Q Why are women always half naked and men fully clothed in music vids?
It’s pretty silly isn’t it? It’s not just in music vids though – it seems that a lot of popular culture believes that women should be half (or mostly!) naked while the men that they are dancing around are fully clothed. This buys in to the idea that women are sexually available ALL of the time and that men want sex ALL of the time and are entitled to sex all of the time – but not with real women, only with sexually available women who are skinny, tanned, big breasted, big bootied and very flexible. Doesn’t sound much like real life does it?
Q Would you send a topless photo of yourself to your boyfriend?
A lot of young people are confronted by this issue in their relationships. It is important to consider the consequences of sending a picture. It is really important that you think about why you are doing it and what could happen if you do send a picture. Some of the possible things that could happen include:
Legal ramifications (young people being charged with producing and distributing child pornography),
Viral distribution of the image/s (once you send that image you have no control over where it goes or who gets to see it).
Break-ups. If you and your partner break up, what could happen with the image ... how would you feel about friends, family, teachers, work mates seeing the image?
It is something that might seem fun and harmless at the time but it is a big risk. There are also other ways to be intimate and have fun with your partner.
Q Why do people abuse?
People abuse their partner because they believe that they are entitled to more power and control in the relationship than their partner is. They may see their partner as someone that they ‘own’. They may have bought in to the popular culture myth that men are dominant and aggressive and women are passive and submissive. However, it’s important to remember that it is never the abused partners’ fault – no matter what the abuser says. The myth that some abused people like the abuse is just that – a myth. Nobody likes being abused and nobody asks for it.
Q Is it normal to be obsessed with someone?
It is normal and natural to think about someone you have a crush on a lot of the time. However, as with anything, if it starts to affect other areas of your life you may need to talk to an adult about what is happening for you. It is also important to keep your actions and behaviour towards the other person respectful. Being obsessive towards another person may be frightening for them and some actions may be against the law eg: stalking.
Q HELP! I found porn – HEAPS of porn – on my partner’s hard drive! What does it mean? Is he not attracted to me?
Different people may watch porn for different reasons. It is not uncommon for adolescents to watch pornography – to pick up sex tips, to aid masturbation, because they’re bored – lots of different reasons. However, when young people substitute real-life intimacy (not necessarily sexual intimacy) with pornography, or if their viewing of porn is intruding on their relationships or other aspects of their life, it can become an issue. If you’re concerned about your partner’s use of pornography, you should try and talk to him about it – however awkward it is!
Q I hate being in the same class as my ex. What should I do?
Break ups can be hard, especially at school where it’s almost impossible to avoid the person. Remember that over time things will get easier but to help in the meantime you can sit with a friend away from your ex so you feel like you have some support in class. However if there are other issues present that make going to class unbearable such as gossip, name calling or abuse – it’s a good idea to ask for some help.
Q What’s the big deal about naked women in popular culture – isn’t it good that women are feeling empowered to be sexual?
There are a couple of things that make this a big deal. Firstly, many of the women we see on music vids and stuff like that aren’t being naked because they choose to be. They are usually naked to sell something – to make money for somebody else. That makes them a commodity – a product – and that makes them objectified. The easiest way for one person to be violent towards another person is to turn them in to an object ... it’s much easier to hurt an object than a person.
Another thing that makes this a big deal is that it assumes that women are only valued for being hot. These same women who are being ‘empowered’ by being naked aren’t being empowered (or valued) for being smart, funny, witty, talented, courageous, quirky, adventurous – all of those things that make us REAL.
If mainstream pop culture was really open to all expressions of female sexuality and not simply presenting women's bodies as objects to be ogled, then we wouldn't be seeing the same body types in the same poses again and again.
Q If I kiss somebody should I use my tongue?
If it’s a first date or a first kiss and you are still getting to know the other person maybe take things slowly and not use tongue on the first kiss. When you are more comfortable, you might start using some tongue but you don’t have to use it all the time. There is no rule book on kissing but paying attention to how the other person responds may help you (e.g. do they pull away and say, “Yuk! Brush your stinking teeth!”)
Q Does sex hurt (the girl)?
