Have Safer Sex

Just because someone looks cute or clean doesn’t mean they don’t have an STI. STIs can happen to anyone!! In the US alone, around 19 million people contract an STI each year. The majority of people with STIs are undiagnosed; which means that even though the infection is inside of them, they may not have symptoms and therefore don’t know they have the infection and don’t get treated. So you can imagine how fast these STIs spread. At least one person in every four will contract an STI in their lifetime; with statistics this high, it’s surprising how little STIs are discussed. I didn’t even get basics on all of the STIs in my high school sex ed class. There are over 65 million people in the US who currently live with an incurable STI, and even though only 25% of the sexually active population is from fifteen to twenty-five years old, they account for half of all STI diagnoses every year. There is clearly a very large gap in our education system and healthcare system. This is the very reason I started this blog, because this drives me nuts! If I can use my following on the Internet to open people’s minds and spread USEFUL information to young people or anyone who needs it, then that’s what I’m going to do!

Teens account for more of the most common STIs than anyone else and these include chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and HPV. This is why it is really important to get STD checks regularly. You may not know you have something because many STIs don’t show any symptoms. If you are sexually active, it is your responsibility to get checked. And if you do have something, it’s your responsibility to treat it and tell your partners. If it’s untreatable, then you must tell sex partners and practice safe barrier protected sex.

As a young adults, our risks are much higher than any other age group. I live a very different life than most people my age; I don’t go to a big college where I frequent parties and sleep with people I meet there – I have a pretty secluded, monogamous sex life. But I have so many friends who tell me stories where going back to boy’s dorm rooms and sleeping together is a very normal thing. That’s fun and awesome, but unfortunately there isn’t a lot of talk about STIs or being tested. But sometimes we don’t use protection in the heat of the moment or we’re too drunk to use any. Being a young adult, we are much more likely to have lots of new sex partners and we often don’t get the regular sexual healthcare or testing that we need. I know a good amount of guys who don’t think they have anything so they don’t get tested or have never been tested. I think that’s wildly irresponsible. Our society is to blame for a lot of these issues; the way sex is viewed, the shame associated with it and the lack of education. Give us the tools! Make us get tested in high school and in college. It’s not a weird thing or shameful thing to do. In fact, getting tested shows you are mature and making safe choices in your sex life.

I recently heard a story of a young woman who had only had monogamous sex with her boyfriends and then spent a summer doing an acting program overseas; there, she had her first one night stand with a hot Italian guy and contracted Type 2 Herpes. He didn’t even know he had it. For someone who has always been responsible in her sex life to contract an incurable STI after breaking her rule only once is heartbreaking to me. I think this goes to show that STIs can really happen to anyone – and to you. They happen to people who have twenty partners and also those who are just starting with their first partner. Viruses and bacteria don’t care who’s cute, pretty, clean, or a virgin. They can happen to anyone!

I know this article is probably daunting and bit scary to read. Working on this and reading all this information has definitely freaked me out too. There have been moments where I’m like “is sex even worth it” or “I should never just hook up with someone”. There is good news though. STIs can be prevented by practicing safe sex and regular sexual healthcare. We can also open up discussion and push for a more open and communicated view of sex. We can push for better education and healthcare and hopefully one day we can live in a world where there are far fewer STIs being passed around, unexpected pregnancies, teen pregnancies, rapes, the list goes on. Sex is a natural part of being human and it’s time we talked about it.

I can’t understand why we aren’t given the resources or education to always know how to protect ourselves from infections. Some of us may feel like we’re being rude by asking a partner if they’ve been tested. It can definitely be awkward and uncomfortable to practice safe sex at times but it doesn’t have to be like that. It’s never too late to start having safe sex. Safe sex actually makes sex more enjoyable because you don’t have to stress over the possible risks. When you’re not worried about getting pregnant or contracting an STI, you can relax and enjoy the sex more and have a greater chance of having an orgasm.

There are three basic things that make up SAFE SEX and ALL of them need to be done to practice safe sex:

  1. Have full STI screenings and sexual health exams at least once a year or every time you have a new partner. (Some doctor offices or healthcare spots won’t test you for everything and you must ask. Always ask to get a whole test done and make sure to ask about Herpes testing! They will draw your blood for these tests.)
  2. Limit risks during sexual activity by using barrier protection (condoms, dental dams, latex gloves)
  3. Make safer lifestyle choices such as limiting the number of sexual partners you have, avoiding high risk sexual behavior, elimination nonsexual STI risk such as intravenous drug use, and taking care of your general health.

