choices

On Identifying Identities

Teenagerhood should be a time of dreams and expansion. We should be allowed to open our inner selves up and absorb as much light and life as we possibly can. We should be, but other people are often too often invested in what they think we should be to let us be what we are.

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. We have been going out for only about 4 months, but we have known each other for a few years, and in the last 4 months we have spent so much time together (pretty much every minute) it feels like it has been much longer.

We recently had sex for the first time (first time for me, not for him), and several times since the first time. I have to say, I'm not crazy about it yet, but what I am crazy about is the connection it makes me feel between the two of us. He is extremely considerate of how I feel during sex, and he wants me to figure out what I like. He is so caring and sensitive to how I feel, and we have talked about sex and our relationship a lot, and how sex will affect our relationship and emotions. I like having sex, and I love the time we spend together. We have talked about love, and how we don't really understand what it is, but agree that we definitely have a deep connection. But I'm afraid that my feelings for him are going to become too intense, and I am going to fall in love with him, and then he is going to go off to college and my heart will break (I know, that sounds cliche).

We have talked about love, and I think we both said we feel like were falling slowly, even if we don't completely understand it, like, what it really means. He says "lets fall, but not fall too hard," and I agree, I don't know if I can handle the raw emotion of love. After we have sex, I feel elated, but later, when he leaves, I feel depressed because I know that he is going to leave the city after high school, and then our relationship will be over and I wont feel this connection any more. Am I just overthinking this whole thing?

Can I get a girl pregnant if...

mcnclguy1210 asks:

Can a girl get pregnant if I ejaculated in the condom then took it off and then stuck my penis back in her but didn't ejaculate in her unprotected. What are the chances?

Spotlight on Scarleteen: New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year to you from all of us at Scarleteen!

Nearly a month into 2010, we hope your new year has been and continues to be happy, healthy, and all-around awesome. Have you set any New Year Resolutions this year? We have and would like to share them with you!

Over 1000 Scarleteen users are doing just that! Since December 19th and as of yesterday, 1001 visitors to the Scarleteen website have voted in the poll: Which of these is the best sexuality-based New Year's resolution for you? A lot of people will choose resolutions, such as exercising more, getting better grades, and quitting smoking. Those are all noteworthy goals, and big accomplishments when realized, but how about aiming to exercise safer sex all the time, acing a “quiz” of your own anatomy, and quitting bad body image and sexual shame? By setting a sexuality-related resolution, you’re focusing on an important part of you that often doesn’t get the attention (or praise!) it deserves.

THE RESULTS! We’re going to share the results here along with some recommended reading and some teen sex and sexuality-related statistics from the Guttmacher Institute, the Bureau of Justice, Outproud/Oasis, and ChildTrends Databank. All text and statistics following the “Did you know?” heading are directly quoted from the page on what Scarleteen Is.

BE HEARD! In addition to casting their vote, many Scarleteeners have also explained their choice. We encourage you to scroll down to read their resolutions after crunching the numbers.

THE RESULTS!

The poll offered 13 sexuality-based New Years resolutions to choose from: Improving body image and ditching sexual shame came out on top with 18% of all votes. Enjoying oneself more got second place with 14% of the vote, while using birth control or safer sex practices better and seeking out truly desired sexual relationships tied for third place with 11% each. Here is a more specific and all-inclusive break down of the results:

1. To improve my body image and/or ditch sexual shame 18% (182 votes)

Did you know? The National Eating Disorders Association estimates that 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat and between 5-10 million girls and women and 1 million boys and men are struggling with eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or borderline conditions.

One author reports that at age thirteen, 53% of American girls are "unhappy with their bodies." This grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen (Brumberg, 1997).

For further reading, we recommend: An Immodest Proposal and Seven Ways to Love Your Body

2. To enjoy myself more 14% (144 votes)

Did you know? For many teens, sexual information is more often given in a context of sexual entertainment, peer-to-peer bragging or flirtation, and these approaches not only often result in inaccurate information, but in enabling a context of sexual commodity, shame or pressure around sexuality, as well as sexual stereotypes and cultural ideals or collective cultural fears. This given, our approach at Scarleteen is to be friendly and personable, rather than cold or clinical, but to come to sexual education and information in a professional, respectful way, with care for diverse boundaries and viewpoints.

For further reading, we recommend: 10 of the Best Things You Can Do for Your Sexual Self (at Any Age) and Yield for Pleasure

3. To better use birth control or safer sex practices 11% (106 votes)

Did you know? Of the 18.9 million new cases of STIs each year, 9.1 million (48%) occur among 15-24-year-olds. Although 15-24-year-olds represent only one-quarter of the sexually active population, they account for nearly half of all new STIs each year. Half of new HIV infections (about 20,000) each year occur among youth aged 15-24.

Of the approximately 750,000 teen pregnancies that occur each year, 82% are unintended.

For further reading, we recommend: Safe, Sound & Sexy: A Safer Sex How-To and Birth Control Bingo!

3. To seek out the kind of sexual relationships I truly want 11% (113 votes)

Did you know? By their 18th birthday, six in 10 teenage women and more than five in 10 teenage men have had heterosexual intercourse. More than one-half of all teens ages 15 to 19 report engaging in oral sex (55 percent of males and 54 percent of females in 2002).

For further reading, we recommend: Ready or Not? The Scarleteen Sex Readiness Checklist, Supermodel: Creating & Nurturing Your Own Best Relationship Models, and Sexual Negotiation for the Long Haul

5. To learn more about my own sexual body and self 10% (105 votes)

Did you know? Knowing, too, that the reality of the way youth most often gets sexuality information -- peer-to-peer -- we do our level best to both moderate discussion to help aid youth in learning how to inform each other better, and do what we can to empower youth to research smartly, ask questions, avoid stereotyping, and communicate with and educate one another with sensitivity and compassion.

For further reading, we recommend: Innies and Outies: The Vagina, Clitoris, Uterus and More, Innies and Outies: The Penis, Testes and More, and With Pleasure: A View of Whole Sexual Anatomy for Every Body

...And that's just the beginning! Now please click "read more" below to see to the rest of the statistics and hear what users have to say.

It's Blog for Choice Day 2010!

blog for choice 2010We're glad this day has rolled around again, and always glad to have the opportunity to keeping talking about the essential human right of reproductive choice. Perhaps obviously, we're less glad that any of us still have to work so hard to support reproductive choice and justice, or to need to explain that it should simply be self-evident.

What term do you prefer to use/hear for having sex?

From Us to You: Some Volunteer Aunties Talk Body Image

I know it's only so much consolation to you right now, but the older I get, the more I notice how much easier having a positive body image becomes. I know that's clearly not the case for all older women: after all, plenty of women my age and older are getting sliced, diced and Botoxed to within an inch of their lives. However, it's also not just me.