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The Importance of Consent in Everyday Situations

Yesterday, I had my hair cut.

As the stylist called my name, she asked if I would like a shampoo. I politely declined. She then noticed how thick my hair is and she said she was going to take me back to the sink to wet it. And being incredibly used to this, I readily agreed and followed.

But just as she had finished wetting my hair and I expected her to turn the water off, she started squirting stuff on my head.

I froze. I’m not great with confrontation, especially with strangers, and have difficultly forming exactly what I want to say in just a short moment. She kept rubbing my head, then squirting some more, rubbing and squirting, rubbing and squirting.

The salon smell was all around me, and finally when she’d finished rinsing, only to squirt yet more stuff on my head, I blurted out “so what’s all this stuff you’re putting on my head?”

“You don’t use conditioner?” she asked incredulously.

Once she’d finished lecturing me on why I should use conditioner, I opened my mouth again to sa


What I Really, Really Want for My 40th Birthday

You probably already know I'm the founder and executive director of Scarleteen. (If not, hello! Lovely meeting you.) You might not know that on Sunday I'm turning 40.

I don't normally ask the internet for birthday prezzies, but 40 is a big freaking birthday. When I was the age of most of the young people I counsel now, I had it in my head I wouldn't live past 36. I've become the adult I didn't even think I would be around to be. When someone asked me what I wanted last week for my birthday, what I felt I really wanted, in my heart of hearts, was the kind of world I'd truly prefer to live in and want for young people, particularly around sexuality, their bodies and their relationships. I want the world I've been working very hard to try and create. Big birthdays deserve big gifts, right?

Of course, no one can just snap their fingers and give that to me. But there is something small each of you can do to plant some seeds for it, and I'm going to go ahead and be a noodge and ask you for


Does Your Relationship Need a Checkup?

Does your relationship need a basic checkup to be sure it's healthy and well? Here's a list for doing just that.

Hello, Sailor! How to Build, Board and Navigate a Healthy Relationship

You probably hear the term "healthy relationship" a lot. But what does that mean, and how do you create -- and keep building -- one of those?

My father isn't respecting my personal boundaries.

Halia asks:

My father and I don't have the best relationship but he continually forces me to give him hugs, kisses, etc. even after I say no. It really bothers me, even if it is just a kiss on the cheek. He also comes in my room a lot (without knocking) and lays down in my TWIN size bed with me and wont leave even after I tell him to get up. I don't know what to do anymore and I don't feel like I can trust him anymore because he never respects what I want to do. What should I do about this?

It's Blog for Choice Day 2010!

We're glad this day has rolled around again, and always glad to have the opportunity to keeping talking about the essential human right of reproductive choice. Perhaps obviously, we're less glad that any of us still have to work so hard to support reproductive choice and justice, or to need to explain that it should simply be self-evident.

This year we'd like to highlight some of the many articles, blog entries and advice answers we have at Scarleteen on abortion, other reproductive choices and reproductive justice. The Blog for Choice question this year is "What does Trust Women mean to you? The links below reflect that well.

But in a word, to us, it means exactly that: that as individuals who are members of a collective, and as an organization, we trust women.

Women aren't our only readership or userbase here at Scarleteen, but female-bodied and/or female-identified people make up a majority of our users. We give the sexuality information we do in the way we do, including informat


I don't feel safe with him: how can I change my feelings?

Becca asks:

I'm in my late teens and have been dating my first boyfriend for one and a half years. Early on in the relationship he broke my trust and later on has done a few things that have made me really uncomfortable: touching me where I've told him not to before, being very rough, and the worst, making a negative comment about my body. I've talked to him about all of this and it hasn't happened since but it's destroyed my trust in him, and my libido has disappeared. I now dread having sex with him because I'm always thinking about how he must hate my body and not respect me. Is there anything I can do to get me to believe he actually likes my body (like he claims to) or to learn to trust him again (and to be okay with him treating me rougher than I like?). I really love him but I can't stand the thought of him touching me at the moment because I just feel used.

How do I tell my boyfriend I don't think he's ready for sex yet?

erohwaremac asks:

My boyfriend and I have been going out for over five months now. In an emotional sense, we're a perfect couple. We love and respect each other, and get along incredibly. However, I am his first real girlfriend. I'm only the third girl he's ever kissed and done other things with. We "fool around" such as we make out, he feels me up and fingers me, and I go down on him, etc. However, I have essentially taught him everything he knows. He is a virgin. I am not. He tells me he is ready for sex, but despite the fact that I love and think the world of him, I know that he is not. Biologically he is raring to go, but emotionally he is not. I don't really know how to tell him this. I know it won't compromise the relationship, but I just don't want him to feel like I think of him any less. I just want his first time to be special and wonderful. And the only way I can let that happen is if he is totally emotionally ready. Deep down, he agrees with me, but his hormones are getting the better of him. I don't want to deny him, but at the same time I don't want to hurt him either. What do you suggest?

This is what sexual incompatibility looks like.

haiguyz asks:

My partner seems to pick and choose when she wants to fool around with me. Whenever I want to do anything, she doesn't, and if I get her to do anything, she complains the whole way through. When she gives me head, if I suggest things to do, she gives me an evil look, and tells me to shut up, like she's being humiliated. But just a few days ago, she took me into my room and gave me head without me even asking or suggesting in any way! She once told me she doesn't like for me to do anything to her or vice versa, but this just confuses me. I know it sounds like I'm pushing her to do these things, but I have nothing but the utmost respect for her. I just would like to be intimate with her more often. When I tell her this, she brings up that she doesn't really like intimacy. I'm so confused!

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