‘I couldn’t deal with it, it tore me apart’:

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Surviving child sexual abuse

As a boy, Tom Yarwood was assaulted by his musical mentor. Decades on, telling the story has not become any easier

In telling of the sexual assaults I endured as a child, I have always had the sensation of speaking into the void. I usually offer only the bare bones of the story, because I want my listener to fill in the emotional content, to tell me what I felt, what they might have felt in my position. I want them to explain to me how I could have suffered, when I felt pleasure, and how I was not to blame, though I didn’t resist. But their response is always underwhelming: they seem to understand so little about this kind of thing, less even than me. And it’s all so exquisitely embarrassing that I soon move on, apologise for myself, repeat the usual reassurances. It was nothing, really, it didn’t matter, I coped.

Each telling is a new humiliation, a new disappointment. And yet, like an idiot, I always go on to attempt another. Six months or a year later, usually when I’m drunk, at four in the morning, suddenly I can imagine it again – the moment someone will explain me to myself at last. Because on the one hand, I really do tend to think it was nothing, what happened. But on the other, it never leaves my head, the image of it, the stink of it, and he never leaves me, he is always there, the loathsome, pathetic man. And there’s this enduring longing to relieve myself of the weight of my silence, my slow-burning despair.

Still, something in this picture has shifted lately, since my father’s death three years ago, and my 40th birthday not long after. In childhood and youth, I knew, with the heroism of the young, that I would vanquish the effects of the abuse, by 20, then by 30, or by 35. The idea it might stay with me, in me, was as inconceivable as my own death. But now I’m closer by far to 60, the age at which my father had his first heart attack, than to 12, my age when the other man first laid hands on me. It has dawned on me that the assaults are with me for good. And so in talking about them again, I’m less inclined to defer to others. This time I will stand, for once, at the centre of myself.

As a small child, I was obsessed with classical music. My parents bought a piano from a junk shop in Ludlow, read us stories about the great composers. We didn’t have a television at home on our Shropshire housing estate, and so I spent a lot of time sitting in a little green velvet chair by the record player with my eyes closed, elaborating wild fantasies about my musical heroes as I listened to their symphonies. I started piano lessons at the age of four, but rarely practised, preferring to delight the neighbours (I felt sure) with endless improvisations, generally fortissimo and con fuoco.

In the summer of 1987, when I was 11, my mother took me and my siblings on holiday to Europe. My father was working abroad at the time, as he often did. In Bruges, we came across a grand exhibition of musical instruments, where I was thrilled to have the chance to try out a harpsichord. While I played, a man approached my mother and told her I was gifted. He said he was a conductor – a specialist in baroque music – and would love to foster my talent. Phone numbers were exchanged, and a couple of cassette tapes offered to my brother and sister and me – his own commercially produced recordings of Handel and Purcell. He was evidently a prominent figure in his field.

That autumn, my father took me to London to visit this dazzling new mentor. We spent the afternoon at the conductor’s house, playing the harpsichord and talking about music. I was self-conscious, and desperate to impress. He was charm itself, but I found something faintly peculiar about him. He had a manic, childlike energy, a tendency to clowning in which I detected no genuine mirth, and beneath it I sensed he was very tense. Still, we got on well enough, and my father trusted him sufficiently that I went back to see him for another day of music-making a few weeks later.

Before long, I was spending whole weekends on my own with the conductor, sleeping in his spare bedroom in London and attending rehearsals and recording sessions with him and his orchestra. There was little formal teaching, but I got to listen to some good live music, and doubtless soaked up some other valuable lessons – not least how to make tea, and set up a music stand – and occasionally we looked at scores or listened to recordings together. He would sometimes drive me all the way back to my parents’ house in Shropshire himself, and stay for supper.

My anxiety around him never abated. It wasn’t only the unnerving air of inauthenticity about his manner. He also seemed very driven, and he could be vituperative towards timewasters. Then there was the social gulf between us. My parents were bohemian members of the new middle class, but the conductor was an upper-middle-class product of the public school system. All was well in his world when people cleaved, outwardly, to the “sensible” values expressed by the authority figures of his childhood – headmasters, barristers, clergy. Those who made a fuss of their differences were “mad”. More unsettling still was his disdain for children of a certain kind – the vast majority, I suspected – the rude ones, the dirty ones, the ones who were not good.

He introduced me to alcohol, mixing gin and tonics for me, and cocktails sweet and heavy with cassis or curacao. I was drunk when he assaulted me for the first time. It was early on a Sunday afternoon, and he was in the kitchen, making a bland English bachelor’s lunch of pork chops, potatoes and frozen peas. He seemed to find something about the peas amusing. With wildly contrived laughter, he tossed them about the kitchen, pretending he was dropping them. I was embarrassed for him. He tipped several peas down my T-shirt, and chased me into the living room and around the sofa with the rest. I’m not six years old, I wanted to say. I grew out of this sort of thing quite a while ago.

He dropped a frozen pea down my trousers and wrestled me on to the sofa, undoing my trouser button. I ceased to struggle when he grabbed my penis. “Ah, the pea!” he said, as he tugged at it. After a while, he pulled down my pants, and complimented me on my first pubic hair, which I had noticed only days before. Nothing more was said as he went about his business. I did not move a finger. Afterwards, he cleaned me up, pulled up my trousers and did up my fly, telling me meanwhile that this was what boys did, and wasn’t something to worry about. We returned to the kitchen and the pork chops.

Not a single day has passed in the three decades since this incident without some effort on my part to cut through the tangle of dark thoughts and feelings it induced, and to understand the insidious effects it has had on my life. The physical sensations were pleasurable. But I did not want any kind of sexual contact with the conductor. I found him repugnant, and had he asked me whether I wanted him to continue at any point, I would have said no, and meant it. I had experimented sexually with friends in childhood; I had turned down sexual overtures from other friends. In this respect, I knew my own mind. And this is why it always seemed so strange to me that I said nothing, and didn’t resist.

I still remember the all-consuming shame I felt on being manhandled by a bigger creature, at relinquishing control of my body to another person, against my will. And I remember too how destroyed I felt at the exposure of my sexuality to an adult. The secret, underdeveloped heart of my psychosomatic being – still fraught with danger, still hedged around in thorns – had been torn out and thrown quivering before me, in full public view.

But it is only in recent years that I have gained the distance from these horrors – the sense of security in myself – to acknowledge their intensity. As a child, it was impossible for me to face my victimhood, impossible to own and name what had come to light.

I withdrew into a kind of mental panic room. This is nothing, I told myself. This doesn’t matter. This is him. This is not me. I will remain aloof. I will rise above. I marshalled all my contempt for the conductor and all my knowledge of sex. He thinks I find him attractive, but in fact I find him repulsive. I saw him, the adult in control of me, as a child – a “silly” child, as my mother would say, still fixated on other children’s penises like this. It was an extension of his general puerility, his weird clowning, his fake laughter. How pathetic, how contemptible, how sad. I had reversed our roles in my imagination – a fatal self-deception.

The panic room became a prison, a lunatic’s cell. This, I hazard, is the snare in which many victims of childhood sexual abuse find themselves – they are traumatised, but unable to face the fact. For almost three decades, I could not look back (or look down) at what the conductor did to me, but had to keep moving on, moving up, clinging to a reassuring sensation of balance like one of those weighted toys that always rights itself, no matter how hard you hit it.

Now that I can gaze more steadily at the ancient scene, I am struck by how very strange it appears. How strange it sounds, to have sex, to feel your body consumed by that fire, and actively to deny to yourself that you are involved in it at all. And how strange it looks – the child’s mute stillness, and the adult’s complete camouflage of his own desire, his voice never wavering from an even, nannying tone, as if he were teaching chess or changing a nappy.

The memories of the abuse still return many times a day, stirred up by chance impressions – scents like the soap the conductor used, or of his sweat, music that reminds me of his – even, of course, my own sexual thoughts and erotic sensations. And with these impressions come the associated emotions – the shame, the fear, the grief. But I always recoil instinctively from naming them, from facing the half-known horror that paralysed me during the assault. Lots of boys go through this, I might tell myself. He didn’t mean any harm. I’ll survive. Anything but the truth, the big taboo, the real words of power: I didn’t want it, I couldn’t deal with it, it tore me apart.

The loneliness was terrible. The abuse came between me and my parents, my siblings, my peers, sapped art of meaning, experience of joy. I felt a constant, immense pressure to speak, but something always seemed to intervene at the last minute, catching my words in my throat, forcing them back down, sickeningly, into my belly. I was, I can see now, the dream victim for a predatory paedophile. My father was often absent, and my mother’s attention was taken up by my adopted younger sister, who had severe behavioural problems. Since toddlerhood, my older brother and I always felt that we were holding the fort: the idea of turning myself into a problem child was anathema.

