Posts Tagged ‘scarleteen’

The Great Reader Mini-Interview of 2013, Part Six: Stay for the Smut

December 16, 2013  |  essays  |  2 Comments

Wow, you guys.

Between launching Submissive Playground and helping rife with The Gender Book crowdfunding and planning and executing the Best Lesbian Erotica 2014 release party (which HOLY SHIT was amazing), and then oh yeah the whole holiday thing, I have been swamped with projects lately, and have not kept up with publishing the mini-interviews. But they are very patient, and there they were when I went to sort the next series of answers.

And, you guys … wow. I just love what you have to say. And not (only) because you are saying such incredibly nice things about me and this project, but also because you are fucking smart and thoughtful and touching. I have been chewing a lot lately on how to post more advanced content, how I can talk about the Graduate Studies levels of D/s and cock confidence and healing from heartbreak and all those things I post about (somewhat) regularly, and your answers and engagement makes me think even more that I should step it up. Thank you for all that inspiration.

No wait, let me write that again: THANK YOU for all the inspiration. In these interviews, in emails, in conversations on Facebook & Twitter—with so much. I feel incredibly lucky.

And, that is the SECOND reader who said I should come visit London and they’d buy me a beer, so clearly I should go visit London. (Again. I did a brief study abroad there in 2002 in college, but I’d love to return.) If any of y’all have an idea about how we could put on some workshops there, get in touch!

Okay, on to …

More of the Reader Mini-Interviews!

What’s your relationship with sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?

I started reading in 2007-ish when I was at university and just discovering the whole blogging thing. I came for the gender talk, was beyond thrilled to find the smut, and have loved the personal blogging, particularly the ones where you seem so connected with nature and the world around you. Your blogging of your gender identity/journey is also fascinating and feels really important to me.

Oh, and the reviews! I got my first packing cock based on your reviews so there’s a special place in my heart for those – I’d love to see more of that kind of thing.

—ollie, http://ollieroberts.blogspot.com

I started reading Sugarbutch in 2008 or so. I started for the politics, and stayed for the smut. Seriously, your smut has been hot, your writing about gender has been thoughtful, and your writing about relationships has been encouraging and timely. I’m a bit of a hermit, so have always been on the edges of the dyke and BDSM communities, and your writing has made me feel more connected to them.

—Avery Cassell, https://averycassell.wordpress.com/

What do I like best? Each component of your writing appeals to me in one way or another. Of course you write exquisite erotica, but more than that, I like your writing voice. I like your willingness to be self-reflective (though I think you think readers think that’s boring? It doesn’t bore me at all.) because you unpack things like I do, you seem to have a need to understand things in a deep way (I identify with that like woahhhh), and I wonder sometimes if you wish you could turn it all off, the way I wish I could shut my brain off even once in a while. I’ve learned a lot about coping strategies from you, I even found the Fluent Self through you! And I loved your photo series (what is the plural of series? Seria? Serieses?) over the summer! I know you felt like you weren’t saying much at the time but I saw the proverbial thousand words through some of those shots. Thanks for sharing those.

—Jacks/JacksofHearts, https://www.facebook.com/jacks.of.hearts

[I've been] a girl who loves sex and has wild fantasies but has never had the guts to explore any of them. Always let others make the moves and lead the way, so girls were always going to be a late introduction to my life. But oh what a lovely addition! Kissing girls is like nothing else. So the past few years i’ve had my head down exploring women. Invariably women much like me and i enjoyed learning how their bodies worked and what makes them tick, and come of course.

And then online i met a woman. We were both looking for something casual. She was clear she doesn’t like to be touched. I didn’t really understand this to start off with and just assumed (in an ignorant arrogant sort of way) that this would evapourate as we went on, and i ‘worked my magic’. But of course, for her being touched intimately just does not work. Someone else touching her is not the exciting electric feeling; its just being touched. This has been a challenge for me as i love touching others. Although what i realise now is that i love giving others pleasure and for most that tends to be a form of touching. I have had to learn a lot about erotic energy and pleasure in order to feel that i was giving her as much pleasure as she gives me.

Sinclair you (maybe its fair to say Sugarbutch.net) have been my place of learning. I have learned about dynamics between people and how this can be as erotic as plain old sex. I have learned that i can give someone pleasure through my words. You have inspired me to write erotic stories to my lover. You have reminded me that the brain is the most powerful erotic organ and that the most intimate connection can be through words, or often in the spaces between words.