If you are doing all of these, or abstaining from sex until you CAN do these – then you are practicing safer sex. Doing some of them is good and helps but you’re not fully reducing your risk unless you practice all three!

Work Cited:

Corinna, Heather. S.E.X.: The All-you-need-to-know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You through High School and College. New York: Marlowe, 2007. Print.

Lifestyle Choices That Increase Risk Of STIs

The following lifestyle scenarios are important to keep in mind while being sexually active. These choices can often make your sex life more or less dangerous, depending on whether or not you choose to engage in them.

Multiple Partners:

Having sex with multiple people at one time (a threesome) or having multiple, consistent partners at the same time can increase your chances of getting an STI. This is due to the fact that you are exposing yourself to more people and their sexual history. Often if you are not in an exclusive relationship and are sleeping with multiple people, those people are also sleeping with multiple people. This extends your risk of exposure to an STI because your health is affected by all the people your partners are having sex with.

Drugs and Alcohol:

While under the influence of drugs and alcohol, our judgement and decision making is often impaired. This can lead to having sex with people you otherwise wouldn’t have sex with, having casual sex, not using condoms, not practicing safe sex and engaging in sexual activities that you wouldn’t take part in if sober. Unfortunately, date rape and acquaintance rape is more common when one is intoxicated. Additionally, sharing drug needles can increase chances of HIV and sharing paraphernalia such as bottles of alcohol or smoking can spread things such as oral herpes.

Denial or Secrecy:

Those who are afraid to admit they are having sex, shame their sexual activities, and don’t openly tell their family and friends that they are sexually active can lead to unhealthy sexual practices. This often happens when someone is raised in a sexually repressed society or family or when someone is dating an individual whose race, age, sexual orientation, and many other potential factors, are seen as unacceptable. This can lead to being irresponsible sexually and not understanding and practicing safe sex. It is important to be honest with those around you about what you are doing. Getting a gynecologist, getting tested regularly, going on birth control, using condoms, and many other factors of a healthy sex life can only be done if someone feels comfortable taking about and learning about sex. Accepting that you are sexually active and talking to the right people (your doctor, parent, guardian, etc.) will lead to more responsible sex.

Poverty and Poor Health:

STIs are often common in areas where poverty is present. Having safe sex can be expensive. Healthcare, safe sex tools, birth control, and many other resources all cost money. When these things are not affordable to individuals in a community, infections and diseases from sex are often very prevalent. Additionally, having a bad body image, being malnourished, stressed, being worn out, or being in general poor health can increase your risk of infection. When you don’t practice self respect, you often don’t make choices that are healthy and positive.

Work Cited

Corinna, Heather. S.E.X.: The All-you-need-to-know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You through High School and College. New York: Marlowe, 2007. Print.

How To Ask Your Partner If They're Tested

As sexual beings who engage in sexual behavior, I find it rather sad how much of a stigma is attached to STDs and the discussion around them. Granted, it can be difficult to have “the talk” with a new partner considering it’s not a topic everyone loves to discuss. Being someone who (in the past) only slept with people I dated, I never worried and I felt comfortable not using a condom. I knew my partner had been tested, was clean, and monogamous with me. And I was on birth control so I didn’t have to worry about pregnancy.

Recently, I’ve entered a new playing field and have started sexual partnerships with someone I am not exclusive with; I found it very uncomfortable to bring up the discussion of STDs. As someone who has never really faced this before, I was concerned that someone (myself) who is so comfortable with discussing sex was still uncomfortable asking my partner if they were tested. I think it was the first time I realized that sometimes it’s harder than it sounds!

I think the most important piece of advice I can give is: to always use a condom with new partners and with existing partners unless you are both tested, negative, and exclusive with one another.

Girls!! Carry condoms in your purse! Have some in your bed stand! Don’t expect guys to have them. Although it is their responsibility as much as it is yours, you shouldn’t expect that they will have one or that it’s their duty. You are in charge of your body and what goes into it. You can and should tell them to use a condom.