After the first attack, I buried my head in the sand, imagining that perhaps it had been a one-off, like a trip to Alton Towers. But on the next visit, I woke up late at night to find the conductor sitting on the edge of the bed with one hand under my duvet, stroking my thigh. He assaulted me again, and another sleepless night ensued.

I started working on my mother, trying to communicate my distrust of him. For a while, after several more assaults, it worked: she stopped phoning him, and each time he called, she found an excuse for me not to see him. Then, to my horror, he appeared on our doorstep in Shropshire – like a sexual Terminator, quite unfazed by what I thought of as the vast gulf between my family and the city. Although it makes me feel unhinged to think of it now, I had an overwhelming fear of what might come out if he were crossed, and so I insisted repeatedly to my parents that everything was fine.

When he had me strapped into the passenger seat of his Volvo, he drove a little way, pulled into a layby, took off the Schwarzenegger shades he wore when motoring, looked at me with wide eyes (his face, as usual, too close to mine), and told me that he knew he had upset me by what he had done, and that he promised, absolutely promised, that should I please him by resuming my visits, he would never, ever touch me again.

After that – and after he had been redeemed entirely in our family conversation – the assaults started again, becoming steadily stranger. He would pick me up and carry me up the stairs like an infant, apparently expecting me to find this humiliating horseplay as amusing as he pretended it to be. He would insist on bathing me. And as the assaults escalated, he took to putting a pillow over my head so I didn’t have to involve myself in what was going on – but I found this the greatest mortification thus far. It suggested he imagined I had thoughts and feelings about what he was doing, whereas I needed him to understand that I was not there.

It didn’t matter to me what he did, so long as he would let me be alone, inviolate, in my head. As an adult, I notice people often want to know the mechanics of the abuse you went through, and especially whether it was painful. Did he beat you, cut you, tie you up? If not, you sense, perhaps you’re making a bit of a fuss over nothing. The law also seems to operate like this, with its intricate scale of sexual transgressions, escalating in perceived severity, above and beyond the mere fact of exploiting a child for your own erotic gratification.

Pain and physical injury are traumas in their own right, but I suspect that the insult specific to sexual abuse in childhood is simply to have another person take ownership of your body against your will – to destroy your sense of sexual self-possession – after which everything can feel, indifferently, like rape.

Perhaps that is hard to imagine if you haven’t been through it yourself – if you haven’t felt forced, for the sake of your psychic survival, to dissociate yourself entirely from your erotic response, and then struggled to put these two aspects of your being – you and your capacity to feel – back together, to get them to work again as one.

I went to Eton on a music scholarship at 14, entering the school in the second year. The conductor had suggested it to my parents, after I was offered similar bursaries by Shrewsbury and Westminster. I came top of the music exams during my first term there, competing against boys who had spent years at choir schools and had enjoyed Eton’s excellent music tuition for a year longer than me. And that term I also told a wonderful new friend about the abuse, bursting into tears as I reassured him it was nothing. He told a senior music teacher. The teacher did nothing.

The conductor assaulted me more than 20 times over the course of three interminable years. The last attack came after a gap of several months, when I was 15 – old enough to acknowledge what he was doing. I objected repeatedly, and he overruled me, repeatedly, returning to my bedroom three times through the course of a single night, and finally getting what he wanted when both of us were haggard with sleeplessness, well after dawn.

At 16, I finally plucked up the courage to tell another adult at Eton the story in person. I gave them no room for doubt that I had hated my encounters with the conductor, but they explained to me that such incidents often cropped up in boys’ lives, and generally originated in the younger man’s admiration for the older. If there was no force used, they said, there was no reason to suspect harm.

Though I had long feared it, the revelation that the grown-up world as a whole couldn’t understand what I had been through came as a shock. My anger, my shame, and the ceaseless war between them – all this was my fault, it seemed, a fault in me. I was, in short, crazy. My immediate response was to give up music. It was a cry for help, a deliberate act of self-harm – killing off the great love of my life – but no one took much notice.

(It amazes me that I had kept going with music for so long; it is so tightly bound up with sex in our brains and bodies. My skin used to crawl every time the conductor called a favourite piece “erotic”, but somehow I had succeeded in imagining that there was music like his and music not like his, sex like his and sex not like his. Those lines became hopelessly blurred after I told my story to an adult at Eton. Touchingly naive adults such as my parents aside, the world was teeming with paedophiles and their sympathisers, and I was damned if I was going to open my body and soul to share the food of love with them again.)

I spent puberty and adolescence trying to construct in fantasy a relationship with my sexuality that was pristine, personal, free of the stain of rape. But when at last I went to Oxford and plucked up the courage to pick up another man for the first time, a friendly PhD student in his mid-30s, I was shocked to find that this mental construct had not taken root in my body. Something within me just wouldn’t move, wouldn’t melt, wouldn’t let go. Anger followed, shame, despair – all muted by stoicism. This is just me, I said to myself, this is my fate, I’ll get by. As a young adult, I developed an anxiety disorder to set beside the depression and insomnia that had plagued me since the first assault, and became prone to panic attacks.

The voices of denial – denial not that children have sex with adults, but of the fear and shame that shackle them, and of the violence of the act – always leave me feeling faintly deranged.

First came the voice in my head during the assaults. Then came his voice, explaining that the abuse was just a fact of life, an inevitable expression of my nature as a boy. And later, there were the voices of those from whom I sought help during my 20s – the mentors and teachers and parents and police and therapists and boyfriends – in whose responses I always found some admixture of bewilderment, embarrassment, incomprehension or indifference.

But only recently did I notice how closely these voices echo one another. It strikes me that our resistance to confronting the horror of child sexual abuse has common roots in human nature. The silence of victims and the general silence must also have reinforced one another over the millennia. I imagine those to whom I looked for help were simply as fearful as me – as fearful and more ignorant. I should have been bolder all along.

In 2007, when I was 31 years old, I heard from a friend that the conductor had been arrested and charged with sexually abusing four other boys in the 1980s. I am sceptical about the value of retributive justice, but I decided to join the prosecution. I needed to tell the world the truth.

The conductor was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison. I had no desire to see him punished, but I took this jail term as an indication of how seriously our society regarded his crimes. It seemed rather light. In his ruling, the judge apparently drew attention to the fact that the conductor had recently married and had a child, arguing that in doing so he had entered a new phase of life.

Searching the internet for commentary on the case not long afterwards, I found the loudest voices were those raised in my attacker’s defence. In classical music discussion forums, his admirers persuaded others that his “alleged” victims could well be liars, and had most likely suffered no harm anyway. And in the Observer, the poet James Fenton used his opportunity to comment publicly on the conductor’s conviction – the most prominent proven case of child sexual abuse in the history of classical music – not to consider the hurt he might have caused to the talented young musicians he assaulted, to their hopes of fulfilling themselves through music, nor to ask how the music industry as a whole had so long allowed the conductor to get away with it – but to argue passionately that his mistakes in life should not be allowed to damage his career. Fenton was relieved that the judge had allowed the conductor to keep associating with children: “To be debarred for life from working with the male treble voice would have been a harsh fate.”

In all this, I saw further evidence of our culture of denial. And I see it too in the way the music industry has welcomed the conductor back since his release from jail. Singers and instrumentalists with MBEs and honorary positions at the Royal Academy of Music go on appearing with him in the world’s most famous concert venues – the Wigmore Hall in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the KKL in Lucerne, and so on – and fans go on funding his performances and recordings.

They have restored to him the power and status with which they had entrusted him before, in putting their talent, labour, property and good names at his disposal. And they have done so despite the fact he abused all this – abused them – to gain the confidence of families and attack their children, and even though he called his victims “liars” and “loonies” during the trial, and has not expressed remorse.

There’s nothing more we can ask of the conductor himself. He apologised to me when I was 13, and went on to assault me again: another apology would be meaningless. And he has served his time. I don’t want revenge. I don’t want to dwell on the past. And there are doubtless many other moderating thoughts to which I should also give voice – about the value of mercy, for instance, and about how blessed my life has been in other respects.

But it has fallen to me to say something simpler here. I did not ask to be one of the ones who had these words to speak. They were a burden given to me a long time ago. I might have felt less crazed by others’ silence, or by their denial, had I spoken them earlier – shouted them from the stage of a London concert hall 30 years ago, perhaps, into the darkness of the stalls.

They are the words for which I have reached so often, the words I needed to hear when I was a child. Make of them what you will.

Complete Article HERE!

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Child Sexual Abuse Among Boys

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Many boys, too, are sexually abused. Most don’t feel comfortable speaking up about it.

Boys who are sexually abused often don’t know where to turn, making it all the more critical for parents and other adults to ensure signs of abuse aren’t overlooked.

