We sometimes deal with a tough situation in direct service: a user comes in, and reports having contracted an STI; a user who also isn't a first-time user of our site or services, and who, in a previous conversation with us about pregnancy risks, blew off also talking about STIs and safer sex and turned down help we offered to them to reduce their STI risks, not just pregnancy risks.
This is one of those things where there's no joy or pride in being right: it stinks to be right about someone getting any kind of illness and being unhappy.
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 a talk which included a piece published in the International Journal of Sexual Health (2010, 22(1), 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.
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?...
At twenty years old, I have by no means conquered all of my personal anxieties or insecurities about sex and sexuality. But after spending years trying to deny it, I can say that I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am a sexual being.
For most of my life, I have conceptualized my sexuality as separate from the rest of my body, intellect, and soul. This schism between my sexuality and the idea I had of my ‘Self’ cut me deeply during some of what could have been the best years of my life.
This is about a recent scare of mine at the dentist or how a misdiagnosis almost cost me hundreds of dollars and unnecessary pain and surgery. However, before I talk about that specific experience, I'd like to share my back story.
How I love thee, dentists of the world!?! Let me count the ways.
An extra toothbrush. Check! Enough underwear to go a month without doing wash. Oh yeah. A bedspread carefully coordinated to compliment your roommate’s? Well, maybe not. In any case, your bags are packed, the family van is heaving under all the weight, and you can’t wait to start a new, exciting phase of your life.
But along with all the material items you’re bringing, don’t forget to prepare for the emotional and interpersonal chances and challenges awaiting you.