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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 iRead more...
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,Read more...
(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 ownRead more...
I cannot stand this show. No sense in being shy about it, because this is a bias I cannot hide, as will be apparent in nanoseconds.
If I had anything even remotely decent or interesting to say about it, I would have blogged it before now. But every single blog post I have even started to think about writing in the past about it had the same title every single time, one composed entirely of profanity except for the articles of speech linking all my four-letter words together.
Summaries and commentaries that read like these do not balanced critical commentary make:
On top of doing what I do here at Scarleteen (and everything else I do), I also do some outreach sexuality and sexual rights education for a youth homeless shelter here in Seattle. My partner also now works full-time at that shelter, and when he came home last night and filled me in on some things that had gone on that day, I got struck very hard in the gut with some feelings I hadn't fully realized for myself until then, both about that work and the young people there, but also about some of my experiences with some of the users at Scarleteen.
So, I wrote the residents there a letter this morning that I'd also like to share with you, because the way I feel about them is also the way I feel about plenty of you. Because most of Scarleteen happens online, very few of our users are currently homeless or transient, but some have been or will be. In addition, plenty over the years have shared similar struggles, either being in the foster care system or in unsafe homes, surviving loss, assRead more...
Maybe I'm just being optimistic, but lately I feel like I have been noticing more people who really want to hear and know what young people think. Not who want to assume, presume, project or decide what you think, but who actually want to ask you and hear what you have to say about yourselves for yourselves.
If I'm not delusional in noticing this (always a possibility), I don't have to tell you this is obviously very good news.
One of the common complaints we hear a lot at Scarleteen from young people is how often you have to put up with older adults out and about in the world saying things about you that you don't think are true, or making broad generalizations about all teens or twentysomethings that don't accurately represent the vast diversity among you. And that last thing you need me to tel you is that that can be particularly problematic when it comes to talk that has anything to do with sex or sexuality.
Of course, one of the challenges when adults ask to hear what you haveRead more...
I know it's only so much consolation to you right now, but the older I get, the more I notice how much easier having a positive body image becomes. I know that's clearly not the case for all older women: after all, plenty of women my age and older are getting sliced, diced and Botoxed to within an inch of their lives. However, it's also not just me. I often notice that women I'm friends with also seem to have a good handle and perspective on their body image, despite the diversity of our bodies. Usually a much better one then they had when they were your age.
But you know, what I wish I knew then that I do know now is that most of my body image is totally up to me. Just like it is now, so it was when I was in my teens: I have control over how positive or negative it is. And that's something you'll find many older women wish they had known back when. You don't have to wait until you're in your 30's, 40's or beyond to get to a better place with yours. You can start doing that rightRead more...
I am a 19-year old male, and all the time I hear or read things about females that age or even younger getting into sex, including right here on Scarleteen. But just about every female around my age that I know has little to no interest in sex. What is it that makes these groups of people so different? I'm worried I might not find any partners that are interested in it. I'm not desperate to have sex, or want to base a relationship solely on it, but I do want to have a partner who enjoys it and with whom I can explore sex.
With everyone talking about it so much lately, thought I'd reprise the topic with some questions Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon.com asked me about sexting a few months ago, and the whole of my answers. To see her finished piece, you can meander over here.
Q: Where does "sexting" -- or for that matter, taking nude self- portraits or videos that they may or may not share with a significant other, friends or a crush -- fall within teenage sexual development?
I'd lump television in with the 'net and other new media when I say that with the media presence being what it has become, the need or desire to seen -- already a typical part of young adult development as well as human existence -- has become huge. And that's not just about sex, but because sexual development and exploration is also a big part of being a teen, as well as a part of life, period, and something that's still treated as provocative, particularly when in any way public, sex enters into this.
You're asking about teens using tRead more...