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TEENS
 
 FAQ 
(the most asked questions)                                               

 11 Worst Reasons to Have Sex                                        

 
What to Say to Someone
Who Doesn't Want to Have Safer Sex
Age of Consent Laws

What's My Identity Flag?
What You Should Know About Date Rape Drugs

 Sex, Love, and Relationships Q&A with Shain
 Resources & Links

FAQ 

Is it okay to have oral or anal sex without safer sex precautions? 

No. Oral and anal sex both transmit STI's. If you're ready to have oral or anal sex, you should use Safer Sex precautions. You can also transmit some STI's like herpes and mono by kissing. 

Is sex the best way to show someone you love them? 

You should never have to have sex to prove you love someone. Sex with a person you love can be beautiful, but only when you are both totally relaxed, happy, and ready.  


asian teen eyes closedI’m a Virgin. I’m Scared I Won't be a "Good Lover".
Sex is a learned skill. Our earliest sexual experiences are a beautiful - and sometimes sweetly awkward - period of learning for everyone. Be patient, honest, and both give and receive. Relax and have fun. Experience comes with time: sexual proficiency comes with experience; and it’s all a journey about gaining sexual self-knowledge and getting to know your partner’s responses, too. Drop any expectations you've placed on yourself or them; just explore together. It isn’t about judging “good” or "bad” sexual technique; it’s about expressing yourself and sharing intimacy.

 Is Autoerotic Asphyxia (Strangling Yourself) really a Turn-On?

 Autoerotic asphyxia, or strangling yourself to excite sexual titillation and orgasm, is extremely dangerous – lots of young people die from it. Imagine yourself in terrified agony as your throat is crushed and you can’t breath – my, my, how sexy. Not. 

Auto asphyxia is a sad and lonely way to seek thrills, and it often ends up as a sad and lonely tragedy. There is nothing cool about it. If you’re doing it, stop. If you need help stopping, that’s okay; reach out to friends. 

National Youth Crisis Hotline         Child Help USA                                 Teen Counseling Help Line

www.nrcrisisline.org                       www.childhelpusa.org                    

1-800-621-4000                                 1-800-442-4673                               1-800-4-A- CHILD   

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What about Abstinence?

Abstinence as a form of birth control doesn’t work. A conservative estimate is that 25% of women practicing abstinence
become pregnant within the first year.


It is natural to go through phases without a sexual partner. And it is very wise to be respectfully aware of the potential vulnerability, complexity, and responsibilities of a sexual relationship and accordingly, to avoid rushing impulsively into sex.  And you should never, ever, feel forced into sexual contact before you are ready. Respect your feelings and know your boundaries, and honor these in your partner, too.
But to feel compelled to abstain from sex because you have been given negative messages about this very natural aspect of your being is a recipe for pain and conflict.

So listen, and take this to heart: Sex is a rewarding part of life. Learning about yourself and becoming a happy, fulfilled person includes developing your sexual awareness. You must decide when you want, and are truly ready, for sex. An abstinence agenda does not substitute for self-knowledge. 

You will probably not meet the love of your life the first time you are sexually attracted to someone, and it usually takes a number of relationships to work through the maturation process and come to know yourself and your needs well enough to find a soul mate. This includes sex. As you go through this journey of self-awareness and grow through relationships, always take the time to be respectful, kind, and caretaking of your partners and yourself.  
                                                             young woman with headband black
What If I Get Pregnant?

You can choose between having an abortion or bearing a child.

In my years as a sex educator, the vast majority of women I’ve spoken to are far happier about choosing to have an abortion during their teens. These are years when   you usually need to focus on your own personal growth and on gaining independence and experience, not on raising a child.  

Is Having An Abortion "Wrong"? 

NO, absolutely not! Having an abortion is not morally, emotionally, or in any other way "wrong".  It is a choice about whether you want to become a parent right now. Having an abortion or not depends on what is right for you at this point in your life. 

Is An Abortion Safe?

Generally speaking, a legal medical abortion – an abortion provided by a qualified health professional – is considered a low risk procedure.  Statistically, having a legal medical abortion is considerably safer than giving birth. 

It is a surgical procedure, and all surgery entails some degree of potential risk (as does childbirth). For your peace of mind, discuss all potential risk factors with your doctor.  

Is having a baby a good option now?

