Nope. It’s your friends who are wrong. “Sex” is whatever you define it as. What your friends are referring to is “PIV intercourse,” and there’s not...
If you had a friend dealing with the same things,...”
Heather Corinna replies:
Just so that this is clear, for you and plenty of other people who have been in the same spot, here is what anal sex is and is NOT:
Read the rest here.
At colleges with convenient health clinics offering a range of sexual health services—like birth control and emergency contraception, pregnancy tests, and testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)—students were:
—less likely to have an accidental pregnancy (4%) compared to students at schools without a clinic (7%);
—more likely to use a method of birth control the last time they had sex (92% versus 87%); and
—more likely to use a condom the last time they had sex (74% versus 60%).
Scarleteen is one of the world’s most respected and valued resources for sexuality education, both online and offline. We play a very important role in the lives of young people.
In 2012, as is typical for us most years, we served more than five million people internationally, most between the ages of 16 and 21.
We helped them navigate emotions, desires and pressures they faced. We helped them have better sex and healthier relationships. We helped them prevent unintended pregnancies. We helped them heal from assault and abuse. We helped them to better understand their bodies, their hearts and their minds, and helped them to better care for all of those parts of who they are. We helped them come out to parents and friends, and to better communicate with many different people in their lives about sex and sexuality. We helped them get through hard times, and helped them become even more amazing than they already are. We helped them through their adolescence and emerging adulthood, particularly around one of those most complex parts of both: their sexuality.
We were here for them, and want to remain here for them. But to make that happen, we need you to be here for us.
We served those five million young people last year, in all of those ways and more, on a budget of $45,000. Not four and a half million dollars. Not four hundred and fifty thousand. Just forty-five thousand dollars.
For every dollar we had to work with, we helped more than a hundred people. Most accessed the thousands of pieces of accessible, original, progressive content in our archives. Some talked with us directly, asking one question and getting one, sometimes life-changing, answer. Others engaged with us in conversations, based on their expressed needs, for days, weeks or months. (Some we’ve been talking with for years.) Some used our message boards or other channels to get peer support, having conversations about sensitive subjects in a safe space. Some use our growing database to find in-person services, or got a personal referral to in-person services they needed from us via our direct services. Some benefit from the face-to-face outreach we do. Some use what we offer on our social media channels to interact and expand their sexuality education, or to find other credible, reliable places to explore these topics. We’re sure many will now also use our new live service to connect with us for help in 2013.
We also served fellow educators, healthcare providers, parents and other youth allies and advocates with information and support they needed to work with and support youth themselves. Scarleteen remains, as it has been since we first started in the late nineties, a widely acclaimed example of ongoing excellence in sex education.
And we did all of that at a total cost of less than a penny for each person we served. That’s an incredible feat, and we’re pretty proud of ourselves for doing it, particularly since it makes us the most cost-effective sexuality education and support service for young people — maybe for people of any age — there is.
As impressive as it is, we can’t go on this way forever. Our current budget doesn’t give us the stability we need to keep going at this level, and it certainly doesn’t give us the ability to grow in the ways that the young people we serve need us to.
That’s where you come in.
Click here to read the rest of this important fundraising appeal from us.
As we mention in the appeal, we not only know that most of our young users and readers don’t have the means to donate, we don’t think you should have to. We feel essential health information like we offer should be free for young people. But if you can give, we could use your help. If you can’t, just doing what you can to help get our appeal far and wide is a great way to pitch in for Scarleteen right now. Sliding this into the hands of an older adult or two — or more! — who you know cares about young people and their sexual well-being could wind up getting us exactly what we need, so you can keep getting what you need from us. Thanks! :)
7:10pm Before the Test:
I was going to be taking my STI test with a friend today, with the idea we would both get tested and I could’ve written in the style of a comedy bromance movie like “Dude. Where’s My Car?” except with less sexism and more conversations about male STI testing anxiety and our feelings.
Alas, he has made other arrangements and I’ll be going solo to the testing clinic.
I would strongly recommend going with a friend if you think it’d make getting tested feel more comfortable.
Despite not following through with the plan, I really appreciate that our arranging the trip to the clinic allowed us an excuse to acknowledge that we had both prioritised our health in this way, and show to each other that we’d be supportive of one and other were we to find we had caught an oft stigmatised infection. Ashton Kutcher would be proud.
8:13 Waiting Area after Test:
I’m lucky enough to live in the UK and therefore (for now) having free access to an NHS clinic for full STI testing by appointment. But I came here to a community based clinic instead, which is funded by charity, because this project provides testing without appointment and I am extravagantly disorganised and appreciate how much easier this is for me. This clinic focuses on reducing HIV in the MSM (men who have sex with men) demographic, but is open to anyone, and so I’m here in the city centre where it is based. They test for HIV, chlamydia & gonorrhea and I’ve opted for all three.
On arriving, parking my bike and hopping up the flight of steps, I was seen immediately and filled out some information sheets, which also asked for my mobile number so I could be texted the chlamydia & gonorrhea results. I was handed a series of plastic objects for getting my pee into a vial. In the WC I got to use a pipette to make sure that the exactly correct amount was in the vial.
I was an expert. I only wish I had a white lab coat to complete the look.
As a side note, my friend who couldn’t join me had been asking me about the urban legend of some painful and unwieldy metal object that supposedly is pushed up the penis for STI testing. This object does not exist, what it may however refer to is the swab (a glorified cotton bud) used to take a sample of discharge as a way of testing for syphilis when symptoms are already presenting themselves and more commonly to test for gonorrhea. It’s not the only way to test for those things, though; my gonorrhea test only required a urine sample.
More importantly it’s good to remember that when seeking healthcare, you’re dealing with your body and you get to decide whether or not to do any test. If I don’t want to do something I find icky, I don’t have to, and can just ask for the tests I do want and am comfortable with. Historically, STI testing has been exaggerated, not just by urban myth but also by old fashioned health propaganda as a way to demonise sexual choices.
Testing, rather than being a punishment for sexuality, is, in practise, one of the many great things which help make fantastic, safer sex possible.
After returning from my laboratory — otherwise known as the loo — I handed my (perfectly collected) sample back to the nurse and was soon invited to a confidential interview room to receive my HIV test. To my surprise, the person who was to take my blood and test me was someone who I’d met at a local bar and we have mutual friends. Quite professionally this made the first topic ever so much more relevant, i.e. the discussion of confidentiality.
Read the rest at Scarleteen here!