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Hello, Sailor! How to Build, Board and Navigate a Healthy Relationship

You probably hear the term "healthy relationship" a lot. But what does that mean, and how do you create -- and keep building -- one of those?

Abused Women

No matter what you call it, it hurts. You want to do something about it, but what can you do that won't make your life even worse?

My father isn't respecting my personal boundaries.

Halia asks:

My father and I don't have the best relationship but he continually forces me to give him hugs, kisses, etc. even after I say no. It really bothers me, even if it is just a kiss on the cheek. He also comes in my room a lot (without knocking) and lays down in my TWIN size bed with me and wont leave even after I tell him to get up. I don't know what to do anymore and I don't feel like I can trust him anymore because he never respects what I want to do. What should I do about this?

Spotlight on Scarleteen: New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year to you from all of us at Scarleteen!

Nearly a month into 2010, we hope your new year has been and continues to be happy, healthy, and all-around awesome. Have you set any New Year Resolutions this year? We have and would like to share them with you!

Over 1000 Scarleteen users are doing just that! Since December 19th and as of yesterday, 1001 visitors to the Scarleteen website have voted in the poll: Which of these is the best sexuality-based New Year's resolution for you? A lot of people will choose resolutions, such as exercising more, getting better grades, and quitting smoking. Those are all noteworthy goals, and big accomplishments when realized, but how about aiming to exercise safer sex all the time, acing a “quiz” of your own anatomy, and quitting bad body image and sexual shame? By setting a sexuality-related resolution, you’re focusing on an important part of you that often doesn’t get the attention (or praise!) it deserves.

THE RESULTS! We’re going to share t

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I don't feel safe with him: how can I change my feelings?

Becca asks:

I'm in my late teens and have been dating my first boyfriend for one and a half years. Early on in the relationship he broke my trust and later on has done a few things that have made me really uncomfortable: touching me where I've told him not to before, being very rough, and the worst, making a negative comment about my body. I've talked to him about all of this and it hasn't happened since but it's destroyed my trust in him, and my libido has disappeared. I now dread having sex with him because I'm always thinking about how he must hate my body and not respect me. Is there anything I can do to get me to believe he actually likes my body (like he claims to) or to learn to trust him again (and to be okay with him treating me rougher than I like?). I really love him but I can't stand the thought of him touching me at the moment because I just feel used.

Pornography, Strip Clubs & Other Feminist Relationship Quandaries

sylviaplath asks:

I could really use some help on this issue. I am a feminist, and pride myself on being open-minded and trying to keep my insecurities in check. I have been with my boyfriend for years, and we have lived together for 2. Within the past few months I have been looking at his computer and seeing that he watches pornography. While I do try to understand why, I cannot help but feel hurt. It brings up issues I have with my own body and makes me feel bad and inadequate. While I am trying to come to grips with this, I have found out that his friend is getting married and they are going on a trip. I know they will be going to strip clubs, and this is making me crazy. He is not the type of guy who would cheat on me or that would probably really enjoy this, but then again I didn't think he was the type to watch porn. I feel like I have become more paranoid knowing about this porn-viewing and now I am not able to see clearly this situation. My main question is, if he gets a lap dance, this is considered cheating, right? It seems like this male tradition that for some reason is okay, and it's just this free pass. Should I talk to him about it? Do I have a right to be upset? I feel so anxious and like I'm losing my grip with him and with my own feminism. Please help me.

Help Lift Sex Ed to a Higher Plane: Support Scarleteen!

You probably know Scarleteen has been the premier online sexuality resource for young people worldwide since 1998. We have consistently provided free inclusive, comprehensive and positive sex education, information and support to millions for longer than anyone else online. We built the online model for teen and young adult sex education and have remained online for nearly eleven years to sustain, refine and expand it.

What you might not know is that Scarleteen is the highest ranked online young adult sexuality resource but also the least funded and that the youth who need us most are also the least able to donate. You might not know that we have done all we have with a budget lower than the median annual household income in the U.S. You might not know we have provided the services we have to millions without any federal, state or local funding and that we are fully independent media which depends on public support to survive and grow.

You also might not know Scarleteen is primarily

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Love Letter

I'm writing this because someone told you that you can't understand or experience love at your age. If no one did yet, they probably will soon enough. I'm writing to tell you that if you've heard that, I just don't think it's true.

The Cutting Room Floor: On Sexting

With everyone talking about it so much lately, thought I'd reprise the topic with some questions Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon.com asked me about sexting a few months ago, and the whole of my answers. To see her finished piece, you can meander over here.

Q: Where does "sexting" -- or for that matter, taking nude self- portraits or videos that they may or may not share with a significant other, friends or a crush -- fall within teenage sexual development?

I'd lump television in with the 'net and other new media when I say that with the media presence being what it has become, the need or desire to seen -- already a typical part of young adult development as well as human existence -- has become huge. And that's not just about sex, but because sexual development and exploration is also a big part of being a teen, as well as a part of life, period, and something that's still treated as provocative, particularly when in any way public, sex enters into this.

You're asking about teens using t

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Is something wrong with me because I like BDSM? Can I like it and still be a feminist?

alice42 asks:

For as long as I can remember, I have been turned on my imagining my own pain and humiliation. I am going out with someone for the first time now, and we've been together for almost eight months. Recently we've started experimenting with very mild SM-type things--tying each other up, biting, spanking. I love it, and so does he. But is this normal? Should I be worried that this turns me on more than anything else we've done together? Is there something wrong with me? (I've never been abused). And can I still be a feminist if I get off on being dominated by men?

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.