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Sex Education is Important

This a guest post from Shay at The S Spot for the Scarleteen Blogathon

I do a lot of work in my real life with sex education and promoting safer-sex practices (i.e. getting people to use condoms). Some of you may even recall that The S Spot got it’s start as an educational sex column in a campus newspaper!

I feel that when you’re talking to someone about sex, you can’t just try to scare them with the facts about sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and how accidental pregnancy will “ruin your life”; but a lot of sex educators focus on just that.

I remember one time when I picked up my younger brother from school, I asked him about his day and he told me that there had been an assembly about sex ed. I asked him if he had learned anything interesting and if he had any questions about anything they talked about (figuring that he might be more comfortable talking to me, his older sibling rather than a “real” adult like mom or dad). He did have a few comments about funny things the tea

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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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Be a Scarleteen Superstar!

(It's much more fun if you do your best Mary Catherine Gallagher moves when you say it.)

Today we're starting our yearly fundraising appeal -- the shiny marketing term for "beg for cash" -- for Scarleteen with some righteous month-long festivities and extras.

We aim to publish an in-depth advice column every single day from now through November 15th. Myself and Scarleteen's assistant director, CJ Turett, will be burning the midnight oil with answers, but we also have the help of some fantastically talented people to help this month, like Jaclyn Friedman, Kate Bornstein, Susie Bright, Zaedryn Meade, Cory Silverberg, Petra Boynton, Justin Bish, Amanda Marcotte, Carol Queen, s.e.smith, Nona Willis Aronowitz and more! You can get started with Jaclyn Friedman's guest advice on getting sexual assault awareness started in your college right here.

All across the 'net there's also a month-long blogathon for us starting today, and we will be reprinting most of the entries right here on our own

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Talking to My Daughter

Part of the 2010 Blogathon to help support Scarleteen. This entry is courtesy of Tess at Urban Gypsy.

If I earned a dollar each time I’ve heard the statement, “I’m surprised you’re so strict,” in relation to my parenting, I’d be basking on a beach in Tahiti now rather than on a Metro North train whisking me off to do a sex ed consult on the Lower East Side. I’d probably be doing sex ed consults in Tahiti; you can take me out of NY but you can’t kill my desire to help people learn more about their sexuality. But back on point, I can always hear the implied, “you with your pierced nose, tattoo, open marriage and non-stop sex talk.”

The funny thing is, my friends may have been surprised but my daughter was not. When her thirteen-year-old best friend got her belly button pierced, there was, of course there was, some whining.

“But why can’t I,” she implored. “I don’t see what the big deal is.”

In parenting style reminiscent of the worst of my own parents, I snapped, “You can’t because I

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How do I approach my college about sexual assault awareness?

Annie W. asks:

Beginning in September, I am going to be employed as Residence Don for an all girls floor at a university. I am pretty excited about the job and really would like to make residence life a positive experience for the students I will be living with (about 170 guys and gals in total).

However, there is one MAJOR issue I have with the residence, they offered no sexual assault awareness education for the students. In the 2008-09 school year, there were 3 sexual assaults reported, which lead to criminal charges, and almost all I have talked to who have lived in this residence for multiple years have either been sexually assaulted themselves or had a friend who was while living there.

So, clearly, something is needed to change this residence culture that seems to be conducive to sexual violence.

The Young Women's Empowerment Project

The mission of the Young Women’s Empowerment Project is to offer safe, respectful, free-of-judgment spaces for girls and young women impacted by the sex trade and street economies to recognize their goals, dreams and desires.

Heather and Dan on How It Gets Better

In hindsight, I knew when I was around ten or eleven that I was queer: that I had and was experiencing growing sexual and romantic feelings for people of all genders, not just those of one of for those of a different sex or gender than me, feelings I'd continue to have throughout my teen years and my adult life to date. I didn't have the language for it then, though, even though there were queer adults in my orbit I could have gotten it from, adults I naturally gravitated towards without realizing a big part of why was because I saw myself in them and I really needed them. Looking back, others identified my orientation before I did: a homophobic grandparent, an uncomfortable parent as well as a comfortable and readily accepting parent, and, most important to this particular tale, a group of teenage meanies in the blessedly brief time I spent in a suburban public high school in the 80's who sometimes whispered but other times yelled, "Dyke!" or "Lesbo!" as they passed me in the halls.

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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?

Building Bridges: Sexual Orientation Shifts

Time for another installment of Building Bridges, where we facilitate, then publish a conversation between two people in different life stages who have something with gender, sexuality and/or relationships in common. This time, our intergenerational pair is two women who have had their sexual orientation and identity shift for them during the course of their lives.

Amy & Candice: Shifting Sexual Orientation

Amy, 24: I came out as a lesbian at 14 and was, as I call it, "a Professional Gay" for a long time. I interned for activist organizations, ran the GSA at my high school, got a scholarship from a local LGBT organization for my activism and went on to a women's college where I eventually became co-chair of the LGBT organization on campus. I was, as a friend once said "her definition of gay."

Looking back, I struggled with liking guys for a long time, which sounds so backwards in the way that people think of sexual orientation transitions. I felt a strong connection and loyalty to th

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Why can't I stop being so scared of pregnancy?

lucyinthesky asks:

I have a problem, and I'm ready to crack with the stress of it. I've been on birth control (Yaz) for a year, to help with my acne, though I don't always take it at the same time every day. Sometimes I've missed pills or taken them over 12 hours late. That shouldn't really matter, though, because I'm not sexually active. My boyfriend and I have decided to wait until we get married to have sex. We only ever make out. Still, I find myself worrying about pregnancy risks even though there are no apparent ways to get pregnant from what we do. Some small part of my mind will whisper things like, "What if he has pre-ejaculate that seeps through his clothes onto you? What if he had a nocturnal emission that night he stayed over?" Nobody else I know seems to have this constant paranoia. I don't understand why I spend half my time worrying about a pregnancy that most people understand is impossible. I'm not sure what I'm asking here, other than, have you ever seen this before - a girl terrified of something happening when it isn't even likely? Is there any way I can help myself and get peace of mind? Thanks.

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