> jumping into life.

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I was lucky growing up for quite a lot of reasons; I'm going to talk about just one of them for now. I was lucky growing up because I grew up in a set of circumstances that allowed me to develop a pretty healthy regard for myself, my sexuality, and sex in general. I had the strong-women role models of my mother and her mother, my best friend's mother, my best friend, and the hard-working mamas that were my mama's friends. I had the strong-men-are-also-gentle role models of my father and both grandfathers. I had enough sense of my own worth to be astounded and enraged when the high school brought in an abstinence-only group who told us that virgins were like fine china and once you had sex you became a used paper plate to be thrown away. I had enough sound sex ed from other sources to engage in safe sex practices, both emotionally and physically; felt safe enough with my parents to go to my mom's gyno for birth control; had open-minded and accepting peers who drew no lines between genders or orientations; had a family who made it out-loud clear that whoever I chose to love would be fine by them. I came out of my teenagehood with a minimum of shame, and a goodly capacity for healthful sexual relationships.

I suspect that most people didn't have such luck. That's what makes it lucky, after all. I know that the state of sex ed in this country - and of the attacks on young people's self-esteem and autonomy - is getting worse. I know that resources like Scarleteen are more precious every day. Valentine's is over, but if you've got a few bucks to spare after the chocolates and champagne (or the beer and bad movies, depending), consider a donation towards the future of healthy sex and healthy teens. You could also consider buying a copy of Scarleteen founder and all-around fantastic woman Heather Corinna's forthcoming book S.E.X. for the young adult or library in your life - or both. I don't usually pitch on this site, but this is as worthy a cause as there is. Help out if you can.

You are lucky, and I'm glad. I'd like my daughter to be so lucky, and -- if it's not too weird -- I'd love it if you would describe your strong mom sometime.

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