Using a condom correctly, cuts down on 80-85% risk of getting an STI – that’s a huge percentage and should be an incentive for you to get used to using them.

I do think it’s important to have this talk with new partners; it can uncomfortable but one of my main objectives with this blog is to open up the discussion of sex based topics so we can remove the stigma attached to them and hopefully prevent STIs from spreading. Hopefully, if we open up the discussion, it will eventually become normalized and people tell the truth and STIs won’t spread as rapidly.

Asking a partner if they’re tested is important! And getting tested yourself is more important. It’s your responsibility, as a sexually active person, to be safe and healthy. When engaging in any partnered sex, you owe it to the person you’re sleeping with to know if you have anything. You can be very straight forward and ask, “When was the last time you were tested?” And then make it clear that you want to use condoms until they get tested. If you are exclusive and both tested negative, only then should consider not using a condom. Even though I rarely have new sex partners, I get tested often because knowing I have my test results easily accessible keeps my mind at ease. Also, I think it’s very important not to shame someone with an STD or STI, clearly they didn’t choose or want to get it.

If you start a sexual relationship with someone who has Herpes Type 2, it’s important to use condoms always and to not have sex during an outbreak. Someone with Herpes can still have a sex life! They just need to be honest when with new partners and, sadly, not all people are understanding but there are preventative measures you can take so as not pass it on to your partner.

Safe sex is fucking hot. Knowing you’re being responsible and safe is very empowering and allows you to enjoy sex more because you’re not worrying about STDs, pregnancy, or anything else. It’s also very important to remember that STIs can happen to ANYONE. So just because your partner is really cute and looks clean, DOES NOT mean they are clean from STDs and/or STIs. Most people living with STIs are undiagnosed, so, do yourself a favor and get tested often! And sleep with people who also get tested. The only peer pressure I believe in is STI testing pressure lol. I pressure my friends to get tested all the time!

How To Properly Use A Condom

Condoms should be used for vaginal and anal sex to protect against STDs and pregnancy. It’s especially important to use them if you’re not on another form of birth control and/or are not exclusive with your partner (who has also been tested). Condoms can also be used to cover sex toys or objects. The issue with condoms, like many others forms of birth control, is that there is lot of room for error–but condoms are only effective when used properly. Condoms can break, tear, fall off or be put on incorrectly. Knowing how to use a condom is crucial because they are the only form of birth control that will protect you from STDs and STIs. Luckily, condoms are usually very accessible and affordable.

When opening a condom, be carefully as to only break the wrapper so that the condom stays in tact. Some people like to place lube inside the tip of the condom to keep it comfortable. Although this is not necessary, the less friction there is when using the condom, the less likely it is to break or tear. If you do choose to use lube, make sure to use non-oil based, latex-safe lube. I personally use Latex lube and my favorite brand is Pjur (which you can purchase online and at most sex stores). Other forms of lube like cooking oils, vaseline, etc. can cause the condom to break and can be unsafe to use, so make sure to do some research before experimenting.

To put on the condom, start by pinching the tip, leaving about an inch of space at the top–this is important to ensure that there is no air inside, which can cause the condom to break–then, roll the condom slowly over the shaft of the penis, sex toy, or object. If the condom doesn’t unroll smoothly, it’s probably inside out and needs to be taken off, flipped and rolled the other way. Unroll the condom all the way down to the base and make sure you are pushing out any air as you cover the shaft of the penis. Once the condom is on, you can place more lube on the exterior of the condom if you’d like; the additional lube is not necessary but it can increase durability of the condom and make the experience more pleasurable for both of you.

Putting a condom on an uncircumcised penis is a little different; gently pull and hold the foreskin back, then unroll the condom down the shaft of the penis. Once the condom is rolled out fully, release the foreskin and let it roll back into place naturally.

After ejaculation, it’s best to take the condom off immediately. Roll it off slowly, making sure it doesn’t slip off, and dispose of the condom. You must use a new condom for each new sexual activity! So, when you are switching between anal, vaginal and oral sex, always put on a new clean condom. Condoms should never be reused and when you don’t use a new condom between each of these sexual activities, you increase your risk of getting an infection and spreading unwanted bacteria.