It shouldn’t. If a girl’s body isn’t physically ready for sex (she hasn’t produced enough natural lubricant) then sex may be a little painful. This can be avoided - mainly through communication between partners. However, there are certain medical conditions that can make sexual penetration painful and uncomfortable for the female and she will need to see her doctor about this.
Q How do I please a girl?
Every girl is different and is going to enjoy different things. Again, it comes back to communicating with your partner about what they enjoy and what they don’t by asking questions and being honest with each other. Foreplay is a very important part of getting each other ready for sex, so take your time exploring each other’s bodies and discovering what you do and don’t like. Remember too, that what you might have seen in porn is not a realistic picture of what girls or guys really enjoy.
Q How do I break up with my abuser?
Breaking up with an abusive partner can be very different from breaking up with someone who isn’t abusive. Because abusers believe that they are entitled to control you, they may not let you break up with them. If you’re considering breaking up with an abusive partner it’s important to talk it though with an adult you trust. You may want to fill out a safety plan to help you stay safe. You will need to be prepared for your abuser trying to ‘win you back’. Writing a list of all the reasons why you weren’t happy in the relationship may help you stay strong.
Click here to download a PDF factsheet.
Q Do girls abuse their male partners?
Male partners can be the victims of abuse in relationships. This is true for both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. However, it’s important to note that in at least 95% of cases, it is the male partner who is the abuser.
Q What can you do about domestic violence if you’re told to keep it a secret?
Having to keep a secret like that is really hard, particularly if it’s in your family, or if you’re concerned about the safety and wellbeing of another person. Sometimes, but certainly not always, talking about the violence can make it worse if you’re given the wrong advice or if the person you talk to tells the wrong people at the wrong time. However, it is really important that you talk to someone who you can trust and who will be able to help you know what to do. There are a number of people in school that you can talk to such as guidance officers/counsellors; there are also many community support services that specialise in domestic violence counselling. For more information, check out our page on Intimate Partner Violence and how to support someone experiencing this.
Q How can I make my boyfriend be more romantic?
Some boys are more romantic than others. Just because he’s not buying you flowers every week doesn’t mean that he’s not into you. People show their affection and love in different ways – some people are good at talking about how they feel, some people do little thoughtful things and Ryan Gosling will go to war, write to you every day for a year, build your dream house, wait years and years for you, take you on a row boat through a flock of swans and declare his love to you in the pouring rain...
There are a lot of romantic movies out there that might give us unrealistic ideas about romance and what relationships are like. What you need to remember is that everyone is different and not everyone is going to act like they do in the movies. That said, it is nice to get spoilt from time to time. If you are feeling a little neglected you might have to let your boyfriend know. You might need to do it in a very obvious way e.g. “Take me out to see a movie THAT NO ONE GETS KILLED IN”.
Q My bf/gf wants to use sex toys during foreplay and intercourse, but I’m not really into it. How do I tell my partner this without hurting their feelings?
It’s great that you have identified what you like and don’t like in a sexual relationship. Communication is the key to handling this situation. You should discuss this issue with your partner honestly and explain to them that you are not interested in using sex toys for pleasure. If you are in a healthy relationship your partner will understand and respect your sexual limits. You should talk to your partner about other ways to increase pleasure which will satisfy you both. If your partner does respect your decision to not use sex toys then you need to really consider whether you are in a healthy and respectful relationship.
Q What do you do when your friend’s ex boyfriend/girlfriend likes you and you like them?
This can be really tricky. If your friendship is important to you – you should talk with your friend first about your feelings. Although this may be hard, going behind your friend’s back and secretly seeing their ex can create much bigger problems and damage your friendship. Keep in mind that bringing this up may piss your friend off. Practising what to say to your friend first may help.
Q I feel like I’m the only person in my grade who hasn’t had sex yet. Is this true?
No. There are lots of people in your grade who have not had sex yet. It may seem like everyone is talking about sex but this doesn’t mean that everyone has had sex. It can be really easy to compare yourself to other people or what you think other people may be doing. However the most important thing to think about is where you’re at and what you’re ready for in your relationship.
Q What if you have never kissed or gone out with someone and you’re really self conscious?
