You Asked It

Just Wondering

Answers to questions about abstinence, mental health, dealing with creeps, and getting respect.

How do I deal with older people who try and invalidate my work and my achievements because I’m young and a girl? I’m an artist, and pretty much every exhibition I’ve been in has ended in tears because a middle-aged man (always a middle-aged man!) has told me I have no right to be there because of my age and gender. —Bethany

Congratulations on all the awesome stuff you’re doing, and I’m sorry some turds are getting in the way of you feeling proud of yourself. Unfortunately, sometimes older people seem to feel like something is being taken away from them when somebody younger than them is successful. Sometimes guys feel threatened when a girl is successful. These feelings inevitably interfere with how they go about judging a successful/young/female person and her work. Maybe invalidating her work and achievements makes it easier for them to deal with how unsatisfied they are with their own success, career, art, etc. So, first know that their reactions have very little to do with you or the quality or meaning or effort behind your work. These dudes are just plain projecting, because that’s always easier and less scary than looking in a mirror.

When you are RIGHT THERE DEALING WITH THEM IN PERSON, you could kill ’em with kindness, smile and nod and not let them see that you’re bothered by what they’re saying. Or you can roll your eyes, or bitchface, or engage in a conversation and seriously force them to think about the ridiculousness of what they’re saying—that gender and age are reason to exclude someone from a community they’ve earned their place in. In all honesty, I don’t think they deserve your time or energy or the little buzz they might get from getting you caught in a conversation. But I also think that if they make you angry, and you want to express it, you have every right to. Do what feels right in the moment (unless you’re, like, compelled to start punching them). Whatever makes it easier for you to avoid letting their sexist, sad remarks get to you, so you can continue being creative and happy—that is the right thing to do.

If their words creep into your mind later, they might start to get you down. Don’t feel defeated if this happens; you are a person with feelings, and anyone would be bugged by such immaturity disguised as “constructive criticism.” But don’t feel guilty once you’re able to not give a shit about them, either, because you are not responsible for their happiness or success. You are just responsible for making art you love to make, if that is indeed what you plan on doing right now. And you can’t do that if you feel suffocated by insecure naysayers. You have to ignore them. You’re already aware, it sounds like, that these guys’ reasons as to why you shouldn’t have an exhibition are stupid as hell and have nothing to do with your art, yeah? Remind yourself of this! As often as you need to in order to keep creating!

Normally when something won’t stop bugging me, I force myself to think about it and figure out why I’m upset and, if it’s something I did wrong, how to fix it. But there’s a difference between getting to the bottom of an issue that needs to be worked out, and letting yourself go down the wormhole of negative thought that opens up when you start to wonder if these jerks are right. BLOCK THAT SHIT OUT. KEEP MOVIN’. Keep creating. That’s the point of all this anyway, isn’t it? Your work is not for them, so what do they care? And if it’s not for them, what do you care what they think? Just block their voices out the next time you think about it, and the time after that, and the time after that, and eventually it’ll be such a long time since it’s had a big presence in your brain that it might even be too tiny for you to ever think about at all.

And the next time you’re working, you will be doing so in spite of someone who tried to hold you back, and that is awesome. —Tavi

In sixth grade, I had a thing with this guy. He liked me, and I liked the feeling that I was wanted, so I liked him back. When he moved away at the end of the year, I moved on and got on with my life, but he never got on with his. He became obsessive and annoying. He would say that he missed me and loved me so much that he felt like he would die if he didn’t see me. Once he even Facebook messaged me, “I will find you and stalk you until I die.” Naturally, I blocked him on everything that linked me to him, and I eventually forgot about him. Four years have passed since then; a few months ago, an acquaintance told me that my ex wanted to talk to me. I reluctantly talked to him through Skype, thinking he would’ve gotten over me by now, and hoping to find closure. No luck; he now constantly tries to talk to me on Skype, even though I’ve been ignoring him. Why is he so clingy, and what should I do to get him to stop? —Creeped Out

