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What Is Healthy Sexual Development?

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

At a recent conference I was part of in London, Alan McKee presented a talk which included a piece published in the International Journal of Sexual Health (2010, 22(1), Healthy sexual development: a multidisciplinary framework for research. What McKee and his colleagues determined to be the core parts of healthy sexual development had me jumping up and down in my seat with joy (literally: I may have disturbed my fellow attendees with my bouncing). It summed up the things we try to support, encourage and inform our users with and keep core at Scarleteen so well, and so much of what I think -- after many years of thinking hard about and working with these issues, and being fully and broadly immersed in them with a very diverse population -- truly is central to healthy sexual development.

I'm delighted to have permission to excerpt and reprint this framework here.

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....

What Makes Someone Good in Bed?

veganpop
asks:
I'm confused as to how a girl can be "good" in bed in a heterosexual relationship? What does it mean to be good at sex?...

Dear Abby

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.

Accentuating the (Sex) Positive: Discovering Scarleteen

This is an entry from Arianna at Fearfree, one of the many wonderful guest posts in the month-long blog carnival to help support Scarleteen!

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.

I'm so unhappy in our sex life, and he just doesn't understand.

jem18
asks:
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)....

How can I stop feeling so guilty?

chechelle
asks:
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....

My culture insists on virginity: did I break my hymen with masturbation?

prince_12
asks:
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....

Why do I feel so bad later when it feels so good at the time?

nikita
asks:
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....

Hopping Mad About Herpes

Anonymous
asks:
I've been reading Scarleteen since I was at least 16, and the vital knowledge has kept me safe thus far... UNFORTUNATELY after getting through high school and college completely unscathed and mostly responsible, I finally dropped my guard for a nice, geeky, Christian boy who'd never kissed a girl EVER. And now I have oral herpes. I'm pissed. Really, really pissed....