By Raychelle Cassada Lohmann

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2016 more than 57,000 children reported being sexually abused, and that’s on the low end since only about a third of cases are reported. What’s more, males are even less likely to report sexual abuse than females. Research indicates that about 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18, and most of them aren’t saying a thing.

Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire reports that 90 percent of these boys will likely know the person who is sexually abusing them. According to RAINN, or the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, about a third of the sexual perpetrators are family members, and about 60 percent are acquaintances.

Another potential reason males may not report being victims of sexual abuse is stereotypes that exist in our culture pertaining to how they are supposed to be strong and independent. As a society, we have done a huge disservice to our boys by instilling stereotypes, like that big boys don’t cry, and sending the message they should just suck it up and be strong, or even worse, that they need to “man up.” According to these false beliefs, men are supposed to be tough and brave, and they’re supposed to have a strong sex drive. Media, literature, schools, community establishments like places of worship and even family members can reinforce stereotypical messages and paint a fictitious picture of how boys are supposed to behave. Research indicates that male sex abuse survivors not only have few resources available to them, but they also face greater stigma than female survivors.

In a study published last year in the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers show that gender stereotypes have been associated with high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. It’s not just an American problem, either. According to research done as part of the Global Early Adolescent Study, a collaborative effort of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the World Health Organization and other research partners, children studied from 15 different countries began to accept gender stereotypes well before the age of 10. So it appears that many of these misconceptions are universal. When boys are taught that they aren’t supposed to show emotion because that is a sign of weakness, they learn to suppress and not express their feelings.

In a society full of erroneous stereotypes, is it any wonder that boys are less likely to report having been sexually abused than girls? With most of the research on sex abuse focusing on male perpetrators and female survivors, it’s past time that we shed some light on the devastating effects of male sexual abuse. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • One in 25 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18, according to a review of child sex abuse prevalence studies.
  • 10 percent of rape survivors are male, according to RAINN.
  • 27 percent of male rape survivors were sexually abused before they were 10 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • 7 percent of boys in the juvenile justice system have been sexually abused.
  • 50 percent of the children who are sex trafficked in the U.S. are male; and according to the National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, the average age at which boys first become victims of prostitution is 11 to 13.

Unquestionably, when boys or men are sexually abused, it has a profound impact on their psychological and emotional well-being. According to the American Psychological Association’s Division of Trauma Psychology, this horrific crime has been associated with:

  • Alcoholism and drug use
  • Anger and aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Intimate relationship problems
  • Poor school and work performance
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Suicidal thoughts and attempts

Despite all of the information that we have on sex abuse, we still have a long way to go. It’s hard to turn on the TV and see that another person, such as a coach, teacher, priest or physician has taken indecent liberties with a minor. As we continue to urge survivors to come forward, more survivors may begin to tell their stories.

Complete Article HERE!

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The Kavanaugh allegations show why we need to change how we teach kids about sex

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By Sarah Hosseini

When I was 13 years old, I met a guy at the gas station right outside my suburban neighborhood in Upstate New York. Other neighborhood kids and I would go there to buy sodas and smoke cigarettes behind our parents’ backs. He was a friend of a boy I went to school with. He flirted with me and said I looked “so mature.” He was 20 years old.

He started regularly showing up at my house after school while my mom was at work. I don’t remember ever inviting him there. I told him my mom didn’t allow boys in our house. “But I miss you. It will just be for a few minutes,” he pleaded.

I shared a red metal bunk bed with my sister. We had matching comforters and stuffed animals neatly placed next to our pillows. He crouched under the low beams and jerkily groped me up and down, including beneath my underwear and training bra. I implored him to stop and pushed his hand away, but he whined, “A few more minutes.” He wouldn’t take no for an answer. And so, these encounters continued for weeks. I never told anyone until typing it for this article.

There were more violations of my body, with different boys and men, in varying situations. One was when I was as young as 7, and they continued all the way up through adulthood. Some were more terrifying than others.

While watching and listening to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, my own sexual attacks played in my head. The harrowing details she recounted are familiar to many women: nonconsensual groping, mouth-covering, the fear of rape, the fear of death and the laughing. The indelible memory of laughter.

This is the sexual landscape faced by girls and women in our country, but it doesn’t have to be. We have unprecedented access to information about sex thanks to the Internet, yet sex is still a taboo topic, especially with children. As a mom of two daughters, ages 7 and 8, I used to cringe thinking about sex talks with them. Now, I can’t think of anything worse than not starting the conversation.

“Parents sometimes think they’re ‘protecting kids’ innocence’ by avoiding sexual topics and questions when they come up. Unfortunately, that approach doesn’t mean kids don’t get sexual information; it means they get it from less reliable sources like peers and unhealthy sources like pornography,” Connecticut-based marriage and family therapist Jill Whitney says in an email. Whitney also writes for the website Keep the Talk Going, which provides “talk starters” and tips for parents.

One out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). One in five women in college experience sexual assault, as reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“When young people are taught by omission that prowess on the sports field is more valuable than negotiating a mutually fulfilling sexual relationship, we realize we have our priorities wrong and women bear the brunt of such disorienting tactics,” New York City-based therapist Cyndi Darnell says in an email.

Many experts have ideas on how to combat sexual violence, but one particularly compelling option is the call for more comprehensive sexual education. A 2014 study from Georgetown University shows that starting sex education in primary school reduces unintended pregnancies, maternal deaths, unsafe abortions and STDs. Several psychologists, clinicians and educators also believe early sex ed could perhaps help reduce sexual assaults and rapes.

So where do we start?

Fundamentally, we must believe access to sexual health information is a basic human right, as outlined by the World Health Organization. We must also believe that sexual health extends beyond reproduction and disease. It needs to encompass the physical, emotional and social construction of sexuality. And it has to start when kids are young.

“The power and majesty of human sexuality must be respected and taught with the same reverence we use to teach children about how electricity works. It can be used to power our homes or destroy lives, it’s the user that determines its outcome,” Darnell writes. She believes that in our culture, the burden is unfairly placed on the individual to know better, rather than on society to support, care and educate.

“This is a systemic problem that must be changed,” she adds.

The current standards for sexual education in America leave much to be desired. Only 24 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and the curriculums are highly variable. Many programs are abstinence-only and omit crucial information about contraception, sexual orientation and consent. They don’t even touch the topic of pleasure.

“Unfortunately, sex education is largely approached in a fear-based, sex-negative way in U.S. schools, and the curricula are rarely honest with children about the reasons people have sex,” says Brianna Rader in an email. She’s a sex educator and founder of the sex and relationships advice app Juicebox. “We teach young girls that they are more responsible for sexual mistakes and that men are going to one day give them their sexual pleasure instead of empowering them to claim it for themselves. We don’t even discuss the clitoris,” she writes.

The United States has a long way to go toward establishing an all-encompassing model. In the meantime, there are great private sector and nonprofit resources to help parents fill in the gaps. Scarleteen is a website providing inclusive sex information for parents and teens, including message boards where users can anonymously ask questions and seek advice. The site is also highly dedicated to gender identity and sexual orientation topics. Our Whole Lives, or OWL, is a sex education program founded by the Unitarian Universalist Association, which operates under the belief that informed youth and adults make better and healthier decisions about sex. Their curriculums and workshops start in kindergarten and continue to adulthood.

Preparation is great, but what if you get caught off guard by a curious little one?

“When little kids ask about something sexual, they’re just trying to learn about the world. They’re curious about how bodies work, just as they’re curious about everything. We adults may freak out — omg! this is about sex! — but for young kids, it’s just a matter of fact,” Whitney writes.

She suggests answering their questions with simple but honest facts. Which is really the basis of all sex talks, no matter the age.

I can’t say for certain whether more comprehensive and honest sex education would’ve prevented what happened to me. But I can say that I wish I had been empowered with self-knowledge, because it would’ve given me what I didn’t have in those moments: assertiveness, alternatives and options. I deserved more, and our kids do, too.

Complete Article HERE!

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Silence has protected predators in too many institutions

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by Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA

The news that more than 300 Pennsylvania priests may have sexually abused more than 1,000 identifiable children during the last 70 years is shocking for the enormity of the accusation, but by now there have been enough of these tragic accusations against so many of our institutions that parents should be neither unaware of the risks to their children nor unwilling to confront those risks before their own child might be abused.

The grand jury indictments accuse the Catholic Church of covering up the abuse with criminal conspiracies of silence. Healthy institutions – and the family is the most basic institution of our society – need to break the silence about sexual health and safety, and there is never a better time than the present to do that.

