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Anyone who knows me or who knows anything about me usually knows that my pre-teen and teen years were incredibly difficult. I dealt with neglect and abuse in my family, starting from about the time I was 10. I was sexually assaulted twice before I even became a teenager. I was queer. I was suicidal and was a self-injurer. I struggled to find safe shelter sometimes. Few people seemed to notice, even though after I gave up trying to use my words, I still used my eyes to try and tell them constantly. The one adult I could count on over time to be unilaterally supportive of me had (still has) serious mental illness. I had to take more adult responsibility at the end of my teen years than anyone else I knew. Like many adolescents, I constantly heard directly or got indirect messages from adults who talked about how awful teenagers were, how awful I was, how difficult, how impossible, how loathesome. Four days after my sixteenth birthday, the first real-deal big-love-me-lover I had, who treRead more...
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 The act of stopping wasn’t all that memorable or all that conscious; it just sort of slipped away, superseded by moreRead more...
We're just getting caught up with the myriad of fantastic blog entries that are part of the blog carnival that's been going on over the last three weeks as an effort to help cultivate support for Scarleteen. We've been reprinting some entries here at our blog, and will keep up with that, but here are a handful we can link right to for you to take a look at:
From Cory Silverberg at About.Com:
Scarleteen does sex education from a social justice model. Whether it's an article on the site, a response in the forums, or a request for more information in order to refer a youth out, they acknowledge the multiple ways that youth are systemically denied basic rights and access to sex education and sexual health. It's not unusual for a question about, say contraception or sexual pleasure, to elicit an answer that accessibly and seamlessness weaves information about race, class, and gender, in with information about how to go about choosing and accessing contraception, or negotiating with a part
I'm 16 years old. The blade has been calling my name for 5 years now. It scared my parents to where they placed me in a mental facility 4 years back. It was the hardest time of my life. I was in 6th grade at the time. I was scared I wanted to end it all. Now I love my life honestly I have no reason for the blade anymore. My older brother has set an amazing path for me. Not doing any drugs, does great in school, has a great girlfriend. He's a perfect guy and the best older brother...I feel like I've let him down. This isn't just a habit, it's an addiction. Just the feeling of holding my razor g
ives me the feeling that the pains almost gone. I have a problem and I feel like I need help from a professional. Like I said...That period of time was the hardest in my life and I don't want my parents to go back to thinking I'm still depressed and suicidal, which I'm not. The main reason I think I do this is because of all the pressure I feel. It builds up inside me. My dad constantly makes me feel like I can't do anything right, I'm a star athlete for my high school crosscounty, varsity girls basketball team, and track causing me to feel like I have to win. People say it's easy not to cheat on your boyfriend/girlfriend. That's true if no one wants to have sex with you. I love my boyfriend we've been together since I was 12 and its a constant battle not to cheat on him. My parents are homophobic which is sad because I'm bisexual and they don't know because the fear kills my inside to tell them. I've never had a girlfriend but I've known I was bisexual since I was in elementary school. All of this is unbearable for me to take sometimes...and I give in and let the razor bite through my skin. Is there anything I can do to help with my cutting relapse without having to make my parents go through that again?
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...
When I was 10 or so, I discovered the wonders of the internet. It was back in the mid-90s, before most people had access, but my father was a computer scientist, and I was rocking out on Mosaic, way before IE or Eathlink or Netscape or AOL made their brands so popular. I didn’t use it for much, as there wasn’t that much info out there pertaining to me, but I did have an email, and learned how to search.
Around the late 90s, I was in my “oh em gee, want to learn everything possible about puberty and sex” and after my parents exhausted the info available at the local library, I was lucky enough to discover Scarleteen.
It was still quite young back then, but it was knowledge, and that was something I was desperately hungry for. More importantly, it was more than just information; it was interactive. I could learn from older teens, from educators, from people my age. I became obsRead more...
This is a guest entry from The Beautiful Kind as part of the month-long blogathon to support and raise awareness for Scarleteen.
I was a teenager in the 80's, but before that I was a kid who got molested.
When I was 8 or 9, my teenage adopted brother asked me, "Do you want me to show you something fun?"
I said sure, not realizing his idea of "fun" was sex with a child. He did things like sneak into the bathroom while I was taking a bath and give me a handful of pencils, instructing me to get as many inside me as I could so that I would be prepared for his penis.
When the family watched movies in the dark living room, he would sit in a chair and stare intensely at me instead of the movie, his hands in his pockets, stroking himself. He had big plans for me.
But before he could turn me into his own personal sex toy, I told my parents about it, and they freaked. It took a while for them to protect me due to the complicated family legal system, but in the meantime they put me in therapy. IRead more...
This is a guest entry from Dangerous Lilly for the month-long blogathon to help raise awareness and financial support for Scarleteen!
At 15, I was still scared of boys, sort of.
Sure I’d “date” them, and yeah I’d make out with them, but everything else? Terrified. It was because I knew next to nothing about boys, sex, *whispers* penises, and all that good stuff. You learned about sex in one of three places: 6th/7th grade so-called-sex-ed lectures; your equally uninformed friends; your parents (so. mortifying.).
Oh, ’92. So good, so innocent, so…awkward. Way back in 1992, SimCity still had copyright codes hidden in black & white pixelated jumbles in a booklet that required a piece of see-through red plastic to enable viewing of text – without it, you were struck with natural disasters every 10 minutes. Oregan Trail was still fun, sorta, if you didn’t mind the thyphoid. The internet? Did not exist as far as we were concerned. We still used the freaking 30-some volume encyclopedia in haRead more...
Ugh! I’ve got the worst cold today. And here I am writing an entry for the Scarleteen Sex-Ed Blog Carnival. Instead of feeling like an all-American male sexpert I feel roughly as sexy as room-temperature jello.
But that’s actually a perfect hook for this post! When you’re sick, a track coach or personal trainer might be able to give you some good advice, but really, the best person to talk to is a doctor. Similarly, when you’re trying to start a business it’s fascinating to talk to an accountant or patent lawyer. But you’ll get much better advice from your local Small Business Administration. Well, it’s the same thing with sexperts vs sex educators.
Why? Fitness experts and doctors, accountants and small-business consultants, sexperts and sex educators all have or employ very different skill sets. One set is great when you’re already on your feet and ready to run, the otherRead more...
This guest post is from Anita Wagner at Practical Polyamory, and is part of the month-long blogathon to help raise funds for Scarleteen!
When I was recently asked to write a blog post for the Scarleteen blogathon, I had no hesitation about agreeing. I had the pleasure of meeting and having lunch with Scarleteen founder and comprehensive teen sex ed resource Heather Corinna during a trip to the northwest in summer 2009. Let there be no doubt, Heather is one of my all time heroes for the work she does to make sure teens get comprehensive sex education information. I care about this subject very deeply, as the following story will illustrate.
I grew up in an area that is pretty much to this day an exceedingly conservative part of the United States. When I came of age, good parents zealously guarded their daughters' virtue by attempting to control the what, where, when, and most importantly, who, of their daughters' social lives. Sex ed, after a fashion, was taught in health and hygRead more...