What do you wish you'd known about sex, sexuality, and relationships in high school?

Questions and discussion about your sexual lives, choices, activities, ideas and experiences.
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What do you wish you'd known about sex, sexuality, and relationships in high school?

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:57 am

I'm hoping to write a companion to this piece on college: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/relat ... in_college for people who are in high school. That lead me to wonder: what do y'all wish you'd known about sex and dating in high school? Were there issues that you and people you know dealt with that you wish you'd had somewhere to go for advice about?

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Re: What do you wish you'd known about sex, sexuality, and relationships in high school?

Unread postby thewrit3r » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:06 am

I didn't go to public school and was homeschooled but I feel like I could've learned more about sexuality. Like the fact that sex is for pleasure rather than mainly for reproductive purpsoes (which is heteronormative, too) and that there's nothing wrong with giving yourself pleasure because you like yourself and just want to feel good! Or that having sex/thinking about sex as a teen isn't "bad", I wasn't that interested in sex but I had this very judgmental attitude towards teens having sex, including my interest in sex, and I felt like it was wrong. And mentioning that masturbation is a thing and it's completely normal: I started doing it when I was a kid and thought there was someething wrong with me - I didn't even know what it was called until I was 14! Mentioning that not everyone is heterosexual and that different sexualites are normal, that not everyone is interested in sex and that's okay...I know it's a lot and maybe I should have asked more questions but while my family wasn't hush hush about it it wasn't something we talked about all that much.
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Re: What do you wish you'd known about sex, sexuality, and relationships in high school?

Unread postby Onionpie » Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:40 pm

dear younger self:
- being attracted to/liking/having a crush on someone =/= compatible for a relationship
- also, if you are not compatible, you do not have to try to force it!!
- please, for the love of god, pee + wash before and after sex. You are going to regret not knowing this
- find some better diy sex toys, girl
- being attracted to girls isn't actually a thing that straight women do lol surprise you're queer

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Re: What do you wish you'd known about sex, sexuality, and relationships in high school?

Unread postby Mo » Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:50 pm

I do think it would have helped to just know that having sexual desires and thoughts was ok, even if I didn't want to act on all of them just then. Also: learning how to think about and communicate sexual boundaries before being intimate with a partner so you don't feel like you're kind of swept up in the moment and find yourself doing things you weren't ready for, and reassurance that my own worth as a person wasn't and shouldn't be bound up in whether or not someone else was attracted to me or wanted to date me.

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Re: What do you wish you'd known about sex, sexuality, and relationships in high school?

Unread postby alice » Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:07 pm

In response to the sexual culture at my high school and my experience there:

- it is just as ok to not be ready to have sex (any types of sex), as it is to be ready to have sex
- you do not "owe" anything to anyone
- sex is not just about men's pleasure
- none of your body parts or sexual desires or sexual needs are "abnormal" or "wrong"
- losing your virginity is not a race
- also, virginity is a construct (reading "the process oriented virgin" by hanne blank at the end of high school blew my mind)

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Re: What do you wish you'd known about sex, sexuality, and relationships in high school?

Unread postby Iwanthelp » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:25 am

(For the purposes of context erp = erotic roleplay, rp = roleplay. I'm still not at a point where I'm ready for actual sex or find it all that accessible yet)

Oh boy, this'll be complicated. The problem is the stuff I wish I'd learned sooner is stuff that isn't easily to fit concisely into a leaflet, for example - and some of it is stuff kids are going to ignore and do anyway. (You're hard-pressed to find a teenager that doesn't ignore the "18+ don't look" disclaimer) I read the leaflets. I read the advice collumns. There's still shit I wound up not learning. And heck, sometimes I just didn't take a good message from it - one advice collumn regarding a teenager who's boyfriend threatened to dump her if she didn't have sex with him ended in "most guys leave when they get what they want anyway". The rest was solid advice but that just...You know that fallacy of "you have to arbitrarily hold off on having sex or they'll Use You and you could have prevented that by waiting"? Yeah. Total garbage, they'll just either fetishize the chase of someone that's a 'challenge' to seduce or fuck off later on anyway, its' not going to turn a user into a non-user if you wait. Wish there was an easy answer of what to do there but...egh, the 'waiting is liek pearls/why buy the cow/bes apples are at the top of the tree' shit analogies come to mind.

* More of what cocsa looked like. As someone that hit puberty too early I experienced a lot of shit like sneaky grabbing passed off as something else from manipulative children (that were younger than me no less), boys trying to come up with a cover story like "well I said I was going to show where I'd get a tattoo" (But not that he was undressed on webcam with a hand for a censor :|) etc. It sucked and because in some instances I felt like I was in the wrong for being 'hysterical'/offended (If the peppy hyperactive teenager goes "sure show me the thing i've seen some shit i don't have innocence anyway : D" consider not pasting your period erotica the same way you wouldn't give your younger teenage friend the spiciest item on the menu, goddamn) and I just...really would not of wanted to have that conversation with my mum because the school said after one pedo scare that I should have my computer put in the living room (that didn't happen 'cause I was spoilt as shit but whatever). Basic safety precaution? Yes. Something that wouldn't feel like a punishment when I so badly needed an escapism outlet (bullying sucked lemme tell you) and privacy in just talking to my friends like a regular kid? No.

I feel having a sex-negative household or fearing I'd lose my computer privileges didn't help in actually just talking to someone about shit as it happened.

