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 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.
I'm 20 and have been with my partner for about two and a half years. We have a great relationship and are happy together. However, two years ago, when we first started sleeping together, I contracted genital herpes, even though we used condoms. I was a virgin before I slept with him so I knew it had come from him....
I'm writing today to make a modest funding ask of our allies and our readers capable of financial contributions on behalf of our volunteers.
What we're looking to do is to raise enough funds for all of our volunteers, who are able, to fly to San Francisco this April and attend the sex::tech conference together.
I'm a 19-year-old virgin and I don't know enough about sex, period. I went to Catholic and Christian schools with terrible sex-ed classes (I learned the basic biology but virtually nothing about actual sex, condoms, safe sex, or anything like that). I looked at your list of books to read and I've browsed through the questions, but I still don't know where to start....
I remember it very clearly. I was a senior in high school and we were all noshing together in the lunch room when Darla, who was two years my junior, blurted out that she had seen her boyfriend naked and that they were planning to have sex soon. It would be her first time, although we thought he probably had more experience. ”I sure hope it gets smaller before it goes in, because my hole isn’t that big!” she declared and we all laughed together.
This is a guest post from Dances With Engines as part of the month-long blogathon to help support Scarleteen!
Scarleteen is written for young people of all sexes and genders. That they manage to do so with so much consistency and dependability is amazing to me. As I become more conscious of my own binary and oppositional language (men do this, women do that, and only men and women), I get more impressed with Scarleteen.
When I recommend websites to my daughter, or to friends with growing children, I am always questioning—is the language and mission of this site going to be inclusive? Is anyone going to be left feeling like they don’t belong or that someone’s wrong with them? I felt like that, growing up. There were so many reasons I wasn’t human, wasn’t visible.
I throw around the words “fear” and “silence” often when it comes to sex ed. They’re loaded terms, perhaps, but these words best describe my experiences with sex education: my emotional reaction and everyone else’s approach, respectively. These words describe what I feel is not often expressed in the sex education debate.
This guest post from the wonderful Anne Semans at the Moms in Babeland blog is part of our month-long fundraising effort for Scarleteen. Thanks, Anne!
One day about 20 years ago I was walking down Haight Street with my 6-year-old niece. This was long before I had kids, but well after I started selling sex toys for a living. It was San Francisco in the early Nineties, and Salt n’ Pepa’s song “Let’s Talk About Sex” was blasting out onto the city streets. My niece looked up at me and asked what the song was about.
This is a guest entry from Dangerous Lilly for the month-long blogathon to help raise awareness and financial support for Scarleteen!
At 15, I was still scared of boys, sort of.
Sure I’d “date” them, and yeah I’d make out with them, but everything else? Terrified. It was because I knew next to nothing about boys, sex, *whispers* penises, and all that good stuff. You learned about sex in one of three places: 6th/7th grade so-called-sex-ed lectures; your equally uninformed friends; your parents (so. mortifying.).
This guest post is from Anita Wagner at Practical Polyamory, and is part of the month-long blogathon to help raise funds for Scarleteen!
I grew up in an area that is pretty much to this day an exceedingly conservative part of the United States. When I came of age, good parents zealously guarded their daughters' virtue by attempting to control the what, where, when, and most importantly, who, of their daughters' social lives. Sex ed, after a fashion, was taught in health and hygiene class in about the 7th grade, but this was largely limited to "the birds and the bees," i.e. reproductive system ed geared toward gender, with boys and girls taking separate classes. Certainly there was no mention of sexual anatomy or sexually transmitted infections, and information about birth control would be unthinkable, including how to use a condom.