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Welcome to my column.

I don't apologize for my answers. I speak to the audience, and in doing so I sometimes tell the audience things they don't want to hear or cant handle.

I believe in stands on principle. I believe that doing right for the sake of doing right is a good way to live. I believe in self awareness and encourage it in others. I offer the most unbiased viewpoint I have. And yes, I am only human.

Im going to tell you what I think you need to hear. You are not supposed to take what I say and follow it. You are supposed to take what I say and _think_about_it_

Oh, and feel free to ask me questions, but netspeak, ebonics, terrible grammar, and your teen angst about a crush will be ignored.
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I am a Christian and I'm working on being a better one, but I'll be the first person to admit that I'm far from perfect. I have debilitating guilt and shame about my past and even the way I came to Christ, even though that sounds strange now that I'm writing it.

I feel like everyone else has really great, inspiring stories and I have kind of a cowardice one. Long story short, I wanted to come to God for years, but thought that I was too bad to do so. Like God wouldn't want someone like me. I didn't have the courage to find out if that was true or not until I was sick and thought I might be dying soon. When I found out that you can be forgiven for anything, I asked Jesus into my heart. (I'm fine now BTW).

Getting to my problem, my dad will not stop judging me, or my family for that matter. He judges us for missing church and any sins we commit. He'll imply or flat out say that we won't go to Heaven because of certain things that he himself does.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm being hypocritical and judging him, but he's got problems as well. He talks hatefully to my mom, he does rotten thing to people, he uses filthy language, he lies, he takes our things that don't belong to him and these are the kinds of things he judges us for. He'll come home from church and act this way. I've never habitually done all of these things and I've repented, but when I drop the ball, he's all over me. I'm not saying that my dad's a terrible man or that he's not going to Heaven, but I don't feel that he's in a position to look down his nose at me.

The worst is when he judges me for missing church. I admit that I've been bad about that, but church isn't the only place where I worship God with other Christians. I've heard that you don't have to go to church as long as you worship somewhere. It's not in the Bible. It's not that I don't like church, it's just a long story of why I don't go every single Sunday.

He's confident about his own salvation and that of certain people close to him. He just judges his household. It bothers me that he thinks I might not go to Heaven when he and some of the people close to him are no better than I am. It just plain bothers me that he judges me at all.

One reason I think it bothers me is because it makes me feel like such a loser. It brings back the guilt and shame I mentioned earlier. It also makes me wonder if I'll ever be the Christian I need to be. If my own dad doesn't have confidence in me, how strong of a Christian can I be?

What do you think of this situation? (link)
I'll be honest, this may not be a question for me. I'm not Christian, I am agnostic. I was raised Catholic, but I no longer believe in any God. But there are parts of your question that have nothing to do with religion that I can definitely speak to, and I'll do my best on the rest. I just wanted to state my biases outright.

First, everyone judges everyone. Judging, without the positive or negative connotations, is just looking at those around us and trying to figure out who they are and what they're like. I think that you do not have to be perfect to judge others for their faults, but at the same time I think that no one has the right to be hypocritical.

When it comes to Church, gathering to worship is as old as religion itself. You don't keep a religious community running without gathering it's adherents together to agree with each other on their religion. My problem is that there are a ton of people in the world, especially in America, who think that going to church makes them a good person. In Catholicism we called them "Sunday Catholics." People who go to church and sing hymms and give money to the church and then go spend the rest of their week being as un-christian as possible.

Believing in God itself does not make anyone a good person, but there are alot of people who think the exact opposite. They think that believing in God and believing God forgives them for their wrongs gives them license to be a shitty, horrible human being. They are not actually good people, but they will self righteously lord their beliefs and their involvement with their religion over others as if it makes them a better person than other people who are not as devout, even when those not as devout people or people who are devout in ways they refuse to recognize are just plain better people in their day to day lives.

Now, when it comes to your father, you have to realize something that every child eventually realizes.

Your parents are just the same as everyone else in that they are fallible people who believe and think things that are wrong. I'm not talking about religion at all with this. I'm talking about things like believing that they know things they do not, that they are better than others when they are not, that they make mistakes and are fallible and can easily be wrong.

Your father is a selfish asshole. Sorry if that sounds harsh, I have my own parent problems and so I pull no punches with parents and especially fathers. I think most fathers these days do not measure up.

I won't speak to Christianity, but you can indeed be the person you want to be even if your father thinks you're scum. What you have to realize is that not only is it entirely reasonable that he's wrong about you, but that from what you've said the actual things he judges and measures to see whether you or anyone else is a good person are also wrong. Which at the same time frees you. You do not have to be a person who is good by the way your father defines good. You can look at your own life, at the people you care about who care about you, and define for yourself what a good person is.

All that takes is working to surround yourself with people who have qualities you admire, whether it's Christian qualities of belief and devoutness or just human qualities like being intelligent, being fair, being humorous, or being kind. Define for yourself what a good person is, and hold yourself to that standard, and ask people who you actually respect, who respect you, to tell you when you fall short.

That's how you find peace with this, because your father isn't judging you because he is right he is judging you because making you feel shitty about yourself makes him feel better about himself.

So the answer to that last question is that your father's confidence in you has no bearing on how strong a christian or good a person you can be unless you allow it to.

Does he deserve that? That's the question you have to live with the most right now. The realization that your father does not deserve to judge you and have you feel bad about it. That he is not that good of a man or a christian, that he should be treated like someone who's opinion is irrelevant.

Now, you want to be a good person yourself? Learn how to recognize that your father is an asshole who's judgements are wrong and hurtful on purpose and learn to love him anyway. Learn to not resent him for his faults, and hope he someday learns from his problems while accepting that he probably never will.

That is true strength of character, Christian or not. If you can figure out how to care about your dad while caring about his opinion of you, you've reached a point that he will never even see, and you can look in the mirror and know that you're both stronger and kinder than your father.

Once you get there, he can't take it away from you after that.

i am a virgin 19 yrs old . i had anal sex with my boyfriend 4 months back . i took an emergency contraceptive pill just to make sure i dnt get pregnant. and i got my periods on time for that month... but from the next month i dint get my periods till now its been 3 months since i got my periods . in these 3 months i had anal sex twice but i was sure that it wont cause any pregnancy as my bf dint ejaculate anywhere near to my pussy so i dint use ipill .. but i am not getting periods.. i did pregnancy test many times but the result was always negative ... now can u please tell me why i am not Getting my periods even when the test is negative ?? and are there any chances of me being pregnant now ? how many days will a sperm be alive in a girls body ?? please answer me . what can i do to get my periods immediately ?? (link)
You aren't a virgin, you've just never had vaginal sex.

The emergency contraception might have screwed up your periods.

I was out to dinner with a friend from work and his 9-year-old son. I've known the man for 2 years and this was the first time I'd sat down with his son for a long period of time (by the way, I don't know what the situation is with the mother and believe it or not I haven't asked in 2 years). Anyways, the kid was a jolly little man. Precocious, very respectful, he knew how to engage with adults. After dinner, they both (his son insisted) invited me to the house for a late night drink/chit-chat. I had nothing to do the next day so I followed them over for the hell of it. After about 10 minutes, dad suggested that his son go to bed to which he replied the following: "can we do a bath first?" The WE in that sentence is what initially struck me as odd. The conversation continued something like this: Dad: "I don't think so tonight kiddo, we have company" Son: "Please? I can't ever sleep if you don't give me a bath." So now I knew the dad GAVE his 9-year-old son a bath every night. Being a self described reasonable person I thought "maybe he's a little old for that, but I guess it's not unheard of." So the dad says "I can't just leave our guest down here alone," to which the boy replied "she can come with." I was taken aback by this, and the dad looked at me and after a moment said "Would you mind?" Not really knowing what to say, I replied with "whatever makes him happy." The kid shot me a smile and the father told him to go upstairs and turn the water on and that we'd be up in one minute. He complied, and once he was out of earshot I was humorously asked "you don't mind seeing my kid naked, do you?" I replied "no," and that was an honest answer. He was an (overly?) innocent 9-year-old kid, what did I care? After all, we were all guys. However, I couldn't hold myself back. I asked "But can't he just do it himself? He's 9 after all." The dad replied "He can, but he always has preferred me to do it. I guess he just likes the company, and it's a nice time to bond and talk about the day." All seemed well to me, so I shrugged and ascended the steps. I'll add this: when I was growing up washing was a private thing at a very early age, so this was new to me. We got to the bathroom, the tub was running half full and this cherubic little being was waiting for us. I took an empty chair and watched. Father says "alright kiddo, arms up". The shirt came off, then the jeans, and finally his shorts. He picked his naked son up and put him in the tub, telling him to soak for a bit. I didn't let it show, but I was astonished. This kid had no modesty at all, I was a total stranger! It was half odd, half cute. The soap was then brought out and the washing began. He started with his hair, and eventually told him to stand up so he could wash his body. All while this was happening we were striking up normal conversation, asking him about school, his friends, teasing him about girls, whatever. His father was lathering soap on him head to toe, back and front. I noticed that he skipped the penis on the way down. Naturally, when he got to his feet I felt that was the end of it. Then, my main problematic incident occurred. He went back up and with his hands, washed his son's penis. It wasn't any different from the rest, it's just that I've always thought that was a no-touch area. But the kid didn't even blink! In fact, he was mid sentence when it happened and he didn't bat an eye! It lasted maybe 5 seconds, so it wasn't excessive. However, it really caught me by surprise. To conclude things, he picked up and dunked his son under the water (to the colossal amusement of the child I might add), took him out and dried him off. We brought him to his room and got his pajamas on. His dad kissed him good night, they said "I love you" to each other and we went downstairs, talked for about an hour longer before I went home. This overall was a strange, new experience for me. I don't think I've ever seen a father and son get along that well first of all, and of course the whole bath time at age 9 was strange to me while seemingly all in good fun. But the only part of it that really bothers me is the dad touching his son's penis. I mean, is he molesting his son when he does that even if the son doesn't care and it only lasts a couple seconds? Would any of you consider that to be sexual abuse? (link)
Good lord, no, that's not sexual abuse.