—clarkeroyale, https://www.facebook.com/helen.clarke.58118

I started reading probably about a year ago, and while everything is good in its honesty and daring my favorite thing is probably the essays. I am sure it isn’t the common answer, but they are always interesting and well thought out even when I don’t agree with them which I rather love and find admirable.

—Taylor, http://mckownt.wordpress.com/

What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?

Go with your instinct… you don’t just “admire” her, you are “in” to her – attracted to her. Be yourself – don’t try to fit in with the other girls – you never will. Relax – every encounter with a woman doesn’t have to be a long term relationship.

—Susan

Know yourself. Do the back-breaking, heart-wrenching work it takes to know your limits and set up boundaries, because that’s when you can start letting people in.

Stop stuffing your gender identity into a deep corner of the closet because the people you date are too afraid to talk about it. You’ll lose 15 years and end up in the same place where you started–having to acknowledge who you really are. Be honest with yourself the first time around.

—Ian Galeski, https://www.facebook.com/ian.galeski

I’d tell my younger self–my high school senior self–to stop being such a nervous wreck about sex, to trust that her friends can make their own decisions and there is value in committed relationships and value in a one-night stand. I’d tell my younger self that it’s okay to have casual sex and okay if she tries things she wouldn’t repeat, things that teach her more about what she really needs. I’d tell her that she will have the person who makes her crack apart with every touch and the person who makes her scream “fuck!” and the person it feels too strange to kiss and the person who teachers her to fall in love with giving oral and the person who will never let her forget her fat body is both desirable and beyond the confines of desire and the person who she will want to take her cock and that some of these people will be the same.

I’d tell my younger self that if she ever doubted her pansexuality, she will meet and desire people in such incredible conglomerations of gender that she will never be able to again, that gender is fun, hard, playful, devastating. I’d let her know that every time she thinks she has something pinned down, the entire map will change.

Relationships…about that one, I don’t know what I’d tell her, because no words could have prepared me for the things love can do, and the things it couldn’t.

—Tamara, http://wordsonnapkins.tumblr.com

I think I would tell myself to recognize the guilt I felt (over having sexual feelings at a young age, having feelings for women, and being interested in non-normative sex practices like bdsm) as symptoms of socially imposed values and not my own shortcomings or sins. I grew up very aware of my sexual self but also very ashamed of it. Now I know all that guilt was for naught and I embrace the healthy pursuit of self-knowledge and pleasure, but it’s been a long and difficult journey full of lots of unsatisfying or only semi-satisfying sex and relationships.

—Amanda, http://superblysituated.tumblr.com

What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?

http://www.stevepavlina.com. His work has always stoked the fire in me, the part that wants to live like a wild thing and channel all the strength and anger into something productive. It was because of his site that I had the courage to become a sex worker, which led to a more intimate understanding of things I’d always felt but never had words for.

—Katrina Elisse Caudle, http://www.faeriedark.com

Sacred Pleasures workshop run here in London. Whilst i found it challenging to take part in exercises with strangers by the end of the day i had reconnected with a sacred sexual aspect that i thought i had lost. I also experimented with some impact play, which was a lot of fun! I would highly recommend this workshop to any Londoners reading. … Keep doing it Sinclair. Come to London and i’ll take you to my favourite bar.

—clarkeroyale, https://www.facebook.com/helen.clarke.58118

A quote from Terence – ‘I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.’ This ever after encouraged me to try and understand the human processes by which seemingly incomprehensible things happened. In turn, that helped me untangle the incomprehensible in myself.

—Lilac, http://drinklilacwine.wordpress.com/

I think somehow ending up in relationships with really amazing, self-aware people who have been willing to help me see a bigger picture of life has had the biggest impact on who I am and the path that I’m on right now, but that doesn’t make for a very good resource for other people ;) I’d say a great resource has actually been the Savage Love column – sometimes I love his advice, sometimes I’m ready to call and rant about it, but I do often find new resources because of his suggestions. And actually my college health center has had a huge impact – my first experience coming out to a health care professional was a disaster emotionally, but when I first went to the college clinic the intake form actually had questions about the sex and gender of past sexual partners. Not only did it avoid the awkward direct questioning by the nurse, but then the NP was able to walk in prepared to explain the kind of sexual health education I needed rather than a generic memorized paragraph that didn’t apply to my situation. And the best part is that the positive experience helped inspire me to pursue a career as an NP :)

—Jess, http://www.agirlandhercaronanadventure.blogspot.com

When Someone You Love is Kinky…such a great pansexual resource when your partner is not as much into BDSM as you are…it helps you communicate what your needs are in a precise and sensitive way and honestly, is great practice for overall relationship communication. Great book, experienced authors, excellent resource.