Let’s start with a few basic ideas:

  • Children should have medically accurate, age-appropriate facts about sexual anatomy and physiology. Little kids should know all the external parts; as kids age they need to know the internal parts and all kids need to know that sexual arousal is an autonomic reflex. Too many predators entrap kids by convincing a child they were not a victim because they became aroused. Parents can neutralize the pedophile’s devastating, all too-common tool with medically accurate information.
  • Parents can open a conversation by reminding children that many people will put their own interests above that of someone else. Children may have already experienced that by being bullied or lied to or experiencing someone taking something of theirs. Abusing someone sexually is but one of the many ways people put their own feelings above those of another, and it’s one that can leave most damaging scars. Especially if faith plays a role in your family, you will want to address the difference between a person who espouses or teaches the words of your faith, and the meaning of those words. Widespread allegations of abuse can challenge the faith of both child and family, and this is a good chance to draw a defining line between the meaning of your religion and the actions of the accused priests and the people who protected them.
  • Focus on trust. Damage can cut the deepest when abuse is in the context of a trusted relationship. Pedophile priests are in our news now, but other trusted adults including physicians, educators, parental figures and coaches have been there, too. Parents can support their children to trust their own instincts when something doesn’t seem right, and to trust that their parents will listen to them and support them when they share those concerns. I’ve heard stories from peers growing up in the 1960s whose parents smacked them for speaking ill of a priest when the child tried to tell about sexual abuse. I hope those days are long gone—children deserve better, and parents can do better.

Too many parents still feel uncomfortable talking to their children about sexuality, yet research shows that parents consistently underestimate the importance children place on their thoughts. Parents may feel as if they don’t know to what say, but other professionals and I can provide resources to help you. Information from the American Academy of Pediatrics and my book The Sex-Wise Parent are but two of the places where you can find help. If you’re really uncomfortable, practice role playing with a friend, or ask your school or faith-based organization to schedule a parent workshop.

Our children deserve the very best from all the institutions designed to help bring them to healthy, productive adulthood. Parents can focus on their own children now, when headlines can be causing fear and confusion, but in the long term parents can focus on the policies, procedures and sexual climate of the institutions that serve their children.

Support for your children’s sexual health and safety must start at home and spread out into the community. Use this current spate of tragic stories to ensure there is no conspiracy of silence around sex in your home.

Complete Article HERE!

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Year’s First Q&A Show 2014 — Podcast #403 — 01/22/14

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[Look for the podcast play button below.]

Hey sex fans,by the balls

We kicked off the New Year a couple of weeks ago with some wickedly informative and enriching Sex EDGE-U-cation. So now let’s turn our attention to the sexually worrisome, shall we? I have a delightful Q&A show in store for you today, the first of the New Year. Each of my correspondents is eager to share his or her sex and relationship concerns with us. And I will do my level best to make my responses informative, enriching and maybe even a little entertaining.

  • Holly is worried about getting pregnant.
  • Weaver is gender queer, but her straight BF ain’t so cool. I see trouble ahead.
  • Tammy has a fanciful story to tell about her sexual exploits, but I think she’s pullin’ my leg.
  • Michael has MS and is wheelchair bound. He’s angry and frustrated and it is killing his marriage.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Sex Advice and Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Review.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

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Dazed and Confused

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Name: Confused
Gender: Male
Age: 16
Location: NJ
Dr., I’ve been having sex with a friend who is 19 and he expressed that he had feelings for me at a time when I didn’t have feelings for him. We got into an argument and didn’t talk for a few weeks and I noticed that I missed him and now we’re talking sort of, but I feel that now its more physical than anything, on his part. I think I do have feelings for him, but the only time he attempts to talk to me is when he is horny. The biggest issue is that I haven’t come out and I don’t feel it’s the right time for me to, but I think if I did, it would help things between me and him. Could you give me any advice?

Yep, pup, you sound pretty confused all right. But then you can hardly be faulted for your bewilderment, being as young as you are.

But if the truth be known, your youth has very little to do with it. The first thing you oughta know is that people grapple with these weighty concerns all their lives. I don’t know anyone who has all this emotional stuff pinned down. Because just as soon as ya think ya have it all figured out, life throws you a curve ball.

You will find if you haven’t done so already, that there is often a very fine line between love and desire, passion and intimacy and lust and affection. You should also know that sometimes, maybe even most of the time, we are out of sync with the person we are involved with. In the immortal words of Stephen Sondheim — either we are at last on the ground, while they’re in mid air. Or they keep tearing around while we can’t move. Since the beginning of time, most songs, epic love stories and romantic poetry have wrestled with the shifting fortunes of matters of the heart…and the groin.

So if you ever do make sense of all of this in your life, just wait a minute. The whole kit and caboodle will surely collapse like a house of cards around your head. That’s what I’ve found in my life anyhow. I still struggle with all of this and I’m fuckin’ old, don’t cha know.

Actually, I believe that the tension between love and lust is the very thing that gives life its spice. The only thing I’ve been able to discover after all this time is that there isn’t a code to break, just a toboggan ride to be had.

Which bring me to the second comment I want to make. I know that a lot of young people…your age and even younger…are experimenting with sex, and that’s not a bad thing necessarily. I do, however, advise discretion. Keep in mind that most people in our culture freak out when they discover that young people actually have a sex live. To that I would add that you probably know that your 19year old playmate is technically breaking the law by cavorting with you, a minor, right? He could get in a shit-load of trouble for bumping an underage lad like you.

And while there’s just a 3-year difference between you, I’d be willing to guess that your friend is considerably more advanced than you in terms of emotional development. If he isn’t, then there’s something very wrong with him. Just be aware that sometimes a disparity in life experience can be used by the more seasoned partner as a means of manipulating the other. And that’s never a good thing.

In terms of coming out, well that’s best done when you are at ease and comfortable in claiming and owning your sexual identity whatever it might be. Since sexuality is often a very fluid thing, there’s no pressing need to self-identify as one thing or another until ya have enough life experience under your belt to be able to say for sure. And even then you may find that your heart…or your dick will lead you elsewhere. Remember what I said about life throwing you a curve ball just as soon as ya think ya have it all figured out? Well it’s true in this regard too.

Finally, and this is the only absolute I have for you today. If you’re old enough to fuck, you’re old enough to know all about safe sex. And not just know about it, but practice it too. If you’re not using condoms, then you’re just a dumb kid with rocks in his head. And I really want to believe that’s not the case with you. Simply put, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections won’t make an exception for you because of your age. Also, you’ll never come to grips with grown-up emotions and all they entail if you’re just a dumb kid with rocks in his head, if ya catch my drift.

Good luck

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Teenage Sexual Assault

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Name: TC
Gender: Female
Age: 13
Location: indiana
I really dont know that much about sex, so i let my boyfriend do it all. He keeps calling me a scardy cat cuz i wont touch his dick or give him any pleasure, and he is getting really bored with me

I am so sorry to hear of the trouble you are having with your boyfriend. Actually, he’s no friend at all. Real friends honor their friend’s limits and boundaries, and he’s not doing that.

You can’t be expected, at your tender age, to know much about sex. Hell, you don’t even sound like you are particularly interested in the topic. You don’t mention your boyfriend’s age, but it sure sounds like he is way more advanced than you, at least when it comes to his interest in sex. Unfortunately, he’s not so advanced that he’s man enough to leave you alone when you ask him to. And that really makes me angry. Bullying, belittling or harassing someone for sex, particularly when it’s clear that person is not ready or not interested is abuse. And that is never a good thing.

I hasten to add that in the eyes of the law he is a criminal. He is taking advantage of an underage person for his own sexual gratification and that’s against the law. If you guys get busted, there will be hell to pay.

I know the kind of pressures you are experiencing. You want a BF and you want your BF to like you. But if you let him take advantage of you, it’s not the same thing as him liking you. It’s more an indication that he’s focused on his needs and desires, not yours. I don’t think his behavior indicates he cares for you, but he is showing you that he has power over you and is able to manipulate you into doing what he wants. And what kind of relationship is that?

Listen, TC, you don’t have to submit to him. You can stand tall and tell him NO. He will, in the end, respect you more for your courage to defy and deny him than if you just cave in to his will.

I’m not sure I know what you mean when you say that you “let your boyfriend do it all.” But it sure doesn’t sound like a good thing to me. If he’s having his way with you, even though you are being very passive about it, doesn’t make it right. I hope this isn’t how you intend to interact with other males who will come into your life in the future. And there will be plenty of them. If they sense that you are weak and vulnerable, you will be a goner for sure. You could easily wind up being a victim for the rest of your life. Please, TC, don’t let that happen to you.

I know you’d probably rather be thinking about a lot of other stuff at this time in your life, but the situation with your BF demands that you grow up fast and get savvy about the fundamentals sex right away. I’ll have a number of resources for you in a second, but I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to wise up about pregnancy protection. I wish I didn’t have to say that to you, but I must. If you are being sexually active, even if you are just letting your BF do everything, you absolutely must protect yourself from an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy. If you don’t you will find that you will be the one having to deal with the consequences. If your BF is not considerate enough to respect your wishes when it comes to sex in general, you know for sure that he’ll not be around to look after you and your unborn child.