The penis is not "a no touch zone" unless you're ridiculously uptight. Ever had a family member injured to the point that they cannot bathe themselves? Hand injuries and the like?

Sexual abuse is exploitative. This is not exploitative.

What that is is overly indulgent. It sounds like a dad on his own just kinda went along with whatever his son wanted and never learned to say no, and so his son hasn't detached in normal healthy ways from parental involvement in daily tasks (like bathing)

This is about as alarming as a 9 year old who cries for his parents after a nightmare or who wants help getting dressed or something similar. From the parent and child's perspective, this is simply part of their routine.

Is it healthy? Not necessarily. He had company, and his son wheedled to get what he wanted, and he relented and you all went up so he could give his son a bath. A 9 year old child should be more independent than that. This isn't a "well some kids are just like that" situation, this is specifically a "you should have taught him to be more self reliant and independent than this and it's going to bite you in the ass later in his life" situation.

Kids not having modesty is fine. Kids being close to their dads is fine. Kids being bathed in a neutral way by their parents is not something you should freak out about, but obviously this guy sucks at asserting parental authority.

I mean, my son is 2 and he's learning to bathe himself. Encouraging kids to learn to do things on their own is part of being a parent...

Sorry about the lame title, but I don't know how else to word it. I had considered myself a Christian for most of my life until about two years ago. I don't put any particular label on my beliefs, but I'm leaning toward atheism. My family, who are all conservative Christians, have absolutely no idea. I don't want to ever tell them what I believe, because I wonder if this is just a "college-age phase" or something. It would hurt them so much, and I know without a doubt I would lose love from them. But let me get down to the real question...I am trying to find my first job, and my mother keeps telling me to apply for Lifeway, which is a Christian bookstore. Needless to say, I would be quite uncomfortable working there. How can I tell her that I'd rather not work there without revealing too much? Thank you. (link)
Keep your mouth shut as much as humanly possible.

I come from a devout family. I'm agnostic, and definitions are really irrelevant for this question and really for you. Worry about definitions later, it's not really all that important. Atheists and agnostics don't really care which one you are, if you're trying to figure out a label for yourself. Christians don't care either. All they need to hear is "Doesn't believe in God"

To specifically answer your question, focus on the non God related parts. You don't want to work in a bookstore. Any bookstore. You'd rather work around food, or video games, or at Best Buy, or anywhere else with something that interests you. If she focuses on the God aspect like you should want to work there because it's a Christian focused business, just refocus on bookstore. Be whiny about it, pretend you're just a typical teenaged boy who wants something more interesting to look at at work than books, or who wants something more interesting to do than manning a cash register in a book store.

The answer to how not to reveal too much lies in two simple steps.

1) Always redirect away from religion. Find something objectionable that has nothing to do with God. It's pretty easy to do this.

2) Don't be defensive. You are giving a reason, not justifying your choice. "I don't like it because ______" doesn't require any further explanation. You're allowed to not like things. Feel free to be a little whiny about it. Be stubborn and annoyed, not uncomfortable and defensive.

And let me re-emphasize


On the larger implications of your situation...

Some people never question. They go through life, they believe what they were taught, they live a life confident that the Religion they happened to be born into is the right one and everyone else with a different one is wrong.

Others question and recommit. These are the "phase" people. Religion likes to throw the phase thing around alot. It's not that questioning your beliefs is a "phase" that everyone goes through and it's not "normal" to recommit because you just find belief again.

Did you know that the older people get, the more likely they are to be conservative? People get set in their ways. They have to define something in their lives, and then they commit to it. And consequences become alot scarier because as you move into adulthood you've got more shit to do and less energy to get it all accomplished.

Teenagers have endless energy for drama. That's why raising them is hell for everyone, because you're facing someone who has an ego that hasn't been properly blunted by harsh life experience who has more energy to fight about it than you do.

Move into adulthood, and face an adult with a family who resents them (or would, if they knew) for a lack of belief, and people will recommit. Family doesn't have to be the reason, but it's a pretty common one. One of the unfortunate aspects of humanity is that if you really commit to believing something, eventually you will. Fake it till you make it can actually be a pretty effective tool for change.

The rest either never had belief (me) or lost it somewhere along the line. I tried to fake it till I make it, but I was never willing to commit to it. I wanted proof. I got lies instead. Everybody lies, but everybody especially lies about religion. Do you know what confirmation bias is? Go look it up on wikipedia. Then listen to people give Testimony about how God touched their lives. And be sad at how people purposefully and thoroughly reinterpret every event in their lives to be proof God exists. Survive a car crash? Grace of God. Get a promotion? God's plan. Get murdered, God is with you. Get the idea?

The bottom line here is that once you question, the only way back to where you used to be is to force it. To look in the mirror every day for the rest of your life and lie to yourself that you know God is real and can feel his presence or whatever.

Now we move on to exactly why you keep this from religious people as much as possible.

Put as simply as possible, religion trains people to otherise anyone who is not like them.

That doesn't sound so bad... what does "otherise" mean?

Dehumanize would be a similar word.

Dehumanize. v. 1) To remove positive human qualities.

What does dehumanization cause? You might have heard of the Holocaust? That was the dehumanization of the Jewish people by Hitler. Ok, yes, so I did just jump to a Holocaust example. But there's a very good reason for this, and it's not to imply that Christians want to murder every Athiest ever to exist.

It's the perspective that allowed that to happen that you need to understand. Jews were less than human. There were basic qualities that went into a decent person that Jews just didn't have from the Nazi viewpoint.

And that viewpoint is something many Christians share towards anyone who does not believe in their God. Muslims are otherised in America. Islam is something other. But at least they believe in God. Lots of people disagree about God, Christians can understand that at least a little.

Atheism scares the shit out of them. They fundamentally do not understand how someone can not believe there is any God. It's such an intrinsic and unquestioned "truth" in their lives that the thought of someone who thinks so differently from them that this person would question that which they would never question is frightening.

I've been told that without God there is no purpose in my life. I've been told that without God I cannot possibly be a good person because it is only God and the threat of hell that makes anyone be a good person, ever. There are Christians who would say that by talking to you in this frank and open manner I am an agent of Satan luring a vulnerable Christian away from the path of the Lord.

It's dehumanizing, disheartening, and honestly it's disturbing. It disturbs me the conclusions people can draw about others knowing nothing other than "you're different from me"

Even when they aren't actively afraid of you, they're sad for you. It's the most irritatingly condescending bullshit ever. "Oh how poor your life must be without God, you need to be saved!"

No, not really. I feel fine.

Can you tell I'm a little bitter? Sorry. Bad memories, lots of bad history.

Your best case is the sad for you reactions. Worst case is they become convinced you're possessed by demons and need a drug addict style family intervention and shun you if it doesn't work or something. And yes, that happens. More often than you think. It's just kept quiet within families, not exactly a church rallying event. No one wants to publicize the family's shameful atheist secret.

And there's a good chance that even if you do come around and convince yourself again, they'll never look at you quite the same. Maybe they'll be glad you found the light because they remember questioning and convincing themselves and can relate. Maybe they'll look at you like a ticking time bomb that doesn't need to spend too much time around younger family members so you don't lose your faith again and take a few of your cousins with you.

im 18 and a girl. i hate feeling horny almost everyday. if i do this will the feelings go away? i hope so cause i dont need to feel horny as i cant see myself in a relationship for years. at least 5-10 years. so theres no reason for me to be horny. i feel so dissapointed with myself every time i cave into the urge.. like once every 1-2 days. but if going cold turkey for a month will solve it i'll commit to it (link)
It will make it worse.

Hormones happen. And "I can't see myself in a relationship for 5-10 years" is really you saying "it's scary and I don't want to go near it"

You will regret not getting into any form of relationship until you are 23 because it's scary new territory. I have no idea why you feel disappointed in yourself. That's not natural. Maybe you should examine your perspectives instead of trying to find any way you can to stop having natural and normal urges.

Aka go get laid or something, jesus.

at my son's and daughter's school they have swimming in PE from 8th grade to at least 10th grade in high school and the boys and girls have it together. I though this was bad enough. Wouldn't this make people feel uncomfortable? And cause distractions and goofing off among everybody? Not to mention young boys will be around with no shirts on which I think is inappropriate for young girls to be around of. My son has some stretch marks and now he has to stand half naked in front of all those girls and this will give them a chance to humiliate or tease him.

but now I find out that the teacher is also a young female that is probably about 23 or 24. I remember meeting her because she taught his health class as well. I do not feel comfortable with my son having a teacher that young and a person that young being in charge of a class that includes young boys 15-16 years old in swimming costumes.

My son keeps saying he does not care, but he is young and may not realize how wrong this is.

should I take some type of action (link)
I could explain to you in depth exactly what is wrong with your viewpoint, but it would do no good.

Instead I will speak to the effects.

When a child is coddled and sheltered by his parents to the degree that you think is appropriate he or she grows up without any real coping ability with which to interact with society. When that child steps out into the real adult world he will find that nothing that you taught him is real and that the bubble of false ideology which you raised him in has left him completely unprepared to handle reality and the people (most of the world) who live there.

He will find failure after failure and he will not have any foundational mechanisms to handle that failure or to understand why he is failing. This will breed depression, followed by anger and resentment at the rest of the world around him as he withdraws further and further from people who he does not understand and who do not understand him.

