I’m going to suggest you look at reciprocity in sex -- the idea that one person gives something, so the other should get something of equal value back -- in a different way than you might be used to. (Excerpted and adapted from S.E.X., the Scarleteen book.)
If we look at our sexuality one way, it looks a million times simpler than it actually is. If we look at it another way, it appears a million times more complicated. While it's important that we bear everything in mind we need to in terms of infection and disease, birth control, our relationships, our bodies and the whole works, now and then we need to remember the bare bones and the human element of the thing, and keep the essentials in the forefront of our minds.
We talk a lot about sexual safety and safer sex here at Scarleteen in terms of your physical health. But what about checking in to see if sex is safe for you and yours emotionally? Taking care of your emotions, looking out for risk factors in advance -- not just when they become an existing crisis -- and safeguarding yourself, your partners and those around you from needless hurt and harm is just as important as doing what you can to prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
A candid memoir of first-time intercourse from the founder of Scarleteen.
What's safer sex? Find out how you can best reduce your risks of STIs and protect your health and how to do it and be supported in it without feeling like the Sex Decency Brigade or bringing on the buzzkill.
Many people in long-term, committed relationships, be it marriage or steady partnership -- no matter their age -- have ideas about sex in partnerships they may not even be aware of. Often we base our ideas of relationships and sexuality on what we see in the media or in movies, on what our parents relationship is like, or on what we imagine, in a perfect world, sex and love to be. Talking about what those ideas are, communicating our feelings honestly, and creating clear limits and honoring them make everyone happier and healthier.
Many teens have a lot of questions when it comes to homosexuality and bisexuality. In a culture that is often so damning of orientation and sexual identity outside heterosexuality, many teens become nervous when they feel attracted to those of the same sex, worried that they might be gay. Others suspect (or are even very sure) that they are homosexual or bisexual, but are afraid to say so either because they aren't completely sure and feel they will be branded in some way, or simply because they fear being rejected, outcast or scolded by their friends, family or community. While at least 8 million people in the United States are homosexual, about 70 million people still think it is an "illness" or "perversion."