If you’ve been reading Scarleteen for a while, you might already know that for many years now, we've heard from a good deal of young women who are deeply ashamed of and disgusted by these parts of their own bodies.
Some have feelings so negative that they are afraid to show loving partners their vulvas, or worry a lot about partners they haven't even met yet and that unknown person's reaction to the appearance of their vulva. Others don't get sexual healthcare they need because they don't want a doctor to see their vulvas: in other words, for some, distress about vulval appearance may be putting not just their emotional health and self-esteem, but physical health at risk. Some are so fearful, disgusted or negative they won't even use a mirror to get a better look at their vulvas alone, or won't touch their own vulvas because their feelings of disgust are so strong. Some even find it hard to feel comfortable around other women in non-sexual ways or to hear other women talk about theiRead more...
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 iRead more...
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?
This is a guest post from alphafemme, part of the blog carnival to help raise awareness and support for Scarleteen.
My mother reads Dear Abby religiously. She’s done it for as long as I can remember, always picking out the “Lifestyle” section of our local daily paper and turning to page B2.
Some days growing up, my sister or father would abscond with the section before she got to it to do the crossword or read the comics, but she would keep her eye on it, calling dibs on the section next. As a kid, it didn’t occur to me to question her loyalty to the column, and in fact I blindly followed suit–reading Dear Abby, it seemed, was something one did if one was to be a Woman. I was never all that impressed by the advice “Abby” (Pauline Phillips was her real name, if I remember correctly) doled out, and eventually I got bored of her predictable responses and stopped reading. The act of stopping wasn’t all that memorable or all that conscious; it just sort of slipped away, superseded by moreRead more...
I throw around the words “fear” and “silence” often when it comes to sex ed. They’re loaded terms, perhaps, but these words best describe my experiences with sex education: my emotional reaction and everyone else’s approach, respectively. These words describe what I feel is not often expressed in the sex education debate.
True, it’s hard to use the “Little Mary Sue is scared” argument to a bunch of adult policymakers who believe that a child will “get over” whatever scare tactics they might use in sex education. I have indeed heard it argued that it is okay to use fear in sex education because, well, incurable STIs are out there right now. You can see the logic: if children grow out of believing in the boogeyman, then certainly they will grow out of being told that condoms have pores that let HIV through, right? At least by the time that they areRead more...
Me and my boyfriend have been dating for almost a year now. We have been sexually active through our relationship and I have been wanting to try something new. It was hard for me to tell him, but I suggested that he at least perform oral sex on me because I don't always enjoy intercourse (and don't usually have an orgasm that way). He told me that oral sex is not something he is interested in doing but I perform it on him whenever we mess around. It makes me angry sometimes because I feel as though he receives variety in our sex life and I get the SAME one thing over and over again. I don't want to make him do anything he's not comfortable with because I want sex to be enjoyable for the both of us. We plan on being together for a long time and I don't know how to get him to understand. Some of the conversations even get a little heated. It makes me feel "creepy" that I get upset because of this. I feel as though all I can do is accept it but I don't want to feel dissatisfied with sex and resent him. I can't make him do it but if we are going to be in the long term relationship he says he wants so badly then am I just supposed to settle for what he wants to do with me sexually?
I am 23. I started having sex with my boyfriend of 7 months at age 17. I was raised Christian, have stayed in the church until now but am seriously questioning what I believe. Ever since I first started having sex I have never been completely ok with it, always wondering whether I was doing something wrong or whether it was even ok. I would often feel extremely guilty once I reached the point of orgasm because it was like that was the time that I realized that I had given in to my desires and have done something wrong-again. (I had/have these same guilt feelings whenever I masturbate which I remember from age 12.) After the high school boyfriend I had sex with someone else a few years later but that one doesn't affect me nearly as much. A few years after that I met my now spouse. We started having sex after a few months and I always questioned whether what we were doing was ok or not, but I still wanted sex and I still enjoyed it. We got married a year ago and now I just cant enjoy sex at all. I just don't want to. When we do have sex it does feel good but not great and I feel like I am being punished for having sex before marriage. I also had a lot of pain starting close to when we got married and I eventually learned I had trich. So I don't know if I am now terrified of that happening again too? (even though we were both treated and I am supposedly cured) I have a great partner: he isn't pressuring me to get better and really wants me to be truly wanting sex otherwise he doesn't want it either. But I know he is getting anxious. How can I let go of the guilt that I have had for half my life? How can I enjoy sex again? What is wrong with me? I've discussed the spirituality aspects with several ministers and none of them think God is punishing me or that I have done anything wrong. I am also currently in counseling and we have talked at length about this sex issue and she is stumped too. I am ready to let go of this and move on but I just can't. Where should I go from here? Or should I just realize that there is no more sex in this life for me?
I hope you would be able to answer my message as soon as possible. It is very urgent. I have passed through the site and decided of asking you some questions maybe you could help me. I am an Indian girl. My age is 26 and I never had ever sexual intercourse because it is against our traditions here. A girl is not allowed until she is married. I never ever masturbated using machines or finger. I never ever touched my area down before. I even never knew anything about girls and guys masturbation. Here we are not taught about sex issues. I entered accidentally one of the sex sites and most probably out of curiousity about a new thing, depression, and much free time. I started chatting dirty(no voice) with these guys and I watched some. I never did this before in my whole life really. I noticed that i gave water from under when I chatted dirty or watched a guy and I become very jelly like down there. I really never knew this is masturbation i am really ignorant about that. I did this only about two months but I chatted and masturbated several times in a day.
I am a 23 year old female in a serious relationship for the first time. I knew my boyfriend for 3 months and have seeing him seriously for 4 months now. The two of us are clear on no sex before marriage, but are physically intimate. I love to kiss him and cuddle up with him. But, when it comes to touching each other sexually, it feels good at that moment, but later thinking about it all alone makes me feel so guilty and ashamed of letting go of myself that I start crying uncontrollably. Initially I assumed that this must be because I have never been physically intimate with anyone before, but even after 4 months this guilt has not subsided. I am not religious or anything, but I have always wanted to be intimate only after being sure of the guy. I do love my boyfriend and he's sensitive and everything. I haven't spoken to him about this since I don't want him to feel he violated me in any way. Is there a way for me to get over this?