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young adults

Risky Business: Learning to Consider Risk and Make Sound Sexual Choices

Choices about sex and intimacy will always involve some risks, and making sound choices when risks, emotions and social high stakes are involved isn't something anyone is magically expert at. How can we learn to do it well, and what are some common things that trip us up?

Scarleteen Superstars: Joey, Karyn, Alice and Sarah

And here's the second part of our volunteer profiles (part one is here) so all of you can better get to know some of the people we're so lucky to have on Team Scarleteen!

Karyn

Age: 27
Where do you live? Melbourne, Australia
What year did you first find Scarleteen? 2004

What made you want to volunteer? I went through high school and the first couple years of university completely clueless about pretty much everything to do with sex and relationships. When I finally found Scarleteen and had my own questions answered so brilliantly, with so much information and so much obvious care, I knew I had to help out.

Biggest personal sexual epiphany (so far)? Learning to say "no", without any guilt, without feeling I'm letting a partner down, without second-guessing myself.

Best thing you ever learned from a Scarleteen user/users: That I can learn from them, really - I'm not always going to be the "expert". When I first started volunteering, I was so worried that it meant I'd have to know *every

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Scarleteen Superstars: Ray, Kat, Véronique, Steph and Jacob

Our volunteers are a huge part of Scarleteen, and I call them superstars with very good reason. They're all incredible.

They play a big part in providing our direct services at our message boards and through our text-in answer service. They are our invaluable collective editorial board: even when volunteers aren't part of writing a piece, every piece we publish goes past at least some of them and their input is priceless. They're an equal part of all conversations about how we run things here, collectively informing and making decisions about how we manage and administrate the site and organization. They are a strong support circle: for all of us as a staff, for each other, for our users. They are a brilliant hivemind: our backend chat channel for staff and volunteers has had some amazing, inspired conversation about the issues we address here at Scarleteen. Most of our volunteers also started out at Scarleteen as users, so they come in with a lot of knowledge about being a user here,

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Introducing... Find-a-Doc!

(...or a counselor, LGBTQ center, doula, shelter, rape crisis center or other in-person sexual/reproductive health, sexuality and/or crisis care serving teens and young adults!)

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,

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Preventing Teen Pregnancy: Three Words Most Likely to Make My Blood Boil

I hate, hate, hate that phrase. Nearly everywhere I go or look as a young adult sexuality educator anymore, I run into it incessantly.

Let me be clear: I don't hate doing all that we can, to help people of every age to avoid pregnancies or parenting they do not want or do not feel ready for. I'm so glad to do that, and it's a big part of my job at Scarleteen and elsewhere when I work as a sexuality and contraception educator and activist.

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What's at Stake in 2008?

The Feminist Majority Foundation's Get Out Her Vote campaign outlines some of this election's central issues. What's your vote this year going to influence?

The 2008 election will decide who controls the White House, Congress and many state legislatures across the country. Those elected will be making decisions that could change your lives. Also, keep an eye out for special initiatives and referendums that may be on your state's ballot.

Reproductive Rights

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Coming Soon: Sexuality in Color & The Scarleteen Voting Guide

Newsflash: I'm white. Who cares, right?

Well, I do. Because one thing that means with the work I do is that I hear it, see it, compile it, write it all through the lens of a white person. I can be as mindful, sensitive and careful as I want, but that still doesn't change that.

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What Would Maria Do? One Sex Educator's Ever-Evolving Manifesto

One of the things that has a great influence in both how I enact sexuality education and how I conceptualized my approach from the get-go is my background with teaching in the Montessori Method.

Overall, the primary way Montessori works is this: as educators, we observe our students, and based on our observations of what their self-directed interests, skills and questions are -- basically, what they're drawn to in terms of what activities they choose for themselves and what activities and areas they express interest in -- we choose what materials to make or find and to present to them. In doing this, we're also trying to help students learn to be observers, as well as working to empower them when it comes to trusting their own interests and instincts and to be self-motivated and self-directed, rather than reliant on -- or vulnerable to -- others to give them directives. Montessori teachers see ourselves more as helpers, as guides, than as directors or founts of knowledge. We see

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Did my stepmother lie to me about my right to birth control?

Audrey asks:

I would appreciate a little light shed on my question, it puzzles me greatly. I asked a good while ago if I could start on Birth Control, and my father actually wouldn't mind, in fact, he supports it. My stepmother, on the other hand, doesn't seem comfortable with it. Despite the obvious discomfort, she said she'd call her doctor and see what she could do. Days later, she told me they won't take anyone under 18. This confused me. I know many teenagers on Birth Control. I hope she's not just saying that, although it wouldn't be the first time she did something rather similar to that. At first I got the feeling that she thought I would change if I was on the pill, like I was invincible and I could never get pregnant, so I can have sex whenever I want. The thing is, I'm not sexually active, I'm a virgin. I often get the feeling she thinks I'm a tramp. I would NEVER think in that fashion. So, my question to you, do you have to be a certain age to consult a doctor about Birth Control? And although I'm only 16, would that be my personal choice to take the pill? Or do they have a say in it until I'm a legal adult?

Is it normal for girls to experiment with sex together when they're not lesbian?

Sam asks:

A couple of years ago I was over at my best friends house and we were in her living room ready to go to sleep and we were just talking and she asked me if I masturbate and I told her I did and then she started to rub her clitoris and then she started to rub mine. After that she asked me if I had ever kissed a girl and I said no then we started to make out and stuff. I know I'm not a lesbian but what we did was a lot of fun, is this normal for girls to do this sort of stuff together?

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