In the end, one of two things will happen.

a) He becomes a hermit who avoids people and suffers from severe personality disorders and never leaves the safe bubble of home or returns to it not knowing where else to belong or how to belong there

b) He goes through a long and painful process of shedding every belief you ever taught him and resents you the entire way for the damage you did in raising him and ends up finding some combination of beliefs that appeals to him which you find wholly unacceptable, and your relationship goes down the toilet and you will forever feel like you lost your son and blame the world around you for not letting him be himself because you are too blind to see that you shaped him into a person destined to fail.

Your ideas of what is inappropriate are terrible. Truly damaging things. But worse is your idea that your son must be shielded from anyone who might tease him instead of teaching him how to handle the world and not to hide from it or try to manipulate what he finds there unsuccessfully and then blame the world for not being what you think it should be when you meet that inevitable failure.

Your son doesn't care. Maybe you should take a moment to consider that in spite of all the odds he has a healthier outlook than you do on the world and stop trying to drag him back into the stone age with you. Maybe.


Also, for the record, being in your 50s doesn't suddenly make people in their 20s not adults. The fact that you have forgotten how different teenagers are from 24 year olds are from each other doesn't mean the rest of the world has.

And the responses you are getting to this are not from teenagers, either. I'm a father, and as a father I actually think that the way your son's school is doing things is absolutely the best way to go about it. Rahzie is right, a younger teacher is going to be far more able to handle things like bullying and teasing in a group at that age than a teacher your age. Sorry, that's just how it is, and discriminating against a 24 year old woman because you're afraid your son masturbates about her at night because he's old enough to have left his Oedipal complex behind there's even more wrong with you than I can address over the internet.

In short: Get therapy. Preferably from someone under 35.

Last night, my mother went to bed early and it was just me and my stepdad in the kitchen. As I was preparing myself to take my medication, he came up, pulled my shirt up and started rubbing my stomach while I had my back turned. Should I be nervous? What does it mean? (link)
Note before I begin: I have directly requested that the website administrators here save this question and it's responses for later. Questions cannot be deleted without administrator approval, should there come a time when you need to pull this question up for a counselor, your mother, or authorities, it should be preserved in their site database for just such an occasion.

Onto your question.

Directly inappropriate.

He isolated you, he approached at a moment of vulnerability, and he initiated an action which was not at all normal which you have no explanation as to why he would do that.

Moving your shirt out of the way is a direct indicator that what he was doing was not for you. Not when such things are not established gestures of affection between the two of you or there is not a direct reason that was explicitly understood between you for that action. He approached when your back was turned, when you were unable to directly assert disapproval of his actions.

Take a deep breath before you read the next part.

This was a precursor to sexual abuse.

He approached at a vulnerable moment to initiate skin to skin contact at a time when there was no one else present to witness what he did. He created a situation in which he could touch you without your consent and have some level of deniability later.

You should tell your mother, and you should tell her it made you uncomfortable. That will hopefully stop it, but you have a larger problem that he has directly shown _predatory_ behavior. How other people responding to this cannot see that, I don't know. He exhibited a shitload of tell tale signs, things that show his intentions.

The purpose of this touch was to gauge your reactions. To begin with something small, potentially innocent, and deniable. Something he can minimize if it comes up, and then stop to keep himself from getting into trouble. If you had responded positively or completely passively, he would, guaranteed, escalate the physical contact in sexual directions.


That is what he came for. Those are his intentions. To see if you will allow him to initiate sexual contact by starting with non sexual contact. This behavior is known as grooming.

Read the following websites please.

All three of these have information you need to read, particularly the last two.

One thing that gets pointed out several times is that it can be very difficult to differentiate a predator from a genuinely caring caretaker. How do you tell?

The caretaker is transparent. When they do something, you understand why, because the actions are part of a mutual understanding between the caretaker and child which are acceptable to others outside of the relationship with the caretaker and the child. A step father who is engaging in normal comforting physical contact between themselves and a step son or step daughter does not do anything in private that they would not be comfortable doing in front of the child's parents or perhaps other family.

An example, many young children kiss their parents. Teaching a young child to give a simple kiss is almost always completely innocent, and it's one of the first simple ways a child can be introduced to ways that they themselves can show others affection. I have a son who isn't 2 yet, he kisses everyone he likes and trusts. It's a simple method for him to share normal affectionate interactions with others. He kisses me, his mother, his step mom, his grandmothers and aunts and cousins. And he does this in front of anyone. A key point of this, is that these actions can be taken in front of anyone. He can ask for a kiss or a hug or something similar in a store, at a family gathering, or alone with a trusted caretaker. These actions are completely innocent, and no one feels any need to hide this under any circumstances because it is understood by everyone involved in his life that this is an innocent expression of affection between my son and his caretakers.

A predator does things which are "secret" and "special" which you may not always be able to explain, exactly as this happened. They do things in private that they do not naturally do around other people.

There are four huge glaring warning signs to this.

First, he initiated contact when you were vulnerable. Not just when you were alone, but when your back was turned to him. By initiating this contact with your back turned to him, he directly denies you the ability to consent to the touch or to communicate your needs and desires about the contact to him. You could not let him know it was acceptable, and he did not care whether or not it was acceptable. That is exactly why he did this while your back was turned. That is what that behavior menas.

Second, he initiated contact which there was no previous understanding of or context for. You were taking your medications, which sounds like a routine activity which has absolutely nothing to do with your stomach in any way. You were in the middle of a routine daily activity, not sick or in any way needing special attention from him. And there is no understanding on your part as to why this was done. You do not know what it means.

There are times when a caretaker and a child have established standards of behavior which are harmless but which fall outside of general norms of behavior. Things which are acceptable and innocent and understood between the caretaker and child and others in the child's life which are not understood outside of the context of people who know the child and understand that child's needs.

Example of that? Neck massage. There is a bit of implied intimacy to such an action. Not necessarily sexual in any way, but still a comfort with contact and an understanding of what the contact means. A loving caretaker who gives a child a neck massage is not going to just walk up and randomly do it for the first time and leave the child with no context or understanding as to why. Instead, understanding will be explicitly established. A normal step father might ask his step daughter if she wants a neck rub after a strenuous physical activity or at another time of stress when she is going to be suffering from tension which can be relieved. Even if it serves no purpose other than to relax together and establish a bond, that purpose will be communicated both ways and understood, and it will be acceptable to others outside of just the caretaker and the child. A step father who gives a massage that is innocent will have no problems sitting his step daughter down on the floor in front of his chair and giving her a neck massage while the family is all in the living room together watching TV, by example.

Third, and very, very alarming. His initiated physical contact was an act of trapping you. He stood behind you and reached around you. Combined with the isolation and lack of mutual understanding, this becomes something that is directly predatory. He was behind you and his hand was in front of you. One arm wrapped around you. Turning around to face him becomes difficult. Escaping the embrace would have been even more difficult. He provided you with no real options to escape what he was doing outside of potentially initiating confrontation.

That has direct connotations of control. He physically controlled your potential responses by making you fight his actions with your own in order to stop him.

Fourth, he showed a desire to penetrate protective barriers. Namely, pulling your shirt up before touching you skin to skin.

Now, in some contexts that might be normal. If I give a back massage to someone, even a friend, I will pull their shirt up and if it's a woman I will ask her if I can unsnap her bra. She will be face down, nothing will be exposed, and there is an explicit understanding between us of what the massage means. The clothes are simply in the way of me actually giving an effective back massage, I can't work out a knot under a bra strap through a shirt. It's just not going to happen.

Remember the above stuff though? I will have an understanding with the person and ask for consent. I will give them the option of me doing these things before I do it, or let them know directly that in order for me to give them a massage this is required, and ask if that's what they want. They won't wonder why I'm taking their shirt up their back or undoing their bra. They will know, and be ok with it, or I won't do it at all.

None of that happened here, to the point that you were uncomfortable with it and here asking us about it. Because at no point before, during, or after did he actually communicate his intentions.

Why do you think he didn't communicate his intentions?

Because his intentions are not things he can state outright to you. His intentions are something he cannot guarantee a good response to without grooming you.

His intentions are sexual. I promise you, they are sexual. He wants to evaluate your potential acceptance or resistance to him escalating physical contact to find some way to gratify some urge he has directed at you.

I know people. I have worked with abused people. I know the signs of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and the signs of predators. You didn't write much, but you wrote enough. These actions speak volumes to someone who knows how to read the signs. Any one red flag might have been innocent. The four things I just pointed out to you taken together equate to a sexual predator 99.9% of the time.

So now that I've explained this in detail and you hopefully understand what is going on, you need to bring this up to your mother in private. You need to explain what happened and how it made you feel. And then you need to request that she tell her husband not to do what he just did ever again, and she needs to make this request while you are in the room.

Demand that. You do not want him alone with her where he can say whatever. Don't argue with him unless he lies directly like claiming it never happened.

Pay attention to his behavior. If he admits to it and apologizes for crossing your boundaries, pretends it was innocent and he just made a mistake, he will probably leave you entirely alone now that he has been called out. Admitting to the full detail of what happened and pretending he just didn't know any better is usually akin to giving up. Saying "I can admit to this because I am smart enough to never try it again, so it won't ever be an issue in the future"

If he minimizes it, tries to pretend you misinterpreted it or that it never happened, if he lies and tries to convince your mother that you are lying about this, you are in legitimate danger. It means you have a cunning manipulator.

If he tries to convince your mother that what happened didn't or didn't happen the way you told her it did and ignores you, you might be dealing with a direct rapist. Someone who will isolate you and then force himself upon you and deny it later.

If he tries to convince you, specifically, that you were wrong about what happened and that it should be ok or that it was ok, that means he is a predator who wants to entice you into willing participation and has not given up on doing so.

I have one further request.

I told you to tell your mother. I ask, also, that you show her this post I just made. Ask that you ask her to read every one of the links I posted.

If I am at this moment addressing the mother of the young woman who posted this question, take note here. There are serious dangerous signs in your house of a potential abuser and sexual predator. The actions he took were direct grooming of your daughter, a first evaluation of her willingness to comply with his wishes or at least remain passive towards him.

