. But if I start taking the birth control pill on the 2nd day is it less affective? And also after taking the birth control pill for a series of time, when is it 95% affective? It obviously doesn't begin on the first day I start right?

Yes, No, Maybe So: A Sexual Inventory Stocklist

What do or might you want to do, not want to do or aren't sure about when it comes to sex with a partner? What about your partner?

Who's Calling Who Compulsive? Calling Out a Common Rape Survivor Stereotype

I was one of several guests on a radio show in Baltimore on Friday. The topic of the show was apparently going to be about sex education and social justice, but turned out to be more like fear-mongering and a whole lot of projections around teen sexuality mixed with focus on parents and teen sexuality. I got the impression all four of us who were asked to take part, despite some of our disagreements, were very frustrated with the show and the host clearly asking questions he didn't want factual answers to, despite purportedly asking us to take part to provide just that.

At one point, he asked one of the guests to talk about rape victims and survivors. She said she did not do any work with rape or survivors, but instead of deferring to any of us who had, or just saying "I don't know," she went ahead and did some postulating and guesswork. There were several things she said in a rush of words that bothered me, but one of the most troubling was a statement that rape survivors "compulsive

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How Can I Trust Her if I Can't See What She's Doing?

jeff asks:

How do I find out if my girlfriends flirting and talking about other guys? She says she doesn't, she's begging me to trust her but how can I if we are in a long-distance relationship?

How Can Sex Ed Prevent Rape?

I was watching a debate about sex education today, one rife with a lot of ludicrous statements, but the statement that quality sex education could not possibly help prevent sexual abuse stuck with me. It was all the more infuriating as someone who knows too well that a lack of knowledge about bodies and sex, and a lack of information about sexual consent and autonomy are some of the hugest reasons why sexual abuse is so prevalent.

Now, this is hardly a new form of cluelessness (nor is it exclusive to Canada: we've all but made an art form of it stateside). I've addressed this issue before, at Scarleteen and in some talks and interviews I have given over the years, and also in a piece a little while back for the Guardian in the United Kingdom.

Hopefully it's obvious the reason I, as a sexuality educator and activist, and Scarleteen, as an organization, provide sex education isn't just about preventing unwanted or negative outcomes, like unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infecti

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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.

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.