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Normative Sexual Development and Your Child

This is a guest entry from Dr. Ruth Neustifter -- who we know here at Scarleteen as Dr. Ruthie -- for the month-long blog carnival to help Support Scarleteen. Can we get your support?

I remember it very clearly. I was a senior in high school and we were all noshing together in the lunch room when Darla, who was two years my junior, blurted out that she had seen her boyfriend naked and that they were planning to have sex soon. It would be her first time, although we thought he probably had more experience. ”I sure hope it gets smaller before it goes in, because my hole isn’t that big!” she declared and we all laughed together.

The thing is, she didn’t know whether it would or not, and none of us were willing (or able) to give her much information. Within weeks she recruited another friend to purchase a pregnancy test with her, but I don’t believe any of us considered STI tests.

Back then, I was a youth leader of our church youth group’s True Love Waits effort, a national program

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One Teenager in Ten

This is a guest entry from The Gaytheist Gospel Hour as part of the blog carnival to support Scarleteen.

Preface: I was recently asked to participate in a blogathon to support Scarleteen, an online sex education forum for teens. I was flattered. I was humbled. I was a little queasy and had to breathe in a bag for a minute or 12. I decided to contribute the story of how I survived homophobic bullying thanks a single library book. I’m living proof that progressive sex education (no matter how small-scale) makes an enormous difference in the lives of the very young. It’s my hope that all who read my sarcastic, satirically-tinged autobiographical account will consider making an enormous difference by supporting Scarleteen.

"In this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld/ In this life, you’re on your own!" —Prince

High school is a laugh riot. It’s a jolly funhouse where the unpopular and the unusual are punished for their crimes against conformity with a topsy-turvy

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Sex Ed and Bleach

This is a guest entry by Max Kamin-Cross, originally published at abortiongang, that's part of the month-long blogathon to help support Scarleteen!

Sex ed. We hear that word a lot, but who really knows what sex ed is? It’s short for “sexual education,” but what’s that?

According to my handy dandy dictionary, sex education is: “education about human sexual anatomy, reproduction, and intercourse and other human sexual behavior.” Lots of words, but it’s pretty much learning about the human body and its reproduction. Pretty much straightforward, right? Wrong.

I know how un-straightforward sex ed is, probably more than any other blogger you read. That’s because I attended health class, every day, for 20 weeks less than a year ago.

Every single morning at 7:40am I was in Mr. Hanson’s (he requested I not use his real name) class for 46 minutes. Monday-Friday from December all the way to February, I had to sit in this class. This was a chance for New York State and Pittsford Centra

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Hi, my name is Polyqueergenderqueer

Be yourself, even if that means that there isn’t a label for you. Explain to anyone who matters who you are. You’re not your labels.

I was a teenager in the 80's, but before that I was a kid who got molested.

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. I

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You’ll Grow Out of It

This is a guest entry from I, Asshole for the month-long blogathon to help support Scarleteen!

I’ve never liked labels. If there is some kind of personal box to fill out on a form, there is this pathological part of me that will either make something up (Occupation: Flenser), or if I am in a confrontational mood, will write, "NONEYA, OK?” That’s my label: "label-rejector." I know, I know. I am rolling my eyes at myself. I think this is because it was very rare that I was given a label that was followed with, “Okay, now you go stand over there, with all the other people who are like you.”

I was raised in an environment where I felt like I didn’t belong. This wasn’t really anyone’s fault. I just really didn’t belong. I was given some innocuous labels: outgoing, loves to entertain, a social butterfly. There were the less-positive ones, too: wasted potential, weirdo, voted by my graduating class as Most Likely to Relocate to Mars (hey, it turns out Seattle is Mars). I did not know what to

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Why Sex Education is So Important

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 ha

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Best of Both Worlds: Scarleteen Until You're Ready, This and and Other Expert Sites When You're Ready

This is a guest post from Figleaf at Real Adult Sex, and part of the month-long blogathon to support Scarleteen!

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 other

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These are Good Things.

This is a guest post from Wendy Blackheart, at Heart Full of Black, for the Scarleteen blogathon. Want to take part? Toss us an email and we'll get you in touch with Laura, our blogathon organizer!

Ah, Scarleteen. I can actually remember a time before Scarleteen – they started up in 1998, when I was in 8th grade. See, I went to a school where 99.9% of our sexual health information was from an abstinence only program.

The school sex ed actually started out okay – in grades 3 and 5 we had health classes where we learned about the human body and how it works. In 5th grade, we separated out into groups of just boys and just girls, and got some of the details of puberty and what would happen to our bodies. We learned where babies came from and all that before the abstinence-only programs were started.

By high school, however, we were not getting much in the way of good information. We didn’t learn about birth control at all – it wasn’t even mentioned, not even in a negative way. We saw lo

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How are we supposed to know what’s wrong if we don’t know what’s right?

Sade is 17 and works as a youth activist for YWCHAC, a program for and by young women of color that helps foster their development in advocacy training while providing them with the skills to be effective peer-educators to youth on the subject of sexual health. Their mission is to address the increasing rates of HIV infection in young women of color ages 13-24. Sade does a lot of community outreach and events that help develop partnerships with individuals and organizations that have similar goals, events like annual sexual health summits, safer sex education parties, advocacy and STD (STI) workshops, and other community projects.

I got the chance to ask Sade about what she does, why she does it, and what she thinks about some of the issues that impact HIV and young women. I've shortcut my own questions to give her words the spotlight, because she's got some phenomenal things to say that so many people really, really need to listen to.

On what she wants people to know about young wome

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