The 10 best books about bisexuality

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One of the smaller niches in any LGBTQ bookstore or library is the bisexual shelf, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Finding a good book on bisexuality can, at times, be as difficult as finding bisexual voices within the larger LGBTQ movement. Much the same, once you find them, you are liable to find some rare and wonderful things that you might have overlooked in the crowd.

Here’s a pick of the best books to fatten up your bookshelf with information, autobiographies, a little snark, and some deep dives into what it means to be bisexual.

The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips, And Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways by Nicole Kristal and Mike Szymanski

This one probably should be on your shelf and shares a lot of use information in a humorous fashion, but at the same time, this text could also disappoint with a focus on stereotypes and their ilk. It not recommend for a newcomer, but someone who has been out and about for a while. It’s worth a look, especially for fans of snark.

Fire Shut Up In My Bones by Charles M. Blow

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow’s memoir will take you on a beautiful and often challenging story of coming of age as a black bisexual man in the deep south. This is a powerful, potent story that feels all the more important in the Trump years.

Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner

More distinctly political than most of the books on this list, Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution feels like a manifesto for bisexual people who have been often marginalized, exploited, and discriminated against. It may be a bit muddy in places, but it’s still a solid read for the political minded among us.

Bad Dyke: Salacious Stories from a Queer Life by Allison Moon

This is not the book you share with your grandmother to explain bisexuality. This selection of essays by Allison Moon is full of bawdy, sometimes graphic tales of her coming of age as queer in the 1990s. The sexual content, however, will ring true to any reader. The stories twist and turn, in rhythm with Moon’s own better understand of herself and her interests.

The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television by Maria San Filippo

This is truly the “missing manual” of queer studies and media critique, digging into the way bisexuality is treated — and often mistreated — in film and television. The topic may sound dry, but San Filippo beings a sharpness to her writing that keeps this dive into everything from art cinema to vampire movies engaging.

Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World by Robin Ochs and Sarah Rowley

No bookshelf on bi issues should be without this on it. Getting Bi collects 220 separate essays on the subject that cover the gamut of bi experience, including a substantial number of non-western writers and experiences. Worth noting: it was updated in 2009, but it is surely due for yet another edition in the future, particularly to look into the rise of pansexuality and the many changes that have impacted the LGBTQ community in the last decade.

Advice from a Wild Deuce: The Best of Ask Tiggy by Tiggy Upland

Debuting initially as an advice column on the Bisexual Resource Center’s website, this book collects a pick of the best of Upland’s columns in one place. Both humorous and thoughtful, this is a great book for those seeking to better understand their own bisexuality or that of others. What’s more, behind Tiggy Upland’s quirks and wit, you’ll find a large dose of kindness.

Black Dove: Mama, Mi’jo, and Me by Ana Castillo

A beautiful autobiographical picture of growing up in Chicago as a Hispanic woman. Castillo, a feminist bisexual woman, tells a heartfelt and personal story of both her and her son’s coming of age in America though a Hispanic lens. While the chapters touching on her bisexuality and polyamory may be of the most relevance on this list, it may be Castillo’s openness about her son’s arrest and incarceration that will stick with you the longest.

Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney

The biggest “bi” in this graphic memoir is “bipolar,” as author Ellen Forney explores her creative life since her diagnosis with bipolar disorder. Fear not that this book is on the wrong list, however: Marbles also digs deep into the other “bi’ in Forney’s life, talking frankly about her bisexual identity.

Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out by Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu

In this groundbreaking anthology first published in 1991, more than seventy women and men from all walks of life describe their lives as bisexuals in prose, poetry, art, and essays. Despite some dated content, it’s a seminal collection that still deserves to be read!

Complete Article HERE!

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How to Be an Ethical Hookup Partner

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Because hooking up doesn’t have to be devoid of feelings.

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Hookup culture,” especially as it plays out on college campuses, is a much-discussed topic. Often, hooking up is studied and speculated about like it’s some kind of sexual epidemic, or at the very least, the outcast of sexual intimacy: Is it increasing or decreasing? Perpetuated by dating apps? Gendered? Dangerous? Sure, hookup culture and the many ways we have and experience sex is worth studying and having opinions about, but it can’t be that all hookups are bad or blah.

Despite the often-negative press, hookups, or, short term sexual/intimate encounters, like one-night stands, summer flings, and semester-long friends-with-benefits relationships, can come with a lot of descriptors: “casual,” “fun,” “random,” and “spontaneous” can be some, but can they also be ethical, considerate, and satisfying? We think yes!

Determining whether or not something is officially ethical can be confusing work, as ethics tend to rely both on our individual values and also what society deems ethical — which might not always align. Get your conservative, married-for-50-years grandfather and your liberal, nonmonogamous LGBTQ+ friends at the same dinner table and ask what makes for an “ethical sexual encounter” and you’ll likely get very different responses from each of them (and if anyone ever does do this, please let me know how it goes).

Regardless of what your hookup entails (making out, oral sex, penetrative sex_ or whether you met via a dating app, a party, or a chance meeting with a beautiful stranger — hookups tend to be understood as uniquely separate from a relationship in that they are typically described as being casual or short term and require minimal official commitment between the people involved. For some, the very short-term nature of a hookup can feel unethical (and that’s a totally fine opinion to have as long as we’re not judging others’ choices!), but for others, short-term intimate encounters are exactly what they want. The reality is, we’re certainly not creating more happy hookup experiences by immediately throwing out the possibility of hookups being conscientious, respectful, and downright ethical just because they’re only happening once, sporadically, or when the mood strikes.

So how do you make sure your hookup is ethical?

As a resident sex educator for a youth collective of 16- to 19-year-olds, I had the great opportunity to sit down with a group of the collective’s youth leaders to talk about what they wanted to communicate to their peers about the components of an ethical hookup. Here’s the advice we came up with to help you make your hookup as ethical as possible.

Know and share your STI status.

Being aware of the state of your personal sexual health and sharing it openly and without shame is a key part of making sure our partners and ourselves are informed participants in our hookup. The general rule of thumb is to get a new STI test at least every six months if you’re sexually active with more than one person, or anytime you have a new sexual partner. Empower yourself by knowing that you can set the tone for this “status talk,” so practice speaking confidently and nonjudgmentally about your status and your partner will likely follow suit.

In addition to sharing your status, you should also know and share how to prevent the transmission of STIs via various safer-sex practices. And when it comes to hooking up, it’s always a good idea to have those safer-sex supplies on hand! This HRC Safer Sex Guide (available in both English and Spanish) can help connect the dots between levels of risk, certain sex acts, and which safer-sex practices to put in place.

Consider others’ feelings.

Despite common portrayals, a hookup doesn’t need to be completely devoid of feelings to be considered successful, and not all people experience short-term sexual encounters as emotionless. You can absolutely enthusiastically agree to a hot roll in the one-day hay and be kind, check in about your hookup partner’s feelings the next day, and still maintain casualness. A simple text of appreciation or a “How are you?” can go a long way; as long as you’re clear about intentions, feelings don’t need to get hurt or ignored.

Know and be clear about your intentions.

Intentions are just that — what we set out to do, on purpose, with the knowledge that what we intend might not pan out. If you know that you’re only available for a summer fling but lead your partner on into thinking you want to continue your short-term relationship indefinitely, that’s not ethical because you’re creating a connection based on false pretenses.

Despite our intentions, things can change, feelings can get caught, and our best-laid plans can shift, and that’s okay. But if we have specific intentions from the get-go and aren’t communicating them, then our partners can’t make their own choices about how they would like to interact with us, their own feelings, and their own boundaries. Knowledge is power — don’t strip your partner of theirs by withholding intent.

Respect your own boundaries.

Intentions and ethics start with you. Just like communicating your intentions to your partner gives them power, checking in with your moral compass, your sexual desires and limits, and your hopes for your own intimate interactions gives it to you. Hookups can really get us caught up in a moment, so be prepared for a casual connection by thinking about some of these elements ahead of time. How do I want and like to be touched? What do I want out of a hookup? What do I not want? Scarleteen.com’s sexual inventory checklist, Yes, No, Maybe So, can be a helpful piece of hookup homework to do on your own, in advance.

Respect your partner and their boundaries.

Yes, a fling can be casual and maybe even happen quickly, but always make sure to make time to ask your partner directly about their own yeses, nos, and maybe-sos. Not only does this ensure that we’re respecting our partners and practicing consent, but this also drastically increases our chances of having a mutually pleasurable experience.

If a hookup is indeed temporary, why waste your time guessing at what your partner might want rather than simply asking them directly? And when they give you an answer, you should listen to it. Asking our partner about their desires is consensual, ethical, and just plain economical.

No shame in your own game and no slut-shaming.

Create more emotional, relational, and sexual safety in your hookups by maintaining mutual respect for your and your partner’s particular desires, wants, yucks, and yums — including wherever you and your partner might fall on the spectrum of sexual experience.

Being fearful to express what it is that turns you on or shaming your partner for what tickles their intimate fancy is a terrible way to explore a mutually satisfying hookup. Sexuality is a very wide world, so it’s impossible that you’ll both be totally into every single thing the other person is into, and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as everything is consensual. Instead, focus on where your desires overlap and remember that you can enthusiastically consent to trying something new because consent means you can change your mind at any time if the new thing just isn’t for you.

Honor consent and seek it actively and in an ongoing manner.

