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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.

Connecting with WOC and Sexuality

Ever since puberty, I found my body to be a site of shame, something I desperately wanted to escape.

A transplant to predominantly white Catholic schools on Long Island, I was immediately deemed ugly. I had an older sister, but we were close enough in age that we were navigating puberty around the same time. As second-generation daughters of immigrant parents, we were on our own as far as navigating the personal and social meanings of our bodies.

A lot of hurdles were awkward for me. I grew flustered and self-conscious when relatives felt no qualms about making unsolicited comments about my body.

“You’ve got boobs now,” an aunt told me bluntly when I came over with my mother once. How could she mention them? I was mortified.

I could avoid it for a while by wearing starchy undershirts under my school blouses, but soon, I couldn’t hide my growing breasts anymore. I crossed my arms over my chest in an attempt to hide my nipples as they showed through my shirt, but I might as well have be

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Wild and Untamed Things: Why a Cult Classic Still Resonates After All These Years

Scarleteen volunteer Sam reflects on the significance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and how it relates to sexuality, identity, and her middle school experience.

I'm Gay No Matter Who I'm With

When everyone seems to be so preoccupied with labels, it's hard to really explain to someone that you're a 'genderqueer-gendernonconforming-demisexual-'gay'-transman' and not have them look at you funny.

Body and Sexuality Disconnects with Disability

evan21 asks:

Hi all! This might be a super specific question only to me, or it may help some of you out in the Interwebz, too. I am a university student with a disability called cerebral palsy. As a result, I walk on crutches. I have also been a virgin for all my 21 years. Generally I'm a romantic type of guy, but in a university environment, this tends to get me friend zoned pretty quickly. Lately I've realized I carry a lot of shame about my body and my sexuality. I can't be seen as a sexual object, because it would "ruin" my romantic image. Because of the disability, I tend to live in my head and not deal with my body as much.

Even though I'm an outgoing, positive person, anything to do with sexuality makes me feel bad and down on myself. This can be anything from meeting a girl on a night out and getting rejected, to thinking about all the fantasies and kinks I may or may not have. What should I do? How can I feel comfortable in my own body and with my own sexual nature, particularly when it doesn't look like I'll be sharing it with someone anytime soon?

Thanks so much for all the work you do on the site. I recently discovered you guys, and you all are awesome!

Resources for Parents & Families of Trans/Gender-Variant Youth

Recently, I attended the Gender Spectrum Family Conference, which focuses on helping parents and caregivers understand and meet the needs of their transgender and gender-variant children.

One of the things that can be hard, when choosing to come out to parents, is the fact that you might feel like you have to educate them about gender issues, both on a general level and in terms of your own identity; this can make a process that might already feel overwhelming or stressful even harder to manage. Letting an organization that's dedicated to this sort of education do some of the work for you can take some of that weight off of your shoulders.

Also, it's helpful for parents to have their own source of support in handling a child's gender identity or transition. Of course, you're going to be the best expert in your own identity and what support you specifically need from your family and loved ones, but it might be a big help for everyone involved if you can connect them to some of these

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“What’s Your Preferred Gender Pronoun?”

Here’s something that happened to me last month: I got asked my preferred gender pronoun.

For those who aren’t familiar, this is a thing that tends to happen a lot at queer-positive conferences and gatherings these days. When you go around the room at the beginning of a session, you’ll say your name, something about yourself, maybe answer an ice-breaker question, and state your preferred gender pronoun.

It can be he/him, she/her, they/their, or one of the newer invented substitutes like ze or hir. Or, you can say you’d prefer to be referred to by your name.

I first encountered this tradition in 2011, I think. Maybe 2010. Most likely it was at a United States Student Association conference. The not-so-radical-anymore idea behind it is that respecting people’s gender identity is important, and volunteering your identity can be awkward, and misgendering someone is hurtful. So rather than guessing, or asking individual people to speak up if their preferences are non-standard or non-obvio

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He's Queer, I'm Straight, and It's Great Except...

elinor asks:

Help! I'm in a relationship with a man (I identify as a straight woman) who identifies as queer. He's mostly had sex with men in the past (there might have been 1 woman), but this is first heterosexual relationship. It's also my first relationship with a queer man. I really care for him, but I am struggling with checking my own heteronormative attitudes. For example, I don't know how to get over the fact that he enjoys watching gay porn, and mostly gets off to men. We still have great sex together and I know he is attracted to me, and I try to remind myself of this when I find myself getting bothered by what turns him on. I'm learning to love, not accept, that he is queer and that he has made me shift my thinking about relationships and sexuality so much. However, I still don't know how to get myself out of these moments, sometimes ongoing, of insecurity.

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