The thinner the condom the better! Thinner condoms create less friction which allows for further durability and sensation. Also, the majority of condoms fit most penis sizes; when a condom is labeled as larger or smaller–the size change usually refers to the ring size. Make sure you are not buying a condom that is too big because they will slip off the base and be ineffective.

Also, don’t flush condoms down the toilet–condoms are latex and can clog your toilet. Instead, wrap it in toilet paper and dispose of it. Afterwards, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water and your genitals with warm water!

Artwork by @juliadelatorre

Right Age To Start Having Sex

I don’t believe that there is a magic age for you to start having sex; a decision to engage in sex depends on numerous factors. And, aside from the legal aspect of a consensual sexual relationship, age shouldn’t be a huge factor. In my opinion, age doesn’t determine when you are ready for sex. Generally age correlates with maturity… but that isn’t always the case! Being mature doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to have sex.

Growing up in Seattle, most people I knew started having sex in high school. There were also some people that started younger (in middle school) and some that remained virgins through graduation.

Sexual activities require sexual development and emotional maturity and I think that is where age plays an important role. As a rule, you shouldn’t engage in sexual activity until after puberty and, even at that point, I believe most people aren’t yet emotionally ready. I know that I wasn’t able to fully understand what sex entailed until later on in high school.

My advice to you, for figuring out the right age to start having sex, is to go through the Sexual Readiness Checklist and see if you can answer yes to most of the questions. Sex is personal and everyone is different! I know people who want to wait until marriage and I know people who lost their virginities early on in high school. I feel that you should be doing what you want; do what feels healthy and right for you.

A lot of people come to me saying that their friends are sexually active and that they feel pressure to keep up. In the United States, just over half of teens have had intercourse by the end of high school and many teens lie and say they’re sexually active when they’re not. Many young adults assume that all their peers and friends are sexually active. This assumption and pressure results in unwanted and un-communicated sexual activity.

When we are young, we are very susceptible to peer pressures such as alcohol, partying, and sex; we are dying to fit in. I want to make it very clear that you should never feel pressure to do something you don’t want to do! You should only ever engage in sexual activity when you feel ready. No matter how old you are–if you’re legal, of course–the right age for you might not be the same as those around you, and that’s okay! Whenever it feels right for you is when you should start.

Hooking Up With People Of The Same Friend Group

So I recently got a Tumblr question that read,

“I’ve only fucked 2 people in my life but they ended up being in the same friend group. Is that a bad thing? Im so worried that their whole group will talk badly behind my back as I lost my virginity to one of them but then we kinda stopped hooking up and I was drunk one night and hooked up with his friend. Now I feel ashamed and gross??“

I was reading this over with the girls, and we were all like “omg.. been there”. It’s such a double standard. There’s no way a guy would feel ashamed for hooking up with two girls in the same crew. Instead, they’d probably feel confident in their ability to get with girls who are friends. I’ve been told by guys that it makes you seem easy if you hook up with multiple people in a friend group, but I think that’s bullshit. As long as you’re happy with your decision and were having fun then who cares. I think if someone had feelings for you and you start hooking up with their friend, that’s a different story. I dated two guys who were friends and they’re not friends anymore. And that’s a pretty good example of someones emotions getting in the way of things.

Based on my experience, my advice would be that if you’re going to do that, you need to understand your reasoning and be okay with it. As long as it comes from a place of having fun and being safe, then you’re all good. I wouldn’t suggest hooking up with an ex’s friend to spite them. Maybe you’re hooking up with someone for a second and things end, and then a few months down the road, you start hooking up with their friend. I don’t think that says anything negative about your character. Yes, people talk and you can let it affect you. But, if they’re talking badly behind your back, that’s their problem and immaturity. I’ve had experiences with these types of guys, who sit around and talk shit about the women they get with, and, trust me, those aren’t the guys you want to surround yourself with. Be with someone who respects the privacy of the experiences you have together, and only speaks highly of you in public. If someone is going to talk badly about you after hooking up with you, they lose the “privilege” of getting to touch your bod.

It’s important to reiterate that: your sex life is yours! Having a sexual experience with someone doesn’t mean that they own you or that you owe them something. You don’t belong to them. You can hook up with someone and never see them again as long as you’re communicative and respectful of each other’s feelings. And that’s okay. I would love to live in a society where women have the same sexual options as men and there isn’t a huge double standard. But, in the meantime, we can start be making changes ourselves, like: not using the word Slut and not talking badly about girls who make the same sexual decisions as guys. We can empower one another to take ahold of our sex lives and practice safe sex!