Consent starts with asking for explicit permission before your intimate interaction begins, making sure that each party involved is fully informed about and understands what they’re saying yes, no, or maybe to. Make sure your consent practice doesn’t end there, though!

Active, ongoing consent continues through your intimate interaction and for the duration of your hookup relationship, no matter how long it lasts. During your hookup, ask questions like “Is this still okay?” “Do you like what we’re doing or should we switch it up?” and never assume that just because you hooked up once that your partner (or you!) wants to hook up again, or do the same things you did last time. Keep asking questions and don’t be worried about asking too many. It’s better to spend more time asking questions and less time feeling regret or remorse.

Practice makes perfect.

Feeling awkward is one of the main reasons high school and college students tell me they don’t utilize consent skills and safer-sex supplies. Though putting a condom on a banana is one of the most tired classroom sex-ed tricks in the book, getting your hands on things like condoms, dental dams, gloves, lube, and knowing how to use them properly before you find yourself in a hookup situation will make using these tools more seamless (and less awkward-seeming) in the moment.

Masturbating using condoms, gloves, and/or lube to get familiar with the sensation can be a fun way to practice. You can visit your local Planned Parenthood to get accurate information about birth control and risk-management options (even if you don’t plan on needing them anytime soon), which can help bust myths and let you know the resources available to you. Better yet — make it an educational outing with a few friends, complete with going out for ice cream afterward — because why not?

Check in regularly.

Though the general lack of commitment can be part of what makes hooking up appealing to folks, it’s always a good idea to check in every now and then about whether or not keeping it casual is still what you want to do. Checking in with ourselves about our own wants and needs and communicating them clearly also makes sure that we’re keeping tabs on our own priorities, too, and makes sure that we’re remembering to stay clear about our intentions.

Ask for info on pronouns, body parts, no-zones, and triggers.

Even if our sexual interactions are short-term, hooking up is still a vulnerable place to be. All of our partners deserve respect and to feel safe and valued. Nothing will ruin a hookup faster than crossing a boundary (even if accidentally), so make sure to ask where and how your partner likes to be touched, the words they use to talk about them and their bodies, and where they absolutely do not want to go with you whether that’s right now or ever.

Pro tip: Remember that someone saying “no” or “not there” to you isn’t something that you should take personally. Rather, a no can be valuable information your partner is sharing with you about themselves so that you can get to know them better. This perspective can make the “nos” easier to hear while keeping our egos in check.

Respect the gender and sexuality identities of your partners and support their ongoing journey.

Gender, sexuality, and identity is fluid and, especially between teenagehood and adulthood, can change and shift a lot. If a partner tells you about how they identify, believe them, respect them, use the language they ask you to use, and adapt if what’s true for them changes.

Your sureness about your own gender and sexuality doesn’t need to get rattled just because your partners’ identities shift — we promise.

Don’t stir drama.

A truly ethical hookup doesn’t kiss and Snap. While getting support from or excitedly dishing to your friends about hookups can be a totally healthy part of the experience, spreading rumors, sharing information, or even dropping hints that violate your partner’s privacy, consent, or are intended to hurt them or someone else is not. Know the difference, ask your partner before sharing their personal information, and absolutely keep their sexts to yourself.

Complete Article HERE!

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When Starting To Talk To Your Kids About Sex, Younger Is Better

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By Kelly Gonsalves

There’s a common misconception that talking to kids about sex at a younger age will encourage them to start having sex earlier in life. But new research finds there’s little truth behind this worry and suggests that when it comes to teaching your kids about sex, the younger, the better.

In a new study published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal, researchers sought to understand how parental involvement in kids’ sex ed affected actual sexual health outcomes. In other words, does having parents who talk to them about sex lead to kids making better decisions about their sex lives?

To answer this question, the researchers examined 31 past studies on sex education programs that substantially involve parents in teaching kids about sex—not a perfect barometer for measuring how much parents teach their kids about sex at home in general but at least a good way to gauge its effects. In total, the meta-analysis involved data on over 12,000 kids between ages 9 and 18 whose parents participated in their sex education.

Learning about sex doesn’t make kids start having sex earlier.

First of all, the results showed parents should be actively engaged in teaching their kids about sex: Kids with more parental involvement were more likely to use condoms during sex, were more open with their parents about their sexual experiences, and had higher sexual self-efficacy, which is essentially the ability to advocate for your needs in bed. And the more hours their parents spent participating in their kids’ sex education, the stronger these effects were.

But the most interesting findings dealt with age: The study found parents helping to educate their kids about sex had no effect on how old their kids were when they started having sex.

“[These initiatives] were not associated with earlier initiation of sexual activity,” the researchers explain. “This should be reassuring for parents who are concerned that talking about sex with their children may somehow result in their children initiating sex. This meta-analysis shows that across the dozens of interventions for parents, youth were no more or less likely to initiate sex at the conclusion of the interventions.”

Talking to kids about sex earlier is good for their health—and their confidence.

The results also showed the positive effects of these parental interventions were even stronger when they happened at a younger age. When parents talked to their kids about sex earlier on (specifically between ages 9 and 14), those kids were even more likely to practice safe sex later on, more willing to communicate with their parents about their experiences, and had an even higher increase in sexual self-efficacy than kids whose parents waited until they were older to start their sex education.

Rather than encouraging kids to start having sex earlier, these conversations actually just create an environment where kids have more knowledge to make more informed decisions about sex later in life. Instead of stumbling into sexual situations in their teens still without having had any formal conversations about sexual health or communication, kids have that basic information with them for whenever their sexual lives begin.

“Thirty years of public health research has shown that young people are not more likely to have sex earlier because they learn about sex,” says Lucinda Holt, M.S., a sex educator and director of communications and development at Answer, a national sex-ed organization based at Rutgers University, in an interview with mindbodygreen. “When you are talking with your child about these topics, you are providing the information they need and helping them prepare to make healthy decisions as they get older.”

She adds that another key benefit of starting these sex talks early is taking away the shame around sexuality so that young people feel comfortable asking their parents and guardians questions instead of feeling like they’ll get in trouble for bringing it up. 

“It’s better that they have you as a resource than hearsay from their friends or from sexually explicit content online,” she says.

The myth of “sexualizing our children.”

Some people worry that just knowing about the existence of sex will “corrupt” their child’s innocence and make them become interested in sex at an earlier, inappropriate age—despite the fact that this and many other studies prove that this theory isn’t true.

“People hear the word ‘sex’ in the same sentence with ‘kids,’ and they think talking to their child about sex is about having a sexually explicit conversation. That is not what we’re talking about,” Holt explains. “We are talking about parents and guardians using the correct names of body parts, helping kids understand privacy, empowering them around bodily autonomy, teaching them to respect others’ boundaries, and providing age-appropriate answers to their questions about their bodies and where babies come from.”

Holt points to projects like AMAZE, an online resource that offers kid-friendly educational, animated videos about sexuality, gender, reproductive health, and other body stuff. Created by Answer and other reputable national sex education organizations, AMAZE offers content for kids as young as 4 years old.

Starting these conversations from this young age helps kids grow up in an environment where they’re not afraid or ashamed of their bodies—meaning they’ll be better equipped to ask their parents questions when they need help and know how and when to protect themselves from possible harm.

“When you use appropriate names like ‘penis’ and ‘vulva,’ you’re sending the message that these body parts are like ‘knee’ or ‘arm,’ and we don’t have to be ashamed of our bodies. This sets younger kids up to feel comfortable speaking with a parent about their bodies and to ask questions if they have them,” Holt explains. “Giving kids some basic language and concepts means they will be better prepared to have conversations with a parent as they get older about healthy relationships, consent, and safer sex.”

The younger they are when they start learning about sex, the more prepared and safe they’ll be in the long run whenever they do decide to start their sexual lives—which, according to the research, will be no earlier than if no one had ever started teaching them about sex.

Complete Article HERE!

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Talking to your children about sex is ‘best way to avoid unwanted pregnancies’

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By Hattie Gladwell

Attention, parents: talking to children about sex is the best way of preventing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STDs, a study has found.

Talking to your kids about the birds and the bees can be uncomfortable, with many parents reluctant to do so.

But research suggests that interventions involving parents and children actually lead to safer sexual practices and don’t make teenagers more likely to engage in sexual activity.

Lead author Dr Laura Widman said: ‘People have been studying parent-based sexual health interventions for decades, and we wanted to know how effective they are; as well as whether there are specific features of these interventions that make them more effective.’

She said parent-based interventions are programmes aimed at working with mums and dads, and often their children, to address issues such as communicating about sex, providing sexual health information and encouraging safe sex.

The research team analysed 31 trials involving more than 12,400 youngsters, aged nine to 18, with an average age of just over 12.

One of the strongest effects the analysis identified was an increase in condom use by adolescents whose parents took part in an intervention, compared to those whose parents didn’t participate.

The study also found several features that increased the size of that effect. Interventions that focused on children aged 14 or younger had a stronger effect than interventions aimed at older kids.

Interventions that targeted parents and adolescents equally, rather than focusing primarily on either audience, were more effective; while programmes that lasted for 10 hours or more were more effective than shorter interventions.

Dr Widman, an assistant professor of psychology at North Carolina State University in the US, said: ‘These are variables that make sense intuitively.

‘Reaching kids when they’re younger and, often, more willing to listen; involving both parents and adolescents; spending more time on the subject matter – none of those are particularly surprising.

‘However, it’s good to see that the data bears this out.’