This is your decision. But you should consider that there are many very good reasons to wait before having a baby.

Many people end up regretting having children in their teens because this is a time when you very much need to concentrate  on gaining self-knowledge and preparing for an independent adult life. Getting an education and figuring out relationships, career, and personal values are more than enough to have on your plate.

Many teens who do get pregnant have been fooled by hype about the "glamour", "prestige", and "fun" of having a baby. In some communities, it seems to provide status and a respected role to become a teen parent - without genuine regard for what's really best for either the parent or the child involved.  Because of these misguided attitudes, we don’t initially  realize the incredible degree of responsibility and sacrifice involved in having  a child, and how restrictive and demanding parenting really is! A child is a very delicate, complex being who requires a great deal of patience, love, maturity, guidance, and HUGE amounts of time and care. You no longer come first – your baby does. All the time.

Having a child is also a very great financial burden and responsibility. Children are dependent on you to provide them with food, clothing, shelter, educational materials, and formative opportunities for many years. 

For the majority of teens, it’s far better to wait until you’ve got your own life on track and have become financially secure. Until then, focus on your life goals and  prevent unplanned pregnancy with the use of effective birth control methods.

If I Have A Baby, Can I Give Her/Him Up For Adoption?
 
Yes. Be aware, though, that:
  • Most babies born to teens who can’t keep them end up in the foster care system, and often have difficult lives.

  • Having a baby and then giving her/him up can be extremely distressing. 

I have A Baby I Want To Keep And I Need Help Caring for Her/Him. What Can I Do?

Parenting is the most important, difficult, demanding 24/7 role we play in life. Caring for a child is a lifetime of responsibility. Unfortunately, the services available for the average young parent are pretty limited, but there are some. Many urban centers have social service organizations that may offer you a modicum of financial aid or counseling if you are below a certain income level, and there are other organizations that teach some practical parenting skills. A good starting place for help with these issues is Planned Parenthood: 1-800-230 PLAN

Who Has The Right To Control My Sexual Partnering? "Age Of Consent" Laws:
For centuries Countries and States have been defining who can legally have sex with whom, what kind of sex acts they can have, and at what age. This is a hot potato for a number of reasons. Sometimes these laws unfairly restrict and intrude upon young peoples private lives - and sometimes they protect them from predators and sexual abuse.

From Wikipedia: "The age of consent is the age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts, and is thus the minimum age of a person with whom another person is legally permitted to engage in sexual activity. The distinguishing aspect of the age of consent laws is that the person below the minimum age is regarded as the victim, and their sex partner as the offender. The term age of consent rarely actually appears in legal statutes; it has sometimes been used with other meanings, such as the age at which a person becomes competent to consent to marriage, but the meaning given above is the one now generally understood. It should not be confused with the age of majority, age of criminal responsibility, the voting age, the drinking age, driving age, etc.

Age of consent laws vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, though most jurisdictions set the age of consent in the range 14 to 18. The laws may also vary by the type of sexual act, the gender of the participants (sexism), or other restrictions such as abuse of a position of trust; some jurisdictions may also make allowances for minors engaged in sexual acts with each other, rather than a single age. Charges resulting from a breach of these laws may range from a misdemeanor such as corruption of a minor, to what is popularly called statutory rape (which is considered equivalent to rape, both in severity and sentencing).

There are many "gray areas" in this area of law, some regarding unspecific and untried legislation, others brought about by debates regarding changing societal attitudes, and others due to conflicts between federal and state laws. These factors all make age of consent an often confusing subject, and a topic of highly charged debates."

Age of consent for heterosexual sex by country:      – puberty,      – less than 12 (void at present),      – 12,      – 13,      – 14,      – 15,      – 16,      – 17,      – 18,      – 19,      – 20,      – 21+, (void at present)      – varies by state/province/region/territory,      – must be married.      – no law. (void at present)      – no data available.

What do you think about the Age of Consent laws in your country?

 

What's My Flag? 
Am I Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Bi, Trans, Queer, Genderqueer, Ci, Pan, Asexual, or what?

There are all kinds of labels to box-in your sexual identity. You may identify with any of these or you may find that you're identified with more than one. You might go through periods of your life when you're identified with one category and that may change to be more inclusive, or it might remain exclusive. There is no right or wrong sexual identity. Nor is it necessary to declare yourself under the banner of a label!  All that's important is that you accept your feelings and feel positive about your sexuality. 

