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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?

All About S.E.X.: The Scarleteen Book!

Get your hands on S.E.X.: the in-depth and inclusive young adult sexuality guide by Heather Corinna! Check out reviews, the table of contents and a myriad of places you can get your very own copy of the sexuality primer for every body.

My Boyfriend is Trans, but not out yet. How do I support him?

yoyoma asks:

I recently became comfortable with my sexuality. Attracted to girls and boys. As a girl I always thought that I was just comfortable around girls, but I realized I liked them when I developed a crush on my friend, L. I started flirting with L and soon it came to light that we both like each other. That same day L told me she is a he. A transgender boy born a girl. I was okay with that, I didn't like L because of his gender I like him because he is a good person. Is it bad that because I have to call him a girl at school (he's not out yet) and refer to him as his birth name at school that I sometimes see him as my girlfriend? I'm trying to be open minded and I think I love him. Every time I think of him as a girl I snap out of it, but sometimes I feel guilty. Am I a bad girlfriend?

I'm a Gay Guy, but There's This Girl....

jayman858 asks:

I've considered it for long hours, and decided that I was gay. This was when I was about 11. I still fought with it for a while, but just recently I finally talked to myself and decided not to fight it anymore. Finally, when I get the mindset and confidence to say I'm fully gay, I meet this beautiful, sweet, hilarious, and honestly perfect girl who I connect with wicked well. I asked her out recently and she basically said not yet. I didn't go out and search thinking, "I want to be straight now please!" this girl just popped up out of nowhere last year. We've been friends for about a year now, and she recently moved onto campus. We've hung out non-stop, and she isn't even weirded out that I asked her out, she even said she'd thought about it, as in she thought about dating me. I'm just not sure if I should go for it or not. She did say not yet, in more words, but should I really try to become straight again? She really is the perfect girl, and I really want to, but will the fact that I'm with a girl cause any psychological stuff, like depression or like anything bad? I'd really like to just go date her, but a little voice in my head always whispers, "You're gay. You like men. You watch gay pR0n. You won't make her happy. Etc." I am completely lost and need some form of guidance moving forward.

Scarleteen Confidential: Quick Hits

This is part of our series for parents or guardians. To find out more about the series, click here. For our top five guiding principles for parents or guardians click here; for a list of resources, click here. To see all posts in the series, click the Scarleteen Confidential tag above, or follow the series on Tumblr at scarleteenconfidential.tumblr.com.

Welcome to Scarleteen Confidential quick hits! In this series, we cover topics that are important, but that aren't long enough for a full post of their own.

Ways to connect with the teens in your life

We talk a lot about allowing teens the space to explore and pursue their own interests. And while that's important, we still hear from teens who want to stay connected with their parents, even as they create lives that are more and more their own. So what can you do to stay connected without becoming the main component of their social lives?

  • Keep it Regular, or, as regular as you can manage. Something like cooking a meal together on a sp
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Scarleteen Confidential: How “Men Suck” Messes Everybody Up

This is part of our series for parents or guardians. To find out more about the series, click here. For our top five guiding principles for parents or guardians, click here; for a list of resources, click here. To see all posts in the series, click the Scarleteen Confidential tag here at Scarleteen, or follow the series on Tumblr at scarleteenconfidential.tumblr.com.

Messages parents or guardians have given our users about gender come up frequently, and often problematically. We often see the negative impacts of crummy ways some of their parents frame and talk about gender. As feminists and queer activists, we address gender stereotyping often in our content and conversations around women and gender nonconforming people of many stripes (or polka dots, whichever one prefers), and we know the weight of it all too well. But gender stereotyping is not just everybody’s problem, it’s a problem for everybody, and that includes for men, and the problems, for everybody, many gender stereotypes

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Love, Anxiety, and Fear

Izzybelle asks:

I want to find out if I'm alone. I know I'm not, but I feel that I need proof that shows I'm not the only one dealing with this. I have anxiety, OCD, and phobias, and I'm also very emotionally sensitive. That doesn't sound like much, but it actually is a big deal. I am terrified of romantic relationships. Before I knew I had this fear, I went to the movies with a guy and he wanted to hold my hand. I'm not capable of saying no, so I said yes. When I got home, I started to spasm and shake. I didn't know why but I know now that it was because I am scared of anything romantic. I also am really sensitive when it comes to friendships. I am the kind of person that thinks my friend doesn't like me anymore if they haven't texted me in a month or even a week (my friend lives halfway across the country). I always assume that my friend(s) don't/doesn't care about me and I realized that I need constant physical reminders that they do, such as a text or a phone call.

Undoing Sexual Shame

Feeling ashamed about sex or sexuality? Here are some steps to help you get started on turning that around so you can learn to love, not revile, your sexual self.

Parental Controls

Noodle asks:

I have been in a monogamous relationship with someone my age for two years. We have been sexually active for a year now. My parents are religious and conservative, and believe strongly that there is no place for sex outside of marriage and I shouldn't be committed to my boyfriend until I have graduated college, which I am attending now. I have a very close relationship with my parents and didn't want to have to keep up a facade of chastity, so I told my mom that my boyfriend and I have been having sex. She was very upset and it launched a 3 month ordeal of restructuring boundaries for my boyfriend and I and reestablishing trust with me. My parents insist they still like my boyfriend as a person, but they no longer want us to have anything to do with one another. My boyfriend and I go to different schools and are apart for months at a time. We were originally planning to visit one another, but my mother says that if he visits it will permanently damage their relationship with him and my relationship with them. Over winter break, we were not allowed to ride in the same car together unless there was an adult chaperoning us, and my parents made sure we spent just as much time with them as with his family. It was horrible, and my mental health really suffered. I want to be able to go back to having a free, adult relationship with my boyfriend, but I also want my parents to approve of him again. I am dreading going home, but I really want to be able to see my love again. Any advice would be very welcome.

On Belief

I am tired of disbelief.

I am tired of skepticism.

I am someone who does, genuinely, believe in the value of looking at things with a critical eye, of being cautious, of acknowledging that there are two sides to every story.

But I am tired of it when it comes to people who have been, or are being, harmed or made vulnerable.

In our work here at Scarleteen, we have people who talk with us about rape, or abuse, or relationships that they haven't yet pegged as abusive but that make my shoulders go up around me ears. And I have been asked:

Why do you believe them? How do you know they aren't presenting a biased opinion to get sympathy? There's always two sides to things.

The short answer is: because it is my job to believe them.

We, any of us who work with survivors, have a serious responsibility to, at the very, very least, believe them. They don't come to us for skepticism. They don't come to us to be told that they're overreacting, that they're lying, that they should think of the feeli

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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.