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Here in the hemisphere I live in, we're into the swing of summer. Ah, summer, my personal favorite season. I love the sun, the warmth, everything blooming, the energy, the spirit of the season. As an alternative educator all my life, though, I miss out on that thing where teachers get summers off (though I've also known few teachers in the public sector who could afford to take the summer off, anyway), and as the Executive Director and lead educator at Scarleteen, I really don't get downtime. Summer is and has always been our busiest season. Eh, so it goes.
It's also the time of year when we tend to see the most new users coming to us because they're in a crisis or a panic, or are just really, really feeling down in the dumps. I'm a lot more concerned about those of you in that space than I am about my feeling occasionally ripped off of a summer vacation. We know that the idea of summer as a happy, carefree time for all young people doesn't square with the reality that for plenty, it'Read more...
So my boyfriend of 9 months was asking me about anal sex. We only ever done oral sex, so when he brought up anal I was a little scared. We both decided to at least see if it could work. We were at his house and I got on my knees and he slowly went in. At first if hurt then it didn't. All in all we only did this for about 7 seconds then we stopped. We were never intending to do anal for longer than 15 seconds. We were just going to do long enough to see what it would be like. After we stopped we sat on the bed and I asked him if this counted as sex. He said that it didn't. (We are both virgins by the way...or maybe not?) I'm not sure if it counted. If it did then did I just lose my virginity?
Depending on your view, the answer to that question might seem really obvious or very tricky and hazy.
This is a subject that's talked about all the time, however, when it is, there's often little to no clear definition about what healthy sexual development is. Many easy assumptions get made, and ideas about what's healthy for all people are often based in or around personal agendas, ideas and personal experiences of sexuality, rather than being based in broader viewpoints, truly informed and comprehensive ideas about all that human sexuality and development involves and real awareness of possible personal or cultural bias.
We think this question is very, very tricky and that the answers aren't at all obvious or easy: sexuality is incredibly complex, especially given its incredible diversity, not just among a global population, but even within any one person's lifetime. Our cultures also are often sexually unhealthy in many ways, and so ideas about healthy sexual development, deeply iRead more...
I had a favorite line, in high school, when debating people on the subject of abortion. It was "Hey, that thing in your stomach's not gonna come out a toaster, right? It's a baby!"
Oh, I thought I was really, super clever with that one. Because I loved talking about the babies. I talked about the babies at the high school Young Republicans Club--not only was I the president, but also the founder. I talked about the babies at Club 412, the evangelical punk teen hang-out in Fort Worth I frequented with my friends. I talked about the babies in class. I cried about the babies while I strummed my guitar. I wrote songs about the babies, imagining myself as a broken, murderous whore who regretted her abortions.
I didn't have an opinion one way or the other on abortion until I started hanging out with right-wing punk rock kids in high school. Then, somebody -- probably one of the older teenage punk rock boys I would later fend off in the back of a car or behind the chapel at church camp -- haRead more...
I am going on a graduation-required 28 day backpacking trip. It is likely that this will happen to fall around my period. What is the best way to work with your period when backpacking? Pads are out of the question, as they are not so great for letting your pelvic area "breathe" during exercise. Tampons...meh. I don't really want to have to carry the new ones in with me (extra weight), or the used ones out with me, like you have to do with all garbage. I thought a menstrual cup would be good, as it can be worn for a long time and there is no garbage involved--however, cleaning the cup might be complicated because polluting is a no-no out in the elements. Maybe I could use wipes of some sort? Are there wipes that don't have body-upsetting chemicals? It would be nice to not have to deal with this for just one month--are there any sorts of short term forms of menstrual suppressors that I could use just one time without huge side effects?
The people in charge of the whole thing don't seem very educated about other options, and simply reassure all of the girls that they can use tampons and carry around all the garbage.
Earlier this week, in the context of another conversation, one of our users at Scarleteen mentioned that her feelings on abortion had changed to a negative when she learned that her mother's pregnancy had been unplanned, and that her mother considered abortion. She said that upset her, because she really liked existing. She did say she was still pro-choice, but her sentiment bothered me all the same. Some of why it bothered me was political, and also about the work that I do and have done. But in thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that the ways it bothered me most were intensely personal.
The truth is, I envy her. A lot. I envy she was able to have a discussion in which her mother made clear she had the right to choose and she chose to remain pregnant and parent her. She wasn't forced, she wasn't pressured, she didn't do what she did because it was the only thing she could do without risking her life, her health, being locked away or hidden or committing a crime. She chose. SRead more...
As a youth-serving organization which provides most of our services online, we're all too aware the internet has limits. You can't get tested for chlamydia or pregnancy online. You can't get ongoing, one-on-one counseling or therapy where your counselor can hand you a tissue when you need one. The internet can't provide anyone a warm bed or a meal, an IUD, pre-natal care or an abortion. Google can't provide us HIV healthcare or emergency contraception.
As part of what we do, we refer users to offline services, but many of our users are often reluctant to seek out in-person services we or others can't directly vouch for. Years ago, we began to notice that when one of our users told another near them about a service they used and liked, or when one of our staff could vouch for having gone to a service ourselves,Read more...
I used to be able to have anal sex with my boyfriend. We're in college, we've been together for over three years and have been having anal for the entire time. I never enjoyed it at all, it always also hurt but I let him do it because he liked it. Ever since last summer, I haven't been able to allow him to do it. It just hurts so much more than it used to! I've always been really sensitive, but usually if he was gentle it would be okay. It's not anymore. Even though we use a lot of lube (we don't use condoms, I'm on birth control) it just burns from the second he puts it in. (I don't think it's the lube because it doesn't bother me otherwise.) It feels like it's sore in there, that it's ripping or tearing something.
He's really upset because he wants anal. He says he feels cheated because he used to get it and now I won't let him. He understands that it hurts, but doesn't get why it's so bad all of a sudden. I don't get it either! The only explanation I have is that I don't get to see him as often now (I'm at college so sometimes it's only once a month) so maybe it just gets all tight in there. I've noticed this with regular sex too, but to a much lesser degree and it's still okay for me. So I feel like that might not be it. I don't know if my butt is sick somehow but it's been going on for such a long time there must be something going on! What could this be? It really upsets him, and it kind of bothers me, too. I don't get why it hurts so bad all of a sudden! Is something wrong up there? What can I do?