Just want to remind our readers that “it’s because of religion” is not some kind of magic spell that, when uttered, renders all other kinds of limits and boundaries, personal safeties, priorities or desires, invisible, impotent or unimportant.
Whether this is around sex or something else, a religion, of whatever sort, is just one way of having ethics, values and ideas about the Big Stuff in Life. It’s not the only way.
It’s also not the only thing that makes the Big Stuff in Life for people the Big Stuff in Life. One person’s reason for something being big (or not) may be religion, but other people’s foundations, beliefs, feelings or reasons for things being big (or not) have equal merit.
Just a little from-me-to-you there today. - HC
I was with this guy down at the beach late in the night and we started to hook up. It got a bit heated and asked me if I wanted to try something new. I said yes (I consented). He started to eat me out following with me giving him oral.
I’m scared that if I tell any of my friends I’ll get judged. Girls are like that these days :( It’s not like I regret it or anything. To be honest, I enjoyed it. I’m just afraid because there is so many labels being thrown around.
Heather Corinna replies:
For most of our global history, people really haven’t been free from the judgment of others about their sexual lives. Very unfortunately. Mind, we can say the same for pretty near every part of human life and behavior: some people are judgy or sanctimonious about some things sometimes, and some of those people, some of those times, choose not to keep it to themselves.
So, this isn’t anything new. I’m a pretty huge sexuality history geek, and as far as I know, this has been an issue for pretty much forever. Same goes for the various disparaging words or labels people can and do put on other people’s sexualities or sexual lives: alas, we’ve a long, rich tradition of that kind of crummy behaviour.
Of course, what gets judged, by whom and how is all over the place. Whether we’re talking hundreds of years ago or today, one person might judge us for making a given sexual choice, while someone else might have strong, negative opinions they cannot seem to keep to themselves if we had made a different one. As I explained in this answer here, there’s simply no sexual choice or set of sexual choices anyone can make where they are going to have everyone’s approval, or be magically free of other people’s judgment. No matter what you do or don’t do, someone’s not going to like it or put some kind of judgment on it.
The best we can do is to take the time to really figure out what we want and what is best for us at a given time, make sure any sexual partners we have feel the same way about what we do together, and then share things about our sexual lives with people who are safe for us: with people we know, even if they might not agree with all our choices, will accept and respect them, and accept and respect us as people making our own, unique choices.
A lot of people still walk around saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Of course, you and I know that’s just not true: words most certainly can hurt us. Since our sexual lives and sexualities tend to be very vulnerable, sensitive and personal places, certain words or judgments put on them or us can really hurt and feel just awful. I certainly understand feeling scared and nervous about that. I’d also say we’re currently experiencing a whole lot of that in our world right now.
I’d say if you have the clear sense that someone might disparage you like that, or get all super-judgmental about your sexual choices? If you know or strongly suspect someone will have nothing positive to offer you when you share these kinds of things, but only or mostly negatives? Don’t tell that person. This is the kind of thing we usually will only want to talk about with people we trust. I think it’s safe to say that if you don’t know if your friends will or won’t call you crummy names, that’s a sure sign you don’t have that kind of trust with them yet. If they already do that, then you would certainly have good reason not to trust them in this regard.
By all means, if you want to take that chance, and it seems pretty safe, but know you might have to call out trash-talk or stand up for yourself, it’s not like that’s a bad thing to do. It can actually be a great thing to do that benefits everyone involved. But we also have to take care of ourselves, and we’re just not always going to feel up to taking those kinds of social risks. If you don’t, it’s not like you’re less-than-fantastic because you just aren’t up to dealing with callouts around a given thing at a given time. Whatever works for you, and whatever you feel able to handle — or like you even just want to — is all good here.
Your sexual life gets to be as private as you want it to be. You don’t have to tell anyone about it.
But you probably just want to: we usually will want to talk about our sexual lives, the highs and the lows, the stuff we’re finding out and the stuff we wind up having worries or questions about, with someone. I always advise, for people of any age, that we make sure we have at least one person we can trust to talk to about our sexual lives when we need to, both for the stuff that’s so awesome we’re sure we’ll explode if we don’t share it, and for the things we’re worried about, or need help thinking or feeling our way through.
Read the rest at Scarleteen here.
