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How Do We Best Define Sex?

When we're quality sex educators; when we are or aim to be inclusive, forward-thinking and do sex education in ways that can or do serve diverse populations, we will tend to define sex very broadly, far more so than people who don't work in sex education often tend to, even if and when their experiences with sex and sexuality have been broad. Often, the longer we work as sexuality educators, and the longer we also just live and experience our own sexual lives, the more expansive the definition becomes. If we live and/or work on the margins, like if we or people we serve are queer, gender-variant, culturally diverse, have disabilities, the diversity in our definitions of what sex can be will become even greater. I'd say that for me, at this point, I'd love to be able to define sex by simply saying "Sex could earnestly be absolutely anything for a given person." While I think that's ultimately the most accurate way to define it, something like that is also not going to be very useful


Sometimes, knowing is the whole battle.

This is a guest post from Dances With Engines as part of the month-long blogathon to help support Scarleteen!

I was hoping to make a post for the Scarleteen Blogathon that was pleasant and sweet and that would inspire people to make donations, and to do it without touching on my personal experiences. But there’s no way for me to make a post about sex and sex education without digging at old wounds. Isn’t that part of the new paradigm, anyway, where personal experience has authority?

Scarleteen is written for young people of all sexes and genders. That they manage to do so with so much consistency and dependability is amazing to me. As I become more conscious of my own binary and oppositional language (men do this, women do that, and only men and women), I get more impressed with Scarleteen.

When I recommend websites to my daughter, or to friends with growing children, I am always questioning—is the language and mission of this site going to be inclusive? Is anyone going to be left f


Yes, No, Maybe So: A Sexual Inventory Stocklist

What do or might you want to do, not want to do or aren't sure about when it comes to sex with a partner? What about your partner?

My Corona: The Anatomy Formerly Known as the Hymen & the Myths That Surround It

The mythical status of the hymen has caused far too much harm for far too long. RFSU shares their fantastic information booklet intended to dispel some of the myths surrounding the hymen and virginity, including a new, improved term for that anatomy, the vaginal corona.

Welcome to the 6th Feminist Carnival!

We're pleased to host the 6th edition (oops, make that the 8th!) of the newly reborn Feminist Carnival! In the spirit of rebirth, and in alignment with the readers and mission of Scarleteen, this round puts it's focus on young feminist bloggers and feminist issues particularly pertinent to younger women.

The F-Word & The Myth of the Invisible Young Feminist


How to (Un)pack for a Real Discussion About Abortion

The murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller on May 31st has resulted in a lot of conversation about abortion. It’s a topic frequently hushed, or spoken about more around its politics than the actual procedure, the experience itself and the real women who have abortions. So this increased discussion is certainly something potentially positive happening because of something horribly tragic. More discussion around anything which is or may be treated as unspeakable is always a good thing.

However, often in these conversations and news stories, language is used that's confusing or inaccurate, and some statements are made about abortion or women who choose abortion which are false, unrepresentative or misleading. And any of this can come from either “side” of abortion debates or discussions, due to political aims or motivations, ideological ideas or agendas or just out of plain old ignorance. Just like a whole lot of people don't know the finer points of open-heart surgery, a lot of p


Preventing Teen Pregnancy: Three Words Most Likely to Make My Blood Boil

I hate, hate, hate that phrase. Nearly everywhere I go or look as a young adult sexuality educator anymore, I run into it incessantly.

Let me be clear: I don't hate doing all that we can, to help people of every age to avoid pregnancies or parenting they do not want or do not feel ready for. I'm so glad to do that, and it's a big part of my job at Scarleteen and elsewhere when I work as a sexuality and contraception educator and activist.


Is intercourse a violence or a violation?

stullis asks:

I've been with my girlfriend for nearly six months now. I've always had a bit of a problem having sex with people (keeping it up) but this problem has never occurred between me and her. However, lately I've begun to feel very guilty about the physical action of having sex. The act of penetration is a great experience physically, but when I think about what I'm doing I feel like I'm stabbing her, or performing some kind of violent act on her. We haven't had sex yet since I started REALLY feeling like this (which was a little more than three weeks ago) but if we are making out and begin to have dry sex I often start to cry from the idea of what I am doing to her. She's very compassionate and understanding, and I have told her all of this, but I want it to stop. I need to know how to make myself stop feeling like I am abusing her when we have sex because considering the times we've had sex before I had this mindset, it's been an incredible experience of expressing our love to each other, and I'd really like to have that back.

GLB Terminology

Ever wonder what "LGBT" means? Or why "queer" can be both an insult and part of the title of a hit TV show? Visit GLAAD's glossary to find out!

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