Remind yourself that there are many, many people your age that haven’t kissed or gone out with someone before and for most people in your age group this relationship stuff is all new. It’s one of the ‘jobs’ of adolescence to learn how to relate to people in ways that are different from when you were kids. And new things are always a bit scary. If you go out with someone or kiss someone that you are already really comfortable with, you’ll feel less self-conscious and may even be able to talk to them about how you’re feeling.
Q How do I ask someone out?
It can feel a lot safer to ask someone out online or through a text message because if you’re rejected, at least they can’t see your face. And it can be easier for them to let you down gently. However, if you’re pretty confident that they like you back, you may feel self-assured enough to ask them face to face.
Q What’s the difference between anal sex and oral sex?
Oral sex is sexual activity between partners in which someone's genitals or anus are being stimulated by someone else's mouth, lips or tongue. Anal sex is any kind of sex that involves a person's anus. That can be oral sex, manual sex, or it can also be anal intercourse, with either a penis or a sex toy.
Q What is the best way to handle a situation if you don’t give consent and they continue?
If you have been sexually assaulted the most important thing to remember is that it’s not your fault. This is a really frightening situation to be in and can make you feel extremely disempowered. Because all of us are different and every situation is different we may react in different ways. It’s important to remember that if you haven’t given consent and the other person continues they have committed a sexual crime.
Usually when we are confronted by a threat, our survival instinct will kick in and there are several ways we might respond. We could either go into what is called a flight, fight or freeze mode. Whatever your instinctive reaction is it’s important to realise that you have done exactly what you needed to do in that moment to keep yourself safe and the only person at fault is the person that sexually assaulted you. If you have been sexually assaulted there is a number support options available check out our Sexual Assault page for more information.
Q My boyfriend/girlfriend wants to go to second base. What is second base?
It depends on who you ask... the definition of what second base is seems to change from person to person, group to group and website to website. The only sure fire way of working out what second base is, is asking your partner what they mean by second base. Even though your partner wants to go to second base, remember it’s your choice as well.
Q But don’t some women ask to get raped by getting really drunk and stuff?
No. Nobody EVER asks to be raped. Being raped means being forced or coerced in to sex with another person. The idea that some women ‘invite’ rape by being drunk, or going to a party alone, or wearing this, that or the other is what is called victim-blaming – and victim blaming is a horrible, horrible part of rape culture. Victim blaming tells the victim that ‘if they got raped, it’s their fault and if they don’t want to face that fact then they should shut up’. Victim blaming leaves the victim feeling responsible for a crime that was committed against them, isolated from support and humiliated. Victim blaming encourages people to stay quiet. And when people stay quiet, nothing changes. It also tells rapists (just so we’re clear, that’s people who have sex with someone without their enthusiastic consent) that their behaviour and the choices that they made are not their fault. Rape is the fault of the rapist. And that is that.
Q How do you last long in sex?
The length of sex is going to be different for each couple, and even each encounter between the same people will be different. Sometimes people might brag about how long they last or how big they are, but really these things have more to do with body image than they do with sexual enjoyment. The most important thing, if you are concerned about whether or not your partner is enjoying it, is to communicate honestly. See other questions in this section on pleasing a girl and foreplay for more information.
Q Why does porn make out that all women are sluts?
Pornography shows us a sexually objectified version of women. In porn land all women want (violent and degrading) sex all the time and all men have enormous penises that can stay erect for hours. In real life, sexuality is a very different for everyone. The idea that women are ‘sluts’ if they enjoy sex (and frigid if they don’t!) buys in to the idea of gender stereotypes and helps feed a rape culture where victims are blamed and perpetrators’ behaviour is minimised or denied.
Q Should people watch porn while having sex?
Everyone has different ways of getting excited and again, exploring your sexual desires is a natural and healthy thing. I guess the thing to be mindful of is that porn can create some very unrealistic expectations about sex, sexual acts, what women look like, what men look like and what people enjoy in sexual relationships. With all of this in mind, it’s really up to you and your partner to communicate with each other and decide if you are both happy to include this in your sexual relationship.
Q Is it ok to lose your virginity at the age of 15?
In Queensland the legal age for consent is 16 for vaginal sex and 18 for anal sex.
