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Most of us who work or volunteer here at Scarleteen are bookworms, and are also really interested in following popular culture to see what's happening, especially in terms of frank conversations about sex, sexuality, desire and fantasies. When a lot of people started talking about 50 Shades of Grey, we started paying attention. And when a bunch of media outlets started falling over each other to either hail the book for making BDSM mainstream and celebrating female sexuality or condemn it for those same reasons, we got curious.
As a woman who often enjoys being sexually submissive and as someone who has moved in kink circles, I set out many times to start reading the book, but shied away from it again and again. BDSM, in all its variations and manifestations, has a pretty bad rep: a lot of the time when we meet characters in books or on TV who engage in BDSM, they are either leather-clad outsiders (who are also often involved in sex work - think Lady Heather from CSI Las Vegas), or deRead more...
I had sex for the first time shortly after turning 20 (about a year ago), but I wish I had done it sooner. I know I had been ready and willing at age 16 or so -- the problem was just that no one was interested in me that way, but in the other girls around me. It still hurts, in a bizarre and surprising way. I feel like being a virgin for so long was not my choice; I feel like the decision was made for me by other people who decided I wasn't attractive enough to be with. To this day I still wonder if I'm intensely sexually unattractive, and if the occurrence at age 20 was just a fluke that will not repeat itself. How can I let go of this? How can I cope with late loss of virginity and stop seeing it as a personal failure to pass muster in terms of attractiveness?
This blog post is part of a series here at Scarleteen profiling young people worldwide who are activists in some way in the fields of sexuality, sex education and sexual health.
Steph Herold might be best known for starting the website IAmDrTiller.com, but since getting that project up and running in 2009, she's also started the blog AbortionGang.org, written for RH Reality Check, and put together the Safe Abortion Project and the tumblr I Had An Abortion. She currently sits on the board of the New York Abortion Access Fund, and just finished a master's degree in public health. You can find her on twitter @StephHerold and read more about her work at stephherold.com.
When you started the I Am Dr Tiller Project as a response to the murder of Dr George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas, you were working at an abortion clinic. What got you interested in the issue of abortion and abortion care in the first place?
I grew up in a progressive home in the liberal suburbs of Washington, DC. Abortion wRead more...
The guy I'm sleeping with really wants to have PIV sex with me, but he won't wear a condom because he's Roman Catholic. Everything else we've done has been amazing and I really want to do it, but I'm terrified of getting pregnant and I've already had a scare that I haven't told him about. I'm on the pill now, but I know that it isn't 100% effective. Would it be really wrong to try and get him to change his mind about condoms? I'm religious too and I'd hate to make him do anything that would go against his faith, but the idea of getting pregnant scares me so much that I have nightmares about it, and since we're not really together I don't know what he'd do.