* Use sex for the purpose of your own pleasure. Not as a bargaining chip for attention, not to be 'nice' or do someone a 'favour' or as a means to obtain literally anything that isn't 'two people mutually enjoyin the sexything'. I had friends my age or older just...maybe grooming is the wrong word, but when you reallyreallyreally want your crushfriends' attention but they only seem to respond or be interested in conversation when you bring up sex or sex-related topics? Its' a bad combo. And then you're only being sexual not because you're ready for it and understand all it entails but because you want something else. I remember an XoJane article where a teenager admitted part of the reason sleeping with people far too old for her wasn't a good idea(or particularly consensual because these were grown-ass men) was that after the act she'd feel confused because she didn't understand why they didn't want to be her boyfriend, for example. I still find myself annoyed sometimes when I, say, erp and explicitly set it up in an erp-related place and then the person isn't interested in non-sexual Rp and it makes me feel used.

* Someone mentioned sex not just being about dudes' pleasure so I'll second that. I'd do a lot of stuff I was lukewarm about because 'eh well they're an okay person and my wants/needs are inconvenient/dumb/"goddamn x meets Basic Okay Human Being levels why can't I just enjoy the thing with friend like a normal person let's try to force myself to be enthusiastic" (Doesn't work).

* Don't sideline your own wants as 'inconvenient' or 'unrealistic' yet let dudes rp and erp whatever they want because its 'reasonable' and you "can't expect better because you like niche stuff". That's simply not true at all.

* Don't look at heavier sexual content because you're 'curious', don't click behind all those 'mature warning' filters, if you know in the back of your head your dumbass 12 year old self would get in trouble for having it show up on the screen then don't look at it. Fanart-central was the worst for this years ago because you could pretty much find erotica of, say, Sonic characters and nobody particularly giving a shit how old they were. Starting puberty early + that mess and just...coming into the concept of sex too soon with the maturity of 'haha boobs' just lead to a lot of inappropriate jokes and miscellaneous I feel shitty about now. I wish I had an easy answer for "getting the overtly curious kids to stop looking at sex-related everything ever and trying to bypass filters and and and" but I don't. It feels like all the filters in the world won't do shit when people try to go out of their way to bypass and ignore them and it sucks.

That's...probably kind of sex-negative for scarleteen, I'm sure there's folk looking at their Sanics that can behave themselves but in my case it was just way too much content way too soon.

* The 'Why does he do that' book by Lundy Bancroft would've saved my ass sooner had I known about it. Even most guides fall into the trap of 'oh mental illness must be motivating it right' which in part convinced me to waste my time with a guy who Totally Found Out What His Problem Is. Tl;dr: read it, is good and gets into what actually motivates abuse. (Its' not 'oh no the mental health issues', those can interact but it isn't the cause and the abuse problem has to be solved as its' separate entity)

* Perhaps something about abusive friends, particularly in relation to disability and adults assigning a child as a 'helper'. In my case my so-called best friend did not shed that 'helper' role over the years and, much like a guy feeling entitled to control his girlfriend, to some extent as a kid she felt entitled to control me and boss me around because I was someone to be 'looked after' which unfortunately to a kid can wind up translating to 'my property that should do as I say or else they're Misbehaving and I can belittle them for being immature until they fall back in line'.

I wonder in part if that was the case with Lena Dunham for instance - that's another severity entirely (cocsa perp, had never had an adult step in and go "what you're doing with your sister is not appropriate") but I do remember an article breaking it down that mentioned she enjoyed bringing her little sister bad news, for instance, because it meant having her sister upset and needy of her.
https://www.dailydot.com/via/investigat ... se-claims/ long-ass article that goes into it, trigger warning for child on child sexual abuse.

* Genital nonconcordance being a thing. Lead to a lot of upset/confusion about 'oh shit am I into xyz' when nah, sometimes genital arousal is a) fucking random as hell like any other body part doing its' thing b) spurned from stuff that's actually discomfort because its' a 'lubricate in the event of anything happening to you' mechanism.
* On the flipside, "yeah being into female characters sexually as a girl is not straight" I had a friend say it Didn't Count and that lead to a lot of fucking confusion and setbacks in working my sexuality out.

man that got long and rambly, feel free to nudge me if any parts were Not Great.

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Re: What do you wish you'd known about sex, sexuality, and relationships in high school?

Unread postby Kristy » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:09 am

I went to a Catholic all-girls high school, so it was all abstinence all the time. First,they told us a lot of lies, like "every year you're on the pill your uterus thins by 3 cm." There were a lot more, but that one kept me off the pill for years until I finally asked my doctor. I had horrible cramps too, so I could have avoided years of monthly agonizing pain if we'd just gotten the facts.

What I really, really, REALLY wish they'd talked about was making the decision to be sexually active with someone--not just "should I keep my virginity?" but also "what sexual activities do I want to do (or not do) with this person? Why/why not?" I know a lot of girls who felt pressured into doing it with a guy they were dating, and then they felt like they 'had' to go 'all the way' with guys after that because "I did it with ____." Wrapped up with this is the idea of what consent looks like. They spent so much time on 'just say no' that they didn't teach us how to say yes.

I also wish it had been way less gender-stereotypical. There was this theme that guys would always push for sex, they were just sex-crazy, and it was the girl's job to say no and set boundaries and "stay strong" (ugh) when he kept pushing for sex. Like, no, guys are not like that. Guys who don't respect you when you say 'no' are not just "boys being boys"--they're not good people to be in a relationship with. (Also, "giving in" to pressure is not a sign of weakness--it's being a victim of coercion/emotional abuse.) It's not healthy to be with someone who doesn't respect you, and you don't have to stay with them because "that's just part of dating guys."

I know so far it's been pretty heteronormative, which brings me to the fact that I wish we'd had ANY information about being anything but straight and cis. It would be so useful, not just to kids who identify outside the gender binary or as not-straight, but also for those of us inside the heteronormative box who might understand themselves better if they can critically analyze gender roles, relationship models--basically seeing gender, sex, and orientation on a spectrum, and consciously choosing their place on the spectrums (spectra?) rather than going along with their box in a binary.

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