She pointed out that another interesting finding was that interventions did not affect the age at which teens became sexually active.

She added: ‘In other words, the kids who were taught about sexual health did not become sexually active any earlier than kids who were not part of the interventions.

‘But kids who were part of the interventions were more likely to use condoms when they did become sexually active.’

Study co-author Reina Evans, a PhD student at North Carolina State, said: ‘This highlights the value of parent-based interventions, and makes clear that certain features are especially valuable when developing interventions.’

And the study argued that special attention can be placed on fathers:

‘We found only one intervention that targeted fathers, and it worked very well,’ Dr Widman said.

‘Similarly, there was only one intervention aimed specifically at parents of sons, which also worked very well.

‘This suggests that it may be worthwhile to pursue broader efforts to assess the effectiveness of gender-specific interventions for parents and adolescents.

‘What’s more, we found that there is a dearth of information on the effectiveness of online interventions. That’s definitely an area ripe for future study.’

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What do we really know about male desire?

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Not much, according to Canadian sex researchers

Winnipeg relationships therapist Sarah Hunter Murray found a male desire that’s less voracious, indiscriminate and skin deep, and more emotionally complex – fragile, even.

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Although sex researchers historically gave male subjects centre stage, they paid surprisingly little attention to how men actually desire. Today, contemporary sexologists say our cultural understanding of men’s sex drive remains simplistic and leans on old clichés – that male libido is always sky-high, self-centred and ready to go, with practically anyone. Men who aren’t this way are still treated as exceptions, not the rule.

Canadian researchers and clinicians are starting to push back on these ideas by asking deeper questions about the inner world of male desire. They’re looking at how heterosexual men lust (and don’t) within their relationships, what motivates them to have sex with their partners, what frustrates them in their intimate lives and how they process rejection from the women they love. What they’re finding counters much of what’s been previously assumed about men.

“We’ve got this stereotype about men’s desire being constant and unwavering. More recently, we’ve got #MeToo highlighting stories of men’s sexual desire being dangerous, toxic and about power. But what else is going on?” said Winnipeg relationships therapist Sarah Hunter Murray.

Murray interviewed nearly 300 men and spoke to hundreds more over a decade in her therapy practice – executives, truck drivers, athletes, teachers and dads among them. Their insights are included in Murray’s recent book, Not Always in The Mood: The New Science of Men, Sex, and Relationships, which offers a rare glimpse into a world we think we understand, but possibly don’t at all.

Notably absent from Murray’s book are the usual tales of raging male libido. One husband is too stressed out by the family business to think about sex. A boyfriend turns down his girlfriend’s advances for two months as he dwells on an unresolved argument. Another husband tells Murray his sexual interest piques when he and his wife talk late into the night. In her conversations with men, Murray found a male desire that’s less voracious, indiscriminate and skin deep, and more emotionally complex – fragile, even.

While Murray offers a strikingly new perspective on heterosexual male sex drive, other Canadian researchers are studying men’s sexual problems in long-term committed relationships. In Halifax, clinical psychologist Natalie Rosen is looking at why men experience low desire with their partners. At the University of Waterloo, PhD student Siobhan Sutherland is exploring male and female partners’ sexual complaints, which happen to be the same. And at the University of Kentucky, Canadian researcher Kristen Mark mines “sexual desire discrepancy” in couples, finding it’s sometimes wives and girlfriends who are more interested in sex than husbands and boyfriends – guys who find this scenario particularly troubling because of social expectations about the supposedly more carnal male gender.

Their emerging research suggests serious blind spots around male desire are harming relationships and holding couples back from broaching what they want in their intimate lives.

“If we ignore the nuances of sexual desire in men, we risk continuing to perpetuate stereotypes – that men’s sexual interest is uniformly high and independent of context – to the detriment of the many men whose experiences are multifaceted,” said Halifax’s Rosen. “In enhancing our understanding of men’s sexual desire, we can improve individual and couple sexuality and ultimately promote the quality of intimate relationships.”

The Globe spoke to researchers – and men – about busting the most pernicious myths lingering around male desire.

Not in the mood

Despite stereotypical depictions in pop culture, real-world men aren’t always fired up.

“The myth is that men are a sex toy that you can pull out of your closet and it’s always ready to go when you are. Well, no, that’s not actually the case,” said CJ, a 41-year-old government employee in St. John’s who is divorced and now in a relationship with a woman he’s known for two decades. (In order to protect the men’s privacy, full names are not used). “If your time and energy is spent on the adulting – paying bills, working overtime, trying to keep your energy up for elderly parents or young kids – is there really time to connect emotionally and build that bridge that ends up in the bedroom?” said CJ.

Adam, a Kitchener, Ont., retiree who’s been with his wife for more than two decades, also disputed the notion that the male sex drive runs non-stop, no matter what. “If I’m focused on something or upset about something at work, I just want to be alone or work something out in my head. You don’t want to have any kind of interaction with anybody,” said Adam, 67. “My partner used to talk about the ‘tent time’ or the ‘bear time.'”

In conversation with Murray, the Winnipeg relationships therapist, men pointed out that sex wasn’t at the forefront of their brains when they were sick, tired, stressed out at work or feeling emotionally disconnected. “Men’s sexual desire is not a static trait that never changes and is impermeable to outside influences,” wrote Murray, who holds a PhD in human sexuality. “We’ve gotten used to talking about the complexities of women’s desire being affected by how much sleep they’re getting, how much stress they’re under or by being a parent, but we simply don’t talk about this with men,” she said.

Halifax’s Rosen is currently recruiting couples for one of the first studies to look at men struggling with lowered desire within their relationships. “There’s so much pressure in how men’s desire is supposed to conform to the stereotype of always being ready and interested in sex,” said Rosen, an associate professor in psychology and neuroscience at Dalhousie University and director of the school’s Couples and Sexual Health Research Laboratory. “The men I’ve seen clinically feel a lot of shame around it, like there’s something wrong with them. Their family doctors don’t bring it up with them and they don’t see representations of themselves.”

Faking it

During their first therapy sessions with Murray, men often boasted about their robust sex drives. Subsequent conversations saw them dialing it back. Numerous husbands and boyfriends confessed that “some of their desire was feigned rather than authentic,” Murray wrote.

Men told her that they agreed to sex they didn’t fully want because they felt they had to. Having been socialized all their lives about high-octane male desire, men were playing the part. They were also faking it for the sake of their girlfriends and wives, who took sexual rejection and lagging male libido personally. “Men talked about this fear that their female partner might not be open to them saying ‘no’ to sex,” Murray said.

In St. John’s, CJ copped to faking sexual interest before. “It’s almost on a scale of 1 to 10. I’m not really there but I’m at a 6 and a half so I can go along with it,” CJ said. “Other times you kind of take one for the team, realizing that she’s probably done the same thing for you.”

Through her first interviews, Halifax’s Rosen is finding that men with low sexual interest are still reporting they regularly have sex with their female partners. Rosen said the men felt guilt and obligation to “please their partner to maintain the relationship.”

The female gaze

The standard thinking still goes in heterosexual dynamics: Men do the complimenting (and the objectifying), the desiring and the pursuing – and are naturally content with the setup. Not exactly, the men interviewed said.

“Men really don’t get checked out very often,” said Alexander, a 22-year-old Toronto student who has been with his girlfriend Mary, 21, for more than a year. “We have better sex when she’s complimented me and encouraged me. …It changes the whole tone of the evening,” Alexander said. “If a woman initiates even just one component of sex, that is the biggest vote of confidence.”

In her conversations with hundreds of men, Winnipeg’s Murray found many wanted their spouses and girlfriends to look at them, compliment them and act on their own urges. “Interview after interview, it started to become very clear that the most salient and important experience that increased men’s sexual desire was feeling wanted by their female partner,” Murray wrote. “A lot of women don’t think to outwardly demonstrate their desire for their male partners.”

Waterloo’s Sutherland asked 117 heterosexual couples in long-term relationships about their problems in bed for a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine in March, and found men and women voicing pretty much the same concerns: frequency of sex, initiation and how much their partners showed interest. “We used to think that women just wanted to be romanced and men just care about sex. That’s not true. Men want to feel wanted as well, and for women to show interest in them,” Sutherland said.

Beyond skin deep

Current assumptions about male libido still often go like this: sex for men is about getting off, a practically robotic function.

Look deeper and many men balk at that assumption. For Kitchener’s Adam, intimacy is how he connects with his wife. “I may touch my partner … I’m not intending to be crude, but sometimes she reacts in a way that [suggests] this is the only motive I would have,” Adam said. “There are times when men are struggling to find a way to show intimacy. A touch is presumed to be a claim on the body, instead of just a way to connect and make some contact.”

Toronto’s Alexander expressed frustration with literature and pop culture that depict sex as solely about physical gratification for men. “If we’ve just had sex, I don’t want to go to sleep,” he said of his girlfriend. “I want to reflect on what just happened with her.”

In research interviews and therapy sessions with Murray, husbands and boyfriends described feeling their sexual-interest spike on date nights, long walks and during close conversations – the stuff of rom-coms. “To hear men talking about romantic and sweet things about their partner that turn them on, it challenged my own assumptions,” Murray said.

The therapist argued that women who are constantly cynical about the nature of their partners’ sexual desire might be missing the bigger picture. “When we have a limited belief about what turns our partner on, we unfortunately miss the more complex, nuanced, and meaningful ways that he feels desire for us,” Murray wrote. “Many of men’s emotional bids for connection go unnoticed.”