The same goes for your gender self-perception. You may identify with all genders, one gender, or be gender neutral. You may feel entirely fluid about your gender, or you may cigender but disagree with the restrictions imposed by our societies Gender Binary which splits us into "two sexes" and rigidly assigns polar traits to Male and Female persons. Again, there is no right or wrong, only accepting and validating your feelings, and being comfortable in your own skin.  

The 11 Worst Reasons to Have Sex  teen couple, w woman, b man

1 To make someone like me.

People like you for who you are, never because you’ll have sex with them. If someone has led you to believe that they’ll like you if you have sexual contact with them, then they’re conning you, and don’t really respect or like you at all. You deserve a whole lot better. 

2 To keep my partner.

You should never have to barter for a relationship with sex! Either you enthusiastically want sex, or you really don’t, and anyone you’re with should ONLY want sex with you if you really want sex with them – not as a bargaining tool for their affection. 

3 To get pregnant/ make my partner pregnant, (and keep them my partner because of the pregnancy).

Nothing is sadder than a baby born for the wrong reasons, and this reason couldn’t be more wrong. Having a baby to keep another person with you will only ruin your relationship, your life, and the life of your child. Either you’re together because you want to be together, or you can’t be together: the desperate act of trying to use a baby, another human being, to fix what’s wrong with your relationship will not succeed, and everyone in the situation will suffer. Be better than that. 

4 Because my friends are doing it.

Maturing and growing into your own inner beauty means figuring out your own needs and timing as a unique individual. What is right for your friends is not necessarily what’s right for you. Be strong in believing in yourself, and listen to your own feelings. 

5 Because people will think I’m cool.

Yeah, because an unplanned pregnancy and getting STI’s is sooo cool. How about lying in a hospital bed with AIDS? What’s cool is being smart, responsible, and respecting yourself. 

6 Because I’m lonely.

Sex is not a cure for loneliness. You can be even lonelier during sex with a partner! Making real friends you can trust and share your feelings with is a much more satisfying route. This can take some searching and some work, but it’s worth it. Joining groups with like-minded people is one way to start. 

7 To get attention and status.

Who’s giving you attention, who’s granting you status? You’re giving your power away to other people! C’mon, wake up!

8 To hurt another party.

This is a pretty degrading and pitiful thing to do. The person you’re hurting the most is yourself, by cheapening sex to use it for spite. When you do, the price is lowering your self-esteem. 

9 Because I’m drunk or high.

It’s the “magical thinking” game when you try to fool yourself into believing that you’re not responsible for what you do when you’re drunk or on drugs. You are responsible, and the consequences of your actions will affect you just as powerfully whether you're stoned, drunk, or sober. When you have sex under the influence, you are four times more likely to get an STI, get pregnant/ impregnate, or get hurt. 

10 Because it’s the only way I can connect.

If the only way you can feel intimacy and human connection is during sex, then you have some work to do. You cannot have satisfying relationships when all your intimacy is compartmentalized into a single activity. Your partner will be lonely, and you will, too. You need to learn about trust and communication so that you can share in a much broader, richer experience of life.

11 To get accepted by a gang.

No way no how should this kind of “gang initiation” be put on you, not ever, not by a righteous gang. Your people are supposed to look out for you, not exploit and use you. Stand up for your dignity and self-respect. Say NO. 

 

 What to Say to Someone Who Doesn’t Want to Have Safer Sex 

thoughtful guy teen looking down safer sexB.S: If you love me, you’ll want to be close, and safer sex gets in the way.
A: If you love me, you’ll honor my safety and peace of mind, and want to earn my regard by acting intelligently about practicing safer sex. I show my love for you by seeking to protect you from the dire consequences of selfish and irresponsible sexual behavior, and I show that I want to be close to you by seeking to have a truly viable relationship, based on the principles of intelligent safer sex, caring and respect - a relationship that really has a chance at happiness.

B.S: Safer sex interferes with the mood.
 
A:
I can’t get in the mood when I’m afraid of getting pregnant/ you getting pregnant, or getting an STI.


B.S: Safer sex products - condoms, cots, gloves, dams, and other forms of birth control and STI prevention - aren’t comfortable.

A:
With practice, they can become very comfortable and actually pleasure enhancing. Let’s practice. 