—Nili, https://www.facebook.com/HolisticHealthRnHealthCoaching

Because I’m thinking about sex and relationships, the website Scarleteen comes to mind. I come from a very conservative town in Texas with virtually no sex ed. Scarleteen was a haven of respectful discussion and factual information targeted specifically at young people in the scary world of the internet. If I had not had that resource growing up, I think I would be in a very different place right now, both physically and emotionally.

—Amanda, http://superblysituated.tumblr.com

Anything else to add?

Just that I think the way you’ve been engaging with your readership over the past month+ has been really great to see, and I hope it’s been positive for you too! You’ve been going through so much hard stuff for so long now that (I imagine) it’s easy to forget that you have an entire support system built straight into your website, and you can lean on us, you know? We may be inside your computer but support and good vibes and advice and commiseration and empathy and comradeship are the same wherever you find them. On a personal note, thanks for acknowledging my comments to you. It was a lovely surprise!  I’ve really been enjoying this conversation.

—Jacks/JacksofHearts, https://www.facebook.com/jacks.of.hearts

Please keep your postings and musings going. You are such a fantastic writer and your postings are relatable and heartwarming (or as of recently, heartbreaking). Writing is cathartic and from your most recent break-up, I think you could use a little catharsis right now and us, your followers, are more than happy to listen and sympathize. You strike a cord with me every single time, so thank you for what you do!

—Nili, https://www.facebook.com/HolisticHealthRnHealthCoaching

The Great Reader Mini-Interview, Part Three: Personal accountability & self reflections, Kink, and Do Your Research

October 24, 2013  |  essays  |  No Comments

What’s your relationship with sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?

I actually started reading Sugarbutch while I was still married to male. I had always known my sexuality was not what I was pretending it to be, and I knew that women that leaned towards the masculine side of the spectrum did something strange to me. I was completely naive to who I was deep down, and what it was I really needed in a relationship/partner. One day I was talking to a friend of mine whom I spilled the beans to, and she led me to this site. What I read on here was a beacon of light to me, and I finally started coming into my own. I have learned a lot about myself by reading your articles. I have most of all learned that I am not alone in who I am.

Keep doing what you are doing. I know you have had a tough run of it lately, but I admire you for staying true to who you are, what you want/need, and wearing your scars for everyone to see.

—Jennifer, https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.fitzgerald.92

I actually like/enjoy your self reflection and journal entries. As PolyAnna, I spend a lot of time talking about personal accountability and self reflections. People who are successful at poly and find fulfillment in poly are those who take the time to reflect on their choices and actions. Please keep writing your journal entries. They are a joy to read. Truly.

— PolyAnna/Josette Sheridan, http://lookingthrough.us/

What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?

1. It’s okay to be monogamous, even if all the ‘cool kids’ are poly.

2. Don’t even bother trying to date somebody who isn’t kinky; it’s not going to work.

3. Being attracted to trans men, after some years of only being into butch women, is okay and doesn’t change your fundamental self. You can still keep your queer card and just love who you love. Most of your ex-girlfriends will eventually turn into men, anyway.

4. If you’re in a D/s relationship with someone who breaks down your self-esteem and violates your boundaries, that’s not D/s: that’s abuse. Even if they buy you shiny presents.

— Anne Campbell, https://www.facebook.com/riverbend

Believe in love where you find it. Trust your senses. Be angry. Then let it go.

—Cathlin Star, http://cathlinstar.blogspot.com/

Oh God. I think it would boil down to “Do your research, do lots and lots of research.” But more specifically: I would find my fifteen-year-old self and sit her down and tell her “Honey, you have internalized some really toxic shit about how sex is *dangerous* and some even more toxic shit about how *knowledge* about sex is dangerous. Neither of these things are true. You want a lot of stuff that you don’t know how to articulate — go do some personal exploration and I promise, you get to decide whether or not you will act on your desires, but first you need to be able to articulate them. Either way, I also promise that the world will not end.”