Mars, Venus and Planet Earth

Waterloo’s Sutherland found that women and men voiced virtually all the same desire-related problems in their relationships. Here, she hit on something sexologists increasingly note: When it comes to intimacy, there is often less difference between the genders than there is between individual people. “There used to be this idea that men are from Mars and women are from Venus,” Sutherland said. “We find more and more in our research that it’s just not the case.”

Winnipeg’s Murray found gender norms were limiting couples’ experiences in bed, particularly the sexual scripts that tell men they need to pursue and women they need to be the gatekeeper. CJ agreed: “If you’re conforming to the same roles, if you’re not stepping outside a little bit, it has a detrimental effect. It becomes a flow chart: I initiate. You respond. If yes, then bedroom. If bedroom, then missionary.”

Speaking to distraught couples, Murray noticed that false assumptions about raging male libido left both men and women feeling inadequate: Some women questioned whether their own lower desire was dysfunctional, while some men who didn’t experience near-constant sexual urges told Murray they felt broken.

The author wants relationships to become a place of respite from gendered expectations about desire that have little, if anything, to do with individual couples.

“These misconceptions hold us in antiquated boxes about what men and women should be, and don’t leave room to have a new discourse around what we actually want to experience,” Murray said. “It doesn’t let us be our authentic selves.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Sexual assault survivors are using this sex education app to regain confidence

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Sex is complex, but there’s a new wave of apps and websites that aim to help women connect better with their bodies and sexuality. One such app is Ferly, an audio app, that is redefining the meaning of online sex education while also helping assault survivors regain their sexual confidence.

The app, which was released on iOS last month, creates a community for women to learn more about their bodies through micro-podcasts on the science of sex, bite-sized articles on intimacy and sexual pleasure, and a journaling space to reflect on their growth.

The website reads: “This is not about great sex. It’ll never be about great sex. This is about you putting words to the shape of your pleasure, to acknowledge that it’s a strange, wondrous, and ever-changing thing. To develop an inner confidence that transforms your most important relationship — the one you have with yourself.”

“Ferly is an old English word that means ‘strange and wondrous,’ but it used to mean ‘strange and frightful,’” Billie Quinlan, the co-founder of Ferly, told TNW. “It was used to reference all the scary and unknown creatures, like witches. But as we came to understand they weren’t real and there was nothing to be afraid of, they changed the meaning of the word. We believe this is a beautiful analogy to female sexuality — something we once feared is now claiming its right.”

When the co-founders of Ferly — Quinlan and Anna Hushlak — came together to build a business that would support women’s relationship with sex, they found it helped tackle a much greater, systemic issue: female pleasure is taboo, and its veil of shame prevents us from achieving true equality.

For many women, understanding sex and being comfortable with their own sexuality is challenging, but for survivors of sexual assault, it can be even harder. Ferly provides a safe space for survivors to rediscover their sexual confidence and receive help from various listed resources – all in a safe environment.

How Ferly helps sexual assault survivors

Ferly was created from personal experience after Quinlan and Hushlak experienced sexual violence and assault respectively. “Anna and I have both navigated sexual trauma which had a profoundly negative impact on our sense of self and our relationship with sex,” Quinlan explained. “At the time, neither of us had the tools or community to help us (re)discover pleasure and invest in our well-being.”

The #MeToo movement gave other survivors the chance to speak up against sexual violence, and Quinlan and Hushlak realized they weren’t alone. In fact, there was a whole community of women who had endured similar experiences. “We wanted to build a safe, enjoyable, and scientifically grounded space,” Quinlan said.

While Ferly provides a space for survivors to get back in touch with their sexuality and confidence, the app’s technology comes with its limitations. For survivors to take their recovery process further, Ferly created a database of recommended resources and experts that can better support them. These resources will eventually live in the app so anyone can access them when necessary.

“I don’t think there are any substitutes for in person, expert support when it comes to such a delicate issue,” Quinlan told TNW. “But I do believe technology can work side by side with expert support and provide a space and tools that are available 24/7. That’s where we would like Ferly to progress to.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Have Sex ‘Micro Talks’ With Your Kid

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By Catherine Pearlman

In the history of parenting, there might be nothing more dreaded than The Sex Talk. Masturbation, nocturnal emissions, menstrual cycles, how to use condoms—nobody wants an awkward lecture on these topics. I remember once joking with my mom about douching after seeing a commercial on television. She then took on a super serious tone and started to explain vaginal hygiene. I am not sure I’ve yet to recover.

At the same time, despite access to a plethora of internet resources and improved education in the classroom, kids do need their parents to step in to fill in the gaps. But how do you go about it with feeling like you’re busting into a private life without an invitation? And how do you cover the always-changing environment in which teens are living?

Maybe it’s time to retire the old, let-me-sit-you-down kind of sex talk in favor of something more palatable—and more effective. I suggest micro conversations numbering in the hundreds across years of young adulthood.

How to you engage in a micro chat? Simple. You look for moments in your everyday communication with your children to bring up important sex-related topics. You might use current events, community happenings, social media, television and books to ask questions and spark discussions.

The approach keeps your kids informed without having the stress of a single face-to-face onslaught of facts. Here are four ways to use micro conversations to broach the tough topics related to sex.

If you see something, say something

The other day, I was walking with my 12-year-old son into Costco. I see a girl with a hickey on her neck. So, I say, “Hey, Em, do you see the red spot on the girl’s neck? Do you know what that is?” He had no idea. I explained how people can make hickeys. When he asked why someone would do that, it opened up the conversation about young relationships.

Another time, I was watching a reality program with my daughter. There was a boyfriend who was becoming controlling with increasing levels of anger and even some violence. I asked her if she would be concerned if her partner acted like the boyfriend on the show. We both expressed concerns for the girl in the relationship, and then discussed intimate partner abuse.

 

Read what teenagers are reading

Young adult novels are not just for kids. In addition to helping parents know what is really going on in the private lives of teens, these books are windows of opportunity to talk about dating, sex, rape, consent, sexual identity, sexting and more. When I read Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, I was shocked and distraught about everything I was reading. Surely, this type of teen life is exaggerated. Turns out my daughter wasn’t shocked. Why? Because she had already seen glimpses of suicide, hazing and same-sex attraction. Reading that book allowed me to talk about those issues in a very real but not uncomfortable way.

Use the news

Every day there’s a story that can be discussed over dinner. Talk about the Brock Turner verdict and the latest #MeToo story. Mention the controversy of transgender athletes competing in high school and start a discussion about all of the potential concerns on both sides. Let that lead into the transitioning process, hormones, what makes someone a man or woman, and on and on. Bring up a recent study showing sexting with teens is on the rise. There’s an endless stream of topics. Just google “teen” and the subject of your choice.

Documentary movie night helps when experience fails

I regularly subject my kids to watching real stories about real people. Sure, they’d rather watch America’s Got Talent. But they sit through these movies and then the conversations begin and flow for days. My daughter and I watched Audrie & Daisy, a film about date rape in high school. We were able not only to discuss how and when sexual assault can happen but also the effects of drinking, drugs and cyberbullying.

Starting a sex-related conversation with children at any age isn’t easy, even in micro doses. If it doesn’t go well at first, no worries. Just try again another time. Keep at it. Eventually it does become easier as teens become accustomed to talking about a wide range of issues. Then in the future when your child is faced with sexting, drugs, sexual assault or relationship issues, they’ll know you can be approached for help.

Complete Article HERE!

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Hospital’s new online workshop helps parents talk about sexual health with kids with disabilities

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Having “the talk” fills most families with dread. For parents of teens with disabilities, the conversation often takes on an added layer of complexity. Parents want to keep their especially vulnerable children close and safe, while instilling independence and strong self-esteem. They want their kids to assert their own boundaries, even as these children often require assistance with many aspects of their daily lives. Parents want their youth to go out into the world and have healthy relationships, but they worry because disabled people are at increased risk of abuse.

In a bid to help, Toronto’s Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital launched a new online tool Monday designed for parents looking for insight into how to speak meaningfully with their disabled youth about sex. The new workshop, available free to the public off the hospital’s YouTube channel, covers everything from good relationships and consent to gender identity and social media – this for a cohort often left out of the sex ed discussion, thanks to lingering stigma around disabled people’s sexuality.

“We have needs and desires as well. We need to be educated on how to navigate these situations and have these conversations without it feeling like it’s such a taboo topic,” said Emily Chan, who co-designed the new workshop as chair of the hospital’s youth advisory council.

Chan, 22, has centronuclear myopathy, a rare neuromuscular condition. She said parents of those with disabilities often keep a “tight rein” on their children, but she urged them to speak with their kids about healthy relationships early, “not waiting until we’re heading into adulthood, or already in adulthood.”

The online workshop follows the release last week of new guidelines that recommended sexual health education be made available at short- and long-term care facilities serving youth with disabilities or chronic illnesses, with information geared toward their specific needs. Colleges and universities should offer comprehensive sex ed training to those studying to be caregivers and personal support workers for disabled people, according to The Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education from the Sex Information & Education Council of Canada, a non-profit organization promoting sexual and reproductive health.

Joanne Downing sets the same priorities when she talks to her three children, ages 17 to 21, including her 19-year-old son Matthew, who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is non-verbal. Downing wants them all to be safe, respectful and make good choices.