Only you can decide when you are ready to have sex. It is important to think about why you want to have sex. Sex is both a physical and emotional experience so it’s important that you feel comfortable and can openly communicate with your partner about sex. Before you have sex it is important to talk about how you feel about each other while also considering contraception and possible consequences such as STI’s, unplanned pregnancies and how sex may change the relationship. Remember that all parties of sexual activity need to give their informed consent.
Q My dad abused my mother – does that mean I will be in an abusive relationship?
Abuse is a learned behaviour. Sometimes people see it growing up. Other times they learn it from friends or popular culture. But, no matter where it's learned, it's not ok and it's never justified. Many people experience or witness abuse growing up and decide not to use those negative and hurtful ways of behaving. It's important to know that being abusive is a choice - and it’s not one that you have to make. Likewise, if you’re concerned that you may be abused because you witnessed abuse growing up, it’s important to learn about respectful relationships, the early warning signs of intimate partner violence, and develop a healthy self esteem and self respect. If you grew up in a violent home you may want to talk to a counsellor to help you sort through your feelings.
Q What is gray rape?
There is no such thing as ‘gray rape’. But I expect that you’re asking about rape where it’s not really rape. And just so you’re sure – there is no rape where it’s not really rape - rape is rape. However people (rape apologists) may like to dress it up (or down) by using terms like ‘date rape’, 'marital rape’, or ‘she changed her mind half way through’... sex without consent is rape. It's ideas like this that feed the rape culture belief that rape is only ‘real’ rape when it’s a stranger, even though women are three times more likely to be raped by someone they know.
Q Is it ok to look at porn?
This is a really personal decision and can be a very sensitive issue. People have very different feelings and opinions about porn. For a lot of young people, viewing porn is their first experience of sex so it is important to remember that porn can give people unrealistic ideas about sex, sexual acts, what women look like, what men look like and what people enjoy in sexual relationships. A lot of on- line porn involves acts of degradation and violence that do not reflect respectful behaviour in real life relationships.
Q My girlfriend wants me to be more romantic – what should I do?
There are lots of different things that you could do – it all depends on what your girlfriend likes. What she might be (really) asking for is for you to make her feel special. These things don’t always have to cost money - e.g. a bunch of flowers (stolen from your mum’s yard), making a mixed CD or sending her a nice text so she knows that you’re thinking about her.
Q Do guys know when they’re going to come so that during sex they can pull out without making the girl pregnant?
Withdrawal is an ineffective method of contraception for younger people. Younger men tend to ejaculate much more quickly; sex with partners is newer to them so it's tougher for young men to anticipate when their orgasm is going to happen or has even started happening; younger people are often just learning how to communicate with each other well about and during sex; and young people are also often more fertile than their older counterparts. These are some reasons why even advocates for withdrawal overall will express that it is not often the best choice for young people.
It also gives zero protection against STI’s!
Q My boyfriend asked me for sex before he asked me out! Is this normal?
With all relationships (friendships included) we need to think about how we would like to be treated, what are our rights, what do we want in a partner/ friend and what values are important to us in a relationship. Being sexual is only one part of a relationship and if they are asking that kind of question before asking you out you need to reflect on what you want from a relationship, what it seems they want and consider whether these match.
Q How will I know when I’m ready to have sex?
Only you can decide when you are ready to have sex. Sex is both a physical and an emotional experience so it’s important that you feel comfortable and can openly communicate with your partner about sex. Before you have sex it is important to talk about how you feel about each other while also considering contraception and possible consequences such as STI’s, unplanned pregnancies and how sex may change the relationship. Remember that all parties of sexual activity need to give their informed consent. It is also important to think about why you want to have sex. Some people decide to have sex for reasons they might regret later, for example; deciding to have sex because all of your friends are having sex may mean that you are not ready to have sex.
Q How will I know if I have the right hole?
Obviously this is referencing heterosexual sex. Firstly, it’s ok for you to ask her to help. Have your partner guide you. This means that you also know she is comfortable. Also, our bodies are built so that when a couple is in what is called ‘missionary position’ (that is when the man is on top and the woman is on the bottom facing him) it is very difficult for the penis to penetrate the anus.
Q I’m really embarrassed about my vagina. My flaps hang out of the bottom and it looks so ugly!