And then I would give her a hug and tell her that it was going to be ok.

— Clara S., http://thethirdrose.tumblr.com

Don’t settle! Too many women (men perhaps also but I cannot write for them) settle for perceived security, “love”, to make a home for children. I was too hasty to get it all and follow the traditional norm of settling down before I got too old and have a family. As for sex, I tell my daughter (now 12) that if you are not sexually satisifed in a relationship and the other person is not willing to work on it then you need to reevaluate that relationship and if it makes you happy. I wish someone had told me this when I was younger. I never had the exposure to gender differences. I now teach a program to teens at my Unitarian Universalist (UU) church call O.W.L (Our Whole Lives) about sexuality & healthy relationships and one of the tag lines is “Sexuality is fluid” I so love that!

— Tonja Hewlett, https://www.facebook.com/EnterprisingFae

What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?

The Persistent Desire: A Femme Butch Reader (edited by Joan Nestle)

Maybe this is just as much about the book as the editor…. I’ve met Joan (she lives in Melbourne, Australia) and her partner Dianne and find her to be such a valuable elder to have in the community. I love the way her writing is so political, and that class and race are made so relevant. I also love that although Butch-Femme influences her whole life, it’s not in such predictable ways and has changed and morphed as she’s gotten older/grown.

Shes so involved in movements around Israel/Palestine and I see her out at refugee rallies monthly. She’s so engaged with the younger queer community here still and puts in so much time, for this and many other reasons I really respect her and she has taught me a lot. <3

In an attempt to look more queer and attract more attention from people that I thought I wanted I really played down my femme side to look as “queer” as possible so I guess I’d like to tell my younger self that there would be someone who would love your femme side and wouldn’t read you as any less queer for it. More specifically, would know all the ways that you were sexy just for her.

—M, http://brownskinnedslut.tumblr.com/

Scarleteen.com was the sex and relationship ed I hadn’t even known I needed. I found the word genderqueer there, and it was like my head breaking the surface of a lake I hadn’t known I was in so deep, coming up gasping clean, cool air and feeling full, real, awake, alive in a way I hadn’t felt before. It taught me there was space for me, that it was okay to ask for what I needed to feel safe, that my body had agency and value even though it existed in strange, queer, liminal spaces.

—Cricket, http://beatingthebinary.tumblr.com

In 1999 I listened to Bikini Kill’s Pussy Whipped for the first time and it changed my life. Kathleen Hanna’s outspoken, feminist, intelligent, fuck the patriarchy, sexually freeing, in your face, revolutionary and progressive approach to grrrl punk music both inspired and entranced me. The riot grrrl movement impacted my life in so many ways, teaching me how to love myself and embrace my feminist identity. There has not been a woman since who has challenged patriarchy, sexism and homophobia so passionately and poignantly.

—Kachina Addison, http://www.facebook.com/kachina.addison

Saving & Changing Lives: Scarleteen’s Activism

November 15, 2010  |  essays  |  No Comments

So this month, Scarleteen has had a Fund Raiser and Blog Carnival coordinated by AAG going ’round the sex blogs. Dozens of writers and bloggers and sex-positive forward thinking folks took part, just take a look at the list here

You probably already know about Scarleteen. I certainly mention that site frequently here. Here’s the description:

Scarleteen has been the premier online sexuality resource for young people worldwide since 1998, and has the longest tenure of any sex education resource for young people online. We have consistently provided free, inclusive, comprehensive and positive sex education, information and one-on-one support to millions, and have never shied away from discussing sexuality as more than merely posing potential risks, but as posing potential benefits, something rarely seen in young adult sex education. We built the online model for teen and young adult sex education and have never stopped working hard to sustain, refine and expand it.

Sometimes I feel like I’m preaching to the choir when I say that teen sex education is important, and that beyond that reliable information about sex available for anyone and everyone on the internet is also important. I go there frequently when I need to look up the details of STIs, for example. It’s a great resource for all kinds of things, and the testimonials from teens and folks who have been users and contributors to the site for years are very moving. They have a whole community, people talking to each other and taking care of each other and sending love and information to each other honestly and openly. That kind of interaction and information is invaluable.