“We talk about ‘my space, your space,’ and ‘good touch, bad touch,’” Downing, 57, said about Matthew. “He can understand whether or not he’s crossed that barrier or if someone’s crossed that barrier on him.”

Downing offered a family perspective for the new webinar and coached parents at two workshops held at the hospital over the winter. Talking to her own son, Downing uses proper terminology for body parts, and explains the difference between private and public space. One thing she recommends parents do with their disabled teens is differentiate between platonic friendships and romantic or sexual relationships.

“[Matthew’s] perception of having a girlfriend is someone of the opposite sex who’s a friend that he can hang out with,” Downing said. “He definitely likes girls and he flirts. He loves it. He knows pretty much every single swim instructor at the pool.”

Downing stressed the importance of striking a balance between autonomy and safety. Even though she’s involved in every facet of Matthew’s life and care, the mother has also taught her son how to ask for privacy.

Autonomy is critical to discussions of sex ed with this cohort, according to Yukari Seko, a research associate at Bloorview Research Institute, who along with social worker Gabriella Carafa developed the new online workshop. “Research shows that parents of children with a disability can be overprotective, and understandably so because they need more help,” Seko said. “But it can sometimes hinder their transition to adulthood. They need to learn and practice taking some risks.”

Opportunities to be independent – and to fail – are integral to figuring out what you want and don’t want in adult life, said Chan. “Youth need the chance to explore their environment and their relationships with others, to not be afraid to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes,” she said. “You need to be able to get out into the real world and have those experiences to shape your personality, beliefs, values and how you approach different situations.”

At the same time, safety is a very real concern for these parents. Children and youth with a disability or chronic health condition are at an increased risk of sexual abuse, according to the Canadian Paediatric Society.

Miriam Kaufman, author of the Society’s report on this issue and the book Easy for You to Say: Q and As for Teens Living With Chronic Illness or Disability, said it is particularly important for parents of disabled youth to discuss consent, not only because these children can be more physically vulnerable but also because they’ve gotten conflicting messages about bodily autonomy all their lives.

“We have trained, from birth practically, young people with disabilities and chronic health conditions to put up with things that in any other context would be considered abuse: medical procedures, painful procedures … being held down for procedures and being told not to yell and to co-operate,” said Kaufman. “We train these kids from a young age that it’s okay for these strangers in the health care system to have access to their bodies. … They’ve learned that they don’t really have ownership of their bodies.”

It’s always a fine tightrope for parents of kids with disabilities, Kaufman said, who are trying to protect their children while helping them develop positive self-image. “Most parents also want their children to grow up sexually healthy, to be able to have relationships and be happy in those relationships,” Kaufman said. “They don’t want to totally freak them out about sexuality, in terms of protecting them.”

At Holland Bloorview, Seko urged families of disabled youth to educate themselves on these issues, but also to listen to their kids’ questions and observations.

“They are the experts of their life, too,” Seko said.

Complete Article HERE!

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There are infinite ways to have sex & there’s nothing unnatural about any of them

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The famous sex researcher Alfred Kinsey once said the only unnatural sex act is one that can’t be performed.

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Humans have discovered an almost infinite amount of ways to have sex — and things to have sex with. The famous sex researcher Alfred Kinsey said: “The only unnatural sex act is that which can’t be performed.”

From foot fetishes to the kinkiest outfit or habits, fetishes are an endless rainbow of preferences and practices. Although human studies on fetishes and atypical sexual interest are few, case studies and research on non-human animal behaviour have revealed some insights about them and how they may develop.

In fetishism, the subject of the desire is not necessarily related to sexual intercourse, yet the fetish drives a person’s sexual arousal, fantasies and preferences. Fetishes can be part of a healthy and playful sexual life for individuals and couples, and also forms the basis of some sexual subcultures.

Unfortunately, fetishes have often wrongly been associated with sexual deviancy, making it easy to feel weird or shame about them. Many of us are quick to judge things we do not understand or experience. When it comes to sex, we can believe that things we don’t do are weird, wrong or even disgusting.

Let’s not judge each other’s sex lives. Instead, embrace your curiosity.

The Pride marches taking place this summer began as a social movement against repressive and discriminatory practices against LGBTQ people following the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969. Fifty years later, Pride month has become a commemoration and celebration of sexual minorities and diversity.

Let’s take a look under the covers together to paint a more positive view of these so-called “perversions.” We all may have a kink or two. So why not feel more accepting of our more obscure sexual desires?

What are fetishes?

Fetishes are not just about whips and leather, but part of a natural curiosity to explore the unknown territories of our sexuality.

A lot of the early science claimed fetishes were sexual abnormalities or perversions. However, most researchers and clinical practitioners now only consider fetishes to be harmful if they cause distress, physical harm or transgress consent.

Scientists have recently begun to understand how some fetishes develop. Several animal studies and case reports on humans suggest that early imprinting and Pavlovian or classical conditioning can shape the formation of fetishes. We believe learning from experiences plays a large role in forming fetishes.

From a Pavlovian conditioning perspective, fetishes are seen as the product of associating early and rewarding sexual experiences with objects, actions or body parts that are not necessarily sexual. This is perhaps why different people have different fetishes.

As for early imprinting, the best example comes from a study in which newborn goats and sheep were cross-fostered by a mother of another species. Goats were mothered by sheep, and the sheep mothered by goats. The results showed male goats and sheep had sexual preferences for females of the opposite species, meaning the same species as their adopting mothers, while females on the other hand were more fluid in their choices and were willing to have sex with males of both species.

Studies with rats have shown that other non-human animals also develop fetishes.

This study shines some light on sex differences in human fetishes, as men with fetishes tend to vastly outnumber women with fetishes.

These sex differences appear to be explained solely by differences in sexual urges, where men tend to show higher arousal or less repulsion towards various “deviant” sexual acts than women do. This, nevertheless, does not imply men have more psychological disorders.

Fetish-related disorders

Fetishes, just like any other thing in life, can be taken to where it may be a little “too much.” They may not only be preferred, but also needed in the expression of sexual arousal, which can impair the preferred pattern of arousal or performance.

Fetish-related disorders are characterized by the expression of two main criteria: recurrent and intense sexual arousal from either the use of objects or highly specific body part(s) that are not genitalia manifested by fantasies, urges or behaviours; those which can cause great distress or impairment of their intimacy, social or occupational life.

Some are particularly troubling, like exhibitionism or frotteurism. These paraphilias are believed to be distortions of normal sexual interactions with others. Sadly, both of them still remain poorly understood.

As previously mentioned, if by some reason we can establish associations that can drive our arousal through learning experiences, research has also shown that these associations can be “erased.” However, this process can be quite slow, difficult to change and susceptible of being spontaneously triggered by familiar cues.

No definition of normal

Fetishes have the potential of enhancing or expanding the repertoire of sensations we experience during sex. In fact, experimental data shows that animals become more sexually aroused when they learn to associate sex with fetish-like cues.

Instead of focusing on what you should like or what should get you off or not, you’re better off wondering how that thing suits you or your partner. Normality falls within blurry lines, and it is up to you to expand its limits or not.

There is no exact definition of what constitutes normal or healthy. These definitions are highly dependent of the context (historical time and culture).

We get caught up with what appears to be more frequent, healthy, natural or normal: but what about what feels right?

So how do you know if you have a fetish? If there is consent and respect, it really doesn’t matter what you do between the bed sheets, on the kitchen table or on that secret hidden spot.

Perhaps you don’t have a fetish. But it’s never too late to try.

As North Americans celebrate Pride this summer, we should take it as a reminder of our colourful sexual diversity —and also the infinite ways to have sex, with nothing unnatural about any of them.

We believe all people should be allowed to express their sexuality and embrace it without the weight of stereotypes or “normal” standards to live by. Life is too short to not make the best out of it, especially when it comes to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh.

Complete Article HERE!

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How to Have Sex if You’re Queer

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What to Know About Protection, Consent, and What Queer Sex Means

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Happy Pride!

Rarely does traditional sex education tackle pleasure for pleasure’s sake, how to have sex for non-reproductive purposes, or the wide spectrums of sexualities, bodies, and genders that exist. Instead it tends to cover penis-in-vagina penetration only, pregnancy risks, and STI/STD transmission, leaning heavily on scare tactics that may not even work.

Traditional sex ed is failing us all, but when it comes to standardized sex education in the U.S., the LGBTQ community is especially left out of the conversation. A GLSEN National School Climate Survey found that fewer than 5% of LGBTQ students had health classes that included positive representations of LGBTQ-related topics. Among self-identified “millennials” surveyed in 2015, only 12% said their sex education classes covered same-sex relationships at all.

The good, and even possibly great news is that not being boxed in by the narrow definitions of sex provided to us via traditional sex ed means that we are free (and perhaps even empowered!) to build our own sex lives that work uniquely for us, our partners, and our relationships. But we still need some info in order to do so.

Let’s talk about what classic sex education might’ve missed about how to have sex if you’re queer, from what sex between queer people means to how to keep it safe and consensual between the rainbow sheets.

What Queer Sex Means and How to Have it

Redefine and self-define sex. Sexual desire exists on a spectrum just like gender, sexuality, and other fluid and fluctuating parts of our identities. From Ace to Gray-Ace to Allosexual and everywhere in between and beyond, check in with yourself and your partners about how they experience sexual desire (if at all).

Similarly, “having sex” can mean a million different things to a million different people from making out, to certain kinds of penetration, orgasmic experiences, etc. You get to decide “what counts as sex” to you which is especially true when it comes to sexual debuts — a necessary and inclusive term for self-determined first times that looks beyond the traditional, heterosexist version of “losing your virginity.”

