Skip to main content

choices

“What’s Your Preferred Gender Pronoun?”

Here’s something that happened to me last month: I got asked my preferred gender pronoun.

For those who aren’t familiar, this is a thing that tends to happen a lot at queer-positive conferences and gatherings these days. When you go around the room at the beginning of a session, you’ll say your name, something about yourself, maybe answer an ice-breaker question, and state your preferred gender pronoun.

It can be he/him, she/her, they/their, or one of the newer invented substitutes like ze or hir. Or, you can say you’d prefer to be referred to by your name.

I first encountered this tradition in 2011, I think. Maybe 2010. Most likely it was at a United States Student Association conference. The not-so-radical-anymore idea behind it is that respecting people’s gender identity is important, and volunteering your identity can be awkward, and misgendering someone is hurtful. So rather than guessing, or asking individual people to speak up if their preferences are non-standard or non-obvio

Read more...

Of forgotten condoms. And days without pants.

It occurs to me that the "we both forgot to use condoms" thing that comes up often enough is a bit like suggesting that a person forgot to wear pants.

For a whole day.

And didn't notice.

At all.

They got home, and after hours of being out in the cold or the sun, at work, getting lunch, taking the bus back and forth, only when they saw their pants laying on the bed did they go, "Whoah! I haven't had pants on ALL DAY! I had NO IDEA WHATSOEVER!"

Just think about it. Seriously. Think about it. If in doubt, try The Great Pantsless Experiment and see how long you go without noticing.

Here's a thing to know: chances are AWFULLY good that at least one person in that situation, and certainly the person who would be WEARING the condom realizes they're not wearing a condom. Probably right from the start, but if not then pretty darn shortly thereafter.

That person is highly unlikely not to feel any difference at all, because even though various kinds of sex can feel just as awesome with condoms

Read more...

I'm an introvert, but I want to start dating.

firefly21 asks:

I'm 19 and I've never even been kissed. No guy has ever shown any interest in me in that way. I am so tired of waiting. I feel like I'm missing out on this huge part of life, like there's this line separating me. I think part of the reason might be that I don't go to parties and things like that. But I don't know what to do about that, I don't have many friends that are into that scene and the one friend who is, I don't want to go with because I would just end up standing awkwardly in the corner.

I'm an introvert and I just don't know what to do. People see me as the cute innocent girl, but I don't think I could be any more interested in sex. I'm constantly reading smutty romance novels and I love learning about sex. I feel like I'm going to end up knowing too much considering I'm a virgin or I'm going to be freaked out because I've waited too long.

I'm 25: shouldn't I have been ready for sex?

Carmen23 asks:

I am 25. I am a virgin. I went on this date with this guy. We were trying to have sex. He didn't put his penis inside of me. I was in pain. I panicked. I told him , I am not ready. I don't know him very well. I did not want to sleep with him. I was freaked out. He told me, you are 25. You should be ready. My friend told me to purchase a vibrator that will help me be more comfortable with sex. Do you think I need more foreplay? Is there something wrong with me? Is there a way I can make the experience better for me?

My best friend really wants to have sex with me, but I'm afraid it'll ruin our friendship.

scarletbabe asks:

I'm a female and my best friend is a male. We're both virgins, he's 17 and I'm 16. He keeps telling me that he wants to have sex, and he's been touching my body more and more. We've kissed and made out recently, but he wants to go all the way. He tells me things like "I want to be your first, and I want to be your first." He says that he thinks sex will "strengthen" our best friend relationship but I'm afraid it might ruin it. What should I do?

If you didn't ask for it? Then you didn't ask for it.

LulaInTheOrangeBoots asks:

I'm an 18 year old virgin. A few months back, I was out clubbing with a friend, and she wanted me to make-out with a guy, because she does it all the time when we go clubbing. I started dancing with a guy, and we started kissing, which I DID want to do. But then he started putting his hand up my skirt, and then in my underwear. I kept pushing his hand away and telling him to stop and he kept putting it back. I managed to escape and didn't see him again, but I feel kind of violated, as he was touching me sexually. Is this my fault? I did want to kiss him, but I said not when he put his hand down my pants. Was this wrong, or was I asking for it, and is it just something that happens?

How do you avoid getting pregnant after giving a handjob or oral sex?

AprilBeatriz18 asks:

Assuming you are a woman, (and if you are not please ask one to answer this) what did you do when you were a teen to avoid getting pregnant after giving a handjob or giving oral? What steps did you take?

I wash my hands a lot before using the restroom since I know I'll be wiping myself down there and I don't want there to be any sperm on the toilet paper or I don't want to accidentally touch my vagina while I'm down there.

But the thing is that when I washed them I realized that there could be sperm still living on the soap or living in the water on the container that holds the soap (forgot what it was called) or on the towel if I didn't get them all off the last time I washed them if I washed my hands just a little while ago due to the same reason.

The only thing I might not be ready for with sex is what other people will say.

Aliciapash asks:

I truly think I'm ready for sex, I'm comfortable with myself and my partner and am not at all nervous for losing my virginity. I'm only 16 but people say that different people are ready at different times right? and I think I'm ready now, I've ticked off all of the checkpoints on your "am I ready" checklist but there is one problem. I'm worried about if people will judge me for it. My question is should I stop doing what I want out of fear of how others will see my action?

The Testing Diaries: Robin

Do you feel anxious about the idea of getting tested for sexually transmitted infections and diseases? Some of our readers certainly do.

Some never had adequate sex-education and did not realize that sexual activity with a partner -- and not just anal or vaginal intercourse -- can pose STI risks in the first place. Some are not sure where to go for testing or how to ask for it. Others feel uncomfortable discussing STIs with a partner or potential partner. We get it: this stuff can be hard, and it is usually not the kind of thing where someone just takes us by the hand and leads us through.

This is why we're doing this series at Scarleteen. In it, some of our volunteers share their own stories of how they deal with different aspects of STI testing and reproductive healthcare.

Ten years ago, I knew about using lube, about making first-time intercourse comfortable, and about pregnancy prevention options, but it seems I didn’t know much about sexually transmitted infections.

My partner at

Read more...

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.