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For 2013: More, Not Less.

I don't celebrate most holidays, but I've always been a fan of New Year's. New Year's Day, actually, more than New Year's Eve. I relish fresh starts and new beginnings.

I even like New Year's resolutions. I know, they're cliche, and that much of the time, when we make them, we don't stick with them or know where that list is come February. But even just the practice of taking stock of where we've been and where we're at, thinking about what we want for ourselves and our lives in a new year; thinking out or writing down ideas or mantras to help support us in living the life we want? I'm a big fan of that kind of self-evaluation, meditation and positive affirmation.

However, so much of the time, the leading words in resolution lists look a whole lot like these:

  • Quit...
  • Stop...
  • Lose...
  • Get rid of...
  • Renounce...
  • Dump...
  • Ditch...
  • No more...
  • Don't be...

Obviously, none of that's exactly the language of shiny beginnings. They're negatives, rather than positives. But even more so, those are

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I'm scared to touch my own vagina: why?

birthdaycake123 asks:

Hey. I'm 14 and I've never fingered myself. I've done other things, but the thought of fingering myself just seems gross. A couple times, I've tried to, but then I get to thinking about how gross vaginas are, and I chicken out. I know this is irrational, but do you have any advice on getting over this? Thanks.

Scarleteen By The Numbers: What's Gotten Better? What Has Not?

I want to focus this entry on the second of the optional questions in the demographics survey. Of the 2,000 participants who completed the survey, this question was answered by 1,530. The question was this: Since using Scarleteen, which of any of the following has changed for you, and by how much?

We saw a couple comments at the end of the survey, from statistics-focused folks, concerned that our aim was to state that whatever improvements users reported were solely because of Scarleteen. That was never the intent.

The intent in asking this questions was primarily to get a picture of what, if any, improvements relevant to what we address here our users were experiencing which may have been due to using our services or may not have been. What we most wanted to see was not the areas where we may have done a good job or where our users already felt things were going very well for them, but areas where it would seem sound to say we currently are not having the impact we'd like to with po

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Wrenna Shows You Hers (and mine, and yours, and hers, and hers, and...)

If you’ve been reading Scarleteen for a while, you might already know that for many years now, we've heard from a good deal of young women who are deeply ashamed of and disgusted by these parts of their own bodies.

Some have feelings so negative that they are afraid to show loving partners their vulvas, or worry a lot about partners they haven't even met yet and that unknown person's reaction to the appearance of their vulva. Others don't get sexual healthcare they need because they don't want a doctor to see their vulvas: in other words, for some, distress about vulval appearance may be putting not just their emotional health and self-esteem, but physical health at risk. Some are so fearful, disgusted or negative they won't even use a mirror to get a better look at their vulvas alone, or won't touch their own vulvas because their feelings of disgust are so strong. Some even find it hard to feel comfortable around other women in non-sexual ways or to hear other women talk about thei

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The Scarleteen Do-It

Feeling low about your body and how it looks? Thinking about, or already doing, some drastic things to try and change it? You're not alone. But you can get to a better place with your body and how you feel about it without doing anything that keeps you feeling just as bad, or puts your physical or mental health at risk. Here's some ways to ditch the die(t)s and go for the happy, healthy do's.

Accentuating the (Sex) Positive: Discovering Scarleteen

This is an entry from Arianna at Fearfree, one of the many wonderful guest posts in the month-long blog carnival to help support Scarleteen!

I throw around the words “fear” and “silence” often when it comes to sex ed. They’re loaded terms, perhaps, but these words best describe my experiences with sex education: my emotional reaction and everyone else’s approach, respectively. These words describe what I feel is not often expressed in the sex education debate.

True, it’s hard to use the “Little Mary Sue is scared” argument to a bunch of adult policymakers who believe that a child will “get over” whatever scare tactics they might use in sex education. I have indeed heard it argued that it is okay to use fear in sex education because, well, incurable STIs are out there right now. You can see the logic: if children grow out of believing in the boogeyman, then certainly they will grow out of being told that condoms have pores that let HIV through, right? At least by the time that they are

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Let’s Talk about Six, Baby

This guest post from the wonderful Anne Semans at the Moms in Babeland blog is part of our month-long fundraising effort for Scarleteen. Thanks, Anne!

One day about 20 years ago I was walking down Haight Street with my 6-year-old niece. This was long before I had kids, but well after I started selling sex toys for a living. It was San Francisco in the early Nineties, and Salt n’ Pepa’s song “Let’s Talk About Sex” was blasting out onto the city streets. My niece looked up at me and asked what the song was about.

My moment had arrived! It was my big opportunity to be the “cool aunt” and to seize on a teachable moment to explain the biology without any moralizing or stereotyping.

I nervously launched into a monologue about sex being an intimate act between two adults that brings them pleasure, and how sometimes but not always it can result in a baby being conceived, and that it can be between two women, two men, or one of each.

Finally I paused and asked her if that answered her quest

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Spotlight on Scarleteen: New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year to you from all of us at Scarleteen!

Nearly a month into 2010, we hope your new year has been and continues to be happy, healthy, and all-around awesome. Have you set any New Year Resolutions this year? We have and would like to share them with you!

Over 1000 Scarleteen users are doing just that! Since December 19th and as of yesterday, 1001 visitors to the Scarleteen website have voted in the poll: Which of these is the best sexuality-based New Year's resolution for you? A lot of people will choose resolutions, such as exercising more, getting better grades, and quitting smoking. Those are all noteworthy goals, and big accomplishments when realized, but how about aiming to exercise safer sex all the time, acing a “quiz” of your own anatomy, and quitting bad body image and sexual shame? By setting a sexuality-related resolution, you’re focusing on an important part of you that often doesn’t get the attention (or praise!) it deserves.

THE RESULTS! We’re going

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Help Lift Sex Ed to a Higher Plane: Support Scarleteen!

You probably know Scarleteen has been the premier online sexuality resource for young people worldwide since 1998. We have consistently provided free inclusive, comprehensive and positive sex education, information and support to millions for longer than anyone else online. We built the online model for teen and young adult sex education and have remained online for nearly eleven years to sustain, refine and expand it.

What you might not know is that Scarleteen is the highest ranked online young adult sexuality resource but also the least funded and that the youth who need us most are also the least able to donate. You might not know that we have done all we have with a budget lower than the median annual household income in the U.S. You might not know we have provided the services we have to millions without any federal, state or local funding and that we are fully independent media which depends on public support to survive and grow.

You also might not know Scarleteen is primarily

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San Francisco Sex Information (SFSI)

San Francisco Sex Information (SFSI) is a free information and referral switchboard providing anonymous, accurate, non-judgmental information about sex.

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.