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Letter to an 18-year-old girl

A heart-to-heart with a teen discovering a whole new world of sexuality.

You’ve recognized your talents and qualities. You are humorous, sincere and naturally beautiful. You have started making plans for the future. This includes a fulfilling career and a supportive life-partner. You’re going on just fine. Entering into this phase of your life means exploring your sexuality and finding satisfaction physically. Sex represents individuation and growth for a teenage girl. It represents that you’re capable of seeking and finding pleasure with a partner.

Sex is not dangerous, only if it’s performed without proper information does it become dangerous. Some pointers to keep in mind are: understanding if your partner has any STIs, using a condom, keeping the sheets clean, washing after and inspecting your body. If you have developed a wart or a boil on your private parts, talk to your mother, gynecologist or a friend. You might have to get help to figure out what it really is. Self-diagnosing yourself with cancer is wishful thinking. You’re just fine.

Feelings of guilt and shame might creep in time to time, but telling yourself that sex also means to feel good and is a source of pleasure will help you navigate these untoward feelings. Furthermore, understanding that touch is an important aspect of human experience is worth remembering. When you were an infant, your mother showered you with kisses and cuddles. You got acquainted with the feel-good elements of being caressed by a loving individual. In the same manner, it is not wrong to be touched and loved by someone who is attentive and caring in the context of a sexual partnership. The point is to make an informed decision regarding your sexual partners and that can only come when you are emotionally and physically sound. The foundation of a healthy sexuality is feeling worthy and confident about your body.

To really understand if you are emotionally sound, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you optimistic about the future?
  2. Do you use humour as a part of life?
  3. Are you compassionate to others around you?
  4. Do you devote some time to taking care of yourself?

The legal age for consensual sex is 18


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Celebrating the pride of coming out…

What does it mean when someone comes out of the closet?
Ritika SrivastavaTeentalkindia Counsellor

The rainbow wave has brought with it a stream of pride parades/ marches, movies and literature in support of equality for all genders. As the movement breaks out across the globe and more people march in favor of the LGBT community, we also stand to celebrate our brethren of all genders and sexual orientations.  

In the spirit of keeping humanity intact, the Human Rights Campaign of 1988 announced October 11th as National Coming Out Day and as supporters of the initiative we at TeenTalk are celebrating people who have managed to survive the intolerance and come out with much pride.

A 23 year old Liberal Arts Bachelor, Shiv Kabra shares his coming out story –

So how and when did he realize the difference in his sexuality? “I started to realise a difference in my sexuality and that of those around me sometime around 11th grade. I am not sure it dawned on me in a big way, just slowly realised what I suppose had been there all along. I had dated girls up till then, and realised I wanted to date guys too” he says.

The most difficult step that any queer/gay child has ever had to take is to come out to his/her parents. Parental rejection or acceptance plays a great role in how life hereon turns out. On taking the plunge and coming out, Kabra tells us how he broke the news to his parents; “I came out to my father over Skype and framed it as having to do with being in a relationship. He took it alright. My brother had already come out to them, so I rode on the coattails of that. My mum and I spoke the next day and we didn’t really talk about it too much. She was mainly worried about how hard things might be for me in the future. So my parents did their best to be supportive. The first person whom I confided in however was probably a friend.” 

Fear of discrimination and being judged is a huge determinant factor to anyone embracing one’s sexuality, publically and socially. Ask Kabra if he has ever faced discrimination, been judged or treated differently for his sexual orientation?  “Yes. But I think that also has to do with my gender presentation which is non-conforming” he quips confidently. One common denominator in most (not all) gay and queer people is history of sexual violence or assault. Did Shiv face anything such? We ask. “I wouldn't call it sexual assault. But a complicated relationship” he keeps it short.

That said, one of the most crucial and difficult aspects of coming out is to deal with discrimination, overcoming it and survive with or without acceptance. We ask Shiv how he managed it and the answer is as simple as it is meaningful; “Plunge into academia, activism, and support from friends” he states. True that, there is no better survival tactic than to educate, empower oneself and stand for what one believes is right. 

And finally, is there any word of advice that he has for the LGBT community and the gay/ queer teenagers who are intimidated by the sheer thought of coming out? He gives his two cents and keeps it precise, “There might never be a point where you ‘realize’ your sexuality. I’m still trying to figure mine out. It’s important to explore and give yourself space, and be mindful of consent.”

Well, we say that is good advice. Whether to come out or not is a personal choice but the freedom to be able to embrace who one is, that’s everyone’s basic right and we must be able to claim it!   

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Disclaimer: TeentalkIndia does not offer emergency services and is not a crisis intervention centre, if you or someone you know is experiencing acute distress or is suicidal/self harming, please contact the nearest hospital or emergency/crisis management services or helplines.