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I'll Show You Mine: Diana

We're so very excited to kick off this series today which features some of the stories and photographs from I'll Show You Mine, a book by Wrenna Robertson and photographer Katie Huisman, and by all of the women featured in the book, collectively. The book is an educational resource which was created to debunk society’s artificial and unrealistic standards for normalcy and beauty with the vulva, and to help people really get a sense of not only what vulvas can look like, in all their diversity (and without our pal Photoshop in the mix), but the diverse ways people who have them can feel about them. Sixty women are represented in the book, each with two large, true colour photographs. The photos are paired with in-her-own-words stories of each woman’s experience of the shaping forces of her sexuality; the stories range from heart-wrenching to celebratory, from angry to sensual. Women from a variety of ethnicities, ages spanning from 19 into their sixties, and all walks of life are rep

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Sp[ace] Exploration: What Sexual People Can Learn from Asexual Communities

Asexuality saved my sex life. No, seriously -- I mean that. I will declare it from the middle of a courtroom, with one hand on Our Bodies, Ourselves. Asexuality, as much as sex-positive feminism and far more than any amount of "hon, you just need to get laid already," helped me to access a confident, positive, and excited relationship with my sexual self.

Living In a World of Prudes, Sluts and Nobodies At All

In my experience it feels like there are two crowds, those who are 'cool' and have frequent sexual activity, hookups etc both in and out of relationships (or at least portray themselves as doing so) and those who are 'pure' who have decided at this point to abstain from sex until marriage, who are frequently Christian or otherwise religious. I think there's pressure to fit into one of those groups, either to go out and have lots of sex or to not have sex at all. There is stigma from both sides to each other, the cool group think the pure group are 'frigid' and boring, the pure group think the cool group are disrespecting themselves and God or something along those lines. If you're not willing to put yourself in either box then you can cop it from both sides. And if you are out LGBTQ then chances of fitting in either group are slim to none. I'm not sure if this is how it is for other people but that's how it feels to me in the last few years.

That's from Caitlin, a member of our commun

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Summering Safe and Sound

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'

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Letting Go of the Wrong Stuff to Get a Hold on the Right Stuff

Kyra asks:

I am 22 years old and have been with my one and only boyfriend for over 2 1/2 years now. I love him very much and we get along well, but our sexual life has always had problems. These are the main issues: 1) I cannot orgasm except through the use of a vibrator, 2) I'm often not interested in sex/don't really feel anything enjoyable from sex, and 3) I never initiate anything, which makes my boyfriend very frustrated. We've been having sex for about 2 years now, and these issues are as much of a problem as they were when we first started. Regarding the problem #1 (no orgasm except with vibrator), my boyfriend has tried everything. He will pleasure me for long periods of time, try to make me feel sexy, but NOTHING happens--I don't even come close to orgasming (in fact, I usually just get sore from the contact). I've tried to pleasure myself, but this is even worse--I hate the feeling of masturbating and don't derive any pleasure from it. When we discovered that I CAN orgasm via a vibrator, we were both thrilled; however, it usually takes me a good 15-25 minutes to orgasm from the vibrator (on the highest setting), and the orgasm usually lasts only a few seconds--it just feels like a lot of work for barely any result to me. Because I'm not interested in sex very often and I cannot orgasm via penetration or manual stimulation, my boyfriend believes I'm not sexually attracted to him and is quite upset. I don't know what to do and it is ruining our relationship. I am religious and come from a home schooled background where sex was not talked about much, and so I often feel awkward when my boyfriend tries to discuss it with me (and going to a sex therapist is out of the question).

I worry that because I'm a man, I am going to sexually abuse someone.

aplanacanalpanama asks:

My mom was a victim of incest as a girl and has used it to invalidate my emotions. I blame the incest, not my mom, but it still hurts. But I can't help but feel like I, as a man, am dirty to be sexual. I can't draw a line in my head between good sex and bad sex. I am a virgin because when I get close to sex, the girl will start reminding me of my mom or my sister. I'm afraid if I don't lose my virginity soon I will develop a sexual frustration that will eventually cause me to hurt someone. I know that I'm just a troubled, caring guy. But I can't help but hate myself sexually. I don't know what to do.

What's it called when you're a straight girl who finds other women beautiful?

Thyromanes asks:

What do you call it when you're sexually attracted to men (I'm a girl), but you can also appreciate female beauty? I'm straight and would not want a woman as a sexual partner. However, it's not unusual when I see a beautiful woman to think "damn, she's smokin'" the same way I might think "wow, he's a hunk" when I see an attractive guy. I also realize I have the capacity for 'girl crushes'--usually when I find another women admirable, not even in a sexual way or anything. I might admire her for her skill, personality, or expertise, as well as her physical beauty. What's up with that?

How Can a Lesbian Have Sex With a Dyke? (Or, How Good Consent & Communication is the Answer to Everything for Everyone)

Sun11 asks:

I'm a 19 year old lesbian ("Lipstick") and my girl friend is a "Dyke" and I know she has had previous partners and well so have I but never a Dyke. I'm scared of what may happen when we actually do have sex. What if I do something she's not comfortable with? Matter of fact what do I do if I do? I'm scared that I'll completely blow it and ruin our sexual relationship.

Some basic gay-tiquette

Capturetheworld asks:

My best friend just came out to me and I came out to him... now he wants to have sexual relations, what do I do?

It all happened a week ago. He told me he was bi, I told him that I am gay. After an awkward conversation he told me that he wanted to have sex with me minus an actual relationship and he told me that he prefers women but likes men as well. This is all troubling to me because I don't have any interest in him as a partner and telling me that he likes women is a big turn off. But the guy has never had a relationship with a man or woman. I kind of feel bad for him, he has had a lonely life. I have had several relationships both platonic and sexual. I would like to find a way to tell him that I am not his guy without hurting his feelings. We have been friends for 6 years now and the only reason why I haven't told him that I was gay before this point is because of his families very conservative views.

On a side note, What is the best way to tell girls who are infatuated with you that you are gay without offending them? For whatever reason, people have a hard time actually believing that I am gay. Thank you for your help!

Do these pants make me (look) trans?

guitargirl19 asks:

My early childhood consisted of Legos and Hot Wheels. In junior high, I listened to more metal than pop, wore hoodies and Vans shoes, black nail polish and eyeliner. Nowadays, I've been getting more interested in piercings and tattoos. I've never felt like a girl for the most part, but I've never considered getting some sort of sex change or anything either. I've only been attracted to guys, as friends and romantically. Because of my hardcore tomboyishness, guys never ask me out/respond favorably when I flirt. In high school, everyone assumed I was a lesbian. I said no, since I don't like girls.

Since I feel more like a guy, but like guys, would that make me transgendered somehow?

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