Honoring the identities and bodies of ourselves and our partners with respect, kindness, compassion, and tenderness is crucial and can feel even more precious and rewarding when you’re queer. Truly pleasurable sex — regardless of your identity — starts with a sense of safety, clear communication, confident boundaries, active listening skills, and self-awareness.

Check in with yourself first. Active consent starts with knowing yourself and what your boundaries are. Though an important piece of practicing consent is asking your partner for permission and for their preferences, it can be easy to forget to ask yourself similar questions. What do you want out of a sexual experience? Where are you confident you don’t want to venture now, yet, or maybe ever? What are you super excited to explore?

This check-in can help you determine what you want from sex and what queer sex means to you. This is when you can think about experimenting with sex toys, whether you’re interested in penetration, and what kind of touch feels good to you.

Sometimes we don’t even know where to start if we’re not sure about what our options even are. Scarleteen.com or Girl Sex 101 (much more gender-spectrum-inclusive than the title suggests) are both great resources that can get some of your questions answered. You can also find more information here.

Name your own bits. Body parts, especially private body parts, can be complicated territory for LGBTQ folks, and understandably so. One of the main goals of sex for many of us is to feel good in our bodies. The first step to this can be feeling good about the terms we use for our body parts. Try on one or a few that might work for you, communicate them to your partners (especially new ones), and ask them how they like their bodies to be talked about or touched.

Gender roles are bendable roles. You don’t have to adopt traditional gender roles in sex unless you want to. Media mediums from PG-13 sex scenes to X-rated porn can create clear splits between what’s considered being “sexually masculine” (being the do-er, taking control, knowing the ropes) and being “sexually feminine” (being the receiver, being passive or reactive, being led rather than initiating the sexual interaction).

Just because you identify with being masculine, feminine, or somewhere in between doesn’t mean you need to act a certain way or do anything in particular in your sex life. You can be a Ferociously Fierce Femme, a Passive Prince of Pillows, a Non-Binary Take-Charge Babe, or any version of your sexual self that follows what feels good, affirming, and right to you and your partners.

Talk about sex outside of a sexual context. Talking about sex with your potential or current partners before the clothes come off can be a great way to keep clear-headed communication and consent thriving. Sexual interactions are vulnerable, exciting, and can get your body and brain functioning in all new ways. So, sometimes it can be easier to talk about your feelings about sex, your enthusiastic Yes-es, your definite No’s, and your curious Maybes over coffee or text first, in addition to in-the-moment communication about consent.

Make an aftercare plan. We know that consent, permission, and pre-sex talks are all important parts of a healthy sex life, but we can forget to think about what happens after we have sex (besides water, a pee break, and snacks, of course). This is aftercare — or, how we like to be interacted with after sex has ended.

Aftercare preferences can include what we want to do immediately after sex (cuddle? watch Netflix? have some alone time?) and can also include what happens in the upcoming days or weeks (check-ins over text? gossip parameters? is there anyone you and your partner definitely do or don’t want to dish to?).

No matter your aftercare preferences, a post-sex check-in conversation about how things went, what you’d love an encore of, and what you might want to avoid next time (if you’d like there to be a next time) is always a good idea.

Always keep it consensual. Consent starts with asking permission before any sexual touch or interaction begins, continues with checking in about how things are going, and ends with talking with each other about how the sexual interaction went overall so that feedback can be exchanged and any mistakes can be repaired.

True, enthusiastic consent thrives in a space where each person feels free, clear-headed, and safe to speak up about what their No’s, Yes-es, and Maybes are.

Safer Sex for Queer Sex

Hormones matter. Even though testosterone hormones can decrease your risk of unwanted pregnancy, folks on T can still become pregnant, so make sure to use condoms if sperm is likely to be in the mix. Estrogen hormones can slow sperm production, but if your body is still producing sperm, an egg-creating partner could still get pregnant, so put your favorite birth control method to work.

Starting or ending hormone therapy, whether it’s testosterone or estrogen, can impact your sexual response, your desire levels, your emotions, and even your sexual orientation — so don’t be surprised if these changes crop up. Find safe people to talk to about any complicated feelings this may trigger rather than keeping them bottled up.

Condoms aren’t a one-trick pony. Though the gym teacher might think that putting a condom on a banana tells students all they need to know about wrapping it up, they’re usually doing little more than wasting a high-potassium snack. Condoms can help reduce pregnancy and STI/STD transmission risk for all kinds of penis-penetrative sex (vaginal, anal, and oral) so they’re important to learn to use correctly. But, they can also be used in other ways. Condoms can be put on sex toys to help with easy clean-up, or if you want to share the toy with a partner without getting up to wash it (just put on a fresh condom instead!), and can even be made into dental dams.

Gloves are another important piece of latex (or non-latex if you’re allergic) to keep…on hand…in your safer-sex kit, as they can prevent transmission of fluids into unnoticed cuts on your hands and can protect delicate orifice tissues from rough nails or your latest catclaw manicure (Pssst: if your nails are extra long and pointy, you can put cotton balls down in the tips of your glove for extra padding).

Lube is your friend. Lube is a great addition to all kinds of sex, but comes highly recommended for certain kinds of sex. A good water-based lube (avoid the ingredient glycerin if you’re prone to yeast infections!) can add pleasurable slip to all kinds of penetration, is latex-compatible, and reduces friction from sex toys or other body parts.

Lube can also be put on the receiver’s end of a dental dam or a small drop can be added to the inside of a condom before you put it on to create more pleasure for the condom-wearer.

Anal sex especially benefits from lube as your booty doesn’t self-lubricate like the vagina does, so it can be prone to painful tearing or friction during penetration. Using a thicker water-based lube like Sliquid Sassy for anal sex reduces friction, increases pleasure, and decreases chances of tearing which, also lowers risk of STI/STD transmission.

Sadly, no one is immune to STIs. Though it’s true that certain sex acts come with greater or lesser risk of STI/STD transmission, it doesn’t mean that certain partner pairings are totally risk-free. The Human Rights Campaign’s Safer Sex Guide (available in both Spanish and English) contains a helpful chart that breaks down the health risks associated with specific sex acts, complete with barrier and birth control methods that’ll help lower your risk.

Remember, some STIs/STDs are easily curable with medication, some are permanent-yet-manageable, and some can be lethal (especially if left untreated). So, knowing the difference and knowing and communicating your status are all important pieces of your sexual health. You can continue to lower STI stigma while reducing rates of STI transmission by keeping conversations about sexual health with your partners open and non-judgmental.

Sex toys need baths, too. When choosing sex toys, it’s wise to pay attention to the kind of material your toy is made out of. Medical grade silicone, stainless steel, glass, and treated wooden sex toys are all, for the most part, non-porous, meaning that they can (and should) easily be washed with soap and water between uses, between orifices, and between partners.

Sex toys made out of cyberskin, jelly rubber, elastomer, or other porous materials have small pores in them that can trap dirt and bacteria (kind of like a sponge), even after you wash them! This means that you could reintroduce dirt and bacteria to your own body causing bacterial or yeast infections for yourself, or you could pass bacteria or STIs to a partner via the toy. You could avoid these porous materials entirely (check the packaging to see what your toy is made out of) or you could use a condom on them every time like you would a body part.

For more tips on building a culture of consent in your communities and relationships, head to yanatallonhicks.com/consenthandout.

Complete Article HERE!

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Sex: Getting back in the saddle after a dry spell

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What to do, what not to do, and what to stop worrying about

Let’s talk about sex.

More specifically, let’s talk about getting back in the groove after taking some time off. Becoming sexually active again after a dry spell can seem intimidating, confusing, or even embarrassing.

Whether the time away from the bedroom was the result of the passing of a partner, menopause, or just a natural decrease in libido, it’s easy to jump to imagining a world without any sex going forward.

But for older women who want more, a gap in sexual activity certainly doesn’t have to mark the end of the road.

Just because it’s been underrepresented in popular culture, assuming that older people aren’t interested in sex is incorrect. Indeed, it can be downright dangerous if the health concerns associated with sex aren’t addressed in people over a certain age.

For women, it can be especially embarrassing to try to discuss sexual health with doctors, but it’s important to engage in any sexual activity safely and healthily.

In a recent poll conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, 40% of people aged 65 to 80 said they’re sexually active, with plenty of older people reporting that sex has only gotten better as they’ve aged.

So what should older women keep in mind if they’re ready to jump back between the sheets?

As Dr. Kameelah Phillips, an obstetrician/gynecologist in New York, told Considerable, “It is important that women prepare themselves to have sex before jumping right in. Often menopause has changed the vagina, and sexual experiences can be uncomfortable. This discourages further exploration.”

Instead of becoming discouraged if sex is initially different than it was pre-menopause, Dr. Phillips recommends that older women take some time to become reacquainted with their bodies and their sexuality.

“I highly encourage women to use lubrication,” she said. “I especially like silicone or hybrid lubrications to decrease friction. I also encourage them to masturbate, [which] can be quite taboo in the senior population. This helps return blood flow to your pelvis, especially to the vagina and clitoris. It can also alert you to any narrowing the vagina has experienced. Self-pleasure also helps remind women that intimacy with a partner can be pleasurable.”