Ok, here are those resources I mentioned. Planned Parenthood, SCARLETEEN, Sex Ed 101 and Midwest Teen Sex Show.

Promise me that you will take this seriously. That you’ll not just roll over (literally or figuratively). Promise me that you will respect yourself and take a stand and not allow your BF to manipulate you into anything you don’t want to do. More hangs in the balance than you can comprehend. You’ll have to trust me on this.

One last thing, if you were wise enough to find my sex advice website and you were mature enough to write to me, then I believe you are strong and resourceful enough, despite your tender age, to stand up to your BF. Do it now. Demand that he respect you, your body and your wishes.

Good luck

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Between a rock and a hard place

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Name: Adam
Gender:
Age: 34
Location: UK
I have been attracted to male children for years. Having been arrested for viewing child porn I realize that I need to pursue a celibate lifestyle. I realize that celibacy is a demanding lifestyle. What advice would you offer me?

You present a particularly touchy issue for our culture, Adam. But before I respond, I’d like to help you with some of your vocabulary. You say you need to pursue a celibate lifestyle. I think you mean to say you need to pursue a sexually abstinent lifestyle. The two concepts — celibacy and sexual abstinence — mean different things. Unfortunately, way too many people use these terms interchangeably. This is not a good thing and only serves to muddy the waters further.

Celibacy has a very specific meaning. Let me whip out my trusty, handy dandy Funk & Wagnalls dictionary. Celibacy: the state of being unmarried. Some people infer, especially those of a strict religious bent, that celibacy also connotes sexual abstinence. Ya see, religious people are of the mind that there is no legitimate sexual expression outside the confines of heterosexual marriage. Legitimate or not, unmarried people have always been and always will be sexual, so making that unfortunate connection between celibacy and abstinence ill advised.

The only thing we ought to be able to say for sure when someone identifies him/herself as celibate is that he/she is not married. To assume a celibate person, even one who has taken a vow of celibacy, is sexually abstinent is quite a dangerous stretch indeed. Need I point out the very unfortunate sex abuse scandals that continues to plague the Roman Catholic Church?

In the same way, if someone identifies him/herself as sexually abstinent, the only thing we ought to be able to say for sure is that he/she is not engaging in any type of sexual expression. It would be false to assume that a sexually abstinent person is not married, because there are a lot of married people who are indeed sexually abstinent.

In your case, Adam, I believe you are telling me that you are both not married (celibate), and because of your particular sexual predilection — young boys — you must also be sexually abstinent. If I’ve got this right…and it is very important that I not misinterpret your words…then I think there are options you may not have considered.

I firmly believe that we learn all our sexual expression. I hasten to add that sexual orientation and sexual expression are not one in the same thing, just like celibacy and abstinence are one and the same thing.

Everything we eroticize, in your case boys, is learned behavior. You learned to eroticize boys at some point in your life; you can now learn to eroticize a more appropriate group of people. This isn’t a particularly easy thing to accomplish, but it’s not impossible either. Again, I am not saying that you can reprogram your orientation, but I am saying that you can learn to redirect your erotic attentions elsewhere.

Anytime any one of us discovers that the object of our desires is someone inappropriate, we need to adjust our eroticism immediately. This is the better part of being a sexually responsible person. In our culture, pedophilia is just one such inappropriate eroticism, but there are many other taboos. A father for his daughter, a mother for her son, a boss for a subordinate, a man for his neighbor’s wife, a teacher for her student, a counselor for his/her client, a congressman for his page…are you getting the picture? I hope so. And the list goes on and on.

I believe learning to readjust your eroticism to a more appropriate outlet is a much better option than trying to live a sexually abstinent lifestyle. The reason I believe this is that having a more appropriate outlet will at least help you channel your pent up sexuality. If you have no outlet, or limit yourself to masturbation, you will most likely intensify your longings and further fixate on the inappropriate object of your current desires.

Like anyone trying to wean him/herself off a bad habit, the task ahead of you Adam, will be challenging. But it will also be enriching and life-affirming. I hasten to add that you ought not try to do this on your own. Work with a sex-positive therapist.

You’re a relatively young man with many years ahead of you. These years can be filled with happy, healthy and appropriate sexual expression. Make it happen.

Good luck

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SEX WISDOM With Jo Langford — Podcast #282 — 06/01/11

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[Look for the podcast play button below.]

Hello sex fans! Welcome back.

I have some more fantastic SEX WISDOM for you today. This is, of course, the series where I chat with researchers, educators, clinicians, pundits and philosophers who are helping us take a fresh look at our sexual selves. And this week I have a very special show in store for you.

What if I told you that there is an entire population of people in this country and abroad who are woefully underserved with regard to access to clear and unambiguous information about human sexuality? You’d be outraged, huh? But would you even know what demographic I’m talking about?

Well, in case ya don’t, my guest today is here to help wake you up, so to speak, about this very pressing need. I am proud to welcome a fellow Seattlite and a new friend, the exceptional Jo Langford.

He is a top-notch therapist, educator and author and his primary outreach is to teens and young adults. He is the first of my guests in this series who works primarily with kids and the information he is about to share is both revealing and startling. Listen; if you are a teenager or know someone who is, then you’ll not want to miss this show, sex fans.

Jo and I discuss:

  • His style of presenting to teens and their parents;
  • “The Talk”;
  • His background in forensic sexology;
  • Sexually precocious kids;
  • The sexual double standard for girls and boys;
  • The dearth of sex resources for young people;
  • Why parents avoid their role as primary sex educator;
  • His soon to be published book;
  • Kids getting their sex ed from porn;
  • What kind of information do kids really need;
  • Abstinence only programs;
  • No one’s addressing the sexual needs and concerns of gay and lesbian kids;
  • What young people think constitutes “sex”.

Jo invites you to visit him on his site HERE!  And be sure to follow him on Twitter HERE!

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: Adam & Eve.com.

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Healing Sexual Trauma through Sensate Focus

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One of the most difficult things for me to deal with as a therapist is the aftermath of sexual trauma. And I know that the trouble I have with this is only a tiny fraction of the difficulty my client has as he or she faces his/her past. I share with you a correspondence I’ve had with a 36-year-old man from Boston named Trent.

Dr. Dick,
When I was 10 years my parish priest molested me. It went on for over a year. Mostly, I’ve been able to put this behind me. I’ve been married over a year to this really great gal. She’s been very understanding and supportive, and we love each other very much. A couple of weeks ago when we were having sex, my wife started to massage my bottom. This was the first time someone touched me there since I was 10. At first it felt good, but then I remembered how I felt when I was a kid and freaked out. I started to cry. My poor wife was devastated at the thought of triggering this painful memory. I told her it wasn’t her fault, but we haven’t had sex since. I’m worried, but I don’t know what to do.

Working through a sexual trauma, like the one Trent experienced as a kid, is difficult. But it is essential for regaining a healthy sense of the sexual self. I told Trent—and this applies to any anyone else who has had regrettable early sexual experiences in their past—that I strongly suggested that he and his wife engage a sex-positive therapist to help them get back on track.

Many people have dealt with some kind of sexually related trauma in their lives.  However, some trauma is more severe than others. Emotional scar tissue and painful memories may linger, but you can learn to insulate yourself from the disruptive effects of the past in the present. Thanks to the indomitable human spirit, most of us live through our difficulties and go on to develop healthy, integrated sex lives.

Sensate focus is a process that helps individuals move through painful sexual memories and heal the rift between the affected parts of the body and the pleasure they can produce. I thought this technique would be of particular value for Trent because of something he’d said: “At first it felt good, but then I remembered how I felt when I was a kid and freaked out.” This tells me that he was able to enjoy the sensations before the association with the molestation kicked in and ruined everything. Sensate focus offers a way to short-circuit this disruptive connection and rewire it for pleasure instead of pain.

What follows are structured therapeutic touching exercises for couples. They are not a prelude to sex. You need to be clear on that. Your genitals will be involved. There will be pleasure and arousal, for sure. But the object of this process is to desensitize the trigger (in Trent’s case, his butt), then re-sensitize it for pleasure. These exercises take about an hour one day a week over the course of a month. If you embark on this course, make sure that you dedicate that kind of time commitment. Please, don’t short-change yourselves; this is an investment in your sexual health and wellbeing.

You and your partner will take turns being the one touched and the one doing the touching. Both of you will have 30 minutes to touch and 30 minutes to be touched: 15 minutes lying on your front; 15 minutes on your back.

Week 1—Breaking the Ice
Structured touching will be unfamiliar to you at first. I want you to use this first session to connect with each other in a sensual and playful way. I want each of you to explore every inch of your partner’s body from head to toe, first the back of the body then the front. This first week, however, avoid one another’s genitals.

