life

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.

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. 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's not, whether that's about tough stuff happening, or about having experiences that aren't negative, but are just super-challenging. With that in mind, here are a few tips and things to think about as you get into (or grapple with) your summer groove:

Scarleteen Direct Service Response Time Changes

Just a quick update about a change starting at Scarleteen, for those who use our direct services.

With both our message boards and text service, we have told our users for many years now that they can expect a reply from a staff member or volunteer within 24 hours, though most have usually received replies more quickly than that, often even within minutes at certain times of day.

When you use the pill, do you still have to use condoms?

Kori_Sanchez
asks:
I'm and 18 years old and have been having sex for a year and been on the pill for about a year. I take my birth control like a ritual at the same time every day (the combination pill). Sometime my boyfriend and I don't use a condom in the beginning to get him hard then we always put one on. My question is, when on the pill do you absolutely have to use condoms?...

I Used to Be a Pro-Life Republican

I had a favorite line, in high school, when debating people on the subject of abortion. It was "Hey, that thing in your stomach's not gonna come out a toaster, right? It's a baby!"

Three on Going With the Flow

Anonymous
asks:
I am going on a graduation-required 28 day backpacking trip. It is likely that this will happen to fall around my period. What is the best way to work with your period when backpacking? Pads are out of the question, as they are not so great for letting your pelvic area "breathe" during exercise. Tampons...meh....

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Feeling unhappy in or unsure about your relationship? Having problems you don't know how to work through, or don't even know if you should? We'll talk you through making these choices, including how-to's on conflict resolution and doing breakups better.

It's a Powerful Thing

Earlier this week, in the context of another conversation, one of our users at Scarleteen mentioned that her feelings on abortion had changed to a negative when she learned that her mother's pregnancy had been unplanned, and that her mother considered abortion. She said that upset her, because she really liked existing. She did say she was still pro-choice, but her sentiment bothered me all the same. Some of why it bothered me was political, and also about the work that I do and have done. But in thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that the ways it bothered me most were intensely personal.

The truth is, I envy her. A lot. I envy she was able to have a discussion in which her mother made clear she had the right to choose and she chose to remain pregnant and parent her.

Three on virginity, ideals and regrets

reynolds1990
asks:
I know that it takes a woman up to 7 years, after having intercourse to become a virgin again. Is that true? Is it also the same for a girl between the ages of 12 and 15? If they are both true, could you please explain to me how that happens? If you could get back to me as soon as possible that would be fully appreciated. ...

That Guy

Anyone who knows me or who knows anything about me usually knows that my pre-teen and teen years were incredibly difficult. I dealt with neglect and abuse in my family, starting from about the time I was 10. I was sexually assaulted twice before I even became a teenager. I was queer. I was suicidal and was a self-injurer. I struggled to find safe shelter sometimes. Few people seemed to notice, even though after I gave up trying to use my words, I still used my eyes to try and tell them constantly.

I'm 40 now, and in a whole lot of ways, I felt older at 16 than I feel now. Some days, I am truly gobsmacked that I survived at all, let alone with my heart and mind intact and rich.

A lot of why I survived is about having gotten support.