Dr. Anika Ackerman, a urologist in New Jersey, has a lot of older female patients who are sexually active. She has some recommendations about what to do when topical and over-the-counter lubricants aren’t cutting it.

“The tissues of the vagina are thinner after menopause when [women] no longer have the female sex hormones,” she explained to Considerable. “[This] can lead to pain with intercourse. Topical estrogen creams are helpful in these cases to revitalize vaginal tissues. We also have CO2 lasers for vaginal rejuvenation. These treatments, like the estrogen cream, increase vaginal lubrication, restore vaginal epithelium, and increase tissue thickness.”

Medical professionals acknowledged that many women’s libidos decrease after menopause — but they emphasized that sexuality doesn’t always switch on and off. As psychotherapist Jacob Brown told Considerable, “Just because [post-menopausal women] may not want to do it as often doesn’t mean [they] don’t want to do it at all.”

At any age, sex can be difficult to discuss, especially for people experiencing pain or discomfort. But as Brown put it, “Open and honest communication is the most effective tool for working through changes in sexual experiences as we age.”

And on the upside: A lot of insecurities of youth are long gone, and if an older person is revisiting sex with a partner they’ve been with for decades, they ideally have the advantage of years of trust built with that person.

And though pregnancy is no longer an issue after menopause, it’s important for older people to remember to practice safe sex and use protection if they have a new partner or partners. The risk of STDs and STIs is still very much present — in fact, these diseases are rampant in assisted-living facilities.

Sex is a healthy and fulfilling part of many older people’s lives. While navigating new physical challenges like achy joints or decreased libido might make sexual activity trickier than it was in younger years, these hurdles don’t mean that a fulfilling sex life has to be a thing of the past.

Communication about any aches or concerns with both a doctor and one’s sexual partner is key, and will lead not only to healthier sex, but a better experience for both parties involved.

Complete Article HERE!

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5 Things Straight People Can Learn from Queer Sex

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By Ariana DiValentino

Being queer, in some ways, is a blessing. If there’s one thing the queer world is good at, it’s having really, really good sex.

Of course, there’s no such thing as “the” queer world — it’s a multitude of communities, localities, subcultures, and identifications. Within queer spaces, there tend to be prevailing attitudes of sex positivity and adventurousness that are hard to come across elsewhere.

While things like consent, communication, and kink have entered conversations about sex on a grand scale, some aspects of these things are just baked into queer sexuality. When there’s no set script for a standard sexual encounter — who does what and to whom — it’s liberating. And it makes communication, exploration, and mutual comfort absolutely fundamental.

The first time I had sex with a woman, my partner asked if I enjoy penetration. I was taken aback, because I realized I had literally never thought about it. No previous partner had ever asked me. It had never occurred to me that as a woman, I couldn’t like penetration.

Simply being asked about the very basics of what you like can be powerful, because it centers your actual preferences and experience over the assumptions that go along with whatever social categories you’ve been assigned due to your gender identity, presentation, or having certain body parts. It gives you permission not to like whatever it is you’re supposed to like, and to like whatever you’re not supposed to.

But these moves shouldn’t be exclusive to queer sex by any means — anyone, including cishet (cisgender heterosexual) people — can learn a lot from queer sex. Here’s some advice from queer folks* that’s good for everyone.

*Some last names have been omitted in the interest of privacy.

Sex doesn’t have to follow the same basic hierarchy of acts

If you’ve been through middle school, you’re probably familiar with the baseball metaphor for sex: First base is kissing, second base is feeling up (usually boobs) or sometimes handjobs or fingering, third base is oral sex, and a home run — going all the way — is vaginally penetrative sex — typically with a penis.

But if both partners have a vagina or a penis — or they don’t ascribe to the gender roles typically assigned to those parts — the script sort of goes out the window. For queer people, going all the way can mean whatever we want it to.

“Sex doesn’t always have to happen a certain way,” Isaac Van Curen, an artist based in New York City, says. “You should check in on how you’re feeling that day, what will give you pleasure in that moment. I first and foremost think sex should be for pleasure.”

The main event doesn’t need to be vaginal penetration, or any kind of penetration at all. If oral sex or digital stimulation gets you there, perfect! A sexual encounter isn’t any less valid if it doesn’t follow an arbitrary progression of acts. Just focus on doing whatever gives you and your partner(s) pleasure.

Mutual safety, comfort, and enthusiasm come before all else

This one point was echoed by everyone I spoke to for this piece. Because sex isn’t necessarily expected to happen one particular way, communication is extremely necessary to find out what each of you likes and definitely dislikes.

Sam Smith, a storyboard artist based in NYC — and my partner — explains that his transness makes boundaries crucial to intimacy for him, even in relationships.

“I don’t like to remove my shirt, with or without a binder. I’ll only allow you to put your hand on my chest if I’m wearing a binder,” Smith says.

“In the heat of the moment, people think that anything is up for grabs, like literally up for grabs, but that’s not true.” When he explains to other people that these lines remain even after being with a partner for any amount of time, he says, they often express disbelief.

“They’re like, ‘What do you mean? Why not?’ Because that’s my boundary.” Many trans people have firm rules regarding where they do and don’t like to be touched and which clothing articles they don’t want to remove during sex, often because they experience dysphoria pertaining to sexualized body parts. Talking about these boundaries before sex is necessary to having a good time.

But by no means should this respect for boundaries and tendency to ask questions — not make assumptions — be exclusive to trans and queer folk. Any individual may need to put boundaries in place for any multitude of reasons, ranging from past traumas to simply feeling uncomfortable with certain parts of one’s body.

Absolutely everyone should feel secure in setting limits to protect themselves from emotional distress. Knowing your partner’s preferences and boundaries — not guessing them — is the foundation of any good sexual experience.

“There should definitely be a level of trust between partners. I should be able to stop in the middle of sex and say hey, this isn’t for me, and not feel weird trying to communicate that I’m uncomfortable,” says Van Curen.

In addition to consent, safety and comfort pertain to other factors involved in sex as well. Van Curen points to the existence of medications like PreP, which can prevent the transmission of HIV, as something that a person might require to feel safe during sex. For others, that might mean one or more other tools, like condoms, dental dams, or oral contraceptives.

Good communication creates room for trying new things

BDSM, when practiced properly, involves lots of boundary setting and advance communication, for the sake of the physical and emotional well-being of everyone involved. All that talk might seem exhaustive, but it shouldn’t feel that way — limits and terms are as important as pleasure.

Tina Serrano, an art director based in NYC, describes her first experience with a femme domme: “She asked if I was into BDSM and I said yes without thinking — so we sat and talked about it. She asked me a lot of questions, we talked about consent and limits, about our lives, who we’d loved, she talked about her field research,” Serrano says. “We didn’t even have sex that night, we sat and drank and talked until we fell asleep on the couch.”

Communication shouldn’t feel an obstacle to sex — it’s a kind of intimacy that happens before clothes come off. Talking openly and genuinely caring about your partner’s limits, even in a casual context, can be romantic and sexy.

Claire and Katja, a newlywed couple who have been together for six and a half years, iterate that feeling safe and comfortable enough to talk with your partner means not only avoiding bad experiences, but laying the groundwork for interesting, new, good ones.

“Provide space for your partner to bring up things they might want to try sexually with you. Listening doesn’t mean you have to do or try anything, but it does mean that you are building trust,” they tell Greatist.

It’s easiest to voice your desire to try out new toys, positions, or kinky behaviors in a situation that feels safe and comfortable for experimentation. And if things don’t go porno perfectly? No sweat.

“Embarrassing things happen. Laugh about them,” the couple says.

Don’t be constrained by gender or appearance

Just like men are so often positioned to be dominant and women to be submissive, even non-heterosexual pairings can sometimes be subjected to gendered assumptions. Van Curen emphasizes that his appearance, down to whether or not he has facial hair at a given moment, leads people to make assumptions about his preferred sex positions — i.e, whether he’s a “bottom” or a “top.”

In sapphic or lesbian settings, the butch-femme dichotomy can function similarly. Katja and Claire point out the tendency of other people to identify them as the butch and the femme, respectively, when in reality they don’t feel that this binary describes them very well.

Attached to both of these scenarios is the assumption that the more masculine partner “performs” the sex act while the more feminine person “receives” it. But here’s the secret that queer people know: Gender doesn’t have to mean anything more than you want it to.

Gender doesn’t have to determine what you do in bed — but it can function as a sex toy in and of itself. Gender play can involve heightening or swapping typically gendered roles and behaviors.

“Performing gender roles during sex is a kind of kink,” according to Claire and Katja. Lots of queer people strongly identify with labels like butch or femme, twink, bear, sub, dom, and so on — Isaac mentions having friends who proudly call themselves dom bottoms, sub tops, bratty tops, and more — and some people think of themselves as verses or switches. Sometimes dabbling in behavior you otherwise wouldn’t, in life or in the bedroom, can be sexy.

And finally, don’t neglect the basics of having a body

Whenever, wherever, and however you’re having sex, stay in touch with your body — not just what it likes, but what it needs. “Sex is a physical activity,” Van Curen advises. “I take water breaks. Sometimes I make sure I have a snack on hand.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Just Learning About The Orgasm Gap Improves Women’s Sex Lives

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By Kelly Gonsalves

You’re probably familiar with the concept of the orgasm gap, which refers to the gendered orgasm disparity between straight men and women. A whopping 95 percent of straight men orgasm almost every time they have sex, compared to just 65 percent of straight women. This isn’t the case in non-straight sexual encounters by the way (89 percent of gay men and 86 percent of lesbians get off basically every time they have sex), and 94 percent of women typically climax while masturbating. So clearly this isn’t a biology problem.