Poppin Cherries / Hymens

Most people with vaginas are born with hymens; the hymen is a stretchy skin that, depending on the person, completely or partially covers the vaginal opening. However, the hymen isn’t a seal; there are small holes called hymenal orifices which vary from person with vagina to person with vagina. Once a person with a vagina reaches puberty, their hymen will start to wear away and–with time, hormonal changes, vaginal fluids, general activity (like stretching, walking, exercising, etc.) and sexual activity–will continue to wear.

Although the popular term “popped my cherry” refers to the hymen, hymens are rarely “popped” or broken. Since the hymen is just skin, there aren’t any nerve endings in it and many women don’t notice when their hymens are wearing away. However, when people with vaginas experience pain during their first vaginal entry or intercourse, they may be feeling hymenal micro-tearing or stretching. This puts pressure on parts of the vaginal opening that the hymen is attached to, which has a lot of nerve endings, and THAT’S why it hurts!

As common as it is to feel pain during your first intercourse or vaginal entry (fingering, etc.), it’s just as normal to not feel any pain. Thats because your hymen might be worn away (through daily activities) by the time you have your first vaginal sexual experience.

For centuries, many people have believed that the most obvious proof of a woman’s virginity is her hymen; the lack of a hymen has been considered evidence that a woman has been sexually active. But this is not the case! As we age, our hymens become less visible due to many reasons that aren’t necessarily sexual. There are also people with vaginas who are born without visible hymens. Another test for virginity is bleeding the first time you have sex. Personally, I never got my cherry “popped”, and I didn’t bleed when I first had sex, even though I was definitely a virgin! I have friends who bled their first time and I have friends who bled their first time being fingered. So it’s safe to say that this isn’t an accurate test or evidence of virginity.

In conclusion, every person born with a vagina is also born with a hymen. However each one is different when it comes to how the hymen appears and progresses. Some people with vaginas bleed while losing their virginities and some don’t. I will do another post on tips for losing your virginity because there are simple things you can do to make it less painful. All in all, I can’t say how it’s going to be for you, but I do know that everyone’s body is different and, when it comes to sex, it’s important that you communicate what does and does not feel good for you. Any and all sexual experiences should always be positive and it’s within your power to make it so!

Corinna, Heather. “Male and Female Anatomy.” S.E.X.: The All-you-need-to-know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You through High School and College. New York: Marlowe, 2007. 20-21. Print.

Loose and Tight Vaginas

In terms of it’s anatomy, the vagina is often misunderstood. It is a muscle and, similar to your throat, it can be controlled; you can make it tight and narrow or loose and wide. A vagina opening cannot be ‘’measured’’ because the muscle can be in many different states. There are many myths about vaginas, such as: virgins have very tight vaginas and once you have sex it is permanently loose, or that promiscuous girls have very loose vaginas. How tight or loose your vagina feels is relative to how tight, relaxed, aroused or tense you may feel at that moment.

If you ever feel uncomfortable or too tight during sex, it may be because you are stressed or not very aroused. It’s important to stay calm and relaxed instead of stressing more. As an alternative, try becoming aroused through other sexual acts such as kissing, oral sex, fingering, etc. Once you feel more aroused, try vaginal intercourse again. Sex can be painful when your vagina isn’t loose or wet enough. You should never push yourself to have sex if it’s painful or if you don’t feel physically or emotionally ready. Take your time and go slowly, giving your body time to adjust and prepare for intercourse.

Often, especially as a teen or young adult, the entire experience of sex can feel rushed. People with vaginas need a fair amount of stimulation in order to fully loosen. When your vagina is stimulated, aroused and loose, sex shouldn’t be a painful experience. Many people with vaginas expect sex to be painful and thus don’t wait for their bodies and minds to be fully aroused and ready for intercourse.

Anxiety and stress make the vaginal muscle clench so, in order to have intercourse that is pleasurable and painless, it’s important to be comfortable and calm. If the vagina feels cramped or too tight during sex it can mean that the person is not interested in having sex, they are not comfortable with the situation, or they haven’t received proper foreplay and therefore their body isn’t ready. Generally, a person with a vagina needs 30-45 minutes of sensuality and foreplay before their bodies are warmed up for intercourse. For sex to be pleasurable for BOTH partners, it’s important that aforementioned foreplay understood and respected.