This isn’t massage, where touch is directed toward pleasuring your partner. Sensate focus exercises are about gleaning information. Focus on how it feels to touch different parts of your partner’s body in a non-seductive way. Be aware of the different textures contours and temperatures. Use different pressures—heavy and light; different strokes—long and short. Use fingertips, palms, the back of your hands and forearms.

When you’ve finished the first 30 minutes, swap places. This will work best if the one being touched relinquishes control as much as possible. Keep verbal communication at a minimum. Once the hour is over, thank one another for the experience and get on with the rest of your day. Don’t try to process things right then and there, just sit with the sensations. Or better still; write your feelings in a journal that you might want to share later.

Week 2—Making Things More Interesting
Building on what you learned in the first week; this time, kick it up a notch by expanding the structured touching to include anal and genital areas. These are sexually charged zones, but the touch must remain non-seductive. Begin the exercise with some full-body touching before moving on to the new areas. Again, the emphasis is on obtaining information and awareness of physical sensations.

This is where things got a bit challenging for Trent. When his wife touched his butt, I told him I wanted him to want stay in the moment and focus on who was touching him and why. Trent’s wife was not touching him in a sexual manner; she was gathering information.

Staying in the present helps take the edge off. If anxiety builds, deep breathing can help you to relax. Your partner will probably be very nervous too, so breathing together can be helpful.

A guided touch technique can also be useful. Place one of your hands on top of your partner’s and guide it over your trigger area. Try using more or less pressure as you see fit. Remember your trigger spot is just like every other part of your body. Even though an early trauma has sensitized this area to be off bounds, sensate focus exercises will re-sensitize and reintegrate it with the rest of your body. You’ll have to trust me on this.

Week 3—Mutual Touching
This week, we move on to mutual touching. However, it must remain structured and non-seductive, both in the giving and receiving. Mutual touch will provide a more natural form of physical interaction than the previous weeks. You’ll also be shifting attention from how it feels to touch to being aware of how your partner is receiving your touch. Keep verbal communication to a minimum. Let your body tell your partner how you are enjoying the touch. If you must talk, assign a number code to the touch you are receiving: 5 being, ho-hum, 1 being Yowsa!

Remember, no matter how sexually aroused you become, this is not a prelude to sex. If you need to release your sexual tension, feel free to masturbate afterward. No partnered sex during the exercises. Okay?

Week 4—Bringin’ It Home
This last week of exercises continues the mutual touching, with a focus on overcoming any final reservations you have about your trigger zone and the pleasure you derive from it. More of your partner’s touch should focus on that area. For Trent, I advised that his wife include a nice lotion or personal lube for this investigation. (Touching with a wet hand is different from touching with a dry hand.) While concentrating on his butt with one hand, I suggested she fondle his genitals with the other. By playing with the energy around Trent’s sphincter, his wife was able to redirect it and help him reconnect his ass to the rest of his body.

Try receiving your wire’s touch in different positions. Being proactive will facilitate the healing. While she is touching your trigger area, move your butt toward her to meet the caress. You’ll immediately see how being in control will help you move beyond any remaining anxiety. You are not just being passive recipient anymore; you are actively involved with inviting the pleasure. If there are still reservations, take it slow until they too, melt away.

Once he’d freed up his ass for pleasure, I told Trent be sure to incorporate butt play into his future lovemaking repertoire, but I also reminded him to take as much time as he needed to resolve the issue. There is no quick fix. I assured him, though, with diligence and care, sensate focus would remove the fear and shame of the molestation, and replace it with a sense of wholeness, joy and pleasure.

Good luck

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The Coast Is Clear

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Name:  ??
Gender: Male
Age: 33
Location: Miami
I have two unrelated questions: 1. I love anal sex but am concerned that as I age I run the risk of eventually becoming incontinent due to the sexual activity down there. Is white_sneakersthis a valid concern or will my sphincter remain tight enough to hold everything in? I’ve read conflicting opinions. 2. My boyfriend likes the twinks. We’ve been together for about four years and even though I’m only a year younger (he‚s 35), part of the reason he’s attracted to me is my youthful appearance. We have a wonderful relationship — supportive and loving and the sex is great! We even have a semi-open relationship, which is working fine for us so far. However, I’m concerned that at some point he may try something with someone under 18. He enjoys visiting those Barely Legal type porn sites (which hold no interest for me and look illegal). I’ve discussed my concerns with him, and he says I have nothing to worry about because he’d never do anything. But on the other hand, he’s not the most disciplined person in the world. I’m worried that if the opportunity presented itself he wouldn’t be able to resist. If that happened, it would then present emotional and moral problems not to mention legal issues not just for him but (I’m assuming) for me as well. I guess
I’m not sure what my question is. I know the gay community (and really the world) is obsessed with youth, but does this sound like more than that?  Do I have a legitimate concern, or am I being a prude? Obviously you don’t know my boyfriend, but I can’t discern if he just enjoys the fantasy of a younger man/boy or if this could become a problem. If it’s just a fantasy then I have no problem letting him have his fun. Heck, he can fuck all the 20 year olds he wants as far as I’m concerned. (Maybe this stems from my insecurity of growing older even though he insists he will love me even when I’m old and grey). But, if this is more than a fantasy then what do I do?
Thanks, Dr. Dick! Your faithful reader

Let’s address your two concerns in turn.  First, regarding your ass sex question.  Your typical butt-pirate has nothing to worry about in terms of becoming incontinent.  However, you oughta do what every power bottom does to stay in tip-top shape down there — Kegel exercises.

Don’t know kegel exercises from a hole in your head?  Not to worry.  I’ve written and spoken so much about this timely topic, whicht applies to both men and women, I barely have the energy to repeat myself.  So I won’t!

All ya gotta do is use the SEARCH function in the sidebar to your right.  Simply type in the keyword “kegels” and PRESTO!  Just like magic, all my posting and podcasts that include that topic are displayed.  You can read and listen till your heart’s content.

To your other concern, the one about your BF’s interest in the barely-legal crowd; there’s not much you can do about this one way or another.  Most of the adult people I know who have a thing for the young ones keep it on a purely fantasy level.  Those who stray off the daydream path and onto a course of actual pursuit find themselves in all kinds of jeopardy.  Not lest of which is the ridiculous nature of the quest.  Sounds to me like your BF already knows all of this.  But if he doesn’t, it’ll be he who pays, not you.

My advice to you is; take him at his word and worry not.

Name: james
Gender: Male
Age: 48
Location: sutton in ashfield
I have large veins that stick out on my testicles are these anything to worry about

Some guys have smooth balls; some guys have hairy balls; some guys have veiny balls and some guy’s balls are all shriveled up. That’s all balls_uncutthere is to it.

As we age some of us develop varicose veins in our lower extremities.  It’s the force of gravity, don’t cha know.  Varicose veins can occur in our nut sack too.  Sometimes this is associated with wearing a too tight cockring for too long a time.  But it is just as likely to be an issue of genetics.  Not much you can do about it and there is no real danger.

If you aren’t experiencing any discomfort in your family jewels, things are probably ok and I wouldn’t worry.  However, if you are anxious about this, or there is soreness or tenderness or you have other concerns; take your huevos to an MD and have ‘em checked out.  Simple as all that!

Name: Marcus
Gender: Male
Age: 47
Location: Southeast US
I am intrigued by nipple suction pumps, but cannot find much information about their effectiveness on guys. How long do your nipples stay enlarged? Is there any risk or danger in using one of these contraptions? Thanks for any help/direction you can give!

Nipple play is fun for both women and men.  There are several ways of enlarging one’s nipples.  There are low-tech suction devices, metal stretchers and the more high-tech vacuum devices.  All of these systems are very popular.  Have a look in My Stockroom for some examples.  Just search the site using the key word “nipple”.

1 2 5 8 7 6

Wireless Vibrating Nipple Clamps (D120) $32.00
Tit Tuggers (C656) $125.00
The Titilizer (A237) $16.50
10-Piece Cupping Set (B264) $57.00
Snake Bite Kit (A300) $8.00
Nipple Suction Device (B092) $18.00

If you are a casual tit-torturer your nipples will stay enlarged for a few hours.  If you are a hardcore tit-torturer you can completely and permanently alter the look of your nipples.  Is there a risk or is there danger?  Not unless you overdo it.

Name: Tara
Gender: Female
Age: 25
Location: Hoboken, NJ
I got this cute guy friend who’s asked if he can come on my vacation to Bangor, Maine (Stephen King’s home!). So I asked this guy, who’s single, if he wants one bed or two. He said it didn’t matter, so I booked one bed at the hotel. Does this mean he wants to have sex with me? I’m dumping down a ton of money, so I hope so!

How the hell should I know?  He could be hot to get in your pants, or he might simply need an all expense paid holiday.