First of all, you are so, so, SO right to be creeped out, Creeped Out. This guy is beyond clingy—he has some serious issues with boundaries. While I can’t say exactly why he is this way—maybe he’s got depression or some other psychological disorder, maybe he has been through something in the past that is causing him to become unhealthily attached; only the therapist he definitely needs could say for sure—I can say that you definitely need to shut him out of your life completely. Block him on Skype; here are instructions for doing that. Tell the acquaintance that put him in touch with you—and anyone else that he might try to use—that you want nothing further to do with this guy, and not to give him ANY of your contact info. If you still have a copy of that Facebook message, print it out, so that if he actually does start stalking you (hopefully he is in a town far away and can’t), you can use it to get a restraining order if necessary. I’m not saying you will have to go that far, and I really hope you don’t, but I think you should talk to a trusted adult about this—a parent or guardian or a teacher or guidance counselor at school. It’s a good measure to take to keep yourself safe, but also I’m guessing this is stressful and upsetting and you could probably use a person to vent to about it. From the way you already went about blocking him, you sound pretty level-headed about it, but I want to reinforce that this is NOT your fault. Liking someone because they like you is totally normal and fine; breaking up with someone is also a totally OK thing to do—you will probably do it (and have it done to you) many more times in your lifetime, and then you and your various paramours will move on. That is how healthy breakups work. This guy’s obsession with you is unhealthy, but that’s because HE is unhealthy. So definitely block him, report him as needed, and do not let him manipulate you into feeling like you owe him anything. Having been manipulated by a troubled guy in the past, I know it can wear on you, so please take care of yourself and talk to some trusted folks in your life about your feelings! —Stephanie

Sometimes things are really great and fabby and life seems pretty good. But sometimes I feel like I have a big cloud of sadness hanging over me, and I have to be careful about everything I do so that I don’t get really sad. If I do something wrong, then I’m screwed for days and just feel so, so, so sad and alone and like I’m wasting my time with everything I do. I also tend to get really irritable and sensitive—I can’t be near anyone eating or breathing loudly; sometimes I can’t watch people talking; noise frustrates me. I want to shout at everything, and the whole world seems to be out to get me ANGRY. So my question is: am I just a normal teenage girl with mood swings? Or might I have some sort of mental illness? Is there anything I can do to help the situation? I want to avoid going to my doctor as much as possible, and I don’t feel like I can talk to my parents. —Amelia, 14, UK

On one hand, you’re right: mood swings are a normal part of life, especially when you’re a teenager, because there are lots of magical hormones going in and reconfiguring your body and/or brain. But what you’re describing sounds like it’s really hard on you, and like it affects your personality so much that you have cause to worry about it. I am obviously not a medical doctor, or a therapist, so I’m not going to act like I’m qualified to tell you what’s going on in your personal brain. I don’t know your reasons for not wanting to go to a doctor, so I can’t address them specifically (though if you have reason not to open up about this to your parents, maybe talk to a counselor at school, being careful to ask them what they might have to disclose to your folks), but I have to tell you, going to a medical doctor and/or a therapist is actually a GREAT idea for you. Therapy is really one of life’s luxuries: I think everyone who can afford it should try it, just because it feels great to have an outside observer that you can actually work constructively with on life’s problems. And even just going to a doctor, and describing all this, might point to some new answers! Be sure you go in and describe exactly what you’re feeling—don’t just say “I think I’m depressed.” A good doctor will talk your situation over with you carefully, see what the possible causes might be, and then prescribe some course of action that they think might help your particular set of bummers. Getting help for what’s going on in your head is no different from going to a doctor because you have diabetes or anemia or any other health problem that requires care. I obviously talk all the time about how great I think therapy is, and have done so already in this answer. But I’m also a big fan of medication, which I have seen work genuine wonders when people figure out the right one(s) to take. It has done so for me, and I don’t mind saying that. So, yes: whether this is an organic thing, like clinical depression or bipolar, or whether it’s just something you can work out by talking about it, getting medical help is always an awesome step. Don’t be afraid to do it; those of us who delay going to a professional for this kind of help always, always end up wondering what took us so damn long. —Sady

I don’t want to have sex before I’m married, partly for religious reasons, but mostly because I just think it’s the right thing for me. I was recently seeing a guy for four months, and I told him two weeks into the relationship that I wasn’t going to have sex with him. But he just broke up with me over my refusal to have sex. Now I’m scared that I’ll never find someone who will wait for me, or who will be OK not having sex. If this boy, who said he loved me more than he thought he could ever love anyone, can break up with me over this, how am I going to find someone who will accept me? I know sex is important, but I don’t think it’s everything. Am I going to be alone forever if I don’t have casual sex? —Anonymous

