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Sound Counsel: A Conversation With Lynn Ponton

Considering counseling or think you or a friend might benefit from some therapy? Here's a basic introduction and a shared conversation with adolescent therapist and author Dr. Lynn Ponton to clue you in on what to expect from the couch.

A Very Important Note on Menstrual Suppression

As you may know, at Scarleteen we do not yet endorse suppressing menstruation/continuous birth control -- using a hormonal method of birth control in order to skip withdrawal bleeds/periods -- for women under 18, because there still is yet to be any study done or published with adolescent women to evaluate if it is safe or medically sound for those in that stage of physical development.

There is yet no available data concerning the long term effects of menstrual suppression on a woman's overall health, at any age. I should also mention that no studies have been published yet about the safety or efficacy of suppressing periods with the patch or vaginal ring.

However, there have been published and reviewed studies for women over 18 using oral contraceptives for suppression. Even though sample sizes have been relatively small (and to my understanding, without control groups of women not using BCPs), and they have been short-term studies, they have provided enough information to make cle

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Working It Out When Hooking Up Isn't Working

zebrastripes111 asks:

I'm 16. I've gone through 8 sexual partners in the last year. And 5 of them only in these past 3 months. I've only had one boyfriend in my life. I cheated on him. Twice.

I feel like I'm easy, maybe I am. I will tell myself that I won't have sex with a guy, and then I end up doing it anyways. In that moment I truly do want nothing more than to get it on. I am juggling two 'sex buddies' one of whom is a friend and the other is more of a stranger I sleep with. I suppose it wouldn't be such a bad thing except I only get sex when they want it. Frankly I'm a little fed up with this routine. I get horny too, but apparently that doesn't count. I enjoy sex, and I'm not afraid to say that. I can achieve an orgasm almost every time I have sex. But as soon as were finished I feel like shit. I don't really know why this is. I have inquired that maybe I use sex as a tool to make myself feel wanted and cared for. Or that I'm guilty to have maybe abused sex. Or simply that I am fucking... and not making love. I don't know what to do or what this is about. I don't know if you can console me, but any efforts and advice would be appreciated.

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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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. I often notice that women I'm friends with also seem to have a good handle and perspective on their body image, despite the diversity of our bodies. Usually a much better one then they had when they were your age.

But you know, what I wish I knew then that I do know now is that most of my body image is totally up to me. Just like it is now, so it was when I was in my teens: I have control over how positive or negative it is. And that's something you'll find many older women wish they had known back when. You don't have to wait until you're in your 30's, 40's or beyond to get to a better place with yours. You can start doing that right

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UK "Repeat" Abortion Rate for Teens Increases: What Does It Mean and What Can We Do?

Originally written for The Guardian, condensed version can be seen there.

In 2008, over 5,000 UK women under the age of 20 had an abortion that was not their first. As was made clear by the alarmist headlines following the publication of those numbers, this is a big concern for the public.

A woman’s reproductive life often spans 30+ years. Around 1/2 of all pregnancies in the US and UK are unplanned. Contraception isn’t used or used properly. It fails sometimes even in perfect use. Female fertility peaks between the ages of 19 and 24: the reason we tend to see the most abortions (and pregnancies) in that group is because it is the most fertile group having the most sex. (Piccinino, LJ, Mosher, WD. Trends in contraceptive method use in the United States: 1982-1994. 1998. Family Planning Perspectives. Vol. 30(1): 4-10 & 6, Table 1) The UK teen pregnancy rate is the highest in Western Europe: six times higher than the Netherlands, nearly three times higher than France and more than twice

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A Common Condom Misunderstanding

I get the impression that some, if not many of of our users think that condom failure rates are the same as condom breakage/slippage rates. In other words, think that when we explain that in typical use, condoms are 85% effective, that means that 15% of condoms break.

It doesn't: that is NOT what those rates mean. I hate for anyone to be presuming it is and to panic about a potential pregnancy via condom use because of that misunderstanding.

When we say condoms are effective 98% of the time in perfect use, that means that 2% of women using condoms (or, 2 out of every 100) as a sole method perfectly -- as in, following all the directions, including proper storage of condoms -- each year become pregnant. When we say they are 85% effective in typical use -- the way most people use them, which includes storing them incorrectly, putting them on wrong or too late or not using them at all -- that means 15% of women using them that way become pregnant in one year. People often forget that ty

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Why Childbirth Ed is Sex Ed

Sex leads to pregnancy leads to childbirth.

This, of course, is a huge oversimplification. It is possible to have lots of satisfying sex that doesn’t lead to pregnancy because a penis never goes into a vagina. It is possible to have chemical or mechanical problems of the reproductive system that make it impossible or unlikely for penis-in-vagina sex to produce pregnancy. People can also have penis-in-vagina sex while using any of a number of chemical, mechanical or physiological methods to prevent pregnancy (contraception).

But, penis-in-vagina sex has been until very recently in human history the only way to make more humans, and it is only recently that it has been as simple (and difficult) as taking a medicine to prevent pregnancy.

When pregnancy occurs as a result of sex, it may not necessarily lead to childbirth. Genetically abnormal embryos often spontaneously abort, and one pregnancy out of five will end spontaneously before halfway through the pregnancy (20 weeks). Many women

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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.