In 2009 and 2010, Scarleteen has had around 1 million overall hits to the site each day from an average of 25,000 unique users daily. And you know, I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch to say that sites like this, with frank and real and honest and non-judgmental resources about sexuality, kink, sexual orientation, gender identity, and relationships, can and have had real impact on the complicated and sometimes life-threatening teenage years of folks with marginalized genders and sexualities. Sex education saves lives, at best, and absolutely changes lives.

I’m closing out the blog carnival today, along with pieces by Violet Blue on Tiny Nibbles and Heather Corinna on Scarleteen, with the end of the call for financial support for Scarleteen.

Scarleteen is very undersupported financially. We always need more financial support and I would very much appreciate having yours. I think we do a fantastic, important job, think we have for many years, and I intend to do all I can for us to keep doing that job for many more to come so we can remain a place young people know they can come back to, and don’t have to worry about passing in the night when a media or cultural tide shifts. I think Scarleteen and all that happens at Scarleteen is very worthy of being supported and sustained. To make that happen, we need more than just my own stubborn and dogged commitment and that of our volunteers: it also takes some dollars. (Quoted from Heather’s post on Scarleteen.)

Thanks to some generous donors, up to $2,000 in donations will now be matched for donations made from today until Saturday the 20th. If you’ve got an extra few bucks, now’s the time to toss ‘em toward an organization that does some important work.

The Scarleteen 2011 Fund Raiser and Blog Carnival

October 15, 2010  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

I’m taking part in the Scarleteen 2011 Fund Raiser and Blog Carnival! Thanks to Scarleteen and best price cialis ukblog.com/2010/10/12/the-scarleteen-2011-fund-raiser-and-blog-carnival/”>AAG for organizing this, it’s a great idea.

My day is November 15th, the last day of the carnival. They are expecting multiple authors every day, so you can still sign up and be part of the carnival. Tess kicked off the carnival today with a piece about talking to her daughter about sex.

I have long followed Heather Corinna’s work, and Scarleteen has been an invaluable resource to me for more than ten years now. I love that site and I want to support it in many ways. Wish I could toss ‘em hundreds of dollars, but that’s just not possible for me right now. Don’t know Scarleteen yet? Time to get to know ‘em.

Scarleteen has been the premier online sexuality resource for young people worldwide since 1998, and has the longest tenure of any sex education resource for young people online. We have consistently provided free, inclusive, comprehensive and positive sex education, information and one-on-one support to millions, and have never shied away from discussing sexuality as more than merely posing potential risks, but as posing potential benefits, something rarely seen in young adult sex education. We built the online model for teen and young adult sex education and have never stopped working hard to sustain, refine and expand it.

Hope you’ll participate in some way, be it writing about Scarleteen, sex education, or sending some money over their way. Watch for my post about it coming in November.

Review: Laid: Young People’s Experiences with Sex in an Easy-Access Culture (Seal Press)

July 9, 2010  |  reviews  |  No Comments

Laid: Young People’s Experiences with Sex in an Easy-Access Culture Edited by Shannon T. Boodram. Seal Press, 2009

Perhaps I had unrealistic high expectations for this book. “The basement smelled like sex,” the book starts. “That thick, musty scent that sits in the air and clings to everything it touches. I inhaled deep and hard, thinking about the heated moments that had just passed. The moments when I was too busy creating the odor to even notice its sticky presence.” Maybe I thought it’d be a bit more upbeat, positive. I have a skewed perspective of sex education and what’s going on with sexually active youth, after all, consuming places like Scarleteen.com and attending queer and kinky events occasionally open to young people.

Laid is separated into five different chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of sex: hookups, positive experiences, physical consequences, date rape, and abstinence. I expected “consequences” and “date rape” to be harder chapters to read, but in truth they were all hard. I kept cringing from the negative, stereotypical information being given out at every turn. But because these stories are full of people’s real experiences and opinions, they can’t exactly be “wrong;” but I cannot recommend this book as any representation of sexual education, as it sells itself as being. The honest, real experiences expressed are valuable to read, but I clearly do not agree with these contributor’s value systems, and many of them I would disagree as plain old bad information.