First, I want to commend you for sticking to your values. I waited to have sex until I got married, and I know that it’s not easy. It’s also not always a popular decision, particularly with people you’re dating or want to date. Second, I want to tell you that I definitely don’t think you’re going to be alone forever because you don’t want to have premarital sex. I’m sorry that this guys disappointed you, but it’s great that you know what’s right for you and that you’re drawing boundaries based on that knowledge.

My personal reasons for waiting were primarily based on my faith, but I also think having sex adds depth and complexity to a relationship, and I wasn’t looking for that level of intimacy with every single guy I was interested in.

In high school, I didn’t date a ton—only a couple of guys, and both of them shared my feelings about waiting to have sex. Dating got harder in college, when the expectations and convictions of my peers were changing. I tried to keep myself a little guarded and cautious with guys and, like you, I tried to be upfront about my stance on premarital sex, because I didn’t want to find myself in an uncomfortable game-time situation. I had some very supportive friends. I also had friends who told me I’d “never” find a guy who’d be OK waiting to have sex. Those people were discouraging, but ultimately I was the one who had to deal with my decision, not them.

After a while, all the people I hung out with knew where I stood, and it even started to become something kind of cool, especially as virgins in my peer group got rarer the older we got. Once in college I was even a scavenger-hunt item during a fraternity/sorority pledge week, ha! (College-age virgins being relatively hard to come by, I was a very hot commodity that night.)

I definitely don’t regret my decision to wait, and I don’t feel like I missed out on anything because I’ve only had sex with one person. My husband wasn’t a virgin when I married him (or when we were dating), but waiting was something we both wanted for our relationship. The key to making your premarital relationships work is finding partners who share your stance, or who at least support your holding it. Not every person you try to go out with is going to support you, but the ones who don’t just aren’t right for you. That’s OK. You will meet people who feel the same way as you, and some of them will be cute and exciting and you will get to date them. One of them might end up being the person you marry, and when you have sex with them, if you’re like me, you’ll be glad you waited. —Becki

If you have a question for next month’s Just Wondering, please send it to


  • rookielaura October 2nd, 2012 11:22 PM

    Amelia’s question finally put the feelings I’ve been having into words. I always wonder if what I’m feeling and reacting to is just me being a teen or if it is part of a larger issue. Some days I’m pretty satisfied with my life and I have an added bounce to my step, while other days I feel like something is missing from me and I walk around feeling gloomy. Sometimes all of a sudden something ticks me off and I have to run to my journal and furiously write out my feelings, and then I look at what I’ve written and feel ashamed at how much I sound like a typical “angst-filled” 16 year old girl with unimportant problems. I feel that I have to explain my angry rant to MYSELF in the journal afterwords because that is how embarrassed I get when I take a step back and attribute these feelings I have to just “being a teen.” Maybe I’m creating a bigger problem by playing these feelings off as no big deal after they happen. Does this happen to anyone else?

    • SincerelyWrong October 3rd, 2012 12:06 AM

      You are not alone, so at least take some comfort in that. :) I do occasionally laugh at old entries in my “Misery Journal” (it has a picture of Snoopy on the front to make up for the sadness inside), but I still feel that way a lot. And yeah, it’s hard when you’re just so sad and you hate feeling sad because so many other people have it worse than you, but just remember that your feelings matter, even if you think they seem silly (in retrospect or real time), they matter, because they’re you, and they hurt a lot, sometimes worse just because they have so little reason and that makes it feel harder to find a cure.
      I sometimes cry on bike rides because I’m biking away from a social event and I’m pretty sure that no one cared I left. I have issues with believing anyone actually enjoys being my friend or genuinely likes me, so I cry from isolation a lot… Then I go sit in my tree and listen to my iPod and feel just a bit better.