Why not just ask him.  What’s with the coy routine?  Of course, you could do like the hippies used to do and tell your cute guy friend — “Ass, gas or grass!  No one rides for free.”

gasgrassass

Hi, I have a question that I can not ask anyone else so I found your web site and would really appreciate your advice. Ok, so when I have sex sometimes instead of cuming when I have an orgasm, I pee. Sometimes I do cum though. But when it feels really good and I release, I release pee instead of cum. I just want to know if this happens to other people, and why this happens. And can I fix this. What can I do to make this not happen? I don’t like it happening. I feel bad for my boyfriend who has to have pee on his penis. Please, please, please take the time to reply to me. Thank you for your time. Have a great day.
—   Anonymous.

Are you sure that what you are experiencing is pee?  Could it possibly be that you are ejaculating?  For a good deal of information on this, check out the site called The Clitoris.

Of course, lots of women feel like they have to pee when they cum.  In fact, lots of women actually do pee as they cum.

If indeed you are peeing when you cum, I’d say you are experiencing what we in the business call — stress incontinence.

Stress incontinence can happen just about any time.  Anxiety, stress, working out, jogging, fucking crreampie1can all trigger this type of incontinence.

Curiously enough, research shows that younger women actually have more stress incontinence during sex than do older women.  While only 3% of women over age 65 reported incontinence during sexual activity, 29% of women under age 60 did.

Regardless of the cause of the stress incontinence — nervousness, exercise or sex there is one common denominator.  It’s always related to the strength of a woman’s pelvic floor muscles. The weaker those muscles are, the more likely a woman will leak pee during physical exercise, fucking, sneezing or even laughing.

While many women experience stress incontinence from time to time, there’s a relatively simple solution to the problem. Your pelvic muscles and the tissues surrounding them get stretched out and damaged with time.  Pregnancies will also do a number on these muscles.  They also weaken with age.  And if you are overweight, well that will weaken pelvic floor muscles too as well as add to the likelihood of stress incontinence.

So you might be asking right about now, what IS this simple solution?  Why, it’s Kegel exercises, of course.  (See my response to the first correspondent above.)

Good luck ya’ll

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“Abstinence Only” …think again!

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Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee not only opposes a woman’s right to choose, nixes comprehensive sex education in favor of “Abstinence Only”, but now we discover that she cut funding for teen moms.

“Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.”  —Washington Post

What if other parents don’t buy this shit.  What if they think preparing their kids for the eventual responsibilities of adulthood, which includes sexuality, is not a bad thing.

Sarah Palin’s unwed daughter will no doubt receive all the benefits a well-positioned family can provide.  Not so the daughters of everyone else.

What pisses me off the most is the double standard.  For everyone else’s kids — no choice, no clear unambitious information about human sexuality in school…and if you get in trouble, because you don’t have a choice or you are uninformed…no help from your government.

I don’t generally do this, but the timing couldn’t be better on this.  Monday’s podcast, #78, included my response to a message I recieved from a mother of three in Toronto.  The timely nature of Lynn’s question compels me to print it in full here.

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Name: Lynn
Gender: Female
Age: 36
Location: Toronto
I’m a mother of three great kids.  My oldest, who is in middle school, went to camp for the first time this summer. A local church group sponsors the camp every year.  When my husband and I asked him about his time away from home, he said rather noncommittally; “It was ok.”  He seemed to like it well enough, but you know how uncommunicative kids can be at that stage.
Anyhow, yesterday I was going through some laundry from his camp outing and discovered a pamphlet in the pocket of his pants.  It was for an “Abstinence Only” program.  It was full of the most sex-negative fear and shame.  It was awful.  We are not raising our kids like that; my husband and I were appalled.
Now we’re wondering if this is why our son was so unenthusiastic about his camp experience.  Do you think we should quiz him on this?
What gives with this kind of indoctrination anyway?  I thought that those “Abstinence Only” programs had been discredited.

So wait, wait, wait; are you thinking that just because a social engineering strategy, like abstinence-only, has been debunked that it wouldn’t still be employed by certain factions of our culture?  Oh hun, I think you oughta rethink that supposition right away, don’t cha know.

I mean, come on!  There are loads of outdated and discredited philosophies being promulgated in an effort to ensnare the  uninformed and gullible.  I don’t know about ya’ll there in Canadaville, but here in Amercanski land we have a whole segment of our population who believes in creationism as a viable explanation for the universe.  In fact, one was just nominated to be Vice President for the Republican party.  D’oh!

So, as you can see, there is no necessary connection between what has been discredited and what is still wildly popular in some segments of the population.

Back in the spring of 2007, a long-awaited congressionally funded national study concluded that abstinence-only sex education does not keep teenagers from having sex. Nor does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom.  (Attention:  Governor Palin!)

Authorized by Congress in 1997, the study followed 2000 children from elementary and middle school into high school. The children lived in four communities — two urban, two rural. All of the children received the family life services available in their community; in addition, slightly more than half of them also received abstinence-only education.

By the end of the study, when the average child was just shy of 17, half of both groups had remained abstinent. The sexually active teenagers had sex the first time at about age 15. Less than a quarter of them, in both groups, reported using a condom every time they had sex. More than a third of both groups had two or more partners.

So if abstinence-only programs don’t work, at least the way they are supposed to; why do we still have them?  Ahhh, good question.  We still have them because for a large segment of the population, especially those who are makin all these babies, it’s easier to just say “NO” than to step up to the plate and educate their kids about sex in a wholesome and holistic way.

Another problem is that the word abstinence often means something quite different to kids than it does to adults. That’s one reason why abstinence-only programs do not have strong effects in preventing teenage sexual activity.  At least that’s what a recent University of Washington study found.

The researchers found that interventions that encourage abstinence treat abstinence and sexual activity as opposites.  Teenagers, on the other hand, don’t consider them to be mutually exclusive concepts. Like in the congressionally sponsored study, the UW researchers found abstinence-only programs are less likely to work than more comprehensive sex-education programs because they are not speaking the same language as adolescents.

The study showed that attitudes and intentions about sex were more powerful than attitudes and intentions about being abstinent.  No surprise there, I suppose.

Again, I don’t know how things are there in Canada, but down here there is no federal funding for comprehensive sex-education.  But there’s a shit-load of funding for abstinence-only programs.  Funding has mushroomed from $9 million in1997 to $176 million in 2007.  Leave it to the current administration to dump loads of money into a program that doesn’t work.  But such is the power of the conservative religious lobby.  They are the people who back these programs.

This wouldn’t be such a big issue if it didn’t hold such dire consequences. For example, the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate among all first-world nations.  The rates of sexually transmitted diseases in this country are also astronomical.  If we want to keep our young people safe from the negative aspects of casual sex, abstinence-only programs are not the way to go.

However, more comprehensive programs that include abstinence as one choice are much more likely to have a more productive outcome.  Besides, is it ever a good idea to try and motivate behaviors out of fear and shame?  I don’t think so.

Since abstinence-only programs often only look at the negatives of sex, it doesn’t really empower a young person to take responsibility for his/her behaviors.  This is particularly thorny for young women who often bear the brunt the peer pressures to be sexual.  And they have way more at stake in terms of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

When kids aren’t expected to take responsibility for their behaviors, especially in terms of sexuality, it cripples their ability to make good life-affirming choices.  Abstinence-only programs disqualify all sexual options, even the relatively innocuous behaviors like mutual masturbation and oral sex.  So if all sexual options are equally out of bounds, there’s no way for the average kid to distinguish between harmless and risky behaviors.  And this is what leads to the high rate of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.

If we want our kids to grow up with healthy and integrated attitudes about sex, ones that will lead to loving and fulfilling sexual relationship later in life, we ought teach from a more sex-positive theory.

Back to the other question you raise; the one about quizzing your son about his camp experience.  I think that would be great.  It would let him know that you care, that you don’t support this fear and shame-based approach to human sexuality and that he doesn’t have to embrace it either.

Good Luck

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Nikol Hasler, Part 1 — Podcast #74 — 08/04/08

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[Look for the podcast play button below.]

Hey sex fans,

I have another fantastic interview show for you today. I am pleased to bring you Part 1of mynikol3.jpg interview with the host of the Midwest Teen Sex Show, the ever so charming and delightful Nikol Hasler.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Midwest Teen Sex Show, here’s a tip. Get your butt over there and discover for yourself what the cutting edge of sex education looks and sounds like. The show is a kick ass, no holds bared, in your face and laugh out loud sketch comedy show that tackles some of the thorniest issues young people face today. And if you think you can pass this up because you’re all grown up; you have another thing coming.

The Midwest Teen Sex Show should be required viewing for everyone — young and old. Nikol and her costars deliver comedy that is both edgy and informative. And today, as part of our interview, we will be hearing snippets from the show so you can get a taste for what you’ve been missing.

