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Crowdsourcing: Breakup Blues Busters

Have you been through a breakup? Maybe more than one? If you have, you know how awful it can be, and how incredibly rough, especially when you're new to romantic or sexual relationships. Breakups between friends can be just as awful, too.

Scarleteen By The Numbers: What's Gotten Better? What Has Not?

I want to focus this entry on the second of the optional questions in the demographics survey. The question was this: Since using Scarleteen, which of any of the following has changed for you, and by how much?

What we most wanted to see was not the areas where we may have done a good job or where our users already felt things were going very well for them, but areas where it would seem sound to say we currently are not having the impact we'd like to with positive changes. In other words, this question seemed likely to be most useful in identifying our potential weak spots, rather than our strengths, and could give us a clearer sense on how and where we should look most to improve our content and approaches.

I'm 14 and sure my boyfriend wants sex: but is now the right time?

Hannah0035
asks:
Hi I am 14 years old and me and my boyfriend have been dating for 2 months on the 20th... we're mostly all teenagers here and young adults and can tell that guys want more than just make-outs, hugs and kisses they want sex... I wouldn't have a problem having sex with him....

I survived sexual assault, then got stuck in a relationship I don't feel good about.

antigone68
asks:
I’m a woman in my early twenties and identify as a feminist. Last November I was raped by someone I had previously considered to be a close friend. However, the assault itself isn’t what I am writing about. I’ve read many of Scarleteen’s wonderful articles on sexual assault and I am quite comfortable with the idea that what happened to me isn’t my fault....

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....

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.

We take this very seriously, and have always wanted to do everything we could to try and help dispel all kinds of body shame or hatred, including that of the vulva. Over the next couple of months, we’re going to go ahead and take the risk of publishing some photos of real-person vulvas, because we’ve found something we think is beautifully done, very much needed, and that we think can be of great benefit to many of our readers, whether they have vulvas themselves or not.

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.

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. 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's not, whether that's about tough stuff happening, or about having experiences that aren't negative, but are just super-challenging. With that in mind, here are a few tips and things to think about as you get into (or grapple with) your summer groove:

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....

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 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.