After the vagina expands and loosens when stimulated for intercourse, it contracts back to a tightened state. This proves that the vagina is a muscle and that sex does not permanently loosen or stretch the vagina. Being “loose” during sex simply means that you are fully relaxed and ready for vaginal sex–which is a good thing!

Since the vagina is a muscle, it can be strengthened–just like any other muscle in your body–through specific exercise. One way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles is through Kegel exercises. This won’t actually strengthen or tighten your vagina itself, but it will strengthen the muscles surrounding it and will make the vagina feel tighter during intercourse. Kegel exercises can help with a variety of things, such as: heightening your orgasms, increasing bladder control and heightening sexual response. You can also use Ben Wa balls, which are inserted into the vagina and you contract your muscles around them. This exercise is very similar to Kegel exercises in terms of it’s benefits and effects on the body. Again, you can never have a vagina that is ‘too loose’’ but exercises like these can aid in the overall health of your vagina and can help with many sexual experiences.

Lastly, it is important to understand that we are all different. In the media–specifically in porn–we are used to seeing a hairless, pink, “perfect’” vagina. More often than not, these women have gotten plastic surgery and bleaching in order to have a vagina that fits this image. Very few people are born this way, and no ones vagina is more or less beautiful. We shouldn’t be brainwashed with images of unrealistic vaginas and myths about women and their sexuality and anatomy. Everyone’s body is unique!

Castleman, Michael. “The Rare Truth About “Tight” and “Loose” Women.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 16 Sept. 2011. Web. 20 May 2016.

Engle, Gigi. “The Science Of Your Vagina: Why Women Don’t Get ‘Looser’ After Sex.” Elite Daily The Science Of Your Vagina Why Women Dont Get Looser After Sex Comments. N.p., 13 Mar. 2015. Web. 20 May 2016.

Martinez, Melysa. “Demystifying the Vagina: Does Too Much Sex Make Her ‘Loose’?” L.A. Weekly. LA Weekly, 03 Oct. 2011. Web. 20 May 2016.

Am I Ready To Have Sex?

This is a list that is in Heather Corinna’s book S.E.X., I’ve adapted some of the bullet points and added some I find important. I want to note that you don’t need to be able to check off everything on this list to have sex. However, I do believe it could be helpful to read over and think about these issues. It’s more of a list of suggestions that will help you feel ready for sex.

Starting to be sexually active is a big decision and it’s something that is often overlooked by society. When you begin to have sex you go down a road of ongoing actions you need to be taking from that point on. It creates a solid change in your life. You need to start having annual STI screenings, think about birth control, evaluating possible sex partners, and entering into relationships to name a few. If you are reading over this list and you find that most of the bullet points, you’ve thought about and can say yes to, then you’re probably ready to have sex. When you have time to think about and access your sexual situation, you usually make healthier sexual choices.


  • I have protection (barrier protection in the form of condoms) and I know how to use them
  • I am on a form of birth control as a secondary method to condoms
  • I have a savings account in the case of an emergency. And to also pay for birth control, protection, STI testing, any potential STI’s or pregnancy. And I am covered under a healthcare plan or have a service that can cover me.

Body and Health:

  • I am healthy and so is my partner
  • I have begun annual sexual health exams
  • I have a doctor that I am comfortable with, whom I can call with any questions (Gynecologist for women)
  • I understand my own anatomy and my partner’s anatomy
  • I can relax and feel comfortable during sexual activity
  • I can tell when I’m turned on
  • I can handle a mild level of discomfort
  • I understand the basics of sexual activity, STIs, human reproduction, and sexual health

Relationship Requirements:

  • I am able to set limits. I know what consent is and that no means no. I am also able to uphold them and can trust that my partner will respect my wishes and vice versa
  • I can assess what I want and separate it fro my partner, friends, or family want
  • I can trust my partner and they can trust me
  • I am able to communicate what I want and need sexually and emotionally
  • I care about my partner’s health and general well-being
  • My partner and I have talked about these issues before engaging in sex
  • I can talk to my partner about sex openly and comfortably