Nikol and I talk about:

  • Being so out there about sex.
  • The person who inspired her to do the show.
  • Drugs, sex and alcohol.
  • Porn and what it tells us about sex.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. 😉Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

I wanna take a moment to alert you to a new feature here on D rDick Sex Advice. It’s my PRODUCT REVIEW page. That’s right sex fans, now you can see what’s hot and what’s not in the world of adult products.From time to time I will be posting reviews of all kinds of adult related goodies — sex toys for sure, but also condoms, lubes, fetish gear as well as educational and enrichment videos.

DON’T MISS A SINGLE ONE!

Look for the Product Reviews tab right there at the top of DrDickSexAdvice.com.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: Fleshlight & FleshJack.

Fleshlight Sex Toy

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Winter Solstice Worries

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Before we begin today I want to send out hearty holiday greetings to all my pagan friends. Here in the northern hemisphere — HAPPY Winter SOLSTICE! Ya’ll in the southern hemisphere — HAPPY Summer SOLSTICE!

Some of us overlook these important and most ancient of festivals. Our culture’s Judeo-Christian bias blurs the origins of most of the religious observances we still take for granted today — like Christmas. When Christianity became the dominant influence in our culture it co-opted the trappings of these festivals, robbed them of their heavily laden sexual context and mercilessly persecuted their adherents. And that, to my mind, is a fuckin’ pity. What a different world this would be if that hadn’t happened.

Name: BJ
Gender: Female
Age: 23
Location:PA
I’ve been sexually active for several years now and have yet to reach an orgasm. Oral sex, intercourse nor masturbation have been effective. Is there something wrong with me, what might help?

I’d be very much surprised if there was actually something physically wrong with you. But you clearly have some difficulty letting go. And simply put, an orgasm is letting go of built up sexual tension.

Lot of preorgasmic women don’t feel entitled to an orgasm, for one reason or another. Other women are simply unversed on how to make the big “O” happen in their own fine self. Sometimes it’s a combination of both resistance and a lack of know how.

I used to have this client, a woman in her late 30’s, the mother of three and a devote Catholic. She was preorgasmic too. Her big stumbling block was fear. You got it; fear of having an orgasm. She had heard from other women, over the years, how powerful orgasms were and how pleasurable they were. My client somehow got it in her head that if she were to ever let go and give up that long-awaited screamin’ meme, her entire world would collapse. She would become a sex addict, neglect her children, divorce her husband and turn her back on God…the whole enchilada.

With that kind of mindset, this little lady wasn’t gonna let herself cum no how.

I had to reassure her that, as delightful as orgasms are, they are not like crack cocaine. xmas_lesbians.jpgI told her there was no chance that she’d fly to pieces as a mother, wife and friend of Jesus if she were to ever squeeze one out. I had to keep repeating this over and over till it finally sank in. You talk about hardheaded! In the end, she had her precious orgasm, joined the ranks of the sexually satisfied and lived happily ever after. …Well, I can’t honestly say about the happily ever after part.

Back to you BJ, I don’t suppose there’s any way you could have one of your gal-pals show you how it’s done, is there? The reason I ask is most guys learn how to choke the chicken by watching, or being instructed by another guy. Us men folk are really good about doin that for one another. Women folk, on the other hand, don’t seem to do this for one another as much.a16608_160w.jpg Which is a freakin’ pity, if ya ask me.

If you can’t (or won’t) get a pal to show you the finer points of proper pussy pleasuring, I have another suggestion for you. Mozie on over to DR DICK’S HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY and check out a swell instructional video. Do a quick search for “female masturbation” and let the experts show you a thing or two. You’ll be so glad you did.

Write back again and let me know how things go. If you’re not successful, I still have a few other tricks up my sleeve.

My wife fantasizes about cum swapping with me and forcing me to lick my freshly deposited spooge out of her vagina, but every time we try, just after I ejaculate, I loose my nerve. I have tried to taste my own cum before, and it really does turn me on, but there seems to be a huge difference between fantasizing and doing. I love my wife and want to fulfill her fantasy. How do I get over my apprehension to gulping my own love juice?
Regards, Chris

OMG! What are you, trying to do make me sick? Just kidding! What a spunky little spitfire you’re married to, Chris. Nasty little piggy sex, my favorite kind! You guys GO!“

Vaga-felching” or “lickin’ a creampie” is a relatively obscure fetish. The gays are more likely to felch, cuz they’re like so into the whole jizz thing, don’t cha know. But Vaga-felching is a-completely-nother thing…especially if it’s a straight dude doing the felching.

Ya see, a guy is always up for layin’ down and nice slime trail, but lickin it up again, especially after it’s been loitering about in the inner-regions of a pussy…why that’s pretty much enough to make most straight dudes hurl.creampie01.jpg

I suppose you’re slightly ahead of the ballgame, considering you say you find the taste of your own issue a turn on. That’s a good start. The big hurdle, of course, is having the same desires post-ejaculation as you do pre-ejaculation. And therein lies the rub, darlin’.

When we’re in the throws of passion, when we’re totally aroused, we get in this state. It’s just like a state of suspended animation, only completely different. 😉 Our sense of sight, smell, touch and taste are muted and our judgment is impaired too. Which allows us to do all sorts of things we wouldn’t consider if our dick wasn’t raging. You know the old saying; “A stiff dick has no conscience,” don’t cha? Well, it’s kinda like that.

Anyhow, all the nasty piggy little things we can groove on with a hardon, often evaporate once we’ve shot our load. And seein’ that ya gotta shoot your load in order to make a creampie, the fetching thereafter becomes considerably less tantalizing once you do…if ya catch my drift.

I suppose you could push past the hesitation you have with a little mind game. You could try to convince yourself that what was alluring before the creampie was made is the same thing as after. But then you’d have to override your reinstated judgment and sense of sight, smell, touch and taste to do so.

Get it? Got it? Good!

Hey there,
My question involves my uncircumcised penis. I am 20 years old and pretty sexually active when I’m involved with a girl. I’m curious because is my head, underneath my foreskin, is extremely sensitive. Only in the past year or so have I been working to stretch my foreskin over my head, and now that I’ve successfully exposed my dick, it’s sensitive as hell, almost to the point to where it hurts to touch. The other thing is that when I come close to ejaculation when masturbating/being masturbated, that it doesn’t bother me anymore if my head is touched. Is this normal for a circumcised male? I really am not educated about how an uncircumcised penis is supposed to be/work and really can’t talk to anyone about it. Please help educate me!
Jason

Lucky the man with a natural, intact dick! A super-sensitive dickhead is the birthright of every male. Unfortunately, some of us never get to know the excruciating sensitivity that uncut men know all their lives. Pity that!uncut_tip.jpg

You are correct to notice that as you approach an orgasm, your dickhead can receive more touch then when you are not aroused. Like I was sayin’ to the guy above you, “…when we’re in the throws of passion, when we’re totally aroused, we get in this state. Our senses of sight, smell, touch and taste are muted…”This is nature’s way of desensitizing the very tool we’d need to bring our pleasure to fruition — entering a pussy and depositing our seed there.

Once that task is complete, the normal sensitivity resumes. And since our dick can’t tell between a simple jerk off session, some fine gay sex and an attempt to impregnate a female it just behaves the same way each time we play with our thingy.So sounds to me like everything on your unit is working perfectly well.

Enjoy the gift you have!

Name: lup92
Gender: Male
Age: 15
Location: England
I’m 15 and masturbate often but have had no form of sex although my girlfriend wants to start. however my penis and scrotum have extremely small lumps all over. I also have a purple red large lump on the rim of my bellend. what do i do? should i start? or do i risk giving something to my girlfriend?

Here’s the thing about lumps and bumps and discolorations of the skin anywhere on your body, especially on your precious willie, pup. They are signs that all is not well. Do us all a big favor and have your johnson looked at by a physician right away. This is nothing to fool around with.

Everything you describe could be completely harmless, but you don’t want to take the chance that it isn’t. And here’s a tip: don’t do it for your girlfriend. DO IT FOR YOU! It’s your dick, you gotta lean how to take care of it. And there’s no time like the present to start properly lookin after it.

There is one more thing. And I’m gonna be as blunt as I know how. If you think you’re old enough to fuck, you’re old enough to know about condoms and how to use them. If ya don’t, you’re just a dumb kid who might function like a grown-up, but who doesn’tstockingcondoms.jpg know how to behave like one. And I don’t want to believe that about you.

What it is with young people (old people too) who are still fuckin’ clueless about unprotected sex in this day and age? I’ve been reading the celebrity gossip here in the States lately. All the whoha about Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney’s 16-year-old sister, gettin knocked up. WTF? Is anyone paying attention?

I have nothing against younger people being sexual. That pretty much is to be expected. But I am totally opposed to kids having kids! Like I said, if you’re old enough to swing it around, you’re old enough to know how to swing it responsibly.

Good luck ya’ll

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