A lot of the orgasm inequality between straight men and women can be explained by a combination of (1) lack of knowledge of female pleasure, namely how the clitoris works and why it’s vital to female orgasms, and (2) the male-oriented sexual scripts most heterosexual sexual encounters follow, in which P-in-V penetration is considered the main sex act, men’s pleasure and orgasms are considered mandatory parts of sex (the sex ends when the guy gets off), and women’s pleasure and orgasms are considered optional or incidental.

Researchers wanted to know if knowledge of the orgasm gap and the unequal gender scripts contributing to it could improve women’s sexual experiences. So they surveyed women before and after taking a Psychology of Human Sexuality course that specifically discussed the orgasm gap and inclusive, sex-positive sexual practices. To compare, they also surveyed women before and after taking a Human Sexuality and Culture class (which discussed sex from an anthropological point of view but didn’t mention the orgasm gap or the gendered social dynamics of particular sexual encounters) and a Psychology of Personality class (which didn’t discuss sex at all).

Their findings? Of the 271 women they surveyed in total, those who’d taken the class that talked about the orgasm gap saw a clear improvement in their sexual functioning. Not only did they have more and better orgasms, but they felt more entitled to sexual pleasure during sex and communicated more with their partner during sex. They were more able to advocate for their own pleasure in bed, more confident about how their genitals looked, and less distracted by performance anxiety or anxiety about how they looked during sex.

Those are some serious benefits from just a little more knowledge about sex!

Published in the journal Sex Education, these findings demonstrate that educating ourselves about how our bodies work, what gender dynamics might be in play during sexual encounters, and the importance of being confident communicating your needs in bed can make an actual difference in a woman’s ability to orgasm with ease during sex. Past research has similarly found taking classes about sex improves people’s body image, willingness to try new things in bed, health precautions during sex, and even sexual pleasure.

And by the way, sex education isn’t just for kids and college students. There are tons of excellent sex classes for adults available online and in person with professional sex educators, sex therapists, and other experts. Here are a few to consider and places to look for more:

Complete Article HERE!

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How Better Sex Education Supports LGBTQ Kids’ Mental Health

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By Kelly Gonsalves

We know sex education in America needs a lot of work. Not only do most states lack comprehensive, medically accurate, and pleasure-positive sex ed programs, but they also tend to leave out or outright antagonize LGBTQ kids.

And according to recent research, sex ed that excludes sexual and gender minorities can have a severely damaging effect on these young people’s mental health: A new study published in the American Journal of Sexuality Education found a lack of inclusivity in sex ed was associated with more anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies in LGBTQ people both in high school and later in life.

Current LGBTQ sex education policies.

When it comes to American sex ed, the sorry stats speak for themselves: Just 24 states require sex ed be taught in schools at all, 27 states require abstinence be stressed in any sex ed programs provided, and just 13 states require all school sex ed programs to be medically accurate.

But if that picture looks grim, it’s even worse for LGBTQ kids. According to GLSEN, a national organization that promotes inclusive education, seven states still have laws prohibiting the “promotion of homosexuality” in classrooms. Three states (Alabama, South Carolina, and Texas) require “only negative information” on sexual orientation be provided in sex ed programs. For example, here’s a snippet of Alabama’s law on the matter: “Classes must emphasize, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.”

There are nine states that require inclusive and LGBTQ-friendly sex education, thankfully. (You can find out more about each individual state’s education policy from the Guttmacher Institute.)

Why LGBTQ sex education is important.

Researchers surveyed 263 people between ages 18 and 26, all of whom identified as sexual minorities (meaning they identified sexually as something other than straight). About 21 percent of them were also trans or nonbinary. They were asked about their experiences in their school sex ed classes, their mental health during high school and after presently, their substance use, and their sexual behaviors.

As expected, the results showed most sexual minority students received “highly heteronormative and exclusive sex education.” The greater the level of exclusion in the program was, the greater their rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide risk were as well. “Many of these associations persisted among the sample even after graduating high school,” the researchers noted. “Although poor mental health outcomes generally lessened over time, those reporting greater levels of exclusion endorsed lingering mental health consequences.” And students who were trans or nonbinary in addition to identifying as a sexual minority reported even worse mental health outcomes compared to cisgender sexual minority students.

But the flip side was also true: LGBTQ people who perceived their sex ed program to have been more inclusive tended to have less anxiety, less depression, and fewer suicidal tendencies.

“More inclusive sex education may fulfill a protective role, providing normalization and visibility of sexual minority orientations in the curriculum,” the researchers write. “These results highlight the potential power of sex education policies and laws at the national, state, and local level on sexual minority youth.”

The study found LGBTQ kids were not more likely to practice safer sex just because a program was inclusive, suggesting comprehensive, medically accurate sex ed is still paramount to protecting young people of all stripes in addition to increasing inclusivity. But in general, research shows inclusive classrooms benefit sexual and gender minority students in many tangible ways, including making them feel safer, encounter less bullying in middle and high schools, be less likely to engage in risky sexual or substance-related behaviors, and have better academic outcomes.

Inclusive sex ed as a mental health issue.

Why would sex ed have such a powerful effect on mental health, in particular?

“The immediacy of sex education during the process of sexual identity formation may help to explain these associations,” the researchers explain. Indeed, the major milestones of sexual identity formation tend to happen during middle and high school, around the same time kids are learning about sex in general and experiencing school sexual education programs. Gay kids, for example, tend to have their first experience with being attracted to someone of the same gender around age 11; by age 18, they’ve usually told at least one non-family member about their sexual orientation.

A large body of research shows denying or invalidating a person’s sexual and gender identity can harm their physical and mental health. These effects might be especially devastating during these vulnerable and formative adolescent years: “Minority stress and internalized homophobia appear to be powerful negative influences on sexual minority youth, and exclusion in education and particularly sex education may contribute to these forces,” the researchers write. “As students develop a sense of social and sexual identity, they receive messaging from their education about the acceptability and normality of their experiences. The connection between perceived inclusivity of sex education and mental health outcomes is unsurprising given these dynamic and powerful influences.”

The effects of an inclusive program were associated with better mental health even after graduation and into their adult years. Considering LGBTQ youth are much more likely to struggle with mental health than their cis and straight peers, often due to the discrimination they experience, the fact that a school sex ed program can have such a lasting impact on their mental health matters a lot.

Clearly, providing quality sex education for kids is a matter of health and wellness, which is why it’s vital that we push our schools to institutionalize better sex ed programs. If you’re a parent, call up your kid’s school and ask about how they do sex ed. Go to school board meetings, rally other parents, and make your voice heard. Parental buy-in can dramatically influence what kinds of sex ed curricula school administrators feel comfortable using.

Sex education classrooms have the potential to become sites of empowerment, both for LGBTQ kids and for everyone, as long as we’re willing to invest in them.

Complete Article HERE!

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Taking back control…

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You don’t owe anyone sex or a relationship

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Movie after movie, scene after scene, we see men and boys refuse to give up on the girl. Had a big fight? Give her a big speech about how she’s the only one! She told you to leave her alone? Go to her house with a bunch of flowers! She broke up with you? Never take no for an answer!

Once you put some music behind it and get Richard Curtis in to direct, of course it all seems unassuming – romantic, even. But real human emotions are much more complex, and coupled with a fundamental misunderstanding of what people want out of relationships, it can all lead to some seriously unwanted advances, or worse.

The fact remains that a man’s behaviour towards women doesn’t have to be violent to be aggressive. If you’ve ever met a boy who thinks he’s the star in a rom-com, you’ll understand the fear and dread that comes with having to confront him when he shows up at your door with a heartfelt poem yet again, after you’ve said ‘no’ more times than you can count on your fingers.

“God, I’m just being nice,” he’ll say – the words that boil my blood. I’ll say it loud for the people in the back: if you do something nice for someone, they don’t owe you anything, and they certainly don’t owe you sex or a relationship.

But well-meaning young men who just won’t get the message aren’t the whole story.

There are real women – and let’s be frank, there are also men as well – out there who face real, physical violence for rejecting unwanted advances. Actress Jameela Jamil has opened up about her personal, harrowing experiences with this, but those of us who don’t have an adoring fanbase and a huge online platform go through it too.

Furthermore, in a society where women still get asked to hide our skin at school and work, for those of us who aren’t in the public eye it’s easy to just shrink away and accept that there’s nothing we can do but cover ourselves up and hope for the best.

But there’s so much we can do! We don’t just have to wait for the world to change around us. You can shout that boys and men need to learn “not to rape” but let’s be honest – most of them bloody well know that already, and the ones who don’t are the ones who never will. So protect each other, stand up for your fellow woman, believe that you deserve better than someone who doesn’t respect you. And most importantly, don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t have been wearing.

So, to the woman who puts up with leery co-workers; to the teenage girl who doesn’t know she’s allowed to tell her boyfriend “no!”; to any and all of us who’ve had a #MeToo moment – know that you are in control of your destiny.

Regardless of what gender and sexuality you identify as, it is never too much to ask to not face violence for not being interested in someone romantically.

Learn to say no, and learn to protect yourself. Because with a US President who brags about “grabbing women by the pussy,” it doesn’t look like the world is going to change in the forseeable future. It’s time to take control.

Complete Article HERE!

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