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Sexuality: WTF Is It, Anyway?

The term "sexuality" can be used a lot like the word "sex." They're both terms we say and hear a lot, but which often aren't clearly defined. We take for granted everyone knows what sexuality means, a heck of an assumption to make with something that covers so many important things and can feel as murky as Lake Erie. So: what's it all about?

Driver's Ed for the Sexual Superhighway: Navigating Consent

Most of us understand being in transit means there's a possibility of getting hurt, hurting others, having a good time turn into a bad one or just not getting to where we intended, and to try and prevent those outcomes, we need to follow basic rules of the road like being attentive to and actively giving clear signs and signals. Just like it's important on the road, it's important between the sheets.

Hey Hot Stuff: On Attraction, Desirability, and "Types"

I have a thing for Vincent Price.

I don't just mean that I enjoy his body of work. I mean I feel desire for his body.

You may be asking what, exactly, my feelings for a deceased horror icon have to do with the work we do at Scarleteen. The answer is that it gets me thinking about desire and how even those of us who consider ourselves enlightened can fall into old traps when it comes to attraction.

Because I've been puzzling over why, whenever I make the above confession, I feel like the kid revealing a deep dark secret at a sleepover during a game of truth or dare. I'm an adult, and a sex educator to boot. I should know that desire is a weird, nebulous creature. So why am I sheepish about my feelings? A part of it is, I'm not just attracted to young, matinee idol Price. I'm attracted more to older Price, who often looks downright odd in his movies. But even that doesn't get at the core of the matter.

I started to think back to middle school, to the years when many of us

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He Doesn't Want Sex Anymore. I Do. Now What?

chubbychickpea asks:

My partner and I have been dating for over a year now and have just begun to hit some rough patches. We used to have a lot of (what I thought was) really great sex. Then one day he told me that all that sex had been only mediocre for him. I was mortified and also ashamed because it felt like maybe he had never really want to have sex with me, he was just doing it because he knew I wanted to. Recently, he says that he might be asexual, but he isn't sure. He's trans and in the middle of transitioning, so he says his body is changing. He says masturbation "works wonders" for him, and he feels no sexual desire for me whatsoever. I've researched a/sexual relationships - the options are 1) me learning to like masturbation - I do, but it's not enough for me 2) him compromising to have sex, which reeks of non-consent and grosses me out 3) an open relationship, which isn't an option for either of us. I'm sexual. I want to feel sexy and desired and to have sex and everything that goes along with it. But if he isn't, what am I supposed to do? Right now the solution feels like I should just repress my libido so I won't need to have sex any more, but I don't even know if that's possible. I'm at an age where I'm being told left and right to assert myself as a woman, as a sexual person, as a queer person - but it seems like all of that's stopping now. If I'm not a sexual woman any more, I don't even know if I can consider myself a woman. That's right, this is potentially gender identity rocking for me. Please give me any and all advice. I'd appreciate it. - Sad, Confused, Terrified.

Don't Want to Have Sex?

Then don't! Here's a feast of support and help for those who want to say no, not now, or not-like-this to sex or sexual relationships.

Two Probably-Not-So-Great Pursuits

nicole1609 asks:

I'm 18 and I'm really into my student teacher (he's 25). He is so smart and handsome and funny, I can't stop thinking about him. He's gonna be leaving our school soon so everything would be legal and he wouldn't get in trouble, but I need him to notice me first! What should i do?

Loving Vs Lusting

emmelyne asks:

How do I know if my relationship is purely based on lust? I am unsure about the difference between "love" and "lust". I really really adore my boyfriend, but I wouldn't call it love yet. We've been together almost a couple of months now and I already trust him a lot, he is such a gentleman to me and I even feel ready to have sex with him. But I wouldn't say I was in love yet. How do I know? Thanks :)

I Feel Guilty for Wanting Sex

weelittlehedgie asks:

I've been wanting sex again with my partner for a long time but I'm having problems. Because of our age gap I'm sort of the stereotypical hormone-raging teenager. I feel guilty for thinking about having sex so often and bothering my partner by trying to initiate sex. I feel uncomfortable even thinking about trying to talk about sex and express my need for it more often unless it's after we've had sex. The past few times we've tried to have sex, my partner's sleeping medication has made them tired before I believe either of us are satisfied. And when I really really want to have sex it is either on a school night (which we previously agreed was off-limits for sex) or there's a friend sleeping in the same room. It's making me frustrated. I don't know how to bring it up because I feel guilty and needy or that I might be cornering them into decisions they're not comfortable with. What am I supposed to do that won't have me constantly apologizing?

Body and Sexuality Disconnects with Disability

evan21 asks:

Hi all! This might be a super specific question only to me, or it may help some of you out in the Interwebz, too. I am a university student with a disability called cerebral palsy. As a result, I walk on crutches. I have also been a virgin for all my 21 years. Generally I'm a romantic type of guy, but in a university environment, this tends to get me friend zoned pretty quickly. Lately I've realized I carry a lot of shame about my body and my sexuality. I can't be seen as a sexual object, because it would "ruin" my romantic image. Because of the disability, I tend to live in my head and not deal with my body as much.

Even though I'm an outgoing, positive person, anything to do with sexuality makes me feel bad and down on myself. This can be anything from meeting a girl on a night out and getting rejected, to thinking about all the fantasies and kinks I may or may not have. What should I do? How can I feel comfortable in my own body and with my own sexual nature, particularly when it doesn't look like I'll be sharing it with someone anytime soon?

Thanks so much for all the work you do on the site. I recently discovered you guys, and you all are awesome!

Five Things I Learned Dating a Girl

Dating this wonderful person pushed me to think about some things in new and challenging ways. Here are some of my favorite lessons that I learned when I dated a woman.

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.