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I'm trapped in an unhealthy relationship and don't know what to do.

MarySharkey asks:

I am 17 now, and started dating this one fellow when I was fifteen. At the time he was 44. Of course, now he's 46, but that's not really the point. He's divorced and has two kids, one son 2 years younger than me, and a daughter the age of my own younger sister (12). I look after them for him sometimes. I feel like I really love him, but I don't really feel the same way about him. I think he's been seeing his ex-wife behind my back, as she is now pregnant and she's not in any other relationships, and Steve (my boyfriend) doesn't really want to talk about it, meaning he acts guilty. Our relationship has pretty much been sex, sex, sex, and me doing stuff for him from day one. I want to get out of this relationship, but I have never been able to stand up to him. I live with him, and I don't have anywhere else to go, as my parents kicked me out some time ago. I've kind of been seeing another guy, who is 19, but nothing really serious. This new guy is American, and he's making a life for himself (in a good university, etc.), so the choice is kind of obvious. But if I try to break things off with Steve, either he gets angry and hurts me (nothing too serious, just bruises) or he swears he'll spend more time with me. Which he doesn't.

Basically, I'm stuck with a man who has been my only sexual partner for two entire years, he's not the nicest bloke around, and he's nearly three times my age (older than both of my parents, too). I don't know what to do, and honestly, I'm a little scared.

Wrenna Shows You Hers (and mine, and yours, and hers, and hers, and...)

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 thei

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He wants something sexual, but I feel uneasy, especially around past sexual abuse.

francisca_Verdades asks:

I'm 14, and my boyfriend wants me to give him dry sex, I am very uneasy about this because I've been sexually abused before, what should I tell him?

Summering Safe and Sound

Here in the hemisphere I live in, we're into the swing of summer. Ah, summer, my personal favorite season. I love the sun, the warmth, everything blooming, the energy, the spirit of the season. As an alternative educator all my life, though, I miss out on that thing where teachers get summers off (though I've also known few teachers in the public sector who could afford to take the summer off, anyway), and as the Executive Director and lead educator at Scarleteen, I really don't get downtime. Summer is and has always been our busiest season. Eh, so it goes.

It's also the time of year when we tend to see the most new users coming to us because they're in a crisis or a panic, or are just really, really feeling down in the dumps. I'm a lot more concerned about those of you in that space than I am about my feeling occasionally ripped off of a summer vacation. We know that the idea of summer as a happy, carefree time for all young people doesn't square with the reality that for plenty, it'

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I worry that because I'm a man, I am going to sexually abuse someone.

aplanacanalpanama asks:

My mom was a victim of incest as a girl and has used it to invalidate my emotions. I blame the incest, not my mom, but it still hurts. But I can't help but feel like I, as a man, am dirty to be sexual. I can't draw a line in my head between good sex and bad sex. I am a virgin because when I get close to sex, the girl will start reminding me of my mom or my sister. I'm afraid if I don't lose my virginity soon I will develop a sexual frustration that will eventually cause me to hurt someone. I know that I'm just a troubled, caring guy. But I can't help but hate myself sexually. I don't know what to do.

What Is Healthy Sexual Development?

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 i

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Sorting Maybe from Can't-Be: Reality Checking Partnered Sex Wants & Ideals

Is what you want from sex with a partner realistic, or is it impossible, unlikely or out-to-lunch? Take a trip with us to go visit our pal reality.

Our Volunteers: To Sex::Tech or Bust!

I'm writing today to make a modest funding ask of our allies and our readers capable of financial contributions on behalf of our volunteers.

What we're looking to do is to raise enough funds for all of our volunteers, who are able, to fly to San Francisco this April and attend the sex::tech conference together.

Doing so would allow them to appear on a panel we're giving composed of young adult peer online educators, in which they can talk about being educators and engage in a discussion with attendees which will, I expect, influence both attendees and the volunteers positively. I feel it's very important for them to be able to experience some outside, in-person recognition for the fantastic work they've done over the years and want that for them very much. This will also allow as many of us as possible to meet in person and do some important brainstorming about Scarleteen as a website and an organization. Many of them have never met in person, despite sometimes talking online for

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Introducing... Find-a-Doc!

(...or a counselor, LGBTQ center, doula, shelter, rape crisis center or other in-person sexual/reproductive health, sexuality and/or crisis care serving teens and young adults!)

As a youth-serving organization which provides most of our services online, we're all too aware the internet has limits. You can't get tested for chlamydia or pregnancy online. You can't get ongoing, one-on-one counseling or therapy where your counselor can hand you a tissue when you need one. The internet can't provide anyone a warm bed or a meal, an IUD, pre-natal care or an abortion. Google can't provide us HIV healthcare or emergency contraception.

As part of what we do, we refer users to offline services, but many of our users are often reluctant to seek out in-person services we or others can't directly vouch for. Years ago, we began to notice that when one of our users told another near them about a service they used and liked, or when one of our staff could vouch for having gone to a service ourselves,

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He wants to take his anger out on my body: that's not okay, right?

bludragonfly7 asks:

My ex-boyfriend and I are working through a very hard situation where in his perspective I cheated on him so I'm trying to fix things and gain his trust again. There has been a lot of pain and distrust between us lately but we are finally getting to a healthier, better place. However, he said something that really disturbed me the other day and I need someone else's perspective. He said he wanted to take his frustration and anger out on me sexually. I was appalled because sex is making love and that's the way I like it. When I protested and told him how absurd I thought it was he made me feel ridiculous and went on about how it was a creative solution and that I have to let him get through this his way by doing this to me. Is this a muffed up situation or am I overreacting?

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.