Skip to main content


Scarleteen Confidential: When You Don't Like Their Partner

This is part of our series for parents or guardians. To find out more about the series, click here. For our top five guiding principles for parents or guardians click here; for a list of resources, click here. To see all posts in the series, click the Scarleteen Confidential tag above, or follow the series on Tumblr at

It's a perennial cliché in nearly every coming of age movie, book, and sitcom. An adolescent or emerging adult character brings home a new boyfriend or girlfriend, who is met with dismay or disapproval by parents. Perhaps there is a joke (because threats of violence are apparently hilarious) made about shotguns if the daughter has brought home a boyfriend. Often, the scenario is played for laughs, or for soap opera levels of drama.

In real life, it's not unusual for parents to not immediately like the partner of their teen, or to feel wary or cautious when it comes to supporting their romantic or sexual relationship. But that situation


Love, Anxiety, and Fear

Izzybelle asks:

I want to find out if I'm alone. I know I'm not, but I feel that I need proof that shows I'm not the only one dealing with this. I have anxiety, OCD, and phobias, and I'm also very emotionally sensitive. That doesn't sound like much, but it actually is a big deal. I am terrified of romantic relationships. Before I knew I had this fear, I went to the movies with a guy and he wanted to hold my hand. I'm not capable of saying no, so I said yes. When I got home, I started to spasm and shake. I didn't know why but I know now that it was because I am scared of anything romantic. I also am really sensitive when it comes to friendships. I am the kind of person that thinks my friend doesn't like me anymore if they haven't texted me in a month or even a week (my friend lives halfway across the country). I always assume that my friend(s) don't/doesn't care about me and I realized that I need constant physical reminders that they do, such as a text or a phone call.

My Boyfriend Doesn't Enjoy Oral/Manual Sex, and I Feel Bad About It

MojMycha asks:

My boyfriend doesn't enjoy receiving oral or hand jobs, and it makes me feel inadequate, what can I do?

Higher Learning: Navigating Sex and Relationships in College

Going away to school can present some new sexual challenges. Here's a get-you-started guide to grow on.

Parental Controls

Noodle asks:

I have been in a monogamous relationship with someone my age for two years. We have been sexually active for a year now. My parents are religious and conservative, and believe strongly that there is no place for sex outside of marriage and I shouldn't be committed to my boyfriend until I have graduated college, which I am attending now. I have a very close relationship with my parents and didn't want to have to keep up a facade of chastity, so I told my mom that my boyfriend and I have been having sex. She was very upset and it launched a 3 month ordeal of restructuring boundaries for my boyfriend and I and reestablishing trust with me. My parents insist they still like my boyfriend as a person, but they no longer want us to have anything to do with one another. My boyfriend and I go to different schools and are apart for months at a time. We were originally planning to visit one another, but my mother says that if he visits it will permanently damage their relationship with him and my relationship with them. Over winter break, we were not allowed to ride in the same car together unless there was an adult chaperoning us, and my parents made sure we spent just as much time with them as with his family. It was horrible, and my mental health really suffered. I want to be able to go back to having a free, adult relationship with my boyfriend, but I also want my parents to approve of him again. I am dreading going home, but I really want to be able to see my love again. Any advice would be very welcome.

50 Shades Crappier: On Selling Abuse for Valentine's Day

I have written previously about 50 Shades of Grey, and the problems that I, and many others, have with the presentation of BDSM in the book. In short, the book purportedly explores a woman's sexual awakening in the context of consensual BDSM, but really portrays a woman's emotional abuse in the guise of kink at the hands of a controlling partner.

Which is why I was so disheartened to find out that 50 Shades would be adapted for the screen. I knew it would mean that the franchise would live on for another few years, and that we would continue to be inundated with the books/films and its characters until the screening of the final film. And as I feared, the way the film was talked about in the weeks and months leading up to its Valentine's Day release was fairly frustrating. I found it upsetting to see that the story was getting tied up with red ribbons and sold as the perfectly romantic Valentine's Day date. You could get anything from flowers to chocolate to champagne with a 50-Shades


What’s In A No?

What's so scary about asking when someone else may say no? Rejection. Read on to dial down the fear factor and learn to accept no like a pro.

Jealousy: Making Friends With a Green-Eyed Monster

How to tame those scary, growly feelings and use them for good.

Hey Hot Stuff: On Attraction, Desirability, and "Types"

I have a thing for Vincent Price.

I don't just mean that I enjoy his body of work. I mean I feel desire for his body.

You may be asking what, exactly, my feelings for a deceased horror icon have to do with the work we do at Scarleteen. The answer is that it gets me thinking about desire and how even those of us who consider ourselves enlightened can fall into old traps when it comes to attraction.

Because I've been puzzling over why, whenever I make the above confession, I feel like the kid revealing a deep dark secret at a sleepover during a game of truth or dare. I'm an adult, and a sex educator to boot. I should know that desire is a weird, nebulous creature. So why am I sheepish about my feelings? A part of it is, I'm not just attracted to young, matinee idol Price. I'm attracted more to older Price, who often looks downright odd in his movies. But even that doesn't get at the core of the matter.

I started to think back to middle school, to the years when many of us


He Flirts and I Feel Bad, but I Don't Want it to be Over

Lorelli123 asks:

So I'm 14 and me and my bf have gone through loads. We were best friends for three years and have been together for one and a half years. He struggles with bullying at school, so to impress this guy he got pics of two girls on Snapchat. This crushed me because he sent stuff to her like "your tits are perfect" and stuff like that. I found this out four months ago and put him through a lot, then finally forgave him a couple months ago. I know he loves me and I don't want to hear stuff like I should leave him or anything it just upsets me so please don't. It's great and were so in love but it's hard to forget sometimes and it does cause some arguments. I need help on getting over it, and keeping the relationship strong at school with the constant bullying about us and I want to keep my friends at the same time. If you can tell me how to not be bothered with him flirting because he flirts naturally and has friends that are girls more. (We do sexual things but not proper sex, which made me feel self conscious when he got those pictures and that feeling has faded but still effects me).

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.