I am 15 and I just had sex for the first time last Friday. It was unprotected but he did not cum. The next morning I had pain. The pain continued through Saturday and Sunday. I thought the pain was from having sex for the first time, but it’s now Monday and I realized stinging while I pee, cloudy with some blood in it too, in addition to constantly having to pee and never feeling empty. I have had chills, too. I am almost 100% positive I have a UTI, but there is no way I’m telling my mom and getting medical attention for it, she can’t know I had sex. I’ve read into it in depth, and the more I read the more scared I get. I’m on a vitamin regimen and I am able to get a z-pack, which treats bacterial infections but I’m unsure if it’ll help me. Will it? are there anything I can do besides drink water and wait it out? How long will it last untreated? HELP!Heather Corinna replies:
I have to give you an answer I know you won’t like, but there really isn’t any other right answer.
It very much sounds like you need to get this evaluated, ASAP, by a healthcare provider. Right now.
A Z-pack may or may not treat your infection, especially since that class of antibiotics isn’t always what’s prescribed for urinary tract infections. (I also cannot ethically advise you to use any medications off-label or to use them besides as you have been directed to by your prescribing physician.) We also really don’t want to self-prescribe antibiotics, nor try and self-diagnose what sounds like something other than a very mild infection. Especially when you don’t have medical training or access to clinical tests to even see what’s wrong with you in the first place. Google can’t make any of us into doctors.
If you’re starting to get chills, and you’re seeing blood in your urine, it may be this UTI, if that’s what it is, is getting worse or spreading to your kidneys, and that’s very serious business. It is also what will often happen with untreated UTIs. Those infections don’t just stay put forever in your urinary tract or bladder, they keep moving, spreading to other organs. To boot, since the sex you had was unprotected, you’d also want to make sure this isn’t some other kind of infection entirely or a UTI and an STI.
Drinking more and more water isn’t going to treat your infection: that’s one way we can prevent these kinds of infections in the first place, and sometimes if we are just starting to get one, something like water or cranberry can nip them in the bud before they start. But it sounds like you’re way, way past that at this point. And infections don’t just go away: they have to be treated.
You need healthcare, and I’d say that really is all there is to it.
Read the rest at Scarleteen here.
Want a quick way to sort out what sexual activities pose what kinds of risks of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections? Based on what we know from current, scientifically sound study, and in alignment with what credible, dependable health organizations report, the list and graphics below provide you that information.
You can use this as a tool to help figure out what activities you do or don’t feel ready for, are or are not comfortable with, and what contraception, safer sex practices, or both you’ll want or need to use when to reduce your risks of pregnancy, STIs or both. You can use it if you already engaged in a given activity, but aren’t sure what levels of risk it posed to know if you should consider emergency contraception, and when you might need STI testing.
You can check it out here at Scarleteen.
I had to go through an abortion at the age of 18 of a 20 week fetus. I had experienced orgasm just once in my life before the abortion. I have not experienced orgasm after my abortion through any sexual activity or masturbation. Have the abortion made me unorgasmic? I am getting married soon and I’m worried whether I’d be able to satisfy my partner, since I m doubtful whether my partner would have the same experience he used to have before abortion and whether I’d ever reach climax. Kindly help.Heather Corinna replies:
Hi there, poonamdeshmukh.
However, here are a few things we do know to be real and which have been verified:
- There certainly are some sexual problems or issues, as well as some mental health issues, linked to pregnancy and post-pregnancy. In other words, regardless of how a pregnancy ends, be it with birth or a termination, it’s actually quite common to experience things like post-partum depression (which, like other kinds of depression, often impacts sexuality and sexual response). After all, no matter how a pregnancy ends, there are big chemical changes to the body both during and after pregnancy. However, looking at your profile, it looks like it’s been about five years since you were 18, so it’s not likely that any of this is related to that previous pregnancy at this point, unless you have feelings about that pregnancy you think may play a part here.
- We also know that in our predominantly anti-choice world, plenty of people feel guilt and shame about abortion, regardless of whatever circumstances were part of making that choice. If you don’t feel resolved with or okay about that abortion — or if it wasn’t your own choice — those conflicted feelings, again, may be part of this.
- It sounds like your history around orgasm is consistent here, in that, save the once, orgasm isn’t something you tend to experience.