B.S: Safer sex isn’t romantic.

A:
No, dying of AIDS is unromantic. Having an unwanted baby is unromantic. Being with someone who is smart and caring about my safety and theirs is my idea of romantic.

What You Should Know About Date Rape Drugs (From Sexual Assault)

Date rape drugs are any drugs used to impair cognitive judgment and induce nonconsensual sexual activity. They are characterized by an ability to be dissolved  tastelessly into drinks, particularly alcohol, so that the intended victim is unaware of their ingestion. When their pharmaceutical properties reduce the victim to a vulnerable, altered state, rape ensues. Several of the drugs have strong amnestic properties and victims who are targeted by them may have trouble recalling the details of their assault afterward. 

Common Date Rape Drugs 

Alcohol itself is the most common date rape drug. Alcoholic intoxication impairs judgment and self-protective instincts, inducing a euphoric sense of loss of inhibitions and boundaries. Rape, unwanted pregnancy, and STI transmission occur far more often under the influence of alcohol than any other substance. 

Benzodiazenes are a class of drug that includes Rohypnol ("Roofies"), midazolam, temazepam, and flunitrazepam with strong sedative, motor impairing, and amnestic properties. They can be emptied into a drink without any evident taste or odor.   

GHB/GBL/1,4D0 (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate) has a similar effect as that of alcohol, causing involuntary euphoria, sedation, confusion and drowsiness.

Ketamine is a drug used in veterinary medicine that works on humans as a dissociative hallucinogen, causing disassociation, hallucinations, trances, sedation, memory loss, and amnesia. 

Ambien has strong sedative and amnestic properties. 

All these drugs are dangerous and their unsupervised use has been linked to serious medical conditions, including coma, respiratory depression, and permanent memory loss.

Staying Safe

Use common sense guidelines to protect yourself from these powerful drugs:

  • Don’t ever leave your drink – any drink, even water or fruit juice – unattended. Always keep your eye on your glass or bottle. Take it with everywhere you go -to the toilet, to your car, to the dance floor - or give it to a cautious friend you know and trust very well to guard for you.

  • Don’t drink alcohol or use drugs when you’re socially engaging with new acquaintances. Alcohol and drugs impede your judgment.

  • Go with friends to social meeting grounds like bars or dance clubs. Talk together about the need for caution and awareness in regard to date rape drugs before you get there, and watch out for each other.

  • If you know or suspect that you’ve been raped with the use of date rape drugs, go to an emergency room or clinic for a rape exam right away. If you’ve been given an amnestic drug, your memory may be blocked, but tests may be able to confirm the presence of date rape drugs in your system.

Q & A with Shain

Worried About Our First Time Making Love

Q. I am 19 and a virgin. I'm in love with my girlfriend and she feels the same about me. I sense that we are going to make love soon, and I very much want it to be pleasurable for her. My brothers tell me that the most important thing is to have a large dong (which I don't really have), to be able to keep an erection a long time, and to “pump like a machine gun”. Is this true? My brothers are experienced, but I would like a woman's perspective. 

A. Good for you! Your poor brothers are really starting you off on the wrong foot, and you should talk to a woman to find out about a woman's sexuality. Especially the woman you love. She has the ability to tell you all about what feels good to her and satisfies her unique desires. One of the special enchantments in a sexual partnership is the intimacy of this conversation. 

That being said, a large penis is not what women value, nor does a large penis make sex more successful. The truth is that male erection - centered sex often equals non-orgasmic sex for women. 

Here is some information that may make you feel more comfortable: 

1. Don’t be overly focused on your penis during sex. The clitoris, not the vaginal canal, is the primary female sex organ. Its’ sensitive head and shaft are most exposed above the vaginal canal, and for the majority of women penile thrusting inside their vagina alone does not give their clitoris enough stimulation to induce orgasm. Direct clitoral stimulation through oral or manual manipulation is often necessary, and it must be sustained up until a woman's orgasm is complete. 

 2. The whole body is erogenous. Areas such as the breasts, nipples, genitals, anus, inner thighs, toes, and mouth may all be extremely responsive to touch because a cluster of sensitive nerve endings reside in these areas. At the same time, every individual is unique in what kind of touch pleasures them how, when and where. Be generous, and teach each other about your unique pleasure centers. 

