Skip to main content

listening

Building Bridges: Sexual Orientation Shifts

Time for another installment of Building Bridges, where we facilitate, then publish a conversation between two people in different life stages who have something with gender, sexuality and/or relationships in common. This time, our intergenerational pair is two women who have had their sexual orientation and identity shift for them during the course of their lives.

Amy & Candice: Shifting Sexual Orientation

Amy, 24: I came out as a lesbian at 14 and was, as I call it, "a Professional Gay" for a long time. I interned for activist organizations, ran the GSA at my high school, got a scholarship from a local LGBT organization for my activism and went on to a women's college where I eventually became co-chair of the LGBT organization on campus. I was, as a friend once said "her definition of gay."

Looking back, I struggled with liking guys for a long time, which sounds so backwards in the way that people think of sexual orientation transitions. I felt a strong connection and loyalty to th

Read more...

Building Bridges: Childhood Sexual Abuse

We hear a lot about generational divides. What we hear much less about are the bridges: how people of different generations can and do connect; how we can support and help one another and each offer the other things of great value. Just as often as a given experience, or even life as a whole, is different for people of one generation and those of another, there are also some things that are or have been the same, and all have our own wisdom to share, whatever our age may be.

People of different generations are not incapable of connecting or understanding each other, despite the way so much media can often make it sound that way, or the despite day-to-day frustrations and challenges we have probably all experienced with one another when trying to connect.

Often I am asked to explain things about one generation to another, illustrating differences as well as common ground to each. I often find myself telling people of one age group how to try and better understand the other; making app

Read more...

The Importance of Consent in Everyday Situations

Yesterday, I had my hair cut.

As the stylist called my name, she asked if I would like a shampoo. I politely declined. She then noticed how thick my hair is and she said she was going to take me back to the sink to wet it. And being incredibly used to this, I readily agreed and followed.

But just as she had finished wetting my hair and I expected her to turn the water off, she started squirting stuff on my head.

I froze. I’m not great with confrontation, especially with strangers, and have difficultly forming exactly what I want to say in just a short moment. She kept rubbing my head, then squirting some more, rubbing and squirting, rubbing and squirting.

The salon smell was all around me, and finally when she’d finished rinsing, only to squirt yet more stuff on my head, I blurted out “so what’s all this stuff you’re putting on my head?”

“You don’t use conditioner?” she asked incredulously.

Once she’d finished lecturing me on why I should use conditioner, I opened my mouth again to sa

Read more...

You should wait for sex, but if you can't....

This is one of a long line of common phrases in sex education and sexuality messaging people, including people I think of us allies, use that I deeply dislike, like "preventing teen pregnancy." Let me explain why, working backwards.

"You should wait for sex, but if you can't..."

That's usually followed by "then you should have sex using safer sex and contraception." Or -- and usually addressing both those things -- "then you should at least be responsible."

In some respect, that's fine. Now, not everyone needs contraception, either because they don't have a partner with a radically different reproductive system than them or they're not having the kinds of sex that can create a pregnancy, so that doesn't always make sense. But for people choosing to have any kind of sex, we're 100% on board with the sentiment that all of us -- no matter our age -- should be engaging in sexual practices supportive of safeguarding everyone's best health, and in alignment with whether we do or don't want

Read more...

...and then my Mom walked in on us.

emma asks:

I'm 17, and recently me and my boyfriend decided to have sex for the first time. My mum was out, but she came back early and we didn't hear her! She ended up walking in on us just before we were going to have sex. She went mad and started screaming at me, and it was a really bad situation. She really doesn't want me to have sex until I'm married. But I feel ready now, I don't want to wait! How can I make her see this? And also she's never going to trust me and him alone together now, how can I get around that?

I've had to lie to get him to stop pressuring me for sex.

anaxelisz asks:

I lied to my boyfriend and told him I was raped. I know rape is nothing to joke about at all. My mother was raped as a child. But it is the first thing that came to mind! He's always trying to get me to have sex with him, and I'm just not ready. He's not the kind of guy you can just sit down with and explain that too..that's just not him and hes a virgin..but he does get "head" sometimes. (Not while I've been with him of course..] But anyway I told him I was raped and that I'm not ready to have sex after that happened to me and that it scares me because it will remind me of what happened. Well, that lie got old and now he's starting to ask me again and again. What do I tell him ? I'm stressing over this and hes not the kind of guy I can just say "I'm not ready to do this..or that" to. Please help. I'm young, only 14 and hes 15 but..what to do ?!

Why can't she just understand that I'm not ready yet?

Chad asks:

My girlfriend doesn't understand why we can't have sex because I'm not ready. I keep asking her to wait a little longer, but then she gets confused and she thinks I'm not interested. I just don't want to mess up or get an STD. I don't know what to do.

What if my boyfriend doesn't listen to me when we have sex?

Violet asks:

I have never ever had sex before. My BF is great: he knows me, and he likes having fun. We're both about the same age. If he's energetic, what should I do if he gets out of control? His listening skills aren't that great.

How do I support someone coming out to me?

Anonymous asks:

How do I best support a family member who has come out to me? The person is 15 years old and says they are bisexual.

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.