      • Ameliathistle October 3rd, 2012 12:16 PM

        I know what you mean about the feeling like nobody cares and not believing that anyone genuinely likes me. It’s so hard knowing whether you can trust people, especially when you’ve been treated like shiz before.
        WISH I HAD A TREE. x

      • rookielaura October 3rd, 2012 4:37 PM

        thanks for the advice :)

    • Blythe October 3rd, 2012 12:27 AM

      Some quick input ‘cuz shit I need to do homework:
      That is pretty damn close to how I have felt for a long time. Turns out that it’s depression. So like they said in the article, definitely talk to someone–I don’t recommend parents, but maybe a school counselor?

      • AYAtheOUSH October 3rd, 2012 10:15 AM

        honestly you guys, in 7th grade i thought i was bipolar/ was 100% sure i had gone through depression. i told my science teacher(who i trusted very much) she supported me a lot and even told me she would ask a friend (a doctor or a shrink-i forget). my mom, a doctor, is the first person i told, but she was very sarcastic and brushed my self-diagnosis aside because did not believe me or something. the science teacher told the counselor without asking me first. she pulled me out of an arabic class and the science teacher was also there. they basically told me that i am not old enough to fully understand how complicated mental illness is and that i do not have anything wrong with me. they didn’t ask me any questions to make sure or anything. so the point of my essay is to tell you that you shouldn’t just depend on the counselor or something. they (usually) suck.

        • Saana V October 3rd, 2012 1:50 PM

          Yeah, I went through the same, well kind of.
          I was really ok (not really, but that was my own problem and kind of still is), but my art teacher showed my- as she said – “highly distressing” comic to our counselor and the whole situation grew until they called my parents and told them that I was depressed and they should look after me – I could cut or even try to kill myself.
          My parents still don’t trust me the way they did. And on the other hand she is the main reason my best friend has an eating disorder. So yeah, they usually suck.

    • julalondon October 4th, 2012 2:38 PM

      Her question actually brought me to tears, because it’s exactly how i feel. And i’m 21 now and shouldn’t have teenage mood swings anymore, right?

  • periwinkle_dreams October 2nd, 2012 11:35 PM

    I loved the question about waiting for sex, cause I decided a few years ago to wait for marriage too (because of my faith). I’m in college, and this was really encouraging, cause I’ve also had relationships where guys didn’t want to date me for that reason, and I’ve dealt with being ridiculed by a LOT of outsiders who had no business discussing my sex life (or lack thereof) anyways. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that there are other girls out there like me :)

  • Jessica W October 3rd, 2012 12:11 AM

    Seriously, leaving a girl (or boy for that matter) for something as minuscule as sex is ridiculous. Someone who’ll happily ditch you because you won’t take your clothes off is not worth your time.
    If they need your body to stay with you then you know they’re probably not in it for the long haul (partly because bodies don’t stay young forever).

    The Lovelorn

    • Justin Case October 3rd, 2012 2:24 PM

      I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but to me, your comment was hurtful.

      I chose when and with whom to have sex, and it’s important to me. I think being able to discover new sides of yourself, other people, and the relationship you have with those people when the sexuality dimension is added is one of the really cool parts of being human.
      It can also be one of the most touching and tender ways of showing you love and care for someone.

      Nevertheless, I sometimes struggle with fears that my desires are dirty and animalistic (which probably has a lot to do with being queer), and so the idea that sex is important, not just a hormonal impulse, and has nothing to do with being ‘dirty’ or insensitive to other people’s interior beauty is central to me.

      I read your comment as kind of a suggestion that wanting other people is demeaning to those people’s integrity and that considering that sex is an essential way of showing love is stupid, because sex would only have to do with objectively finding the other person’s body appealing. This was why I felt hurt.

      PS: Lots and lots of old people have sex, regardless of how their bodies live up to beauty standards, btw.

      • Jessica W October 3rd, 2012 5:57 PM

        Sorry, I came off a bit harsh. I don’t mean to offend. I have no issue with pre-marital sex. Seriously, more power to you! I totally get that it is important to a lot of people. My comment was more related to the girl’s case, not humanity as a whole.
        On the basis of this case, I think it was an absurd reason to leave her, simply because she made it evident from the very beginning that she wanted to wait until marriage. Yet, he spent four months with her before leaving her for something she had told him from the beginning.
        It was an important personal and religious decision for her -and he should not have disrespected this by “dragging” her on for four months.
        Again, sorry if I offended you!

      • a-anti-anticapitalista October 6th, 2012 10:16 AM

        Her comment did not suggest that wanting someone was demeaning to their integrity, it suggested that someone who would stop being with you because you did not want to do that was not being honest about what they felt for you in the first place. I have no idea how you read that.

  • witch-season October 3rd, 2012 12:26 AM

    the premarital sex question seems to be very appropriate because in the US evryone makes it seem like it’s a sin to be a virgin even in High School.
    I’m glad this is being discussed because yes IT’S NOT like virginity is slang for Fatal Gross Illness. ;D up top rookie

  • streaked lights October 3rd, 2012 1:43 AM

    Wow the last question is just so relevant to me. Great advice!

  • oriana October 3rd, 2012 1:55 AM

    awesome, thanks for the advice! a couple of these were applicable to my life.

  • ThenMeredithSaid October 3rd, 2012 2:38 AM

    I wanted to add some insight to the last question as well. Please also remember that there’s nothing wrong with CHANGING your mind, either. As a young person you will evolve, grow, and reshape your ideals and values as you experience life. There is a lot of stigma surrounding virginity, but there’s also no reason that you should feel ashamed or like a failure/disappointment if you want to take the next step with a supportive and consenting partner. One of the most beautiful things about becoming an adult is the opportunity to question and revise your beliefs to best suit you in every stage of your being. Perhaps nothing will change, but remember that it’s okay to bend. This is coming from a woman who at 14 was “straightedge,” at 16 was “waiting for marriage” and now am a recently-married 29 year old with a lot of experience and personal evolution under her belt. Stay true to that inner voice, no matter what others may say, and you’ll be fine!

  • catb0y October 3rd, 2012 2:53 AM

    @Jessica: The way that that particular breakup was presented seems kind of harsh, but sex is important to a lot of people. As a human that sex is really important to, I personally would have some weird feels about this person not wanting to have sex with me – there’s more to that situation than “ditch[ing] someone who won’t take their clothes off” for me.
    You feel me? I don’t know. Sex is just not necessarily a miniscule thing or whatever. I mean, for some people, it totally is, but for some people it’s way more than just a tiny issue.

    • Jessica W October 3rd, 2012 5:45 PM

      No, I understand your point completely! It is important to a lot of people, including the ex boyfriend.
      But she told him from the beginning that she wanted to wait until marriage, but he spent four months with her, finally leaving her for the very “issue” she presented at the beginning. I think that’s ridiculous. If it was an issue from the beginning LEAVE!

      (Personally, I also think if someone waiting until marriage is not a bad thing too. It’s not “weird”, and I respect those who chose to, be it for religious or personal reasons.)

  • KatyKamikaze October 3rd, 2012 10:09 AM

    Amelia – I am a 25 year old girl (woman?) and I feel exactly how you do. With me, a lot of my feelings are to do with me being a creative person, and struggling to deal with expressing myself. I also get annoyed by noise, other peoples stupidness and just hold a general reserve of rage at all times. I know it’s tiring, it’s confusing and it worries you. I went to see a humanist therapist a while back and just blurted everything out 100% honestly. She didn’t use any fancy mind tricks, she just talked to me.. and now I feel more focused, less angry and a little less ‘yo-yo’ like. I’m not saying you have to try it… but it’s an avenue you could go down. Humanist counsellors focus on you as a person, and your needs. They don’t bother using mechanisms, thought changing excercises or naff stuff like that. they discuss with you in an adult manner how you can change how you feel practically. It’s honestly changed my life!

    • Ameliathistle October 3rd, 2012 12:19 PM

      Thanks so much! I’m also a ‘creative person’ and that often adds to me feeling like a complete failure – ‘cos creating things doesn’t alway work how you wanted it to, right? After what everyone’s said, I’ll deff. think more about seeing a counsellor, though I’m still not sure.

  • wallflower152 October 3rd, 2012 11:48 AM

    Bethany, ageism and sexism are a huge problem. But good for you for what you are doing, stay strong! I will now vent about my recent run in with ageism/sexism. I have been wanting a good quality bicycle for a while so I’ve been saving and finally this weekend I went bike shopping. The first shop I went to was a pro bike shop and I was a little intimidated cuz I am definitely not a pro. The staff were helpful and friendly though so when I didn’t see the bike I saw on their site I asked the salesman about it. He replied with “We don’t have that in stock, what did you like about it, the color?” I was so offended. Just because I’m a young woman, he assumed that’s all I cared about. He would never have said that to a boy/man. I did my research and picked that bike because it rides well on concrete and trails and it was in my price range. I wish I would’ve told him that but I was really too shocked to say much of anything. Needless to say I took my business elsewhere.

  • Serena.K October 3rd, 2012 11:58 AM

    the last question was extremely relevant to me. i’ve never been in a relationship ’cause boys at my school are gross (i take that back. they’re okay, just not my type.) and i too have decided to wait until marriage, half due to religious beliefs, half because it just feels right for me, and already i find myself worrying about what my hypothetical future boyfriend(s?) will think. will he be offended and think i just don’t want to have sex with him? will he think i’m a prude? will he break up with me? and then will he TELL everyone i’m a prude? why do i care when i know words like “prude” are meaningless and only vilify a woman’s right to say no?

    it’s ridiculous, right? anyways, thanks for the advice. it was heartening.

    • aideenj November 12th, 2012 7:33 AM

      Hey Serena,

      Seriousy, don’t worry about it. I too am waiting. I haven’t in the past and actually back in the day before I changed my mind I would DEFINITELY have broken up with someone for not wanting to have sex with me, like the girl’s boyfriend. But, now I’ve changed my mind (mainly due to faith reasons as well as personal experience), I have no trouble finding boys who feel the same, or even stronger. Seriously! There are no shortage of hot guys who are saving sex for marriage. And to me there is nothing hotter than a guy who has made that decision for himself, is sticking by it. They are usually waiting for God-related reasons as well, so if you find a really healthy faith-based community where people are real with each other and love God, you really won’t have any problem. Don’t ever let that worry bother you, even if it seems like you’re the only one at the moment.

      • aideenj November 12th, 2012 7:34 AM

        Oh, one more thing: don’t ever lower your standards to fit in with other people or a boy or whatever. Not just about sex, but with anything – don’t change your views or your personality because you’re worried what others will think of you. You’re awesome!

  • Ameliathistle October 3rd, 2012 12:13 PM

    Hi, it’s Amelia! Thanks so much to all of you who commented on my question, it really helped me and I don’t feel so alone anymore. MUCH LOVExxx

    • Kathryn October 6th, 2012 9:24 PM

      About the part about noise sensitivity – sometimes I can get SO ANNOYED and almost ANGRY at people for making annoying noises – especially eating. I read that apparently there is actually a mental disorder type of thing called misophonia, “hatred of sound.”

      I can totally relate to the rest of your question as well. You are not alone!

  • Narwhal October 3rd, 2012 12:18 PM

    Amelia- I completely understand about the noise trouble. Most of the time it’s with people I’m close to, and certain noises (like clearing their throat, drinking tea, eating is the worst) will completely flick a switch in my head and stress me out. It happens with some actions too. I have to leave when this happens so I don’t eat with my parents any more. It was becoming a problem especially with my dad, so I finally did some research and it turns out I fit all the symptoms of Misophonia. There doesn’t seem to be a real treatment but, you might be interested, I think it could be quite a common thing. Learning about it and finding that it’s a totally involuntary reaction helped me feel better :)

  • wallflower152 October 3rd, 2012 12:19 PM

    Anonymous, good for you! Stay strong! Try finding guys with similar beliefs and morals, it might make it easier. Anyone who won’t wait doesn’t really love you. I am 22 and still a virgin. I’m not necessarily waiting for marriage but I might. Mostly I’m waiting because I was never with anyone who I wanted to share it with. Also for religious reasons and also because an unplanned pregnancy would be utterly life ruining for me. I have now been with the same guy for over a year and a half, things are going great and I love him enough to lose it to him but I’m not sure when yet. My bf has been with several women before we got together, just so you know. I’m sure he wishes we would do it already but he NEVER pressures me. Sometimes I feel like I am a young woman in my sexual and physical prime and I should just do it and enjoy it. (Before I do it, married or not, I’m definitely going to get on birth control, an IUD to be specific.) All my friends always ask me if I’ve done it yet and it gets annoying because it’s none of their damn business. When I do it I don’t think I’ll tell anyone. Oh another thing I’ve found is that the longer I wait the more I want to hold onto it. FYI there are things you can do with or without your partner that aren’t sex that might make waiting for marriage a lot easier. ; ) Good luck Anonymous!