I would consider keeping watch and not addressing this behavior directly to him again. Why?

Because in your situation I would be divorcing him as soon as possible. I would get him the fuck away from my child, excuse my language. I am absolutely 100% sure, but you are just reading the words of a stranger on the internet.

IF your daughter is willing, keeping this between the two of you might give him the idea that he can get away with this. He will do it again, he will escalate and try to go further. He will, if you keep your eyes open and keep quiet, give you evidence which will prove to you that I am right. He will convince you that you need to remove your family from his presence and this situation.

I would also consider speaking to police, if you're willing to. Probably not, but if this guy gets divorced then he might find another mother with another daughter who he can try this on. If police become involved you might be able to send a genuine sexual predator to prison.

I know this is upsetting. Do what is right for your daughter. Protect her, however you see fit. Involve your daughter in the decision. This is her life too, and this is her safety, and if she is old enough to come and ask the internet for help interpreting behavior which disturbed her she is old enough and has enough perception and judgement to have a say in how this goes forward from here. If your daughter wants him out of the house, I think that you should find a way to give her what she needs.

If either of you has further questions you can send me a message, if you would like to take this discussion off of the website I am willing to do that. If I can help prevent abuse I would be happy to give you my time and the benefit of my experiences. I am not a therapist, I am not a professional counselor, but I do know very well what I'm talking about, and would be willing to help or advise however I can.


Last. If your mother reads this and dismisses all of it, do as adviceman suggested and bring this up to a school counselor. I do not care if your mother says you should not, forbids you to do so, or has any other reason to "keep this in the family"

If she does not take this deadly serious, go around her. If you let your mother read this, she needs to read this part too. Parents sometimes stand by in denial and let abuse happen, not wanting to disrupt their own lives. I do not know anything about your family situation.

Taking the step to involve someone outside your family if you are not getting the support you need inside your family IS A STEP YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT AS A PERSON TO TAKE. Telling a school counselor now means that if you cannot do anything to stop this, that you establish a beginning to this sequence of events so that if you suffer abuse you can go and tell someone with the power to take action that it has gotten worse and has become something that a DA will actively prosecute over.

If you suffer abuse and your family will not stop it or pretends it does not happen, be prepared to bring the authorities into the situation without the cooperation of family. That means that you need to establish a history of speaking up about this so that you aren't just someone who lies about these things. That is the perception that abusers use. They claim that the child doesn't like them and just wants them gone. That the child just made this up and it should be dismissed. Bringing these things up to an authority, whether a school counselor or your mother, establishes a pattern of behavior of speaking out specifically against touches that make you uncomfortable. If you tell him that touching you this way is unacceptable, doing it again, even just touching your stomach without permission, is legally assault or sexual assault depending upon the circumstances of the contact.

You have legal rights which you can exercise, even as a minor. You have the right to refuse any contact such as this which you do not want. Establishing a history of speaking up about these things gives you credibility when you go and report behavior that is directly illegal.

If your mother is on board, your next step if he is not directly kicked out of the house is to bring authorities into it. Don't use social services. Use police or school officials. Go together. Speaking to a school counselor as a family can help lead you to further resources. A women's shelter will also be a good resource, there are shelters for women and children everywhere and going to speak to a shelter establishes a very strong line of evidence of a serious problem you are trying to address. If this goes to court at any point, that is direct evidence of you trying to fix this problem and not knowing how, seeking people with experience with abuse cases for advice on what to do from here.

If you have to go to a school counselor, show them this post the same way I advised you tell your mother. It will provide them with the background they need to get a ball rolling, and evidence of you going online and asking is court admissible evidence that you thought something was wrong before this escalates into genuine sexual abuse.

First of all, thanks for taking the time to read through this. I'll just get straight to the point. I'm a 24 (almost 25) year-old guy, and I have a roommate who's 19. We met at work, and are great friends. When I met his family, I felt a pretty strong emotional pull towards his sister. After a while, I realized I was pretty strongly attracted to her, and so far it seems like the feeling is mutual, though I've not actually asked her about it yet.

Without going through too much backstory, I found out during that time of growing attraction that she's actually sixteen, rather than the 17, close to 18 that I thought. Now, I'm really wanting to do the right thing here, not to mention without landing myself in jail, but my problem is that I've always fallen hard and fast when it comes to matters of the heart, and I'm in a bit of a pickle... I've talked to my roommate, and he's alright with the idea, but I really need some advice as to how to approach this. My gut says to tell her, and stay friends for the next year and a half, but I could really use your advice on this. Also there's the little question of talking to her mom about it...

P.S. In case it's relevant, I live in Arizona. (link)
Don't make this mistake.

They covered the legal. Here are the other problems.

She's 16. She's not anywhere near where you are in knowing herself. At 24, you have had alot of time to be an adult independent of anyone else, to form your own identity, and to refine yourself into a person you like. At 16, she's barely begun that process and won't really get into it until she's been an independent adult to some degree for a while.

Which means that getting into a relationship with you is going to force her to grow up in ways that make her compatible with an adult relationship with you. Maybe she'll want that at some point, in which case hit on her when she's legal and be friends until then. Maybe not, so don't make it her problem right now because a 16 year old is going to be star struck by a guy your age.

People have to grow up independently of their partners before they're actually ready for a real partner. That's what you're probably ready for. She isn't. If she's got a nice, normal family, she's not on that schedule. The people who are exceptions to the age rule are all people who are naturally placed far outside human norms. People of near genius or genius level IQ who have trouble relating to their peers and are forced to grow up fast. People who have suffered abuse who are forced into the same. People who choose or get sent down life paths that deviate from the standard, normal, and accepted as healthy ways that the average person follows in a process of growing up and maturing.

She needs time. I wouldn't really consider anything until she's in her 20s. Go date people closer to your own age, people who can be ready for what you are ready for. You really like this girl? Give her time to find herself and see if you still like her when she's had the space to figure out for herself who she is and wants to be on adult terms.

Some time back, i asked you guys what to do about my sick and stupid fantasy of having sex with my aunt who is 31 years old and extremely beautiful.I was then 13 years old, i am now 14 years old and i still want to have sex with my aunt. I feel so dirty because she is my blood related aunt. I am scared to confront her because i am scared of the repercussions but i can not continue like this because every time i see her, i feel like raping her . Someone please help me!!!!!!! (link)

You know, I don't even care about the incest part of this at this point. Your attitude towards women in general is far worse.

Every time you see her you feel like raping her? What the fuck is wrong with you kid? What makes you think that's an acceptable sentiment to have in your own head, much less to say to other people in public?

Do your friends think that's cool? Do you sit around like a bunch of ignorant virgins and talk about how this or that girl is someone you'd totally rape if you could? Do you think it's fun to refer to women as objects who exist only for you to admire and fuck?

I get that you're a kid and you've probably been taught this is ok, but at 14 there really is no excuse. You've existed in a world with enough counter messages for you to pick up on the fact that rape is not fucking funny, it's not a cool way of expressing your attraction to someone, that in fact it makes you creepy as all fucking hell. It makes you pathetic, childish, disturbing, and disgusting.

And I'm a guy in his late 20s, just so you know. I'm double your age, I have kids, and if the one I have on the way is a daughter I plan to teach her to look at guys like you with utter disgust, to look at you as worthless and people to be avoided.

On the incest part, grow the fuck up. Keep your desires to yourself and try to get through your head that your aunt is not some perfect sex object but a person who deserves better from you than stupid sexual desire. Masturbate more, go watch some porn, replace your aunt with some other sexual fantasy by force of will. You start thinking about your aunt, you force yourself down another desirable path of thought. Find another fantasy that appeals to you and use that to shove your aunt out of your mind. Do this for as long as it takes to grow up and not have to deal with these feelings. If it takes a damn decade, keep at it and don't whine or feel sorry for yourself when it's hard. Plenty of people have difficult challenges when it comes to sex and their own lives and this one is minor by comparison to most.

My friends younger brother came up to me talking about how he wants to be some big sports star in high school and all that, and hes saying that he wants to take steroids only for a couple of years in order to bulk up.. and hes asking me if ive heard of any problems for kids of his age who take them.. hes only 14... which is ridiculous, i know! he wants to do it so he can get a scholarship after high school in order to afford to go to college. I'm obviously going to advise him not to take them.. but what should i say and how should i say it? What exactly would they do to someone of his age?? i need to know everything.. I really want to educate myself on this so I can not only educate him, but scare him into not doing it.

please help.. thanks (link)
First, we're not doing your googling for you. Google "risks of steroids" and "Risks of steroids in adolescents" and you'll find a host of things that are all negative about using them.

On a more direct route, steroids won't make him a sports star. Best case, he gets bulkier sure. But not all that much stronger. Steroids don't build efficient muscle, they just build muscle, and without the work and natural ability that all people who are skilled at sports put in, it's not going to do a damn thing for him.

Second, in a not worst case scenario people figure out he's using steroids. He gets kicked out of every sport he's in. They don't tolerate that in students, it's not legal in professional sports so what makes you think it would be legal for him?

Third, real steroids are expensive as hell. The stuff that real professional athletes use cost thousands upon thousands of dollars a year to afford. At 14, he cannot afford the real stuff. So his choices are a) to go to a GNC and get protein powders and such which don't really do much at all without the work I mentioned earlier or b) to use dangerous shit put together by God knows who that is just as likely to kill him as do anything positive.

Fourth, scholarships are a terrible thing to bank your future on. What if it all works beautifully then he gets injured? It's sports, it happens. I played football in high school and I know someone who screwed his knee up so bad that he had to quit playing in high school, and he was scholarship material. Even without an injury, you have to really, really be good at what you do. You don't get a scholarship because you took steroids and played, you get a scholarship because you have a natural gift of some kind and you also put in all the work.

