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Building Bridges: Sexual Orientation Shifts

Time for another installment of Building Bridges, where we facilitate, then publish a conversation between two people in different life stages who have something with gender, sexuality and/or relationships in common. This time, our intergenerational pair is two women who have had their sexual orientation and identity shift for them during the course of their lives.

Amy & Candice: Shifting Sexual Orientation

Amy, 24: I came out as a lesbian at 14 and was, as I call it, "a Professional Gay" for a long time. I interned for activist organizations, ran the GSA at my high school, got a scholarship from a local LGBT organization for my activism and went on to a women's college where I eventually became co-chair of the LGBT organization on campus. I was, as a friend once said "her definition of gay."

Looking back, I struggled with liking guys for a long time, which sounds so backwards in the way that people think of sexual orientation transitions. I felt a strong connection and loyalty to th

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I loved him... then he told me he once had sex with a guy.

claudine_2345 asks:

I'm 19 years old, and I've been dating a guy who's 22. We've been seeing each other for a long time, about a year or so. Recently we were having a close talk, admitting things to each other we hadn't told anyone before, and he admitted to me that he had experimented with another guy when he was 16 by having anal/oral sex with him. At the moment, I didn't act shocked or anything, even though I was going crazy in my head. I've never experimented nor have I wanted to with the same sex because I'm completely straight. It's been a month since this happened, and I feel as if I don't love him anymore. I don't want to move forward with this relationship and it hurts because he's perfect in every other way. Am I making a mistake by breaking up with him? I just can't stop thinking that if he were truly straight, he wouldn't have gone so far with another guy, or have been able to finish (orgasm) during the situation. I'm just really, really disgusted by him now. Please help if you can, I know this situation is really weird.

Building Bridges: Childhood Sexual Abuse

We hear a lot about generational divides. What we hear much less about are the bridges: how people of different generations can and do connect; how we can support and help one another and each offer the other things of great value. Just as often as a given experience, or even life as a whole, is different for people of one generation and those of another, there are also some things that are or have been the same, and all have our own wisdom to share, whatever our age may be.

People of different generations are not incapable of connecting or understanding each other, despite the way so much media can often make it sound that way, or the despite day-to-day frustrations and challenges we have probably all experienced with one another when trying to connect.

Often I am asked to explain things about one generation to another, illustrating differences as well as common ground to each. I often find myself telling people of one age group how to try and better understand the other; making app

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How do I make these erections stop!?!

chris10 asks:

I'm 16, I get erections very easily. When I make out with girls I get them, or if I massage private areas not meaning her vagina. I notice when we're done that I have ejaculated. I don't even feel this happen. I don't feel super excited it just happens! I try to think about different things but it doesn't work! I hope you can help, thanks.

The STI Files: Molluscum

Molluscum contagiosum -- a bumpy skin infection -- isn't technically an STI, but can be transmitted through sexual contact. The CDC states that molluscum cases in the United States have been on the rise since 1996.

I want to come out to my friends, but how do I make sure they'll accept me?

thatonequietgirl asks:

I'm bisexual, and I really would like to tell my friends. I mean, they seem pretty open-minded, being pro-gay rights and generally accepting. The thing is, they're being open-minded from afar. If they found out that one of their closest friends is bisexual, I'm not sure they'd be too keen on the idea of having a bisexual girl friend. One even has said that she wouldn't want to have sleepovers at a girl's house if she liked girls. I'm honestly not attracted to her or any other one of my friends (well, maybe one a little, but I'd never make her uncomfortable or anything) but they don't get that. I don't know how to tell them that I like girls but that doesn't mean I like all girls. I'm not sure they'd believe me. Help, please?

Q is for Questioning

What's it mean to be questioning, why would you or someone else identify that way, how do you deal in the process and how might you answer the question?

I'm 14: Is it normal to want sex?

emm asks:

Most of the time at school I will see a cute guy and want to sleep with him. Is it normal to be horny at my age (14) and do boys want to have sex with me too?

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?

Male Needs

This is the first time I'm writing explicitly about issues around sex and sexuality, and as per usual, I’m writing in a gender-focused way – specifically men and masculinity. I’m having a bit of a look at how understandings of masculinity impact on sexual identity, expression and practice.

Talk, images & representations of men and sex are (without a shadow of exaggeration) EVERYWHERE in culture and society, (at least the English speaking cultures I'm familiar with). These representations are on TV, film, print media, music, billboards, books, spam folders, in fact pretty much the entire internet, video games, etc. We're all pretty aware of those representations, and even quite savvy and critical about some of these representations. Representations of male sexuality are more than just these explicit and often quite twentieth century forms of representation. Other forms may occur in interaction and conversation (or the absence of) with friends, family, casual acquaintances, people we me

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