  • I can take responsibility for my own emotions, expectations, and actions
  • I can handle being disappointed or upset about sex.
  • I can separate sex from love
  • I don’t seek to have sex to manipulate myself or my partner
  • I trust my partner’s motives and I have good motives myself
  • I am not in a abusive relationship
  • I can emotionally handle a possible pregnancy or infection
  • I have a trusted adult I can speak to about sex
  • I have friends I can speak to about sex that won’t judge me but will support me
  • I understand that starting to have sex might make me more attached to my partner
  • My partner and I understand that having sex may change our relationship
  • If my partner or I have strong religious, cultural, or family beliefs, we have evaluated and discussed them

Counting Calories

We are constantly overwhelmed with diet ads and methods geared towards ‘counting calories’ or limiting your caloric intake in order to lose weight. These ads are toxic to our minds and bodies, and do more harm than we are even aware of. They make dieting and health seem like the same thing, and introduce restriction and and counting numbers as a way to gain some ‘ideal body.’ When we start calculating our height, weight, age, activity levels, etc. in order to get the maximum amount of calories we should consume daily in order to lose weight, we become obsessed with counting every single item we put into our bodies and the quantity in which we intake them. This creates a constant, and overwhelming, pressure to constantly calculate how many grams of fat, carbs and protein you have eaten, how many calories they total up to and how many calories you have left to consume that day. This also creates an approach to health that is based off of numbers; whether it’s our calories, our weight or how much we burned off at the gym, we are always calculating and micro managing our lifestyles. This is unhealthy not only to our physical health, but can be consuming, daunting and stressful to our mental health.

Instead of focusing on the numbers, we should be focusing on the content. Think about it this way: one hundred calories of almonds are about 19 almonds. That’s nothing. Almonds (and other nuts) are packed with healthy fats and protein that give us a ton of energy and nutrients. Compare that to soda. One can of soda (Coca Cola) is only 90 calories but it’s loaded with sugar (25 grams) and chemicals, has no nutritional value and no protein or fat. It’s pure carbs and makes your energy levels spike and then crash. Calories give us very little insight into the actual healthiness of the foods we eat. The contents of soda compared to nuts are vastly different, so 100 calories or soda and 100 calories of almonds are incomparable! According to Dr. Mark Hyman “In a study of 154 countries that looked at the correlation of calories, sugar, and diabetes, scientists found that adding 150 calories a day to the diet barely raised the risk of diabetes in the population, but if those 150 calories came from soda, the risk of diabetes went up by 700 percent.” Some of the best foods for us, such as coconut oil and avocado, are avoided by so many people for their high fat content, and therefore their high caloric count. Instead, people load up on sugary foods, ranging from sugary fruits to protein bars, and give their bodies immediate sugar fueled energy that is low in calories. Eating the high fat, high caloric foods will give our bodies a stable and grounding source of energy that allow for a slower and long term breakdown of calories in our body, which avoids the spikes and crashes of sugary foods.

As a young adult, I have seen my friends and those around me say they are going on a diet or will be ‘cutting out fats’ or ‘only eating 1,000 calories a day.’ All of our bodies are vastly different. Our lifestyles are different, our age, activity levels, there are countless factors of our daily routine and lives that factor into the way we should be eating and working out. There is no diet that works for every one! Instead, we should seek to educate ourselves on what is good for us, and then experiment. Figure out what works for you and what doesn’t, what makes you feel good and what doesn’t. This creates a more holistic and stable approach to health. Most of the time, any extreme diet that involves counting or totally cutting out a food group is temporary and challenging. If we understand what genuinely makes us feel our best, and start from the inside out, we can find lifestyle routines that really work for each of our unique bodies. These methods are almost always more long term and easier to endure, as the intentions aren’t to drop 15 pounds, get the perfect beach body or only eat protein. Instead, it is to feel your best, provide your body with the wholesome nutrients and content it deserves, and treat your body as your temple. We need to shift our approach to dieting and appearance into health and what’s in the inside. Of course, caloric restriction will probably make you lose weight, but you will likely only last a few weeks to a few months on it, be extremely tired and undersupplied with energy and feel weak. Calories are our energy source. There is no reason to control or limit the amount of it we put into our bodies.