Ever heard of Vince Young? He was a quarterback for UT for a few years. He went to a rival high school of mine, I knew him pretty well. Vince was gifted as all hell throwing passes. He could land the ball on a foot target on the ground from 60 yards away 10 times out of 10. It was almost magical to watch when you weren't the team he was destroying.

Vince worked his goddamn ass off. He was gifted, sure. But he also practiced passing for at least an hour every day of his life once he got into high school. Summers, holidays, Christmas, weekends, every single day. He practiced the parts of his game he wasn't as good at, hand offs and tackle dodging and so on. By the time UT was taking a look at him he was a good QB in every single area except for passes where he was absolutely gifted.

That's who gets scholarships. People who go in for steroids to get into a sport don't.

There are better ways. If he's 14, he can get emancipated when he's 17. Emancipation removes your parent's income and lets you get financial aid for college. He can then look into a 2 year degree. Learn to work on engines, learn to work radiology equipment or be a physical therapy assistant, learn to be an electrician or AC repair tech. Spend two years at a minor school which financial aid will pay for, graduate with a skill which will provide him with a stable income which will let him save up and plan to go back to school later.

That's the smart way. Find a way to get college paid for that's a sure thing. Financial aid, a night time job like waiting tables or something, and room mates so you can save money on expenses like rent and bills are how a bunch of people I know got through college.

Once he has a stable income, if he wants to go back to school he can. It doesn't have to be quick, he can wait, or he can take a few hours a semester until he gets what he wants to get done, done. Eventually, he can do whatever the hell he wants.

His plan will not work. It won't. Even if everything goes right, he's competing for scholarship spots against people he will never meet, people who might well be far more gifted than he will ever be who he can't know that he is competing with and can't use as a measuring stick to get better.

It's like being handed a gun, told that there is a target in the dark somewhere you need to hit after they blindfold you and spin you in a circle until you're dizzy. What are the chances you hit that target?

And yes, specifically, there are a ton of potential long term negative effects for anyone who takes steroids which will be even worse for a teenager in puberty. Steroids fuck up your hormone balance. Too much testosterone. Your body ups your estrogen to compensate.

You know what that means? Tiny balls and big tits. That's right, guys grow literal breasts. And then they're off the juice, and their muscles go to shit, and they gain weight because of the increase of natural estrogen production, and they're miserable because they sacrificed their body's health for some goal that ended up not really getting them what they wanted in life.

Ask your friend if he wants to need a bra after he takes steroids and still ends up not being good enough at a sport to get a scholarship.

Hi 13/m..
So im at an international school and there is this kid my age that really gets on my nerves..he insults me and my friends..we already told the principal he got suspended once or twice, we also insult him back this year cause we dont have anything else to do..he has no friends which is probably the cause..he insulted on of my close friends yesterday and she felt very bad..I feel like beating him up but i dont want to get expelled, suspension for me is fine but not an expulsion! (link)
He has no friends and he insults you for attention.

It's literally like a child who hits a girl he likes to get attention from her in a negative way because he has no idea how to do it in a positive way.

You don't have to beat him up. Instead you just talk with your friends and explain what he is doing and why. He is seeking their attention and seeking to affect others because he has no other ideas about how to get one and do the other.

If you give him no attention and don't affect you one of two things will happen.

a) He gets worse and gets himself in repeated trouble and eventually gets expelled

b) He leaves you alone and goes and looks for another target.

The other thing that you can do is confront him with the truth. Have everyone be prepared to address him without anger or even mockery, to just confront him with the reality of his actions.

"We know you're just trying to get attention. We don't want to give you any, because you're being a jerk. Go away" and then ignore him. If he insults you, leave if you can. If you can't leave, bring it to a teacher. If he follows you, bring it to a teacher.

If you try this once and he keeps coming, next step is to actively tell an admin what he's doing and your response. That you have told him politely to leave you alone and called him out on trying to get attention and that he won't stop and that you will keep coming as long as they allow this to be a problem. If you respectfully express to a teacher or principal or whatever that this is a recurring problem and that you will be coming to see them every time he bothers you until they solve the problem, they will take more direct action.

See, administrators are the same everywhere. If you make it your problem, they might well leave you to deal with it. If you make it their continuing problem, they will have motivation to address it more directly so that they can stop having it be their problem.

Make sure all your friends are prepared to meet him with a united front. The same responses, calling him out and then ignoring him completely.

Bullies are cowards. When they see you aren't going to change, back down, or let them affect you, they run. If he doesn't run it's because he thinks he can get away with being aggressive. Don't let him be aggressive. Don't let him follow you around, don't let him trap you.

Through understanding of any situation you can gain power over it. When he insults someone, if they understand he's only doing it because he is a sad, lonely person, it doesn't hurt. He wants attention and he is manipulating you into giving it to him by becoming your problem. Show him that he isn't a problem and you remove his power. Show your friends that all he wants is attention and that he really is just a sad lonely person lashing out because he's too stupid to learn to get along, and instead of being hurt by him they'll just see him for the sad, lonely person that he is. It's hard to feel bad about the things someone says when you think that person is sad or pathetic.

Don't beat him up. That will just make him angry and convinced that he can still get attention. It will make him worse, and it invites similar retaliation. You beat him up, what if he is willing to do the same but he corners other friends of yours instead of you? What if he gets a girl alone and threatens her?

Ignoring him will hurt him more than your fists will. Showing him he is powerless to affect you and that he cannot make you think anything about him other than that he is sad and not worth your time will hurt him.

And at that point, you haven't done a damn thing wrong. You haven't done anything you are not perfectly within your rights as a person to do. You get to be the better people, while still working to deal with his bullshit.

I am a 20 year old female about 120 pounds, I am in healthy/athletic shape because I'm a dancer and I also enjoy running and going to the gym when I have time. So basically, while I'm at college I do at least some type of physical activity everyday and I generally eat healthy. The only time I eat unhealthy is when I'm hungover, and sometimes I eat at night before bed if I'm stressed/bored/need the comfort. But overall I watch my calories and eat healthy. I drink alcohol often because I'm a college student so I generally drink 3-4 nights a week, but I try to stick to light liquors (I know that doesn't really change much).

I have very muscular/skinny arms, legs, and even upper stomach, but on my lower stomach I have ALWAYS had a pouch. I know that people are going to say this is probably because of drinking, but even before I drank when I was younger and still really skinny I always had this pouch. I've never in my life not had the pouch. It is hte most frustrating thing and i don't know what to do anymore because I want for once in my life to be able to wear belly shirts and to feel really fit at dance and be able to feel comfortable wearing bathing suits. I'm so comfortable with the rest of my body, but the pouch is ALWAYS there no mater what and it probably sounds dumb but it has caused me endless self-esteem issues my entire life. Last spring I even did Isagenix where I have two shakes a day to replace meals and then have one 400-600 calorie meal. I lost a lot of weight and my stomach was a little flatter but the pouch was still there. This past summer I worked out and danced like crazy, I only ate 1000 calories a day, and I tried my hardest not to eat night. Again, I lost a lot of weight and my stomach did get noticeably flatter but the pouch was still there. I have a great workout regimen including a lot of ab work and exercises I have researched for lower abs, but still no changes in the pouch.

I am so frustrated with this lifestyle of having to go into hardcore dieting and working out just to see my stomach flatten out a little (still a pouch though) but once I start to live normally again my stomach is not flat. I know that people's bodies collect weight differently but there HAS to be a way for me to get this pouch away. I am obviously to young for surgery and I have never tried diet pills because I don't want to hurt myself, although I might try taking coffee bean extract pills before meals. But the thing is, I worry that no matter what kind of diet/exercise I do i will lose weight in the rest of my body but not my pouch, just like what always happens. I know this might seem dumb but for me it is something I have been struggling with my ENTIRE life and it is SO frustrating. If anyone has had this problem before or can give me any advice about lower stomach pouch I would really appreciate it. Thank you! (link)
This is probably not going to be the answer you want to hear, but you need to learn to like it.

My girlfriend is about 10 lbs heavier than you, and she has the same thing. I could give a shit less, it's just curves. It's not like she's fat, she's just not got definition to her stomach and it's not perfectly flat. There is nothing at all wrong with curves on a girl, a little belly included.

You've been sold this impossible standard of beauty that has you as a healthy, athletic person who takes care of yourself still obsessing over some stupid detail about your body that isn't even a negative in any sense except for advertised and airbrushed standards of beauty.

You do not need to have a flat stomach to be gorgeous. You really do not. Especially so far as guys are concerned. It's not even that we will ignore that if you have other positive qualities that outweigh it. It's that we legitimately do not give a flying fuck. If you're gay, the same goes for any girls who might be interested in you. Either it won't matter, or it'll be one of the unique attributes to your body that makes your body yours, and hence a positive to them.

I love my girlfriend's belly. She doesn't work out like you do, she just eats fairly healthy and walks and stays about 125-130 by default. I would encourage her if she wanted to work out for health reasons, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with her body. And there's nothing wrong with yours, either.

I felt sad when I read this. A beautiful young woman who is athletic and intelligent about what she does to keep herself that way who is insecure because she has been taught that a natural feature of her body is ugly and marrs her appearance to the point that she doesn't want to wear anything that lets someone see it...

There is nothing wrong with you, sweetheart. Nothing at all, except learned insecurities. And that's what I really want to keep emphasizing here.

LEARNED! This is not how you would just naturally feel about your body. You've been advertised to and put down either by people or societal messages and you've become convinced that these people are right. You don't see what you want to see in yourself, you see what you think everyone else sees.

While, it's true, there are people who can find something wrong with anyone. These people don't find things wrong with you because they think that either. They find things wrong with you because they have been taught wrong the same as you, and because they have some motivation to find a reason to tear you down.

