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“What’s Your Preferred Gender Pronoun?”

Here’s something that happened to me last month: I got asked my preferred gender pronoun.

For those who aren’t familiar, this is a thing that tends to happen a lot at queer-positive conferences and gatherings these days. When you go around the room at the beginning of a session, you’ll say your name, something about yourself, maybe answer an ice-breaker question, and state your preferred gender pronoun.

It can be he/him, she/her, they/their, or one of the newer invented substitutes like ze or hir. Or, you can say you’d prefer to be referred to by your name.

I first encountered this tradition in 2011, I think. Maybe 2010. Most likely it was at a United States Student Association conference. The not-so-radical-anymore idea behind it is that respecting people’s gender identity is important, and volunteering your identity can be awkward, and misgendering someone is hurtful. So rather than guessing, or asking individual people to speak up if their preferences are non-standard or non-obvio


I'm an introvert, but I want to start dating.

firefly21 asks:

I'm 19 and I've never even been kissed. No guy has ever shown any interest in me in that way. I am so tired of waiting. I feel like I'm missing out on this huge part of life, like there's this line separating me. I think part of the reason might be that I don't go to parties and things like that. But I don't know what to do about that, I don't have many friends that are into that scene and the one friend who is, I don't want to go with because I would just end up standing awkwardly in the corner.

I'm an introvert and I just don't know what to do. People see me as the cute innocent girl, but I don't think I could be any more interested in sex. I'm constantly reading smutty romance novels and I love learning about sex. I feel like I'm going to end up knowing too much considering I'm a virgin or I'm going to be freaked out because I've waited too long.

Our sexual partners can't read our minds. The good news is, they don't have to.

XmimiX asks:

I've been with my boyfriend for around 7 months now, and I love him to bits! We get on so well, but when it comes to sex, I'm really let down. I lost my virginity to him when we first started going out. Being new to it, I was learning and exploring, but after months of the same thing I'm really dismayed. He always comes really soon - not prematurely - but soon enough its over before I've realised its begun! He only can go for a while if he moves slow, which is boring. Also, like most girls I can't orgasm through actual penetration easily, so I'd have to rely on oral sex for stimulation, but he never makes the effort... I always go down on him and hope he returns the favour but he never does. He does care and tries to make sex good, but when I tell him I can "come in other ways" he never takes the hint and never goes down on me. I don't like to ask him directly as I'm self conscious of the situation, and I don't want to offend. I love him so much but please help! It's really putting me off sex :(

My best friend really wants to have sex with me, but I'm afraid it'll ruin our friendship.

scarletbabe asks:

I'm a female and my best friend is a male. We're both virgins, he's 17 and I'm 16. He keeps telling me that he wants to have sex, and he's been touching my body more and more. We've kissed and made out recently, but he wants to go all the way. He tells me things like "I want to be your first, and I want to be your first." He says that he thinks sex will "strengthen" our best friend relationship but I'm afraid it might ruin it. What should I do?

Teen Dating Violence

A quick reference to help identify dating violence, as well as advice and resources for abused partners as well as abusers themselves to seek help. A Dating Violence Tip Sheet PDF is also provided for parents of teens.

Relationships, Love & Dating Advice at About.Com

A handy list of relationship advice articles ranging from what to do when your parents hate your significant other, to jealousy, cheating, and surviving heartbreak (and much more!)

About.Com Relationships, Love & Dating Advice

A handy list of relationship advice articles ranging from what to do when your parents hate your significant other, to jealousy, cheating, and surviving heartbreak (and much more!)

Should I tell potential partners that I am inexperienced?

StellaCadente asks:

I am 19 years old and a junior in college. I've never been kissed or had any sort of sexual experience other than masturbation. I know the time will come, someday, for me to start dating someone, and the odds are that this someone will be 19 or older and have a lot more experience than me. Neither my virginity or the other's experience is an issue for me, really, what is an issue is how I would be treated if I were to admit my lack of experience. I'm afraid I will stop being seen as desirable if they find out they are the first to ever want to kiss me (which is not necessarily true but is what one assumes). Even if they still find me desirable, I'm afraid I'll be treated like an immature person only because I haven't had that sort of experience... I want to believe that my life, so far, has been worth living, even if it didn't include smooching, and that I've grown as a person even lacking kisses. But I am afraid the person I trust with my first kiss won't think the same as I do and I'll be given a hard time for this. In short, should I talk about my lack of experience with future sexual partners?

I trust him and I want him, but things are moving WAY too fast!

Emme6678 asks:

I'm only 14 and a freshmen and I've only been dating my boyfriend for about two weeks and we have been moving pretty quickly. We have been friends for a really long time and I really like and trust him but I feel like we are moving too quickly. He has already fingered me and I've given him a handjob, and he's been talking about sex. I think I am way too young and I definitely dont feel ready but when we're doing things and I'm really turned on I sometimes actually want to have sex. I am really curious what actual sex is like, and I want to try it. But I know in the long run I will regret it. How do I stop myself from doing something solely based off of my hormones? How do I explain to my boyfriend that I dont want to have sex?

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