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It's My Birthday: What I Want Is For You To Tell the Truth

Today is my birthday.

If you've been a reader here for more than a year or two, you might have noticed that some years, I ask for something for my birthday here, and not usually something that's a thing, like a pony, a fire hoop, a scooter with a sidecar for my little dog, or a life-sized Fozzie Bear I could tell bad jokes to while going wokka-wokka (though I'd oh-so-gladly accept all of those things, for the record).

If and when I have a birthday where I blow out candles, the wish I make when I do is usually something around positive social change, and often positive social change in regard to sexuality. In a word, what I usually really, really want for my birthday is for people to have happier, healthier sexual lives, to feel better about sex and whatever their sexualities are, and to be more accepting and supportive of the diverse sexualities of all people.

One of the very biggest problems we have in most of our cultures and communities around sex and sexuality is silence, secrecy

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I'm thirteen, and my friend was raped by her father. What should I do?

L_123 asks:

I'm 13 years old and my friend didn't go into detail, but she said she got raped by her dad(or her stepfather). she didn't tell her mom "because she'd get mad" and didn't think it would matter since her parents are getting a divorce and she'll move away with her mom soon. she doesn't want me to tell anyone and refuses to tell anyone. I can't change her mind about that because she's very stubborn.I know I should tell someone, but who should I tell?

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.

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 are

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"Dad, Do You and Mom Have Sex?"

This entry is from Omnipotent Poobah, and part of the Scarleteen Blogathon

At the risk of dating myself – at least not in the eHarmony sense – I am from the sex education dark ages.

In my day, Just Say No was Just Don’t Say Anything. Moms and Dads, more often than not, didn’t have “the talk” because of their own shocking lack of knowledge or because they were too embarrassed. Teen pregnancy and sexual diseases were relatively rare. And gay kids? Well, they simply didn’t exist.

Sex ed was limited to the 6th or 7th grade when all the girls were herded out of gym class to see a film about “that time of the month” while the boys played baseball…in the winter. Many of the girls emerged from the film visibly shaken and, so far as I know, none ever revealed the true nature of the film to the boys.

Of course, that left teens to their own sexual education. And teens, as they frequently do, thought they knew more about things than any adult could possibly know. In those days, they unfortunately

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Sex With My Ex Went So Wrong: What Happened?

espionages asks:

I'm 20. I had sex with a not-quite-boyfriend, okay, ex-boyfriend who I broke up with but still have feelings for. He decided that it would be fun to try some light bondage. It took me by surprise, but I usually do like that sort of thing. But at certain points...I felt really scared, and at others, I felt pleasure. However, the overall experience was negative, and I found myself wanting to stop--but I couldn't say no. I started to cry and he untied me. I wanted to slow down and just kiss, he wanted to finish. So I let him come on me, but I really didn't want him to. I felt really violated. Afterward he tried to cuddle with me, but I wouldn't let him. He tried talking to me a little bit about it, and said that I could have said no and that would have been better than crying--but the thing was I couldn't say no. What happened?

Was it sexual harassment? Was it my fault?

Ms.dee asks:

Is it consider sexual harassment if some guy fingered my vagina, but I didn't want him to...I'm now 17 and this happened when I was 13, I haven't told anyone about this...I wanna know if it's my fault that this happened. We were on a bus and this guy undid my pants and fingered me. I didn't want it to happen, but I was too scared to stop him. Is it my fault? I mean, when he tried to kiss me I did sort of slide away. Is this my fault?

Dealing with Date Rape & Abuse

HurtandUsed asks:

Okay, this happened to me a few months ago but it's been really bothering me. I was dating a guy for a while and when we started dating, I told him I didn't want to do anything sexual till I was 18. He promised that it was okay for him and he wouldn't do or try anything. Well, after we were dating for about 8 months, he started to change. He would get ticked off at me if I didn't spend every minute of my time with him. He wouldn't let me hang out or even talk to any of my friends. Then he started saying things to me that were perverted but I just shrugged them off as him just joking around. He then started touching my chest area, and I told him to stop, but he just acted like it was always an accident. He kept on doing it even at school, so I just gave up, and didn't care if he touched me there anymore even though in the back of my head I knew it was wrong. Then one day, we were over at his house lying on his bed, and I guess you could say we were making out. I really regret it now. Then he did something he never did before, He put his hands up my shirt and took off my bra. I couldn't say no because it was already too late.

What's rape got to do with it?

Why does a sex-positive sexuality site like this one talk about rape and abuse so often?

We should all know by now that rape and sex are not the same thing, after all. And yet, over the years at Scarleteen, we've answered a lot of questions about rape and abuse, supported a lot of abuse and rape victims and survivors, and we've got content about both housed on a site which is primarily about sexuality, sexual health and relationships.

One big reason is that an awful lot of us in the world -- and at this site -- are rape and abuse survivors, or people trying to get free of abuse. While our rapes or assaults certainly are or were not sex for us, they often impact our sexuality and our sex lives a whole lot. Sexuality doesn't exist in a vacuum: it's made up of all of who we are, and greatly influenced by the whole of our life experiences. In so many ways, rape and sexual assault can really hijack our sexuality, due to body memories -- the places we were assaulted tend to trigger painful

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10 Questions with Jennifer Baumgardner

Jennifer talks with us about her new project about rape, which we're participating in at Scarleteen, what the project can do to increase awareness about rape and survivors, where she thinks we're at culturally with rape issues, and what young people can do to help transform rape culture and their own lives.

I was raped a few years ago: how do I tell others and build trust again?

Leslie asks:

Hi, when I was about 16 (I am 21 now), I was sexually assaulted by two extended family members. Over the years it has caused me to loose trust for many males especially the ones I met after the incident and males of my race. The only people I seem to fully trust are my four brothers and parents. I have not told them about he incident and I am scared to do so because I don't know how I will or what their reaction might be. I am also facing a problem with dating. I am a little scared to date as I don't know how my partner my react to this incident or if I will treated nicely. Recently, I have been approached by two male friends who have interest in me and I am a little scared to even date them. I have built a trust for them. What should I do?

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