And popular ideals of beauty are specifically designed to tear you down. To be impossible, so that there's always a new cream, a new pill, a new fad diet you can buy a book about, or a new type of outfit which hides whatever it is they've convinced you is wrong with you. The point of all of this is that these things have been done to you. Heard of feminism? This is one of the many things it's about. Countering the messages to women that they aren't good enough, that they'll never be good enough. You're more than good enough. You're awesome.

There are so many other things you could be better focusing your energy on. Instead of losing weight you could be finding a new hobby or interest, making new friends, or just enjoying the things in your life that are already there more.

I hope you read this and it made you think a little about your priorities and what you think you really need to do to look good. I'll bet you could rock a bikini and turn heads. All you'd have to do is be confident in it. To feel like you look hot.

You know, my girlfriend had similar issues. She looked at herself and didn't see someone beautiful. I've helped with that. I try to help her see what I see, a gorgeous woman I can't help but stare at at times.

If you have a boyfriend, maybe talk to him. If you don't, I have an exercise for you. Go stand in front of a mirror naked and really look at yourself. Find things you like. As many as you can. Things that you feel are beautiful about you. Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positive, because the positive is going, to some degree, be things that come naturally from you.

Look at yourself and ask yourself what you like about yourself and why you like it. Don't just stand there either. Feel free to touch. Not masturbate (unless the mood strikes you) but just explore and get to know yourself all over again when you're alone and there's no one there to levy judgement. Look at yourself from all angles, try to see the beauty there, the things that other people actually will notice, the things you like about yourself that others will like about you too.

When you think about something you dislike, ask yourself why. You don't like your belly because you're convinced that you'd look bad to other people. You don't want to wear a bikini where people can see it. What about you? Don't you get a say in whether or not you're a beautiful person? Care less about what others think and more about what you think. You like being athletic. That's fine. Enjoy being athletic. Enjoy the muscle definition, the build your body has because you've worked it into that shape. Enjoy the gifts that nature gave you as well, the things about your body that anyone could look at and think "yeah, those are great"

You've spent too much time focusing on the negative. Please, give what I've said here a chance. Think about whether or not I'm right, and genuinely consider the mirror exercise. You need more positive things to think about your body image.

No one has a perfect body, because there is no such thing as a perfect body. I guarantee you that no matter what you look like there are people who are and people who are not attracted to you.

You know, it's different for guys, but we still get those messages. I'm a big dude. Broad shouldered, thick chest, huge hands, etc. In addition to being taller than most people, I'm bulkier and more muscular than most people. I will never, ever be skinny. Even in my best shape I'm just massive of frame. The bones in my wrist are thicker than my girlfriend's ankle.

Some girls don't like that. They like skinny dudes, guys who are lanky and slender. Other girls love my build. Love big, muscular men. I have never dated a girl who I couldn't throw over my shoulder and carry around pretty easily, and that includes a few girls around 5'9 who will never see 120 lbs without severe anorexia or amphetamines. And there are plenty of girls who find that specific form of "manly" sexy as hell.

I don't spend my time wishing that I appealed to everyone. I enjoy the effect I have on the people who do find me attractive, who think that my confidence in myself is sexy as hell.

That's what you need. Confidence is sexy. If you learn to love yourself, if you can strut your stuff and be proud of the things about yourself that you like, people are far less inclined to find anything but positive things about your appearance. If instead of a shy turn away from someone who looks at you in a bikini, you can return the glance with a smile, no one is going to be caring that you don't particularly like your belly. They're going to be thinking about the things they like. The other things your bikini shows that do look fantastic even by your standards.

I am a 19 year old male who just moved out of my house to start college. I live alone and lately I've just been feeling kinda lonely and sad. For some reason I just feel the need for a companion, a girl, just somebody. Whenever I see people at school who are really happy I just feel like I need that and want a girl to love me. I don't know. Like when I'm at home, I just feel so bored and apathetic, like nothing to look forward to. (link)
You're suffering from depression and you're fixating on romance as a way to fix it. You need to address the problem and get more of a life. Part of depression is being stuck in some kind of rut. Break up your rut. Worry less about a girlfriend and more about friends. Find like minded people at some kind of social gathering and find some people you can go visit or have over to hang out. Work on a girlfriend after you're feeling better. If this persists for more than a month after this and you can't stop feeling apathetic go talk to a counselor. Depression is a real thing that gets worse if left alone to it's own devices.

And it sucks ass, so take active steps to fix the problem.

I'm a thirteen year old (nerdy) girl, and it's been pointed out to me that thinking nerdy boys are cute is atypical. I simply don't find what people would consider "normal" boys my age attractive. I think nerdy boys are very cute, especially boys with glasses (I've also been told this is odd), and I've never had a crush on anyone who isn't as smart or smarter than I am (I realize this may seem somewhat rude, as that's saying I think myself to be very intelligent, which I do not- just somewhat competent). What do you think? Is this weird? I never thought of as being so, just not the dominant opinion. (link)
There is no such thing as normal. There is only average. Yes, the average thing to do that average people of average intelligence do is to look at whatever guys people around them tell them to like.

You like nerdy guys? Date nerdy guys. You're far more likely to find an actual relationship with a guy who cares about you in a guy with similar interests and intelligence level than you are among the guys that the average girl your age thinks is hot.

Don't lord your intelligence over other people, but there's nothing rude about privately (and an anonymous question on the internet counts as privately) acknowledging that there are factual differences between you and many of the people around you. Some of us are far above the average IQ, and we do things differently than most. There's nothing wrong with that.

You're going to find more and more as you get older that the things that people who consider themselves "normal" do don't really make a whole lot of sense to you, or make sense but not in a way that makes those things right for you. Go your own way and don't look back. Sure, it'll be rocky. You don't have too many other people around you can ask for advice who will be able to understand your perspective on life.

But when you're in your 20s and you've finally really started to figure yourself out on your own terms, you'll be happy as hell you set out on roads not traveled by others and found your own way to being yourself.

Also, teenaged boys are all works in progress. The nerdy ones definitely get less attention, but they've got a much greater capacity for improvement than most. You can teach a nerdy guy to work out a little, dress well, and be sociable. You can't teach a dumb guy with a great body to be more intelligent.

Hi, im 15/f
I have never had a boyfriend, kissed anyone, or done anything. I'm a normal sophomore girl I just haven't wanted a boyfriend until now and it's getting crazy. I feel like it's my hormones because I get weird feelings.. But now most of the day I'm daydreaming of having a boyfriend and kissing, snuggling and all that. i also don't find blow jobs gross like I would give one to him after a while. But I do find sex terrifying and I wouldn't have that though. No guy has come into my life yet, and i just want him to already. (link)
Yeah that's hormones.

Once you really get into puberty, your sex drive starts actually going. The bad part about this is that during puberty, your sex drive is subject to random hormone spikes. You're just going about your day, and then something sets you off and you can't think of anything else.

The good news on that front is that eventually the spikes even out. You'll still have a sex drive, maybe it'll still be intense, but it'll be intense in fairly predictable ways. Plus, the longer you spend dealing with it the more you get used to managing it.

Nothing wrong with not finding blowjobs gross, in fact once you are sexually active your complete lack of aversion to the idea will be a plus in any sexual relationship. Sex won't be scary once you've had it.

At some point you'll find a guy. I suggest finding a long term relationship. Make him wait a while for sexual activity, even if it's difficult on your end. Teenaged guys are notorious for just wanting sex because they're too stupid and insecure to manage anything remotely mature and stable emotionally. You gotta pick one out of the group who can be respectful and let sex happen on your schedule without issuing ultimatums. Any guy who tries "if you love me you will" or any kind of "if you do this I'll love you forever" or some shit isn't worth your time.

Be assertive. There's nothing wrong with getting angry at a guy who pressures you about sex. Nothing wrong with you telling a guy "you're being a douchebag, and if you don't grow the fuck up and treat me with respect as a person with every right to figure sex out on my own timetable you can walk right out the door" or something similar.

Also, masturbate. Feel free to look at porn. Whether your parents or anyone else thinks it's ok or not. There are plenty of ways to hide it if it wouldn't be ok in your house. If you have your own computer, get firefox and google private browsing. Masturbation will help with the urges, it's easier to stay sane if you're having regular orgasms of your own, plus it helps you get to know your own body so that someday you can help someone else get to know it later.

Last, a word for the future. The whole "I don't think that's gross at all" thing is a great way to be. When you have sex, it can be sweaty and messy. Women get wet, guys have precum and cum, and there's nothing wrong with any of it. It's all just a natural part of what's going on.

Not being grossed out by any of it means you'll have fewer hangups when you get to sexual activity, which means sex will be more fun for you than it ever can be for people who have issues with "that's gross!"

For some people, the mess is part of the fun. If you don't need a shower after sex, you did something wrong.

I'm 7 months pregnant and my husband keeps joking that I'm fat and I need to loose weight. I gained weight in my face. I was skinny before I was pregnant & I know I won't be skinny after I give birth. But he keeps calling me fat it really hurts my feelings because I feel like he thinks I am disgusting. What should I do? (link)
Quietly and calmly tell him to shut the fuck up the next time he does it.

Tell him that saying things like that is hard to deal with because you have gained weight and you feel insecure, and every time he says it he puts you under stress you do not need, and stress is bad for the baby.

If he blows you off, ask him how he'd feel if you started joking that you've always felt like his dick was just a little too small.

fuck the bible. i was raised a christian and untill 20, i believed. Want to know why? i have a serious heart problem, and i have died 4 different times for longer then 2 minutes. nothing happens. you just die, and whats worse is i saw my own pastor at a strip club, what does that tell me? all the offereings IN church were carelessly thrown away on worthless hoes. and the fact 60% of rape is by pasters/ priests. the world needs to realize that religion is a fucking belief.Its funny how there are like 20 different types to, like christian, luthren, cathlic, exct. and the all big time woah is, its been thosands of years and not .000000000001 evidence or ANYTHING has been found. its just plain fucking ridiculous. harry potter is a book of modern times, and it has fans. i dont see a difference in the bible/religion, ITS A FUCKING BOOK SOMEONE WROTE, WITH ALL BRAINWASHED FANS THAT CALL THEMSELVES "GODS CHILDREN" i remember the pastor saying how all sinners go to a place where your burned for eternity......God is love? lolololol. i laugh in the face of ANY church. The pastors are just some hustlers taking everyones money because theyre smart as fuck and all the congregation isnt. I would burn a bible in the popes face. good bye. (link)
Welcome to the fold, fellow atheist/agnostic.