My best guess is that your inability to experience orgasm probably isn’t related to your abortion or to having been pregnant. I think the most relevant thing you’ve shared here about orgasm is that you have a history of not experiencing it.
In other words, it doesn’t sound like anything changed in that regard with your pregnancy or abortion. It sounds like things have basically stayed the same in regard to orgasm: you weren’t experiencing orgasm before, save the once, you’re still not now.
I’m not sure why you’re concerned that your partner’s sexual experience with you will be different post-abortion. Certainly, pregnancy can create some usually-temporary changes to the body, and can certainly also impact our hearts and minds no matter what choice we make. And if abortion wasn’t a choice you truly wanted to make, then, like any reproductive choice that isn’t really what we want, we can get hit pretty hard emotionally, sometimes for a long time after. As well, if your pregnancy was unwanted in any respect, you might be feeling some negative impact on your sexuality still from whatever circumstances got you in that position. But abortion, at any stage of a pregnancy, rarely creates any permanent changes to the body: so if your worry here is that your body is somehow going to feel different to a partner because you had an abortion, know that’s not a reality. They can’t and won’t: that’s just not something real.
Sexual satisfaction is a term people tend to use pretty casually, but also often think about in ways that aren’t reflective of people’s real experiences with sexual satisfaction. A lot of people think it’s only or mostly about orgasm, only or mostly about enjoying certain kinds of sex or sexual frequency, or only or mostly about a body feeling a certain way. Some people even say “sexual satisfaction” when all they mean is orgasm, as if orgasm were the only way to find sex satisfying (it’s so not).
In reality, what we know as people who work with folks around sexuality, as well as from broad study, is that sexual satisfaction is not only typically about a lot more than other things, the things most people will say are the core parts of feeling sexually satisfied often aren’t those things at all.
Read the rest here at Scarleteen.
My boyfriend and I, both 18, are very comfortable with each other. We took things slow, somewhat due to my discomfort in the religious section and partly to make it more genuine. Skip forward a bit and we are delving into the world of sexual activity. I want to steer clear of PIV sex for pregnancy reasons and virginity reasons. But the other day we were exploring each others’ bodies and before we knew it we were having anal sex. Thankfully my boyfriend used much lotion in the absence of lube and took it very slow. We both enjoyed it and were even able to switch positions once or twice with little to no difficulty. My question for the staff of Scarleteen is simply this, is there something I’m missing? From word of mouth anal is supposedly unpleasant, unsafe, and should be avoided; but my boyfriend and I really enjoyed ourselves. We want take a day and just explore the possibilities but is there such thing as too much or things that I should be wary about before we even consider more anal sex? Thanks.Heather Corinna replies:
You know, one of the neatest, most interesting things about sex, from my perspective, is that what people do and don’t enjoy is so diverse. One person’s least favorite sexual activity is another person’s favorite. I think that’s really cool.
All of our bodies, sexualities and situations are so different that, for the most part, we can only really find out what we like (or don’t) by following our own interests and feelings, then by experimenting and exploring as feels right for us and any of our partners.
Some people love anal sex. Some people love it who are on the receiving end, as it were, others love it who are on the other side of things, and some people love pegging a partner and being the receptive partner. Some people don’t like it at all, again, be they a receptive partner or the person with a body part or toy who’s doing the entry with a partner. Some people have liked it a lot with one partner, but didn’t like it at all with another. Some people like it at one time of life, but not another. Just like with other kinds of sex, there are also some people who just can’t do it, due to certain limitations of their unique bodies.
What other people experience with sexual activities can sure be interesting, and it can tell you many things, but something it can’t tell you is what you like and enjoy.
The real difference with how anal sex is often talked about is generally that penis-in-vagina intercourse has a longstanding cultural stamp of approval while anal sex hasn’t had that, largely due to religious ideas, mythology about the anus and anal sex, and people’s negative feelings about their bottoms. This is also about historical shifts and changes. The way anal sex is often talked about now used to be how oral sex was talked about. Then oral sex became a more common or popular sexual activity, and one more people talked about as something they did in their sexual lives, so the stigma with it decreased. I highly suspect the same will happen with anal sex in time, particularly if we also get less homophobic as a culture, since many negative attitudes and fears about anal sex often have roots in fears and ignorance around homosexuality.
