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What Is Healthy Sexual Development?

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 i

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How I Learned About Lube

When it comes to sex and sexuality, I was a very, very, very late bloomer.

Raised in a Pentecostal Christian home where sex and sexuality were rarely discussed beyond, "No sex until you are married," as a teen I assumed I would not have sex until my early- to mid-twenties, after I had finished undergrad.

I assumed any boys/men I met would share my religious beliefs about sex. I assumed my values would never change. And I assumed my husband and I would know how to sexually please one another, in spite of having no sexual experience before our wedding night (which, of course, would be a night of unbridled passion and ecstasy).

Sacrificing a little sexual pleasure in my teens and early twenties would be a small price to pay to have a church-sanctioned outlet for my sex drive before I was past 25, 30 at the latest. Besides, I had heard so many stories about the pain and bleeding of first intercourse, and the mere thought of being an unwed mother (does anyone even use that term anymore?

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I Used to Be a Pro-Life Republican

I had a favorite line, in high school, when debating people on the subject of abortion. It was "Hey, that thing in your stomach's not gonna come out a toaster, right? It's a baby!"

Oh, I thought I was really, super clever with that one. Because I loved talking about the babies. I talked about the babies at the high school Young Republicans Club--not only was I the president, but also the founder. I talked about the babies at Club 412, the evangelical punk teen hang-out in Fort Worth I frequented with my friends. I talked about the babies in class. I cried about the babies while I strummed my guitar. I wrote songs about the babies, imagining myself as a broken, murderous whore who regretted her abortions.

I didn't have an opinion one way or the other on abortion until I started hanging out with right-wing punk rock kids in high school. Then, somebody -- probably one of the older teenage punk rock boys I would later fend off in the back of a car or behind the chapel at church camp -- ha

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How can I stick to the promise I've made to myself to wait?

IthilienDude asks:

I'm a Christian, and I have decided to save myself till marriage. I'm perfectly fine with that. My boyfriend is fine with that too (we've been together a month), and respects my decision. However, like any celibate person would admit, sometimes I get these truly surreal urges for sex: I catch myself thinking that maybe even a little bit of touching while kissing would be fine, or I just think about what it would be like if we ever got married and ended up sleeping together. I have said nothing to my boyfriend, in case he misconstrues it as an invitation, but it has recently been very, very difficult to resist, especially with all these hormones making me want sex. I want to stay true to my decision to stay premaritally celibate, and I will pride myself on not being tempted, however my urges make the battle all the harder sometimes. Any suggestions?

What if I never want or feel ready for sex?

Anonymous asks:

Okay, well here is the thing: I'm a girl and I'm so afraid to be in a relationship for too long, because I think that I'm going to have to have sex. I know that my boyfriend right now wants it, but I really don't. He says he'll wait for me, but I'm still scared. I don't think that I will ever be ready to do it, and so I'm worried. What if I am NEVER ready?!

Repelled and repulsed by all things sex...including reading this site

ElKiddo asks:

I have a question...so I was reading some of the questions that you answered and I noticed a strange feeling. The more I read of your site the more I am repelled by the idea of sex. I find that I start to lose trust in the people around me and question the things that they might do. I wonder just how normal they are, or if they are freaks who do sexual things with anyone or if they are gay or have some hidden agenda. The more I read about fourteen and fifteen year old girls having sex or doing sexual things the more I want to leave my house and hike out to the wilderness to live among the trees and rocks who live beyond the debilitation of civilization. I feel so alone, like I am the only one left who cares and that I am being pulled down with the rest of the world. Am I weird? Is there something unnatural or wrong with me for hating this all so much? Am I a bad person? Please be honest, I really want to know.

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.

Too Easy, My Aunt Fanny.

Charleen B. asks:

Me and my boyfriend have been dating for about a year now. I am 16 and he is 18. We live in Egypt. In the first 2 months I used to ask him embarrassing questions about sex - I thought it would break the ice between us. He used to say that he does not want things to go too far, at least not for now. I kept asking those those questions, feeling pushy, but he started asking me if it was okay if he touches me and so on...I said that it was okay. From the 4th month and till now we have been having regular anal sex - as he wants me to stay a virgin - yesterday he said that he does not want to do any more sexual activities with me. He said that he still loves me and that we are still together and that he does not want any other girl but he said that I was too easy - I know that I was easy but it was only because I truly love him - Did I do anything wrong?!?

How Can Sex Ed Prevent Rape?

I was watching a debate about sex education today, one rife with a lot of ludicrous statements, but the statement that quality sex education could not possibly help prevent sexual abuse stuck with me. It was all the more infuriating as someone who knows too well that a lack of knowledge about bodies and sex, and a lack of information about sexual consent and autonomy are some of the hugest reasons why sexual abuse is so prevalent.

Now, this is hardly a new form of cluelessness (nor is it exclusive to Canada: we've all but made an art form of it stateside). I've addressed this issue before, at Scarleteen and in some talks and interviews I have given over the years, and also in a piece a little while back for the Guardian in the United Kingdom.

Hopefully it's obvious the reason I, as a sexuality educator and activist, and Scarleteen, as an organization, provide sex education isn't just about preventing unwanted or negative outcomes, like unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infecti

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My culture insists on virginity: did I break my hymen with masturbation?

prince_12 asks:

I hope you would be able to answer my message as soon as possible. It is very urgent. I have passed through the site and decided of asking you some questions maybe you could help me. I am an Indian girl. My age is 26 and I never had ever sexual intercourse because it is against our traditions here. A girl is not allowed until she is married. I never ever masturbated using machines or finger. I never ever touched my area down before. I even never knew anything about girls and guys masturbation. Here we are not taught about sex issues. I entered accidentally one of the sex sites and most probably out of curiousity about a new thing, depression, and much free time. I started chatting dirty(no voice) with these guys and I watched some. I never did this before in my whole life really. I noticed that i gave water from under when I chatted dirty or watched a guy and I become very jelly like down there. I really never knew this is masturbation i am really ignorant about that. I did this only about two months but I chatted and masturbated several times in a day.

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.