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memoir

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. The one adult I could count on over time to be unilaterally supportive of me had (still has) serious mental illness. I had to take more adult responsibility at the end of my teen years than anyone else I knew. Like many adolescents, I constantly heard directly or got indirect messages from adults who talked about how awful teenagers were, how awful I was, how difficult, how impossible, how loathesome. Four days after my sixteenth birthday, the first real-deal big-love-me-lover I had, who tre

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Dear Abby

This is a guest post from alphafemme, part of the blog carnival to help raise awareness and support for Scarleteen.

My mother reads Dear Abby religiously. She’s done it for as long as I can remember, always picking out the “Lifestyle” section of our local daily paper and turning to page B2.

Some days growing up, my sister or father would abscond with the section before she got to it to do the crossword or read the comics, but she would keep her eye on it, calling dibs on the section next. As a kid, it didn’t occur to me to question her loyalty to the column, and in fact I blindly followed suit–reading Dear Abby, it seemed, was something one did if one was to be a Woman. I was never all that impressed by the advice “Abby” (Pauline Phillips was her real name, if I remember correctly) doled out, and eventually I got bored of her predictable responses and stopped reading. The act of stopping wasn’t all that memorable or all that conscious; it just sort of slipped away, superseded by more

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Normative Sexual Development and Your Child

This is a guest entry from Dr. Ruth Neustifter -- who we know here at Scarleteen as Dr. Ruthie -- for the month-long blog carnival to help Support Scarleteen. Can we get your support?

I remember it very clearly. I was a senior in high school and we were all noshing together in the lunch room when Darla, who was two years my junior, blurted out that she had seen her boyfriend naked and that they were planning to have sex soon. It would be her first time, although we thought he probably had more experience. ”I sure hope it gets smaller before it goes in, because my hole isn’t that big!” she declared and we all laughed together.

The thing is, she didn’t know whether it would or not, and none of us were willing (or able) to give her much information. Within weeks she recruited another friend to purchase a pregnancy test with her, but I don’t believe any of us considered STI tests.

Back then, I was a youth leader of our church youth group’s True Love Waits effort, a national program

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One Teenager in Ten

This is a guest entry from The Gaytheist Gospel Hour as part of the blog carnival to support Scarleteen.

Preface: I was recently asked to participate in a blogathon to support Scarleteen, an online sex education forum for teens. I was flattered. I was humbled. I was a little queasy and had to breathe in a bag for a minute or 12. I decided to contribute the story of how I survived homophobic bullying thanks a single library book. I’m living proof that progressive sex education (no matter how small-scale) makes an enormous difference in the lives of the very young. It’s my hope that all who read my sarcastic, satirically-tinged autobiographical account will consider making an enormous difference by supporting Scarleteen.

"In this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld/ In this life, you’re on your own!" —Prince

High school is a laugh riot. It’s a jolly funhouse where the unpopular and the unusual are punished for their crimes against conformity with a topsy-turvy

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Some More Scarleteen Blog Carnival Highlights

We're just getting caught up with the myriad of fantastic blog entries that are part of the blog carnival that's been going on over the last three weeks as an effort to help cultivate support for Scarleteen. We've been reprinting some entries here at our blog, and will keep up with that, but here are a handful we can link right to for you to take a look at:

From Cory Silverberg at About.Com:

Scarleteen does sex education from a social justice model. Whether it's an article on the site, a response in the forums, or a request for more information in order to refer a youth out, they acknowledge the multiple ways that youth are systemically denied basic rights and access to sex education and sexual health. It's not unusual for a question about, say contraception or sexual pleasure, to elicit an answer that accessibly and seamlessness weaves information about race, class, and gender, in with information about how to go about choosing and accessing contraception, or negotiating with a part

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I thought the "First Time" was supposed to suck!

I researched sex before diving in. Nearly every article and website felt like it carried another warning. Besides worrying me about STIs and pregnancy, my research was showing me that my first time was likely to be painful. I like to mentally prepare myself for things like this and I thought I knew what sex would be like. But, I'm very glad to say that my story is different. It's good. No, it's amazing.

I was a teenager in the 80's, but before that I was a kid who got molested.

This is a guest entry from The Beautiful Kind as part of the month-long blogathon to support and raise awareness for Scarleteen.

I was a teenager in the 80's, but before that I was a kid who got molested.

When I was 8 or 9, my teenage adopted brother asked me, "Do you want me to show you something fun?"

I said sure, not realizing his idea of "fun" was sex with a child. He did things like sneak into the bathroom while I was taking a bath and give me a handful of pencils, instructing me to get as many inside me as I could so that I would be prepared for his penis.

When the family watched movies in the dark living room, he would sit in a chair and stare intensely at me instead of the movie, his hands in his pockets, stroking himself. He had big plans for me.

But before he could turn me into his own personal sex toy, I told my parents about it, and they freaked. It took a while for them to protect me due to the complicated family legal system, but in the meantime they put me in therapy. I

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Is it my fault?

It's common for teens to have a mentality of "that won't happen to me". Well, what if it does? How does one cope when their trust and belief system is shattered by sexual assault?

Shameless

When I was a teenager, having sex wasn't really part of my rebellion.

Having GOOD sex was.

Now, I know that I'm kind of not supposed to even say this stuff out loud, especially within earshot of anyone under 18...or 21 or 29 or whatever this week's proper age for sexual activity issued forth from our oh-so-moral government is per being an unrepentant tramp. Don't suppose age matters here: it's pretty clear there's not any age or station at which it's acceptable per the Bushies to be a woman who enjoys sex on her own terms and happily has plenty of it.

I know that admissions like that sometimes have the effect of diminishing my credibility in the eyes of some as a young adult sex educator. As I understand it, if you had really great sex as a teen (or a grown woman, or a lesbian or a gay man or anyone not over 50, heterosexual and married), and worse still, lots of it, you somehow lose (or never had) the ability to think critically and soundly, to have any sort of objectivity whatsoeve

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To Jane & Sarah for Their 30th Birthday

Enough people don't talk about abortion. Too many people don't listen to those who do. I'm not talking about conceptually or hypothetically. I'm not talking about discussing this woman or that who you knew that aborted or did not. I'm talking about talking about abortion; intimately, personally. In public, not in secrecy.

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