consent

How (and why) to Root for Team Awkward

JanFirst2011
asks:
I am 15 years old and I have only made out once. I do not know the person I made out with, and I don't exactly remember what it was like. I want to make out with more people, but I am afraid I will not be good at it, I also don't want to embarrass myself with the person I do make out with. Another thing is, what if the person I do make out with tries to do more with me than I am ready?...

I'm 14 and sure my boyfriend wants sex: but is now the right time?

Hannah0035
asks:
Hi I am 14 years old and me and my boyfriend have been dating for 2 months on the 20th... we're mostly all teenagers here and young adults and can tell that guys want more than just make-outs, hugs and kisses they want sex... I wouldn't have a problem having sex with him....

Summering Safe and Sound

Here in the hemisphere I live in, we're into the swing of summer. Ah, summer, my personal favorite season. I love the sun, the warmth, everything blooming, the energy, the spirit of the season.

It's also the time of year when we tend to see the most new users coming to us because they're in a crisis or a panic, or are just really, really feeling down in the dumps. We know that the idea of summer as a happy, carefree time for all young people doesn't square with the reality that for plenty, it's not, whether that's about tough stuff happening, or about having experiences that aren't negative, but are just super-challenging. With that in mind, here are a few tips and things to think about as you get into (or grapple with) your summer groove:

I worry that because I'm a man, I am going to sexually abuse someone.

aplanacanalpanama
asks:
My mom was a victim of incest as a girl and has used it to invalidate my emotions. I blame the incest, not my mom, but it still hurts. But I can't help but feel like I, as a man, am dirty to be sexual. I can't draw a line in my head between good sex and bad sex. I am a virgin because when I get close to sex, the girl will start reminding me of my mom or my sister....

What Is Healthy Sexual Development?

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.

How Can a Lesbian Have Sex With a Dyke? (Or, How Good Consent & Communication is the Answer to Everything for Everyone)

Sun11
asks:
I'm a 19 year old lesbian ("Lipstick") and my girl friend is a "Dyke" and I know she has had previous partners and well so have I but never a Dyke. I'm scared of what may happen when we actually do have sex. What if I do something she's not comfortable with? Matter of fact what do I do if I do? I'm scared that I'll completely blow it and ruin our sexual relationship. ...

Hooking Up Can Be Awkward - Until It's Great

I host consent workshops professionally, and at one point during past workshops, when the audience is generally settled and feeling comfortable opening up, I have asked, “Who here has ever had something silly and awkward happen during a hookup? Even slightly awkward.” Hands have shot straight up and we all ended up getting a good laugh out of it. It just goes to show how awkward connecting with sex can be, whether you're in bed, thinking about it, or just talking about it!

I think a lot of these awkward moments happen because of the conversations we are having around our romance, or, should I say, the conversations we aren't having.