Love Letters: When A Relationship Hurts

Love Letters

‘Love Letters’ is a Petal + Sass blog feature that regularly asks a group of diverse women in their 20’s and 30’s about their experiences with health, sex, emotional wellness, body image, college, careers – and what they wish they had known themselves as teenagers. Visit the Love Letters’ To My Former Self page to learn more about the contributors.

Question Posed: What would you advise a girl who found herself in a dangerous relationship – either physically or emotionally abusive? How would you advise her friends to better support her in this situation?

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Hooking Up: Are We Ready?

Hooking Up

‘Hooking up’ is like a hurricane category 5 downgrade: not exactly full blown “sex,” but certainly anything and everything in its path that could be swept up along the way: lips, fingers, mouths, car seat upholstery, tongues, genitals, Netflix…

What we loosely define as ‘hooking up’ is a broad spectrum of sexual activities, and yet not all activities are treated, felt, or viewed equally – not on a personal or societal level. (If your grandfather ever found out about that pool house incident last summer he’d likely never look you in the eye again; your parents might start looking into military school; and your peers would probably assume you have a sex position emoji app.) So when is it ok to hook up? What are we to think when we hear that #SoAndSo hooked up Friday night after the party? Is everyone doing it? Should I be doing it? Is everyone comfortable doing it, or are they doing it just because they think everyone is doing it?

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Is It Safe If A Guy Pulls Out?

Toilet Roll Does Not Protect Against Unwanted Pregnancy.

Toilet Roll Does Not Protect Against Unwanted Pregnancy. Or Anything Else.

In a generic Google search, the phrase “is it safe if…” immediately autofills with “…a guy pulls out.”

Let’s save you the data on your cell phone for this one: No, it’s not safe if a guy pulls out.

Honestly and statistically speaking, sure. You might just dodge a few voracious swimmers from seeking and destroying your egg (sperm are like tadpole versions of heat seeking missiles). Pulling out before ejaculation could significantly lower your odds of getting pregnant, but all bets are on baby once an unsheathed penis descends upon the vaginal slip n slide (teens do still use slip n slides, according to Google.)

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Sex Ed: Why The Bedroom Belongs in the Classroom

It's hard to make a pencil and sharpener look sexy but use your imagination here.

It’s hard to make a pencil and sharpener look sexy but use your imagination here.

There’s an interesting [read: incredibly dangerous] tension between teenagers who do not want to talk about sexual health with their teachers, teachers who often cannot inform students any further than an ineffective abstinence-only education, and the parents who threaten legal action when their children are introduced to the concept of intercourse as anything more than a marital, procreational act.

It’s completely understandable that teens feel squeamish about sex education in the classroom. Why? Teens get completely mixed messages. In the media, everyone is having very sexy sex. In the classroom, the lesson plans sound like they were created in a different century: sex is taboo, secretive, and illicit before marriage. Of course teens are clamming up in the classroom, feeling guilty about their actions after hours, and engaging in high-risk sexual activity regardless.

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Building Lasting Friendships in 5 Steps or Less

building lasting friendships

A follow up from Part I: 5 Ways to Make Friends Fast (Just Don’t Expect It To Last).

Whether the honeymoon period from Freshman Orientation is growing stale or you are new to the neighborhood, building real friendships is important for your well-being and emotional life. It may be easy to bond with someone over a shared yoga class or a frozen yogurt, but it can be trickier to establish real, intimate friendships where you feel comfortable sharing your deep thoughts, venting personal frustrations, or just being together in comfortable silence. Remember: It’s takes time to meet people and build lasting friendships. Here are 5 steps to help you along the way.

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5 Quick Ways to Make Friends Fast (Just Don’t Expect It To Last)

How to make friends

If you are on the brink of heading off to college this month, or even starting a new boarding or high school, you may have been sent this recent article in the New York Times, The Real Skinny on Freshman Year. Conventional wisdom at its best – a definite read as you embark on a new adventure surrounded by strangers and boundless options.

What the piece didn’t break down was how and when you make friends. When starting a new school, this is perhaps the most anxiety-producing, keep-you-awake-at-night dilemma as you envision your new life unfolding. The truth is, the friends you make off the bat when starting a new school may not be the friends you end up keeping in touch with 10 years (or even 10 weeks) down the line – but they are important to settling in, feeling happy, and meeting those friends that will click for life. Maybe you’ll get lucky and your roommate or lab partner truly will your maid of honor someday. If not, here are 5 solid, quick tips (and their flip sides) to finding fast friends as you step foot onto a new social scene.

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Love Letters: Sexual Pressure, Harassment and Rape

Love Letters

‘Love Letters’ is a Petal + Sass blog feature that regularly asks a group of diverse women in their 20’s and 30’s about their experiences with health, sex, emotional wellness, body image, college, careers – and what they wish they had known themselves as teenagers. Visit the Love Letters’ To My Former Self page to learn more about the contributors.

Question posed: Were you ever sexually harassed or pressured into engaging in sexual activity that you were uncomfortable with as a teenager? If so, how did you handle the situation? What would you advise a young person who was being pressured or harassed today?

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