3. Sex will be more pleasurable for you if you feel comfortable with your erectile functioning. 

The first way to learn about this is during masturbation. Don't be rushed, take the time to enjoy caressing your whole body and discover what feels good to you. This becomes knowledge that you can teach your partner. 

Learn how repeatedly stimulate yourself to near orgasm, and then stop and relax before ejaculation. Practice this and you will become more confident about your ability to be erect when you want to, and to have an orgasm when you want to. 

Practice using condoms while masturbating. Condoms are important defenses against STI's and unwanted pregnancy. They become more natural and comfortable to use with experience, so it's good to become adept at using them before engaging in a sexual relationship with another. 

Explore caressing your entire body and learn to enjoy a wide range of sensual pleasures other than penile stimulation. Be aware of your emotions as well as any physical sensations. Nurture your emotional as well as your physical needs. Sex is about a great deal more than penile stimulation or penetration, and whether alone or with a partner, it becomes much more rewarding when you expand your pleasure capacity beyond your penis. 

4. Communication is the key in a successful sexual relationship. Touch – sex – is a kind of language. You need to gift each other with the knowledge of your own bodies, and give each other feedback about what feels good to you, and what does not. Your partner cannot intuit or read your mind, no matter how attuned to your feelings she may be, and it is unfair to expect her to. You said that you love your girlfriend; be nurturing, honest and open with each other about your needs, and you will find that your sexual relationship offers you the opportunity to express your heart and soul to each other in a very deep way. 

Shain

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It Takes Time

Q. I’ve never had sex. I’ve kissed and that’s it. I’ve been with a boy I really like for months now and whenever it gets past kissing, I just can’t go farther. I get excited, get an erection, but I also start shaking and feeling afraid.

I don’t understand it – he’s the guy of my dreams, he wants me, and I sexually fantasize about him all the time when I masturbate, and – the rest of the time, too.  

I can’t think of any trauma that causes me to be afraid of sex. He’s very attractive to me - kissing him is great.  

Do you have any ideas about what to do? 

Roland

A. Well, you’ll definitely have to find the answer to this yourself, Rolando, because only you have the answer. What I can do is make a few suggestions for your consideration: 

Sometimes people become nervous about sex when they become too focused on it. When that happens, you can’t ever really relax and let things take their course. One way around this is to put sex aside for a while and concentrate on relaxed intimacy. Let your partner know what you’re feeling and why. Perhaps you could to explore Sensate Focus, Massage, Breathing, Fantasy, Communication and Touch exercises together (see our pages on these topics to get started) as a way of becoming more comfortable together. Accept that sex may NOT be the outcome of this exploration -just let things develop that feel right. 

Keep in mind that you have nothing to prove, and don’t owe your friend sex. Find a Mantra that relaxes you when you feel afraid: “It’s okay, I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to”- whatever addresses what you’re feeling and need to hear to be comfortable and centered. 

You’ll get there when you're ready. Easy does it, my friend. It takes time.

Shain 

Q. My best friend is trans. Or is gay. Or was. Or is intersex. Or was. It keeps changing. I’m lost.

We used to be together as a couple. Then he said he couldn’t have sex with a vagina anymore, because he’s gay. Now he wants to have an operation to have a vagina.

I was in love with him before. I want to support his gender identity. I just don’t really understand the changes he is going through. What is the difference between gay, trans, intersex?

A. First of all, before we get into classifications, I don’t care what his gender identity is: you don’t “have sex with a vagina.” You have sex with another human being, a whole person. Someone whose heart you honor and respect. Whatever genitals he is or isn’t sporting, it is selfish, self-centered and grossly insensitive for your ‘friend’ to have defined you and your sexual relationship in this way. He needs to wake up, get over his preoccupation with his identity, and become a better person.

As to the semantic differences between gay, trans, and intersex, here’s the skinny (from the LGBTQQI page):

A gay man is emotionally, romantically, spiritually and sexually attracted to other men.

Transgender refers to a person who feels that they were born the wrong anatomical sex; a woman born in a man’s body, or a man born in a woman’s body. 

Some transgender people adjust their gender expression to match their gender identity through changing  their name, the way they dress, speak, cut their hair, or move, and use (or don’t use) make-up. Others undergo a physical transition with hormonal treatments and/or sexual reassignment surgery.  

