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Ask Trixie: Should I be scared that I can contract an std?

Hi I'm kind of freaking out so we are both virgins but I'm not sure if she was born with an std or not I'm having s panic attack because I'm pretty sure she doesn't but when I asked her she said "my parents would have told me" I only stuck the tip in because it didn't fit. Should I be scared that I can contract an std????? –Will

Hi Will - There's a simple way to stop freaking out and that is for you both to get tested. Go to your doctor, or a clinic, or a Planned Parenthood if one is nearby. Or go to your school's health clinic.  It's not a big deal and people get tested all the time.

Since it takes time for STDs to develop, ask the person testing you how long you should wait before you have any kind of intimate contact again. People can contract STDs from more than intercourse, and if you're going to have any kind of sex, you need this information. 

Scarleteen has several services that can help you navigate this and hopefully find a place to get tested. They also have articles on all aspects of STIs and STDs: http://www.scarleteen.com/tags/sti. In fact, there’s so much info, you may have to go through a few pages to find exactly what you want. 

Also, check out Bedsider for STI basics at https://www.bedsider.org/features/555-stis-and-relationships-what-you-need-to-know

You'll probably both be fine but you won't know for sure unless you get tested so do it right away and get yourself some peace of mind.

Ask Trixie: I've never had consensual sex and was only taught abstinence. So, what should I know?

I've only been raped before so I consider myself a virgin since I've never had consensual sex or a consensual first kiss. only taught abstinence and about STDs so what should I know? –locandload

Hi locandload -

I am so incredibly sorry that you were raped. I’m also sad what’s passed for sex ed has only been about abstinence and STDs. I don’t know very much about your own story, but knowing what I know about abstinence programs I feel like the things you learned about sex were mostly based on fear and shame. I hope I can offer some help.

Your question ‘what should I know’ is so big, I can’t really do it justice in this post. Because there’s so much to know! A great start would be checking out Scarleteen, which I (and many people) think is the best sex ed site in the world. Scarleteen has really great (and very kind) info, and here are just some of the links to their topics: bodiesgendersexual identityrelationshipssex & sexualitysexual healthpregnancy & parenting and abuse & assault

Scarleteen also has Direct Services, including one-on-one answers to your questions, as well as message boards and more. I hope it’s a good start to finding all the info and support you need. 

Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking?  Ask Trixie here . Find Ask Trixie here on most Mondays.

V-Card Diaries: Adrian "By the time I graduated from high school, I had managed to completely bottle up my sexual impulses (a very bad thing!)"

A little about myself:

I'm a 21 y/o genderqueer college student from Florida!

How I define virginity:

I think that virginity is a state of never having had loving, safe, consensual sex before. But it's not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things - whether or not you've has sex before doesn't make you more or less of a person.

Here's my story:

When I was younger, I was obsessed with staying 'pure' because of the influence of my church and my parents. I was taught that being 'pure' meant keeping away from not only the physical act of sex, but also thoughts and self-inflicted actions that would stimulate sexual thoughts/activities. This was all fine and dandy until I got to 10th grade. It was like a switch had been flipped in my brain, and then suddenly every day was like terrible, horny, torture. I realized at that time that I was sexually interested in people of the same sex as well as the opposite sex, and a lot of people in-between. But I was too anxious about being judged by the people around me, so I kept it bottled up, and the more I tried to hide it the more those repressed thoughts came out to haunt me.

By the time I graduated from high school, I had managed to completely bottle up my sexual impulses (a very bad thing!). But then I moved away to college, and the new, sex-positive environment unraveled all my 'progress'. I fell into a deep depression, feeling as if nothing in the world was worth living - all because I couldn't keep my thoughts 'under control', based on what other people thought I should be doing with my body and mind! As you can tell, I was in a bad place, all because I had never given myself a chance to really understand and accept my sexual thoughts. I was stuck like that until I came across Scarleteen.com, a website that teaches young people about sex in a gentle, accessible, inclusive way. Exploring that website got me started on my journey to recovery.

Fast forwards to today, and I'm still a virgin. But I no longer beat myself up over thoughts that, through therapy and other activities, I've realized are natural. I don't put that much importance on virginity or 'purity' either way, as a positive or negative thing. My virginity 'is what it is', and when I feel like I'm close enough to someone to have sex with them, then it'll happen. I know that the day that happens won't be some magical event, but I hope that at the very least it'll be bearable! In the meantime, I'll keep working to improve my health, my friendships, my hobbies, my confidence, my career, and many more things.

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.

[From the Archives] Scarleteen: Debunking the myths of the First Time

Every once in a while we repost something we love from our archives. This originally ran on August 6, 2010. This post is by Alison. I teach SAT prep to teenagers. My students are awesome and deserve all the sex ed they want, which is why I love that Scarleteen, a comprehensive sex ed and advice website, is available as a resource. (It's so interesting that this blog post took me hours longer to write because I was lost in the archives!)

Heather Corinna founded Scarleteen in 1998 and since then has answered hundred of questions and debunked myths about virginity. In fact, about 25% of questions the site receives somehow involve The First Time. In an article entitled "Magical Cups & Bloody Brides: Virginity in Context," Corinna explains how the history and context of the word virgin is much different than its modern definition:

"In ancient times, the virgin huntress icon Diana was a goddess because of her independence, not her subservience or the state of her hymen – she was on her own by choice, and not owned by any man, nor did she wish to be."

Isn't that cool? But wait...things changed. Virginity began to be defined in the technical terms of penises and vaginas:

"The concept of a virgin as someone who hasn't had penis-in-vagina intercourse leaves a lot of people out in the cold. Defining sex by male-to-female intercourse would make a lesbian who has had over one hundred female partners, but no male partners, a virgin. The standard definition of virginity also denotes that a woman is not a fully sexual being until she has made love with a man. Very little of this is positive or empowering, and it leaves a lot of loopholes."

Heather concludes with this hopeful encouragement:

"Much of the misinformation, myth and practice surrounding female virginity has been cultivated in times when women could not make their own choices. But those times are past for many women, unless you choose to perpetuate them. Ultimately, it is in your hands, and those of other women right now, to take the initiative to "own" yourself and your sexuality. Whatever way you choose to do so, so long as it feels right to you physically, emotionally and intellectually, and you make your choices responsibly and thoughtfully is the right way."

Another fascinating article entitled "Blowjobs and Other Boring Stuff" concerns the sexual practices of teenagers. These teens are having everything but intercourse, practices that they have hilariously dubbed "outercourse." They've had years of sex ed and are well-educated about what can and can't get them pregnant. Still, the article ends with a sigh.

"The girls seem to be more or less in control of their sexuality, and that's a positive development. But there is something in many of the kids' stories that leaves me a bit sad. Some of it reminds me of the classic frustrated housewife image, deciding what color to paint the ceiling while having sex – "I think girls do blow jobs and stuff just to make us happy," Jared says. "One day I looked up at my girlfriend's face while I was going down on her and I caught her staring out the window, looking bored." Some of it makes me worry about them, with their combination of emotional innocence and sexual sophistication – I sense danger lurking around unseen corners."

If you haven't read Scarleteen lately, go over and take a look. Here are some links to check out: