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The most panicked calls and emails that I receive from parents are the ones that go something like this: “We just found K-Y lubricant in my daughter’s room! We are furious and terrified. How soon can we see you?!”

We could replace the K-Y Jelly with any number of signs of sexual “awakening” or activity, and they would all be equally unsettling for many parents of girls. The uncomfortable and scary feelings that come up often lead us to imagine locking her in her room until she’s thirty (or at least twenty-one), just so that we don’t have to deal with it.

Fear leads some parents to take extreme, restrictive actions that can be more damaging than they are protective because they tell her it is wrong for her to have sexual desires. We perpetuate the absurd notion that female sexuality is either nonexistent or shameful, and ultimately, we prompt her to disconnect from her body—the same one we that want her to love and protect.

Given that the healthy sexual development of our girls is an absolutely fundamental part of their healthy development overall, failing as her guides in this realm means screwing her up on multiple levels—so we need to get it together. This is a really tough one for many of parents, because our thoughts and feelings around the subject of sex are loaded with programming.

The way in which we, as women and men, see ourselves as sexual beings has been determined largely by this programming, and it quickly makes its way to the surface and affects the way in which we perceive our daughters as they begin to discover and explore their sexuality.

The average mum is terrified that her daughter’s sexual activity will deem her a “slut,” and the average dad knows that she could be objectified by boys and men, just as he was programmed to do. Both are terrified—whether they can define it or not—that this objectification of their daughter will make her a target for ridicule, abuse, rape, or worse. In some cases there is even concern about her behavior bringing shame to her family! We begin to ooze this fear from the mument we even think about our daughter’s entry into this realm.

And how does all this fear impact a girl’s perception of herself? There are six really big and very connected problems with all this fear swirling around a girl’s budding sexuality:

1. Human beings rarely make wise choices from a place of fear. Rather, we make rash, unreasonable, extreme choices that often yield the opposite results of what we were hoping for. In this case, our fears can lead us to make poor parenting choices that fail to protect our daughters. Simply saying “no” or implementing extreme restrictions first and foremost makes her associate the feeling of shame with her sexuality.

Second, it will lead her to stop asking questions and seeking accurate information about sex. This puts her at much higher risk for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Third, it can prompt her to explore in more secretive, less supervised, and less safe settings, like the back seat of someone’s car.

2. Because she will undoubtedly feel our fear, she will naturally make associations between her sexual desires and fear. Imagine if in the weeks and months leading up to her first day of kindergarten, you were exuding fear. She would naturally view going to kindergarten as something scary, and this would hinder her ability to be fully present and capable of getting the most out of the experience.

In the case of her sexual development and desires, she makes the same association, and she, too, becomes more apt to make choices from a place of fear rather than ones rooted in strength and clarity. (Think: “I was afraid he wouldn’t like me if I said ‘no.’”)

3. With this strong message from her parents and myriad similar messages out in the world in tow, by the time she reaches middle school, she begins to face a very common dilemma. She realizes there are only two paths to choose from when it comes to her sexuality, and both are dangerous. She will be shamed for being a “prude” or a “tease” if she isn’t sexually active, and she will be shamed for being a “slut” or a “whore” if she is. No matter what, she’s still expected to be sexy.

In either case, someone other than herself is dictating what is acceptable or unacceptable sexual behavior. This frequently leads a girl to feel a lack of power over her own sexuality, and she will begin to disconnect from her sexual desire and, inevitably, from her body. (Deborah Tolman speaks to this dilemma at length in Dilemmas of Desire.)

4. When a girl disconnects from her sexuality and her body, several things happen that put her in danger. She stops being the gatekeeper of her body. She stops being actively responsible for listening to what feels good and what doesn’t, determining who touches her and how, and fiercely protecting herself.

Instead, she explains away her sexual behavior as having “just happened” (easily explained away if she gets “drunk” first). She defers to what someone else determines feels good or doesn’t, and she is much less likely to insist that protection is used if it does “just happen.” 2

5. This also sets our boys up to receive mixed messages they are underprepared to interpret. When a girl doesn’t feel like she can own her sexuality and be in charge of her sexual desires without shame, she will expect the boy to take the lead. This can prompt a boy to think that he has permission to go way further than he actually does.

Couple that with the societal (“Man Box”) message that he is supposed to be dominant and that he’s a “faggot” if he’s not, and you’ve got a recipe for sexual aggression. Current studies show that as many as one in three high school girls has been sexually assaulted by a dating partner. None of us wants this for our daughters, nor do we want our sons to learn about this sexual dilemma through a rape charge.

6. Lastly, all this fear, feeding on itself and growing, leads us to over-manage and under-value female sexuality. We perpetuate the shaming and subject our girls and our boys to the same programming that has been passed from generation to generation—and once again, the cycle continues.

The impact that these fears have on a girl’s development—sexual, psychological, physical, and emotional—is extremely detrimental and there is a strong likelihood that she will carry this disconnection from a core part of her being well into adulthood. We simply cannot underestimate how important it is that we ensure that she has every opportunity to become a well-informed, shame-free, sexual being.

Henry Sapiecha



There is nothing worse than falling for a guy only to find out that he wasn’t ever really into you in the first place. It can be heart breaking and embarrassing, especially if everyone else noticed his non interest before you did.

Here are ten signs that will alert you that he’s just not that into you.

1. He Avoids Eye Contact

Body language is an important way that people communicate without words. If he has a hard time looking you in the eye, he isn’t connecting on a deep level. This is a major red flag!

2. He Doesn’t Call

If a guy is really into you, he will want to talk to you. This means that you can expect an occasional call “just because.” If he doesn’t call, watch out!

3. He Doesn’t Touch You

When a guy likes a girl, he typically looks for an excuse to touch her or to be physically close. If he backs away when you touch him or if he doesn’t initiate contact, he might not like you.

4. He is Distracted

When you are together, does he tune you out? If he is busy watching the game instead of listening to what you are saying, that’s not a good sign.

5. He Talks about Other Girls

If he makes comments about other girls being attractive, then he is definitely not taking your feelings into consideration. This is a major clue that he doesn’t like you as more than a friend.

6. He Won’t Let You Meet His Mom

When a guy is serious about a girl, he will usually take her to meet his mom. This is a rite of passage for every girlfriend to see if she meets his mom’s approval. If it doesn’t occur to him to take you home to see his family, he probably doesn’t like you.

7. He Doesn’t Return Your Texts

If you text him and he doesn’t answer, it’s not a good sign. When a guy is really interested in a girl, he jumps at a chance to have any kind of contact, whether it is by phone, text, email, or in person.

8. He Would Rather Hang out with Friends

If he prefers hanging out with the guys over spending time with you, he probably isn’t that into you. You should be his first priority.

9. He Turns You down

If you invite him out for a movie and he turns you down without a good reason, you better be careful! This is an obvious clue that he isn’t feeling it.

10. He’s Disrespectful

In case you didn’t get the clue already, this is the final nail in the coffin. If he treats you disrespectfully in any situation, then he isn’t into you and he isn’t worth your time.

Use these clues to know for sure if your guy is into you. If you notice more than two of these red flags, it might be time to look for a new crush. What are some other signs you have noticed when a guy just isn’t into you?

Henry Sapiecha



Several situations in wishing you had a pretend boyfriend

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1. The awkward dinner with all your coupled-up friends

You know the one – you catch up with a group of friends and you’re the only one who doesn’t happen to bring a significant other.

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2. The wedding

Your best friend, sister or cousin is getting married and you’re rocking up solo, then having to deflect questions of “Anyone special in YOUR life?” or “So when will we see you walk down the aisle?!”

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3. Family gatherings

If you’re hitting up any family gathering where you’re seeing your rather traditional grandma, if you’re single she’ll either think you’re a lesbian or one of those career women who will never settle down

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4. When ordering copious amounts of takeaway

Sometimes you want to just sample a few different items on the menu, and so you should! However, this hasn’t stopped a friend of mine pretending to talk to her ‘boyfriend’ when the delivery guy came, just so he wouldn’t judge her for being home alone and ordering so much food.

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5. When creepy guys are hitting on you at the pub

Every single girl has at some stage lied about her single status to stop a drunk/creepy guy hitting on her. I guarantee it.

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6. When people ask you what you’re doing on the weekend and you have no plans

“Oh, I’m just hanging out with my boyfriend Ben! Ben…Jerry. Ha, yes, his name does sound like Ben & Jerry’s. Hilarious. He gets that all the time!”

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7. When running into old frenemies from high-school

It’s amazing how your single status changes when you run into people from high school. “Oh yes, I’m in a very committed relationship. He’s a neurosurgeon, actually. Very well off and ironically looks like Derek Shepherd.”

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8. When your taps won’t stop leaking (or any plumbing/electrical issue)

Unfortunately, life is not a movie. So when you’re a damsel in distress, your Ryan-Gosling-doppelganger plumbing God won’t conveniently rock up to help you out.

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9. When your car breaks down

How do you change a tyre again?

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10. Moving/carrying heavy stuff

Yes, heavy stuff can include attempting to carry groceries up three flights of stairs.

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11. When making small talk with randoms

I had a taxi driver once ask if I was going home to “my man”. If by “my man” you mean something that’s super-easy to turn on and off and keeps me warm at night (also known as my electric blanket) then yes, Mr Taxi Man, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

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12. When travelling alone

Travelling alone can be exhilarating, but a fake boyfriend may come in handy every now and then to save you from some potentially awkward situations. Besides, who needs to know there isn’t a Jared Leto-esque ‘boyfriend’ carrying your suitcase for you?

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13. When fighting a huge, terrifying spider in your home

The greatest need for a boyfriend is when you see an evil huntsman staring at your from your bedroom roof. Aaaand goodbye, sleep.

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14. When buying yourself a piece of jewellery that is normally seen as ‘romantic’

I bought myself an infinity ring once because I just really liked it. Obviously it’s a little awkward when people assume it’s from a significant other, but ily 4eva self. Whatever.

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15. When you get to a point where your friends are buying you items like these for your birthday

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16. When sitting by yourself at a pub, café or restaurant

Regardless of whether you’re dining alone, or waiting for a friend, co-worker or family member, chances are there will always be a waiter asking you if you’re waiting for your boyfriend.

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17. If you’re single, however, and sick of being judged for it, always remember:

There are things like body pillows, fake names (I alternate between Liam, Harry and Louis… they all go in the one direction) and The Sims, where you can control the romance yourself. It’s a win-win!

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Henry Sapiecha