Still others people see transgender identity as an acceptance of the integration of "male" and "female" traits. 

The medical definition of intersex is a Hermaphrodite; a person with a full set of both male and female sex organs and hormones. 

However, many people do not fit the strict physical sex binary presented by the medical model of male and female. A lot of us have some degree of anatomical or physiological intersex traits. 

Some intersex people enjoy their physicality and sexuality just as it is, taking pride in their unique identity. Others feel identified with a specific sex and want to become more physically a female or a male, and may undertake sexual reassignment surgery and/or hormonal therapy to change. 

You can get learn a lot more about definitions on the LGBTQQI page.

Definitions being spoken to, don’t get too hung up on labels. Some people have a definite sexual preference and identity, but many do not. For the majority, sexuality is a fluent continuum with many possible expressions.

Shain

My School Only Teaches Abstinence And I Want More Information About Sex

Q. My school emphasizes abstinence only until marriage as the way to avoid STI's and pregnancy out of wedlock. They do not make sex education available. 

My church and family also don’t believe in sex before marriage, but I would like to think for myself about this issue, and to know what my alternatives are. I have a very intense desire to make love with my girlfriend, and I sensed that she has similar feelings, but we are both in the dark about sex. Is it true that we will get STI's and she will instantly get pregnant if we don't abstain? 

A. I am proud of you for reaching out to get information about this important issue in your life. It is foolish and dangerous to you to keep you in the dark about sex, which is a natural part of maturing, and you deserve to knowledgeable about sex so that you can make informed choices that affect your health and happiness. 

Abstinence is generally considered the total repression of mutual oral, vaginal, manual or anal sexual contact. If strictly practiced, it will prevent pregnancy. It can also prevent some STI's, but some sexually transmitted infections such as herpes, syphilis, mononucleosis and HPV can be contracted through kissing and in some instances touch. 

It’s also possible to transmit or contract STI's even if you've never had sex - even if you've never kissed anyone and grew up in a hermetically sealed environment! Some people who have never had sex are carriers because they are born with STI's, and don't know it. They unwittingly transmit STI's. The only really effective way to avoid STI's is for both partners to get tested before having sex. 

It also helps to be aware of STI symptoms and take preventative measures if they are detected, but keep in mind that many people with STI's have no symptoms. Testing is the only sure way. 

Sex involving penile ejaculation anywhere in or near the vagina will certainly drastically increase the probability of pregnancy. To ensure that you have a baby only when you feel ready to choose  to undertake this in enormous commitment, learn about the proper use of birth control methods and find the one(s) that comfortably suit you and your partner. There is nothing more terrifying than risking unwanted pregnancy during sex because you don't know how to prevent it. 

You are not far from Chapel Hill, where there is a Planned Parenthood (lucky you). Make an appointment with your girlfriend to get information about birth control methods and STI prevention – an absolute essential if you're thinking about a sexual relationship. 

Nothing is wrong with having a period of abstinence in your life if it makes you happy, but you should not feel forced into abstinence because you have been told that your sexual feelings are wrong. Many sex therapists and researchers believe that abstinence is particularly difficult, inappropriate and untenable during youth because this is a period when your body is filled with hormones, signaling that it’s time for sexual exploration. It is probably more helpful to become informed about sex so that you can make intelligent, safe, and positive choices. Your sexuality is an important part of your basic identity development – getting comfortable with yourself and the world you want to thrive in.  

Be certain about this: your sexuality is a healthy and necessary part of life. It's natural to explore sex, and you should be free to do this unpressured by dogma or anti-sexual sentiments.  

This does not necessarily mean you will want to plunge headlong into mad orgies of sex! Your sexual interests and needs should unfold at your own pace. Only you can know what you feel like doing and what you're emotionally ready for. Part of growing is learning to listen to your own feelings and instincts. You should know that sex is a good and positive aspect of life which you define, and nobody else. 

Please look at the How to Use Safer Sex Aids and Safer Sex sections of our website for information on these topics. Also, check out our Contacts and Resources section for lots of helpful additional information.  

Shain 

Menstrual Products Should Never Hurt (from Menstruation)

Q. I have begun getting menstruation and have no one to talk to. I live alone with my father. My father says it is "women's sin of blood". I put in a tampon at school but it hurts. Is it supposed to? Am I sick? 