As far as what you hear about pleasure with anal sex goes, we know from many studies and anecdotes that a lot of people don’t find penis-in-vagina intercourse pleasurable, or the best thing of ever. But that cultural stamp of approval versus a cultural stigma also means we hear more about how anal sex is unpleasant for some people than we hear about how vaginal intercourse is (even though I’d say that based on the data we have, just as many people probably don’t like one as people who don’t like the other). It’s way more loaded for people to talk a lot about how they don’t like the one sexual activity (vaginal intercourse) often held up as the only kind of sex, or the only truly acceptable, sanctified or “loving” sex, so we’re going to hear more negatives about other kinds of sex just because people have more cultural permission to say they don’t like those.
And if you’ve heard some stuff about how the anus is only “designed” for “one way,” meaning that it’s only designed for things leaving the body, not entering it, do know that those are value statements, not statements based in sound science or current medical data. Especially since there’s no one on earth who has ever been able to identify, let alone consult with, the designer of our bodies or their parts or see their apparent blueprints that would tell us what a body part like the anus is “supposed” to be used for. Besides, we already know that on top of the anus and rectum being a key part of your digestive system that eliminates waste, is is also a body part people sometimes engage as part of their sexual lives and behaviours. That’s nothing even remotely new.
So, you’ve heard or read that some other people don’t find anal sex pleasant. That’s fine: we all get to like the sexual things we like and not like the things we don’t. Hooray for that!
You’re saying that you liked it, though, and this is about you.
Read the rest at Scarleteen here.
We get asked what sex is a lot, but we also ask our users what it is a lot, because (possibly just like you) we don’t always know what someone means when they talk about sex or having sex. People tend to use the word sex very differently or arbitrarily: what sex is or means for one person can be radically different than what it is or means to someone else.
It’s obviously important if you’re here for information about sex that you know what we mean when we say (and hear or read) “sex,” so we thought we’d make it crystal clear.
What do we mean when we say “sex?”
If we say sexuality, we mean the physical, chemical, emotional and intellectual properties and processes and the cultural and social influences and experiences that are how people experience and express themselves as sexual beings. Some aspects of all those things are very diverse and unique, others are very common or collective.
If we say someone is having sex, or doing something sexual, we mean they are acting from their own sexuality, looking to express it in action and/or to try and actively experience or explore a feeling of general or specific sexual desire, curiosity and/or satisfaction.
When we say “sex,” what we mean is any number of different things people freely choose to do to tangibly and actively express or enact their sexuality; what they identify or know to be their sexual feelings.
If “sex” was the answer, the questions would be things like “What am I doing to try and feel good sexually or to express feeling good sexually? What am I doing that feels sexual to me (or to me and a partner)? What am I doing that feels like a way to express my sexuality, or my sexual desires and/or feelings about myself or others?”
When some people say “sex” they only mean penis-in-vagina genital intercourse. The trouble is, there are a good many people who don’t or can’t have that kind of sex, or don’t have that kind of sex every time, but who still have active, fulfilling sex lives. Some other people use it to mean any kind of genital sex with someone else. That definition can have its flaws, though, too. When we mean those specific things, we’ll say that we’re talking about those specific things. When some people say “having sex” they mean something that can only happen in some specific kinds of partnership, but when we mean specific partnerships or relationships, we’ll be specific.
When we say “sex” we’re talking about a very big picture. That’s because what sex is or isn’t for any given person or partnership not only differs a whole lot from person-to-person, it also can differ a whole lot from day-to-day for any one person: the way they had sex yesterday may not be the way they’ll have sex next week. One person might consider that only intercourse or oral sex is sex, but someone else may both define sex differently and have what’s sex for them without doing either of those things. And defining what sex is just by a given activity or action, without talking about people’s motivations and desires really doesn’t work: after all, rape isn’t sex, even though things like intercourse or oral sex are forced in rapes.
What can “sex” be?
Read the rest here at Scarleteen!
My boyfriend and I have recently discussed trying anal for the first time together. I’m perfectly happy to try it apart from a few concerns, most of which I’ve found answers and explanations to in response to questions already asked by other users. But there’s one issue I’ve not come across: it’s quite personal and frankly I’ve never spoken to anyone about it, ever, not even my partner. I know that pubic hair grows to quite far down past the vagina, but I seem to have quite a lot of hair around my anus. It’s something I’ve tried getting rid of by shaving but I can’t reach it all. I’ve never waxed, but I’m considering it because I wouldn’t want to have a hairy bum while trying anal. I don’t know if anyone else has this or if it’s even safe to wax around there, but I’d really like a solution because then I think I’d be more comfortable not only about anal sex but also about my body image anyway.
