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consent

The age of consent... for what, exactly?

tortot555 asks:

I want to know what the government considers sex. When they say age of consent what kind of sex are they talking about?

Sex With My Ex Went So Wrong: What Happened?

espionages asks:

I'm 20. I had sex with a not-quite-boyfriend, okay, ex-boyfriend who I broke up with but still have feelings for. He decided that it would be fun to try some light bondage. It took me by surprise, but I usually do like that sort of thing. But at certain points...I felt really scared, and at others, I felt pleasure. However, the overall experience was negative, and I found myself wanting to stop--but I couldn't say no. I started to cry and he untied me. I wanted to slow down and just kiss, he wanted to finish. So I let him come on me, but I really didn't want him to. I felt really violated. Afterward he tried to cuddle with me, but I wouldn't let him. He tried talking to me a little bit about it, and said that I could have said no and that would have been better than crying--but the thing was I couldn't say no. What happened?

Was it sexual harassment? Was it my fault?

Ms.dee asks:

Is it consider sexual harassment if some guy fingered my vagina, but I didn't want him to...I'm now 17 and this happened when I was 13, I haven't told anyone about this...I wanna know if it's my fault that this happened. We were on a bus and this guy undid my pants and fingered me. I didn't want it to happen, but I was too scared to stop him. Is it my fault? I mean, when he tried to kiss me I did sort of slide away. Is this my fault?

Who's on top?

abbeykins4ever asks:

I'm 16 and my boyfriend is 17. We have been talking about having intercourse. It would be the first time for both of us. We've gradually gone over all the details with each other, and everything was fine until the question came up: Who's on top? Neither of us wants to be. His reasoning? He's lazy and inexperienced and doesn't know what he would do. My reasoning? If I'm on top, I have to do all the work, and that means I'm the only one who can mess it up. I have low self-esteem already, and the only thing that could make it lower would be not satisfying him. We're not sure what to do now. Who should be on top, or how can we settle this dilemma?

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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The Importance of Consent in Everyday Situations

Yesterday, I had my hair cut.

As the stylist called my name, she asked if I would like a shampoo. I politely declined. She then noticed how thick my hair is and she said she was going to take me back to the sink to wet it. And being incredibly used to this, I readily agreed and followed.

But just as she had finished wetting my hair and I expected her to turn the water off, she started squirting stuff on my head.

I froze. I’m not great with confrontation, especially with strangers, and have difficultly forming exactly what I want to say in just a short moment. She kept rubbing my head, then squirting some more, rubbing and squirting, rubbing and squirting.

The salon smell was all around me, and finally when she’d finished rinsing, only to squirt yet more stuff on my head, I blurted out “so what’s all this stuff you’re putting on my head?”

“You don’t use conditioner?” she asked incredulously.

Once she’d finished lecturing me on why I should use conditioner, I opened my mouth again to sa

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He said he'd wait, but he won't stop asking.

Staying_Pure asks:

I'm a 17 year old girl and have been dating this guy for a year and a half. I love him and know he loves me. For about the past six months I've been giving him handjobs. We started out slowly. (Through his pants, though his boxers, and then of course through nothing.) Well, recently he has been trying to convince me to let him fingering me. I told him "no" and he was pretty respectful of that. Each time we do something though, he asks for it. When I say no, he keeps saying 'okay, I'll wait for you" When he kept asking, I said wait till I'm in college and we'll see. Then, he said okay again. Once he asked me why I wasn't ready and I said because I was scared. When I couldn't explain why I was scared he got a little frustrated. He still keeps asking me for fingering and as I say no, he says "It's okay I'll wait for you." I just want to know though, how I can get him to stop asking, it kind of feels like he is pressuring me. I've tried to find a reason for my fears, but I can't place my finger on it other than I'm not ready. (It doesn't help that an old of crush of his- who is both of our friend- is telling him about how her boyfriend gave her first orgasm through fingering.)

How to Have Condoms "Interrupt" Sex By No More Than 30 Seconds

My current partner recently got a vasectomy. Because we're also monogamous, well-past six months of monogamy and barrier use, and both are current with our STI testing -- the combination of things and time period I know massively reduces our STI risks -- that means we're not using condoms right now.

This is very unusual for me: in around 25 years of sexual experiences and many partnerships, the vast majority of the times I have had male partners, including long-term partners, there have been condoms. As someone who wants to be able to enjoy her sex life as much as possible, who knows preventing infection is part of that, and also as someone who can't use most other methods of birth control, condoms have been my BFFs.

I've never found them to be the drag some people frame them as. Rather, I often find myself perplexed by folks who frame them that way, even though I know as a sex educator that more often than not, the folks who do frame them that way either a) haven't even used them or

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You should wait for sex, but if you can't....

This is one of a long line of common phrases in sex education and sexuality messaging people, including people I think of us allies, use that I deeply dislike, like "preventing teen pregnancy." Let me explain why, working backwards.

"You should wait for sex, but if you can't..."

That's usually followed by "then you should have sex using safer sex and contraception." Or -- and usually addressing both those things -- "then you should at least be responsible."

In some respect, that's fine. Now, not everyone needs contraception, either because they don't have a partner with a radically different reproductive system than them or they're not having the kinds of sex that can create a pregnancy, so that doesn't always make sense. But for people choosing to have any kind of sex, we're 100% on board with the sentiment that all of us -- no matter our age -- should be engaging in sexual practices supportive of safeguarding everyone's best health, and in alignment with whether we do or don't want

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The Sticky Situation of Interracial Attraction

Are you in an interracial relationship? Do you have the hots for someone of another race? Attraction is all well and good until someone gets targeted for their race. Here’s the scoop: attraction is different than fetishism. People can have fetishes about all kinds of objects and acts, which can be part of a normal, healthy sexuality. Fetishes about people—particularly about specific races—are more complex than having a fetish about feet or breastfeeding, for example. Let me give my distinction between attraction to those of a certain race and fetish. Attraction is finding a person beautiful or sexy, part of which may be their race. A fetish is finding an object (or a huge, diverse category that someone perceives as an object, like say, race for example) sexy. The key here is looking at the whole person, not how their racialized characteristics fit into your preconceived expectations of them, and seeing that person as a person, not as an object.

Another distinction is that fetishes are

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