First off, I'll give you fair warning, you're going to be angry for a while, and you have to find a way to calm down at some point. Like you, I and many others were raised in religion and came to a point where we felt betrayed. Felt like our entire lives the foundational beliefs we were taught before we learned how to add and subtract were lies.

Being angry only hurts you. It's a little nugget of misery that sits with you, and poisons your ability to deal with life.

Instead, celebrate. You are free! You no longer have to follow the dictates of that which you do not believe in. You no longer have to be bound by the conceptions of Christian morality and the perceptions therein. You can instead discover in yourself that morality and virtue are neither dependent on nor originate from religion or spirituality. You can be a good person without religion or faith, and no matter what anyone who is in your life believes or says, none of them can change that truth.

At some point, we all come to the realization that it's not our fault, and to a large degree it's not our parents or whoever else indoctrinated us's fault either. My parents are still Christian. They depend upon faith. Without it, the world is too scary. They are terrified of death, of not being immortal in some way, of a world where there is no great sky being holding everyone accountable for the things they see as wrong.

My parents had no chance to escape religion. When they were our age, atheism was synonymous with satanism. The term "agnostic" didn't really exist so far as the vast majority of the world was concerned. They were raised in a world where the answer to not believing was to try to believe harder. And the reality of people is that if you try to believe something hard enough for long enough, eventually you will. You will see the world around you through the lens of someone who desperately wants to prove that God exists, and you will see anything that does not disprove God as evidence that God exists. Past a certain point, there is no turning back. It's like you forcibly destroy any brain cells that contain doubt by nuking them with pure force of will or something, I don't know.

People are who they are, and often (especially the dumber you are) people are who they are made to be. The people who taught you to believe were made to be that way. They did what they were made to do, they tried to make you the same way. The church isn't a group of con artists duping the gullible public. In a way, they are the most duped, because in most cases they believe the most. They are the least free to redefine the world in a way that makes sense in any real, measurable way.

And like a woman who leaves her abusive husband and files for divorce, you have broken that cycle. That is a good thing, something you should be thankful for.

It's all going to be ok. Yes, faith is terrible. It is a weapon against the ignorant, as is the bible. I can't tell you if religion is on the way out, it's far too early to tell. These things have existed for as long as we have recorded history, the delusion of immortality and higher powers which can bend the world in your favor is a hard one for many people to let go.

But we now live in a world where people who do not believe can do so without fear. Where you can be atheist and not get hung or burned at the stake. And more and more, people are turning away from God or Gods and turning to each other.

Try to remember, we're all one big ignorant misguided species trying desperately to ascribe some meaning to life. That is harder for some than others, so religion was born to give them something to believe in when they lacked anything else. We have not evolved as a society to a place where we can survive without religion, but I do believe that such evolution is happening as we speak.

Last, just a personal pet peeve, now that you're abandoning religion it's time to abandon random statements of misinformation. Pastors and Priests do not commit 60% of rape. Rape is a huge problem in contemporary society which revolves around genders and the ways men and women are taught and interact, and much of it has little to do with religion.

Now that you've abandoned faith, it's time to find something to believe in that is based purely in fact. I suggest you start with feminism, cause if there's one thing out there worth fighting for it's gender equality.

OK, so I have this boyfriend. Long distance relationship. I genuinely love him. He went to his job today for the first time since we got together. And I'm really worried. Because he works at Hot Topic, and you know how all the insanely flawless girls go there. Any girl can fall in love with him. So what if he leaves me for another girl? I mean, I don't think he'd do that since he keeps telling me to promise him that I'll never leave him and that he'll never leave me. But I'm still worried if he'll leave me for a much prettier girl though. I keep worrying about it because I know he can get absolutely any girl he wants, because he's just so perfect. If I ever lost him to another girl, I'd self-harm big time. (If you say I'm crazy, you obviously don't know how I feel about him.)

How can I stop feeling this way? (link)
There is no answer you're going to listen to that is actually correct. You can't stop feeling this way, you're a teenager (god I hope you're still young enough to be a teenager) in a shallow long distance relationship.

So, when this does inevitably blow up in your face, remember a few things.

1) You never really knew this guy.

2) Long distance relationships only work between adults who can choose to move to make it a normal relationship.

3) Self harm in order to prove to yourself or anyone else how much you really cared is a stupid teenaged drama queen thing to do and you need to grow the fuck up and get over things like breakups.

4) You haven't got a clue what love is.

5) No one is perfect and you will never have a good relationship with any guy if you think he is.

6) Being insecure is a good way to lose someone, don't do it next time.

Hi. I am 26 and I have a 26 year old Muslim boyfriend. When I first met my boyfriend, he wasn't a muslim yet. Last year he decided to become a Muslim, and he became really devoted to his religion. I'm a Christian. At first he told me he wouldn't push me to convert as a muslim. But these past few months, we are always arguing about our faith. He doesn't respect my faith and being so discriminating towards other religion. I told him I respect his faith but I don't want to talk about it anymore cause I don't want to argue. But he wouldn't stop. And tonight he told me that he will give me time to think about converting. I told him not to expect cause I'm really not going to change my religion. He said it will not work abd broke up with me.

I tried to understand this guy so much but I feel disrespected. Please help. I don't want our daughter to grow up without a father. Am I still going to accept him when he comes back to me? I'm sick of tired of arguing about our faith. I accepted him the day he told me he wants to be a Muslim but why can't he respect my faith? I was born as a Christian and I want to stay as a Christian forever. He told me too that he's not going to marry me if it's not in an Islamic way. Don't know what to do. :'(

Thank you for all your answers (link)
Let him go. The relationship is screwed, and you'll be better off refocusing on building a life without him. Your kid didn't lose their father, you're just not together anymore.

Be civil, tell him you understand why it wasn't working and you want to stay broken up and be friends and raise the kid as parents who are not in a romantic relationship with him. Give him and yourself time and space, do not hang out or anything for at least 6 months, do not interact unless it's about the kid, and after half a year see if you can both be adults about not being together and having a kid.

So I'm 15 and i don't plan on having sex until marriage. This is a serious question though... Are guys turned off by girls who have not had sex? Like do they think it's weird when a girl hasn't done it or are they okay with it? (link)
Ugh. Ignore adviceman. His secret was right in the 50s. Times have changed.

I'm going to be bluntly honest with you, choosing to be a virgin until marriage is a difficult choice.

See, in the last decade or two, there's been a dynamic change in dating. Adult women have gone slowly from being horrible if they have sex to being equal with men in that they have every right to do so if they want. Guys have, for the most part, always been given a pass on sex. Even in the 50s, a man who had sex did not have his value to others "ruined" the way a woman did. It was a sexist double standard which is slowly being torn down.

Now, women can choose to have sex for their own reasons and the judgements made are more and more often simply about who they're with, just like guys.

Not always. There is still value placed on purity. So let's talk about that for a minute.

Purity has it's root in paternity. Historically, women are always 100% sure that a child is theirs and men can have doubts. The whole "controlling women's sexuality" thing came about in part because men wanted to be in control of whether or not a child was biologically theirs.

Move forward a few thousand years and you have the modern values of "saving yourself for your husband" which is basically another way of saying that he and he alone owns your sexuality, and that you're a horrible person if anyone else ever gets a whiff of your "purity"

This idea, frankly, is harmful. Your sexuality is yours to do what you please with it, and should be. You want to save yourself until marriage because you have been taught that's what "good" women do. It's a crock of shit.

Why is it a crock?

Because there's a 99% chance that the guy you are with will have had sex before. Outside of a very small subset of Christians who come down just as hard on guys for premarital sex as girls, guys simply are not taught to give a damn about how many partners they've had.

Now, let's talk about why guys value purity or virginity on an individual basis.

It's all about ownership. Possession of you. If you take a girl's virginity, no one else can do that. Some guys literally keep score. It's meaningless, but it's something stupid that some guys take pride in or otherwise enjoy.

In a marriage, there is also the reality that a woman who has never had sex with anyone other than her husband is far less likely to initiate a divorce. That, too, is ownership. The thought of being alone, of possibly initiating a sexual relationship with someone else, is terrifying to someone who is in their 20s or 30s and who has only ever been with one person. Now, I can imagine you might think "But isn't that a good thing? People should work things out and try not to divorce!"

Relationships which have a guy basically owning his woman, where a woman is expected to directly obey her husband, are almost invariably abusive in some way. This matters because there are times when a woman needs to leave a man for her own safety, for her children's safety. And a man owning her purity in marriage is a huge barrier for a woman in that situation to overcome to do what is necessary to keep herself and/or her children safe.

That's all concerning serious relationships up to marriage, what about guys who just enjoy having sex with virgins?

Two basic reasons for that.

1) The guy likes the safety of a virgin. No STDs, no experience, no expectations. A virgin isn't going to tell a guy he's terrible in bed. A virgin on her wedding night isn't going to be able to tell her husband he's selfish in bed and needs to give as well as take. A virgin doesn't really have a clue what sex should be like between two equal partners, and that ownership thing I talked about is a relationship imbalance that will bleed over into the bedroom.

2) The guy likes the seduction and corruption of the innocent. This is usually pretty twisted, but some guys get off on the idea of purity corrupted. These are the guys who literally treat a virgin girl like a point on a scoreboard or a notch on their belt.