As I got further into the book, I even doubted the values and knowledge of the editor, as each chapter wraps up with a series of questions about that chapter’s content from the contributors. Questions from Boodram such as “What does lesbian sex include, since it’s not possible to have traditional vaginal/penile intercourse?” (p55), asking a bisexual woman, “Do you have a preference?” (p110), and asking a woman who authored a piece on her abortion, “Why did you decide to abort your child?” (p178) all got me hot under the collar, for both the content and the phrasing.

Boodram admits that a book agent wrote to her, “This book is too negative. Despite having some good information I think the chapter on rape really drags things down” (p185). First, including a quote from an agent’s rejection letter in your book seems like a bad idea. Second, the book is too negative: but not just because of the rape chapter. The “physical consequences” chapter reads like a warning: Don’t Have Sex Or This Will Happen To You. And while it’s true that there are real consequences to sex, and that young people need to be educated about safety and caution, sex is not all bad! Despite the “positive experiences” chapter, the prevalence of scary, negative, and frightening stories was so pervasive that I can’t help but think I would be all the more inclined to agree with Boodram’s encouragement of abstinence after reading through these stories. Boodram used to run the site SaveYourCherry.com, which seems to be down now, and knowing that bit of information makes it even easier to see Laid as an advertisement for her philosophies about waiting to have sex because the consequences are too risky. Save it for the one you love! every chapter seems to shout. Or you’ll end up like me. It seems like a cheap way to use the honest, rare stories that these teens and young adults shared about their sex lives.

Boodram did include some men’s voices and perspectives in this collection of stories, but I found myself disappointed in that, too. In the introduction to the date rape chapter, Boodram admits, “My biggest regret about this chapter is that it does not include the voice of a male who experienced rape or sexual abuse. Twice I was contacted by different men … both expressed that they were interested in sharing their stories, and neither ended up submitting. … I had to give up” (p186). There must be more than two young men out there who have experienced sexual assault and who may be willing to share their stories around it. Rape is more complicated than women as survivors and men as perpetrators, and while that is the most common scenario, I wish she’d looked a little harder to include multiple perspectives.

But that’s the problem with a “sexual education” book based on real experiences: it is much harder to include content to create a full, varied, and wide representation of experience, since the editor may be limited to the contributions she received. And it’s difficult, as a critic, to disagree with someone’s personal experience.

Contributor Anthony writes in his story, “Teenage Pregnancy,” that he “never saw abortion as an option. I also know how selfish it may seem because I wasn’t the one carrying the child, but I don’t regret how firm a stance I took” (p180). This is a tough position on which to take a stance, controversial even, and while perhaps it makes sense to include multiple perspectives on the same situation, there was no corollary young woman with a feminist stance, saying she has the right to choose over her own body and that her boyfriend (or one night stand or hookup) was supportive, but understood that it was more her choice than his. In fact, there was kind of the opposite: another abortion story by Lorie who writes, “I did not include my partner in my decision. This I regret. I truly felt that the child was as much mine as it was his: thus, the decision should have been as much his as it was mine” (p178). I’ll skip over the part where she calls a fetus a “child,” and give her the benefit of the doubt that he was a great guy who would have listened and negotiated with her about what to do after they both got into this situation together. Hopefully, he would not have taken such a firm stance as Anthony, described above, forcing upon Lorie that abortion was not an option for her.

Perhaps abortion decisions are never so simple. Perhaps if Lorie had had a partner she could trust and confide in, she would have felt that pregnancy and birth was an option. Perhaps she wouldn’t say things like, “I get sad when I see a little girl who looks like me, or when I see pictures of a fetus. … I almost feel as though I’m not worthy to have another child because I let one go” (p179). But what about the flip side of that experience? What about when women have abortions and they feel okay about it, even good about their decision? What about the women who do not feel guilt? What about the right to exercise one’s choice? Those women are out there, that perspective on abortion is out there, but the sad regretful stories are far, far more prevalent in cultural narratives.

These experiences are clearly important, valid stories, real scenarios that these real people have gone through, and their real thoughts and feelings about them. I wouldn’t tell Lorie that her response to her abortion is “wrong” any more than I can tell someone else that theirs is “right”—I can only say that I know there are other responses out there, too, and when a book like this is touting itself off as an educational resource, I am not impressed.

