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Summering Safe and Sound

Here in the hemisphere I live in, we're into the swing of summer. Ah, summer, my personal favorite season. I love the sun, the warmth, everything blooming, the energy, the spirit of the season. As an alternative educator all my life, though, I miss out on that thing where teachers get summers off (though I've also known few teachers in the public sector who could afford to take the summer off, anyway), and as the Executive Director and lead educator at Scarleteen, I really don't get downtime. Summer is and has always been our busiest season. Eh, so it goes.

It's also the time of year when we tend to see the most new users coming to us because they're in a crisis or a panic, or are just really, really feeling down in the dumps. I'm a lot more concerned about those of you in that space than I am about my feeling occasionally ripped off of a summer vacation. We know that the idea of summer as a happy, carefree time for all young people doesn't square with the reality that for plenty, it'

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Letting Go of the Wrong Stuff to Get a Hold on the Right Stuff

Kyra asks:

I am 22 years old and have been with my one and only boyfriend for over 2 1/2 years now. I love him very much and we get along well, but our sexual life has always had problems. These are the main issues: 1) I cannot orgasm except through the use of a vibrator, 2) I'm often not interested in sex/don't really feel anything enjoyable from sex, and 3) I never initiate anything, which makes my boyfriend very frustrated. We've been having sex for about 2 years now, and these issues are as much of a problem as they were when we first started. Regarding the problem #1 (no orgasm except with vibrator), my boyfriend has tried everything. He will pleasure me for long periods of time, try to make me feel sexy, but NOTHING happens--I don't even come close to orgasming (in fact, I usually just get sore from the contact). I've tried to pleasure myself, but this is even worse--I hate the feeling of masturbating and don't derive any pleasure from it. When we discovered that I CAN orgasm via a vibrator, we were both thrilled; however, it usually takes me a good 15-25 minutes to orgasm from the vibrator (on the highest setting), and the orgasm usually lasts only a few seconds--it just feels like a lot of work for barely any result to me. Because I'm not interested in sex very often and I cannot orgasm via penetration or manual stimulation, my boyfriend believes I'm not sexually attracted to him and is quite upset. I don't know what to do and it is ruining our relationship. I am religious and come from a home schooled background where sex was not talked about much, and so I often feel awkward when my boyfriend tries to discuss it with me (and going to a sex therapist is out of the question).

I worry that because I'm a man, I am going to sexually abuse someone.

aplanacanalpanama asks:

My mom was a victim of incest as a girl and has used it to invalidate my emotions. I blame the incest, not my mom, but it still hurts. But I can't help but feel like I, as a man, am dirty to be sexual. I can't draw a line in my head between good sex and bad sex. I am a virgin because when I get close to sex, the girl will start reminding me of my mom or my sister. I'm afraid if I don't lose my virginity soon I will develop a sexual frustration that will eventually cause me to hurt someone. I know that I'm just a troubled, caring guy. But I can't help but hate myself sexually. I don't know what to do.

The Truth Behind the Trope: Understanding the Realities of Teen Parenthood and Teen Pregnancy Prevention

What do we know about teen parents? Take a moment to make a mental list (or, if you’re motivated to get out a pen and paper, I won’t stop you) of all the facts and statistics you’ve heard.

In case you’re coming up short, I’ll give you a few:

  • Most teen parents drop out of high school.
  • Only 2% of teen parents will graduate from college by age 30.
  • Many teen parents will end up on welfare, costing tax payers billions of dollars nationwide.
  • The children of teen parents are more likely to fail a grade in school. Their sons are more likely to go to jail. Their daughters are more likely to become teen mothers themselves.
  • The relationships of teen parents almost always fail, leaving teen mothers to be single parents.

You can read more here or here or here or watch any episode of 16 and Pregnant that features Dr. Drew. He’ll usually cover most of these points before the hour is up – while interviewing young people who are actually parenting.

Beyond these “facts”, we hear plenty of othe

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Three on Getting to the Bottom of Things

Ariana11 asks:

So my boyfriend of 9 months was asking me about anal sex. We only ever done oral sex, so when he brought up anal I was a little scared. We both decided to at least see if it could work. We were at his house and I got on my knees and he slowly went in. At first if hurt then it didn't. All in all we only did this for about 7 seconds then we stopped. We were never intending to do anal for longer than 15 seconds. We were just going to do long enough to see what it would be like. After we stopped we sat on the bed and I asked him if this counted as sex. He said that it didn't. (We are both virgins by the way...or maybe not?) I'm not sure if it counted. If it did then did I just lose my virginity?

What Is Healthy Sexual Development?

Depending on your view, the answer to that question might seem really obvious or very tricky and hazy.

This is a subject that's talked about all the time, however, when it is, there's often little to no clear definition about what healthy sexual development is. Many easy assumptions get made, and ideas about what's healthy for all people are often based in or around personal agendas, ideas and personal experiences of sexuality, rather than being based in broader viewpoints, truly informed and comprehensive ideas about all that human sexuality and development involves and real awareness of possible personal or cultural bias.

We think this question is very, very tricky and that the answers aren't at all obvious or easy: sexuality is incredibly complex, especially given its incredible diversity, not just among a global population, but even within any one person's lifetime. Our cultures also are often sexually unhealthy in many ways, and so ideas about healthy sexual development, deeply i

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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.

Sorting Maybe from Can't-Be: Reality Checking Partnered Sex Wants & Ideals

Is what you want from sex with a partner realistic, or is it impossible, unlikely or out-to-lunch? Take a trip with us to go visit our pal reality.

Prior to Periods

Laura asks:

I'm 13 and i just want to know out of curiosity if you can have sex if you haven't ever had your periods AT ALL? Does it make any difference if you've had them before or if you haven't? Is it really possible to just get your first period while you're in class or doing something and actually have enough blood come out for you (and everybody else) to see, or does it come gradually and you actually have enough time to go to the bathroom and put a napkin? It's kind of scary ^^

I feel dirty and irresponsible because of genital herpes

fairies asks:

I'm 20 and have been with my partner for about two and a half years. We have a great relationship and are happy together. However, two years ago, when we first started sleeping together, I contracted genital herpes, even though we used condoms. I was a virgin before I slept with him so I knew it had come from him. I was angry and upset but he kept telling me he had tested clean at his last STI check and couldn't understand that he must have it. When we went to the GUM clinic (together) they confirmed that I had herpes but told me that they don't test for herpes unless there are symptoms present. Therefore when my boyfriend had his previous check-up (symptom free) he tested clean for everything they test for and then went on to sleep with me. My boyfriend was upset that I was blaming him and was tested again for everything they test for to prove to me he wasn't lying when he told me he was clean. He was negative for everything they tested him for....except like last time, they didn't test for Herpes and told him they didn't test for it unless there were symptoms, which there wasn't. He says he doesn't remember ever having symptoms hence why he's never had a physical check for it. I KNOW I didn't do anything wrong, and neither did my boyfriend, but I feel so bad about myself. I feel like I should have done something before we slept together, but I don't know what. I asked him to make sure he was clean: he did. We had no idea that they didn't do standard tests for herpes.

How do I stop feeling dirty and like I was irresponsible?

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.