Hi, I’m a girl who is very insecure about her body. But there’s another thing… I have a boyfriend. I feel like it’s time to go farther, but at the same time I don’t want to because of my weight. What should I do?
I’m answering your questions together because although they’re different questions on the surface, what they come down to is the same thing; an underlying feeling of needing to change your body to be able to participate in sexual activities.
I don’t have easy solutions for you two. But I’m not going to give you advice on the best way to wax, or whatever super-quick-weight-loss diet that’s trending right now. That’s not because I just feel like being mean and don’t want to answer your questions; it’s because I just don’t think those are actually real answers, or good answers, to these kinds of issues.
Vee17: you could absolutely wax the hair around your anus if you so desire. The somewhat-infamous Brazilian wax includes the hair in question. But, I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you a much cheaper option. It’s also a lot less painful! And you can even do it from the comfort of your own home!
First, some facts! Despite what images or narratives in contemporary media may lead us to believe, it’s very common for pubic hair to include the anus area. Most people have at least some there. In Not Everything You Wanted To Know About Puberty (But Pretty Darn Close), it is made clear that pubic hair “usually covers the mons, outer labia, the area between the buttocks and some of the inner thighs”. If you have the idea that you’re the only woman in the world with a hairy butt-crack, I can guarantee you that you’re wrong.
Also remember that when you say you wouldn’t want a hairy bum during anal sex — or feel like you shouldn’t or can’t participate in sex because of your weight — there are plenty of people who do just that. People have anal sex with hairy bums all the time! (And we can also be very sure that historically, most people of all genders who have engaged in anal sex have done so with hairy bottoms.) There are also people who are (or are perceived to be) overweight, chubby, fat, or whatever else they identify their weight as, who participate in whatever kinds of sex they want and they — and their partners — don’t mind one bit. In fact, they find it enjoyable and awesome! As enjoyable and awesome as someone who doesn’t have a hairy bum might, or someone who is seen as slim or of average weight!
I’m not going to dictate what you should or shouldn’t want to do with your body hair. We are all absolutely allowed to have our own preferences around our body hair maintenance, but it’s also important to dig into and question why we might feel the “need” to perform a certain kind of body hair maintenance — and from the way you stated your concerns here, it sounds like you may be thinking about hair removal as a “need”, a requirement, instead of as just a “want”.
theinsidelife: it sounds like you may similarly be thinking of your current weight and sexual activity to be mutually exclusive. What I mean by this (and as I said, the reason I linked these two questions together) is that you both seem to be approaching your respective sexual wants as unable to happen with the way your bodies currently are. With the mindset that changing your body is a “need” instead of a “want”.
If you find yourself feeling like, to be able to participate in a certain activity, you need to change something about your body, it’s time to stop and delve into those feelings. Because changing your body isn’t going to be the answer, especially if sex is something we do to express ourselves and where we are being ourselves.
Read the rest of volunteer Jenn’s debut to advice at Scarleteen here!
Things you can notice about this chart: first, I really wish Emily Nagoski would have labelled the axes (according to the comments, “You can think of the Y axis as N and the Y axis is desired frequency or frequency of masturbation or whatever other measure of sexual interest you prefer. Left is high interest, right is low interest, and the size of the bubble indicates number of people.”).
Second, it’s totally wrong to say that there are no differences between women as a class and men as a class, in terms of libido. A randomly selected man will probably have a higher libido than a randomly selected woman; a person with extremely high libido is more likely to be male, a person with extremely low libido is more likely to be female. “There are absolutely no differences between men as a class and women as a class!” is something more straw-feminists believe than actual feminists (or maybe I just hang out with awesome feminists), but I would just like to clarify that that is absolutely wrong. Furthermore, this difference has an effect on overall social structures: for instance, the fact that most sex workers cater to men.
Third, the differences? They aren’t huge! There is more than enough space for women who can’t go a day without an orgasm, men who want sex once a year on their birthday, and millions of couples with a horny woman and an uninterested man.
Read the rest from Ozy Frantz here.