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What Safer Sex Isn't

Maybe you know what safer sex is. But do you also know what it isn't? Take a minute and fact-check your ideas about what can protect you from STIs and what cannot.

A Very Important Note on Menstrual Suppression

As you may know, at Scarleteen we do not yet endorse suppressing menstruation/continuous birth control -- using a hormonal method of birth control in order to skip withdrawal bleeds/periods -- for women under 18, because there still is yet to be any study done or published with adolescent women to evaluate if it is safe or medically sound for those in that stage of physical development.

There is yet no available data concerning the long term effects of menstrual suppression on a woman's overall health, at any age. I should also mention that no studies have been published yet about the safety or efficacy of suppressing periods with the patch or vaginal ring.

However, there have been published and reviewed studies for women over 18 using oral contraceptives for suppression. Even though sample sizes have been relatively small (and to my understanding, without control groups of women not using BCPs), and they have been short-term studies, they have provided enough information to make cle

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How to Have Condoms "Interrupt" Sex By No More Than 30 Seconds

My current partner recently got a vasectomy. Because we're also monogamous, well-past six months of monogamy and barrier use, and both are current with our STI testing -- the combination of things and time period I know massively reduces our STI risks -- that means we're not using condoms right now.

This is very unusual for me: in around 25 years of sexual experiences and many partnerships, the vast majority of the times I have had male partners, including long-term partners, there have been condoms. As someone who wants to be able to enjoy her sex life as much as possible, who knows preventing infection is part of that, and also as someone who can't use most other methods of birth control, condoms have been my BFFs.

I've never found them to be the drag some people frame them as. Rather, I often find myself perplexed by folks who frame them that way, even though I know as a sex educator that more often than not, the folks who do frame them that way either a) haven't even used them or

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Abused Women

No matter what you call it, it hurts. You want to do something about it, but what can you do that won't make your life even worse?

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.

Why I Escort

I am a volunteer abortion clinic escort. This means I am there to walk with women coming into the abortion clinic. It's usually no more than a minute's walk from their cars to the front door of the clinic. Under normal circumstances, my help would hardly be needed. Except the circumstances outside an abortion clinic are rarely "normal."

Is birth control safe? Are certain brands best?

Gwenaly asks:

I've been wondering if using birth control is safe? And is there a certain brand of birth control that I can use that will be the best to use?

The Cutting Room Floor: On Sexting

With everyone talking about it so much lately, thought I'd reprise the topic with some questions Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon.com asked me about sexting a few months ago, and the whole of my answers. To see her finished piece, you can meander over here.

Q: Where does "sexting" -- or for that matter, taking nude self- portraits or videos that they may or may not share with a significant other, friends or a crush -- fall within teenage sexual development?

I'd lump television in with the 'net and other new media when I say that with the media presence being what it has become, the need or desire to seen -- already a typical part of young adult development as well as human existence -- has become huge. And that's not just about sex, but because sexual development and exploration is also a big part of being a teen, as well as a part of life, period, and something that's still treated as provocative, particularly when in any way public, sex enters into this.

You're asking about teens using t

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Sisters Are (or should be) Doin' It for Themselves.

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. (Well, short for me anyway.)

Why are so many of you kickass, take-charge gals leaving the buying, having and using of condoms only up to the men? I gotta tell you, it confounds my mind.

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