There was one part I quite enjoyed: at the very end, almost as an afterthought with no bolding or italics, Boodram includes Ten Things I Wish I’d Known Earlier, and those points were right on. Those ideas, concepts, and general content I could get behind. “Sex is not just put it in, take it out. … Everyone thinks they’re good at sex without even really knowing anything about it. … Demand the truth about sex from your teachers and make sure they take adequate time to talk about myths verses reality. … Be confident and deliberate, especially when it comes to your personal life” (p278-279). She even includes Things the Contributors Want You To Know, a similar list of inspiring statements and personal revelations. Now this, this is useful. What would a book based on those ideas look like?

If it were simply a collection of essays on young people’s experiences with sex, it would have been an interesting essay collection. If it had been only a sexual education book written by Boodram, it may have stood up a bit stronger, and not had to answer to the long, real-life scenarios by her contributors. Regardless, there are better essay collections and much better sexual education books available; skip this one.

Thanks to Seal Press who sent me this book for review. Order it from them or from your local, independent, queer, feminist bookstore, or, if you must, from Amazon.

Scarleteen: Help Lift Sex Ed to a Higher Plane

November 17, 2009  |  essays  |  1 Comment

stfund09_160I’ve written about the sex education network Scarleteen before, calling for support and donations to help keep this invaluable resource going strong.

I’ve been following Scarleteen and the work of its Executive Director, Heather Corinna, since probably around 1997 or ’98, and have been enamored especially of her photography and her work on her site femmerotic.com. Seems she’s not doing quite as much photography these days as she used to, though perhaps that’s partially because she’s working full-time AND running Scarleteen. (Yeah, sounds like something I would do, I know.)

Scarleteen’s had a big year – it’s now part of The Center for Sex and Culture out of San Francisco. But it still needs support, by which I mean DONATIONS.

littlesxCorinna also released her book S.E.X. in 2007 – “the in-depth and inclusive sexuality guide! Covering everything from STIs to sexual orientation, body image to birth control, masturbation to misogyny, the anatomy of the clitoris to considering cohabitation, and written for you whether you’re male, female or genderqueer; straight, gay or somewhere in between, this is THE everything-you-need, comprehensive, progressive sexuality handbook to get you through high school, college and the rest of your life.” Donate more than $75 and get a copy of the book.

Please consider passing on $5, $10, $100, $500 to this fantastic resource. You can also follow Scarleteen’s blog to keep up with some of the discussion.

More information about the site and its activism follows.

You probably know Scarleteen has been the premier online sexuality resource for young people worldwide since 1998. We have consistently provided free inclusive, comprehensive and positive sex education, information and support to millions for longer than anyone else online. We built the online model for teen and young adult sex education and have remained online for nearly eleven years to sustain, refine and expand it.

What you might not know is that Scarleteen is the highest ranked online young adult sexuality resource but also the least funded and that the youth who need us most are also the least able to donate. You might not know that we have done all we have with a budget lower than the median annual household income in the U.S. You might not know we have provided the services we have to millions without any federal, state or local funding and that we are fully independent media which depends on public support to survive and grow.

You also might not know Scarleteen is primarily funded by people who care deeply about teens having this kind of vital and valuable service; individuals like you who want better for young people than what they get in schools, on the street or from initiatives whose aim is to intentionally use fearmongering, bias and misinformation about sexuality to try to scare or intimidate young people into serving their own personal, political or religious agendas.

To try and reach our goal, we’re asking supporters to consider a donation of $100 or greater. If that isn’t possible for you, whatever you give will still help and will still be strongly appreciated. To donate now (or to view or link to the rest of this email online), click here. If you’d first like more information on why we’re setting the goal we are, what Scarleteen has done in the last year and during the whole of our tenure, our plans for 2010, and what the scoop is with our budget and expenses, keep reading.

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Important Calls for Support: Home Alive & Scarleteen

February 18, 2009  |  essays  |  2 Comments

I know there are dozens - hundreds - more organizations that also need support, but these two in particular are very dear and important to my heart, they're community organizations that have provided so much help and support and information to underserved, underrepresented groups. SAVE HOME ALIVE is a grassroots effort to save a grassroots organization, Home Alive, out of Seattle. And Scarleteen, which I've linked to here often and hopefully you already know about, is a sex education and resource center aimed at teens.

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