A. Sweetheart, nothing should hurt your vagina. Stop using a tampon and use a menstrual pad instead until you get sorted out. A menstrual pad is attached to your underwear, where it catches menstrual fluids, and is not inserted in any way. Nothing should ever be inserted into the vaginal canal if it causes pain. 

Lots of things could cause the pain your experiencing. A simple question: did the tampon you used come in an inserter or container, and did you remove the inserter/container when you inserted the tampon? If you didn't remove it but were walking around with it inside you, it can really hurt! Check the instructions on the package and see if this is the case. 

Other things that can cause pain are a closed hymen, an STI, vaginismus (clenched vaginal muscles), endometriosis, cysts - but the only way to find out is to see a gynecologist, and you must. Your father does not sound like a good candidate for help in this regard. If he will not take you for a gynecological examination - or if you don't want to approach him about it - speak to the nurse at school or a teacher that you trust about your need. If necessary, they can contact a social worker to help you, but there may be other alternatives. 

Menstruation is not "women's sin of blood". It is the fabulous process through which we women become fertile and can have children, if we choose. Welcome to this rich phase of your life!  Welcome to choice and responsibility and the incredible transition that marks the change from girlhood to womanhood. Please get going reading the sections on menstruation, conception, and anatomy and physiology, and peruse the resource sections for on-line groups to join. Check out Scarleteen, All-Girl Army, and the other links for a friendly place to talk and question. You may feel very separate but really you are part of a community of young women going through the same things you are - reach out and connect to them.

Shain

Resources         (Gotta good one? Please share!)

Scarleteen

www.scarleteen.com

Sex Ed

 

Advocates for Youth

www.advocatesforyouth.org

Sex Ed

 

All Girl Army

www.allgirlarmy.org

Young feminist blogging and community

 

About Face

www.about-face.org

Challenging and changing distorted images of women and girls in the media

 

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Hotline

www.samhsa.gov

1-800-821-4357

 

Teen Counseling Help Line

www.nrcrisisline.org

1-800-621-4000

 

National Youth Crisis Hotline

www.cra-us.org

1-800-442-4673

 

BodyPositive.com

www.bodypositive.com

Affirming the body at all weights

 

spanish teen guy leg up bent at knee red shoesTeensource

http://www.teensource.org/ts/

 

The Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders

www.something-fishy.org

 

Break the Cycle

www.breakthecycle.org

Empowers youth to break the cycle of domestic

violence and abuse

 

National Youth Violence Prevention Center

www.afeyouth.org/scripts/index.asp

Working to prevent violence committed by and against young people

 

Teens Experiencing Abusive Relationships (TEAR)

www.teensagainstabuse.org/indexphp?q=mission

 

 

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth Support Line

1-800-850-8078

  

National Youth Advocacy Coalition www.nyacyouth.org

800-541-6922

 

OutProud

www.outproud.org

info@outproud.org

 

The Trevor Helpline

www.thetrevorproject.org

866-4-U-TREVOR

Suicide counseling and outreach for LGBTQGQI teens. You will not be

charged for the phone call and your name will not show up on a

phone bill.

National Gay and Lesbian Youth Hotline

800-347-8336

 

Youth Resource

www.youthresource.com

202-419-3420

 

It Gets Better

www.itgetsbetter.org

 

Be True To You

www.betruetoyou.org

 

You Are Not Alone: National Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth Organization

212-674-2400

 

Gay Teen Resources (GTR)

www.gayteenresources.org  

 

Young Gay America

www.younggayamerica.com

 

Hetrick Martin Institute

www.hmi.org

212-674-2400

Info@hmi.org

 

TransProud

www.transproud.org

 

Oasis Magazine

www.oasismag.com

 

Fierce NYC

www.fiercenyc.org

 

Building the leadership and power of LGBT youth of color

 

Ambiente Joven

www.ambientejoven.org

A site for Latino LGBTQQI youth and teens  

 

Scouting for All

www.scoutingforall.org

Dedicated to making scouting an experience available to all youth without sexual orientation prejudice..

 

Campus Pride

www.campuspride.org

704-227-6710

 

See It and Stop It

www.seeitandstopit.org/pages/

The Teen Action Campaigns site to identify, address and stop relationship violence

 

Photographs 1,2,3,6,7,11,12,13,14,15: www. kozzi.com

 
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