Now, the guys you're going to want are virgins too. They like the no expectations thing because they're as clueless as you are about sex. They believe that purity in a woman has value because, like you, they were taught that it does. Not all guys are predators looking to find a virgin and take something from her. But all guys who place value in virginity subscribe to the basic belief that a woman's sexuality is his to control. Even the nice ones, who really do love you.

It's not necessarily their fault. A guy who was raised with parents who told him he needs to find a nice girl who isn't some slut to settle down with didn't teach himself these things. But that doesn't change the fact that they believe these things.

And then, there is a growing subset of guys who either don't care or who actively dislike virginity. I am one of these. We may be the majority now, I don't know. There aren't many comprehensive studies on it.

Guys who don't care still want to have sex. They'll date you if you're willing to have sex with them at some point. If you tell them you want marriage first they'll probably just let you know it's not going to work. Guys who don't like virgins will walk as soon as they find that out, because they actively want to have sex and are looking for women who are on the same level.

So far as you're concerned, being a virgin isn't a big deal, especially not at 15. It's the wanting to wait until marriage part that is going to disqualify a ton of guys from your dating circle. There will be guys who will date you hoping you change your mind. There will be others who just say no, they aren't interested.

But it's key that you understand that what really sets you apart is not your lack of virginity. It's your determination to stay a virgin until you are legally tied to them. You might not be aware of this, but the people born after about 1980 through the 90s and early 2000s are increasingly wary of marriage. Not that they refuse to ever marry, but they go through a bunch of societally acceptable steps before they get there.

Cohabitation is a big one. People more and more prefer to live together before marrying. To make damn sure that this person is someone they want to have to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to break up with before they make it legal. And sex is, as you'd expect from adults living together, a big part of it.

See, one of the things that came about when women took charge of their own sex lives was that suddenly men had to actually know what they were doing in bed. Lots of guys don't. Men in general are playing catch up in relationships, because people like Adviceman grew up in a simpler time when women wanted a provider who didn't hit her, and women now want a supportive partner who treats them like a respected equal.

Lots of men don't know how to do that, and dating and sex are part of how modern adult women determine whether a guy is on the level, good enough to be worth having a marriage and family with.

Sexual compatibility has become heavily emphasized. Having sex before marriage so that you can find out if you like having sex with each other, if you have the same sex drives and can deal with sexual issues that arise like a mature adult couple.

And, honestly, that is what you're up against more than anything. Adviceman is dead wrong about guys having sex with whoever and then settling down with virgins.

That part is flat out, 100% wrong. Guys these days are as liberal as the women they date. They want the same things. To evaluate sexual compatibility. To find out if a girl is into the same things sexually, has a matching sex drive to theirs. The younger the guy, the more in that direction they go. I'm in my late 20s, there are lots of guys my age who are like my parent's generation, lazy shitty partners who expect to treat a woman like property. Guys in their early 20s and late teens right now are far more likely to expect a woman to be a partner, and to act like an equal.

Being an equal includes having similar sexual desires and priorities, and one thing that is almost never a sexual priority for guys anymore is for us to be a virgin when we get married.

To give you an idea of how this works...

When I was a teenager, my parents freaked out that I looked at porn once in a while. I got all kinds of lectures about how no decent woman would ever want me, how real sex between a loving couple was nothing like porn.

As an adult, I have had sex crazier and more kinky than any of the porn they found when I was a teenager. Not only were they wrong that real sex between a real loving married couple is nothing like porn, they were also wrong as hell that no decent woman would ever want to do the same things I want to do.

And I looked for that. For me, number of sexual partners is mostly irrelevant. So long as there are no STDs and there aren't a minivan load of kids in tow, a woman with 1 partner and a woman with 20 make no difference.

What matters to me is experience. I dated a woman who had been with 5 guys before me, but those 5 guys happened in a 6 month period after she lost her virginity and then she met me. I was less happy sexually in that relationship than with a girl who had been with 10 guys over 8 years of sexual activity, and my current girlfriend who has only been with 2 people but they were over 7 total years of serious relationships between those people.

The girls with more experience know their sexuality well. They can express it to me, they are confident in it, and they can share that sexuality with me as adults.

Now, that's my personal perspective, but it's not remotely uncommon among other guys. And I am a good man, and a good boyfriend. You'll have to take me at my word on that, but I'm the kind of guy women value because I'm a good guy.

Most genuinely good guys who have no intention of waiting until marriage are much the same. They want someone of comparable sexual experience who can experience sexuality with them on their level.

It's natural, when you think about it. If you treat a woman as an equal, as a partner, you are most likely to find someone you have things in common with easy to relate to. A guy who's been having sex for 5 years is going to be more comfortable with a girl who's had at least a few years of sexual experience over a girl who's clueless and has less than 6 months of experience having sex, no matter how many people were in those 6 months.

Though, in those cases a girl who's been with fewer people is better for the simple reason that the more people you've been with, the more your experience is spread out and the less likely it is that you've had serious relationships with regular sex.

When one person has never had a relationship more than a month or two long or has never had sex more than like 10-15 times with one person, and another person is used to long term relationships where you don't count because you just have sex a whole bunch over a long period of time, that too can cause issues with difference in experience and with how each person views sex.

I've wound all over the place with examples, but the core message I'm trying to drive home is that the world you live in for the most part does not hold the values that you personally hold. Guys and girls alike, few people are waiting until marriage because they look at their parents and see that in most cases doing so is a mistake for many, many reasons.

And the same way, few people are looking for a partner who wants to wait until marriage. Guys don't settle down with virgins or look for girls who have had as few partners as possible. Guys look for girls who look at sex the same way they do. If a guy wants to have sex with a ton of women, he doesn't have a problem with being serious with a woman who has had sex with a ton of guys. If a guy has only had sex with one or two women, but it was in the context of years long relationships, he's going to look for a girl who's had years long relationships and the number of guys she's had is not going to matter compared to whether or not she's had any long term relationships and knows what it's like to be with one person for years at a time.

The guys who are going to be specifically looking for you are going to be either guys who want a notch on their belt, or guys with little to no experience with sex and long term relationships so they don't feel like you have expectations based on being with someone for a long time when they themselves have not.

So where do you go from here?

At 15, you don't have to make any drastic decisions. But I'm going to go ahead and give you fair warning that the older you get, the more guys in your dating age range will have had sex and pretty much expect that in girls they date.

Right now, maybe half the guys your age have had sex. By 18, statistically it's more like 60% or more. By 21, more than 90% of guys your age will have had sex with at least one partner, and a significant portion of that 90% will have had at least one serious relationship over 6 months where they had regular sex with someone they cared about.

Adviceman is wrong again to say that sex and love are not the same thing.

It is true that immature teenagers looking to coerce a virgin into sex will sometimes utter the phrase "If you love me, you'll do it."

In your 20s, sex is a normal and accepted part of a loving and secure relationship. People recognize that sharing sexuality is absolutely vital to intimacy between two partners who both have sexual needs and desires. More and more, it's normal in your teenaged years too. Teens are not adults, but they pretend to be. They imitate.

Adult trends these days are heading more and more towards sex being a normal and expected part of a serious relationship. Something two people share with each other equally. Teenagers are slow on the uptake, but are catching on. You will encounter guys who sincerely care about you and who want to have sex with you, and expect that to be treated as a normal thing.

So where does that leave you?

The bad news is, if you hold onto your "sex until marriage" ideals, I don't know what to tell you. I don't honestly know if you will find a guy who will be ok with that outside of that small subset of Christianity who damn anyone who has premarital sex to hell, and if you do find a guy from that group I can't make you a single promise about how happy you will be going into marriage with that little life experience. It might work, it might not. You might end up divorced, you might end up in an unhappy marriage, you might be happy. But the chances of unhappiness are much, much higher than happiness with that approach.

That's honest truth. No way around it.

The good news is, if you change your mind and have sex before marriage, it won't be a huge deal that you're a virgin. And bonus, I can even tell you basically how to go about it.

If you decide that you are willing to have sex before marriage, your new line is "I'm a virgin and I'm waiting for the right guy." So, if a guy wants to know if he's the right guy, you can tell him that either you will have sex with him, or you'll break up with him because he's not the right guy.

How do you find the right guy? Well, first, don't absolutely require that you're sure you will spend the rest of your life with him. Require that you love him, and you're sure he loves you.

You figure that out by taking time and seeing how he respects your needs and desires. You learn to communicate about sex. You need a guy who you can talk to about your desires and fears, but who will respect you enough to be able to talk about that stuff and want you without trying to convince you to have sex. Someone who will let you figure it out without pressuring you.

And one thing that is required of you, if you go that way, is that at some point you take a leap of faith. You love him, you know he loves you, but sex is still scary. It's scary because you can't know what it's like until you've had it. That's why you talk to your guy, so he knows what you're afraid of and what you might need from him. Do some reading, some googling about sex as well. There's plenty of "what will my first time be like" pages out there for you to read. You should have a good idea what to expect before you go into it.

And yeah, I'm advising you to not wait until marriage. You can't choose both paths and know how they will work out for you before you make the choice. But I am old enough to have seen both sides of that fence. I was raised Catholic. I was told the same lies about sex, relationships, and virginity/purity you were.

And I know that I am happier than the few people who waited until marriage. Far happier. I know that the vast majority of people I knew who said they were going to wait at your age did not for the reasons I have listed above.

It's your choice to make, just don't make the mistake of thinking that this choice is easy or that it's right. It is what you were taught to choose, nothing more.

If you want to talk, inbox me. I'm happy to share my experiences if you have questions or comments. I know my perspective is different than yours, and probably way, way more detail than you were planning on getting when you asked this question.

I just know that I do not know a single person who thought they were going to wait to have sex until marriage who then changed their mind and had safe, responsible sex with a loving partner who regretted it after.

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