  • MaggietheCat October 3rd, 2012 12:28 PM

    It is possible to have loving, meaningful, intimate, powerful sex with someone you aren’t married to, even if you’ve had sex with other people in the past.

    Just because you aren’t married to someone you’re having sex with doesn’t mean it’s casual, or that you’re doing it with every person you’re interested in.

    Waiting for marriage is a huge commitment, and obviously I can’t decide what’s right for anyone else, but I was getting a whiff of judgment from the final question and response. Sexuality is a spectrum, it isn’t black and white, and we aren’t either a virgin or a whore.

  • abibabibooo October 3rd, 2012 2:10 PM

    does anyone know how i can ask my own questions?

  • all-art-is-quite-useless October 3rd, 2012 3:04 PM

    The last post was relevant to me, not because I don’t want to have sex before marriage, but because it said “it’s okay to be a virgin”. Even though I’m 16, I’ve never had a boyfriend, let alone had sex , and it feels like there’s so much pressure to sex and its just urrrgggh…

  • allydoubleyou October 3rd, 2012 3:10 PM


    My girlfriend has the same noise symptoms. A commenter above suggested misophonia, but it could also be hyperacusis (if you actually have very sensitive hearing and can hear noises that are soft to others loudly from far away) or if you actively avoid being around others because of it it could be phonophobia. There are therapies for both! But that’s no guarantee of success. But anyway, for my girlfriend, it helps to wear earplugs and headphones simultaneously on the subway, and for times when she can’t because it’s rude, it helps her to have people who understand who she can talk to about it. Seek those people out! And don’t be afraid to characterize it as a medical condition. Saying “those sounds hurt me” rather than “those sounds are annoying” really helps.

    Good luck!!

  • bethleeroth October 3rd, 2012 11:09 PM

    Amelia, I 100% agree with Sady and everyone else who has commented to you, and I have this to add: you sound like you might be an empath? I am an empath, too, and it has caused me to deal with depression in my life, as well as an oversensitivity to almost everything, which I deal with every day. My input is a bit on the airy-fairy/esoteric side of things but feel free to Google “empath” and see if any of the info out there is helpful to you. Good luck, stay strong, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and you’re definitely not alone!

  • AnnaS October 4th, 2012 8:12 AM

    @ Bethany. My boss once told me prior to an important meeting what he always answered when he was attacked for his young age: “My youth is not a shame and your age is no merit”. I think this could also be extended to gender.

  • ganeshelephantboy October 5th, 2012 9:43 PM

    Better yet, will i be lonely if I KEEP having casual sex?

  • a-anti-anticapitalista October 6th, 2012 10:06 AM

    To Creeped Out: PLEASE do not rush to do ANYTHING without reading the chapter on stalkers-obsessed ex’s orsomethinglikethat in the book “the gift of fear” by david debecker. It’s REALLY important because many things that we may think are common sense or would help us deal with a stalker and prevent violence do the opposite, and many things we may take as signs that he may turn violent or viceversa might actually be signs of the opposite. And it talks a lot about restraining orders and how they can sometimes make things more dangerous.

  • illonablyton October 6th, 2012 12:16 PM

    I’m so happy about Amelia’s question. Helped me loads I tell you. Thanks Amelia. xx

    And Anonymous, great job sticking to your values. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. xx

  • Carissa October 25th, 2012 9:31 AM

    Rookies, I just wanted to say thanks for the last answer. That impressed me. It would have been easy to answer the waiting till marriage question in a gently disagreeing manner, but instead you found someone who could relate to and support the letter writer. I love that, because I have a similar belief system. Reading Rookie, I resonate and agree with the vast majority of what’s said and championed here, but I read with a sense of alienation too, for my disparate religious beliefs. So many of my religious friends and family would reject this magazine outright, but I find it extremely valuable. The choice to include this question and answer has actually made me feel like I could belong to this community. Well done, and thanks!