Labia minora are the internal vaginal lips that sit inside of the labia majora and just like the rest of our body they differ immensely from one woman to another. One of the issues with body image and pornography is that we are only shown one body type and that usually means one vagina type. Many women who perform in porn have had labiaplasty – a cosmetic procedure to reduce the size of their labia minora – just like many female porn performers have had breast augmentations. There is no ‘normal’ when it comes to labia, but if your labia minora protrude to the point where they are painful it may be worth talking to your doctor.
Q How can I not be so shy around the opposite sex?
It’s very normal to feel shy around the opposite sex, although knowing that doesn’t make it easier to behave in a more outgoing way! If we worry too much about getting a girlfriend/boyfriend, then we start to worry too much about what people of the opposite sex think of us and this creates more shyness. If you’re really uncomfortable around boys/girls start by making a few friends with some. You may feel less pressure if you don’t have to worry about whether they like you or not (in that way), or if they are going to try and kiss you! The more time we spend doing something that is uncomfortable, the less uncomfortable it becomes.
Q I’m not ready for sex. How do I tell my boyfriend/girlfriend without them dumping me?
It’s great that you’ve thought about what you’re ready for within your relationship and what you’re not ready for. As always, communication with your partner is the key. Although it may be difficult, you need to have an honest conversation in private with your partner about what you are ready to do/not ready to do. If your partner starts to pressure you into doing things that makes you feel uncomfortable then maybe you need to consider whether you are in a healthy relationship. If your bf/gf does dump you over not having sex then they are probably not worth having as a bf/gf.
Q How can I talk to the person I have a crush on without acting like a dickhead?
Lots of thoughts and feelings arise when you are around the person you like – and a big one is the fear of rejection. Most people are scared of being rejected because they think that it means that there is something wrong with them. But chances are, if you’re trying to act like anyone other than whom you really are, you’re probably acting like a bit of a douche. Just remember that this relationship stuff is new to everyone your age and the person you like is probably just as nervous about getting it right as you are.
Q How do I break up with my boyfriend/girlfriend without being mean?
Breaking up is hard for all involved, whether you’re breaking up or being dumped. The most important thing is to be respectful, try to put yourself in their shoes (e.g. if you wouldn’t like to find out you're being dumped by a text message, then don’t do it that way). Try to make sure they are the first person to find out – one of the worst things is finding out through a friend or a Facebook update. Make sure you have time to talk in private (it can be rather upsetting/embarrassing to be dumped in front of other people) and sometimes it may help if you think about what you want to say and what you don’t need to say. Relationship break ups can be tough and sad for both involved so it’s important that you have some support.
Q Is it normal if I find it hard to cum?
Again, everyone is different and will experience sex differently. It may be reassuring to know that 30 – 50% of people in their teens to 20's have never experienced an orgasm. Some of the things that can impact on whether you cum or not include; feeling comfortable and confident with your own body, knowing your body and what you enjoy as well as honestly communicating with your partner about what you like (if you are in a sexual relationship).
Q I really want to go on the pill/ get an Implanon. How do I bring it up with my mum?
I think this is a really good question that shows courage and also a lot of maturity. Although this might be a really difficult conversation to have – not just for you but also for your mum, I’m sure your mum would appreciate being included in the discussion rather than finding an empty pill packet in your room. If you talk about this with your mum you are showing that you have thought about safe sex, possible repercussions and also responsible ways to prevent unplanned pregnancy. It’s important to remember that the pill/implanon only prevents pregnancy and does not protect against STI’s. If your mum is aware that you have been in a relationship for a while she might be anticipating that this conversation would come up at sometime but here are some helpful tips... Find a time when ma isn’t preoccupied so you can sit down (privately) and chat. Think about how you could bring it up. Be prepared to be asked some uncomfortable questions (when did you start having sex?) and try to be honest and calm.
Q Do all girls shave their pubes?
This is a very personal decision for the girl to make, Not all girls shave/ wax their pubes. If this is something that you are considering, shaving or waxing the pubic area (for males and females) can result in infections, ingrown hairs and irritation. Growing pubic hair is a normal and natural thing that your body will do as you mature and should not be seen as disgusting or gross if one chooses to shave it off or not.