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“Saving Love Lives The World Over!” e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

January 15, 2013

Explosive chemistry

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:01 am

Avoiding a crash on November 30, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I can’t seem to get my niece away from a bad relationship with her boyfriend. I remember hearing about what I think was some kind of hormone that bonds teenagers/people together. It sounds like the word “oxey- tonin, or oxey-tosen.” Can you help me? I’ve got to help my niece get away from her boyfriend. She recently had a car accident chasing him. She can’t seem to get over him. I am 45, my neice is 16. It’s so hard for her to take any advice from me. Please respond. I really need an answer. Have you heard of a “hormone” called oxytonin? Thank you!

– Mary


Dear Mary,

OXYTOCIN. It’s a hormone that females (human and animal) release during lovemaking and, Oedipally enough, also during breast-feeding and childbirth. In fact, scientists believe that oxytocin is one of the chemical catalysts for mother-child bonding. So it’s also as if, when you have sex, you imprint on the lucky guy as if he were your bitty baby bird. Helps explain why women — even post-trivial-one-night-stand — may feel this bizarre, misplaced impulse to feed it, help it fly, and to want it to come to depend on them for food and warmth.

I could tell you way more stuff about oxytocin, but I don’t think we’d be going down the right neural pathway. What you need is a catalyst for aunt-niece bonding. This website (though the focus may be a bit more 911 than is necessary here) might help you figure out what kind of “advice” will get through to her (basically, none), and instead, what questions you might ask just to get her talking — and thinking — instead of driving. That is what’s going to — weighed down though she is by teenage hormones — help her fly.

Love,
Breakup Girl

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February 24, 2011

xoxosms

Filed under: Treats, media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:42 am

These days, the stories we hear about kidz and the technology are often cautionary tales: strangers! sexting! TEXT NECK! But Nancy Schwartzman — producer and director of the in-the-works film xoxosms — wants to tell a different, more salutary tale:  about  (young) people forging relationships that may start as virtual, but are very, very real.

“xoxosms is about first love, long distance and Skype. It looks closely at one young couple who — like many — met online and fell in love before ever meeting each other,” says Schwartzman. “There’s a tension between their ‘digital intimacy’ and real life, and the film explores the way the digital world, full of intimacy, bonding, sweetness, is a way to mitigate the hard stuff of growing up and having sex. A way to be close without things getting too confusing.”

The documentary tells the true love story of Gus and Jiyun — a home schooled 19-year-old from a religious family in small-town Illinois and a 19-year-old Korea-born New York City art student — who met nearly a year ago in possibly the only place two people so different might ever find each other: The Internet. Over the past 18 months, they have built an intensely intimate world via Skype, AIM and iChat. They are each other’s very first loves, and through the Internet, they have established a connection that feels as real as if they were right there beside each other.

Help xoxosms have a happy ending! You can kick in a few bucks here to help Schwartzman & co. complete their project. (They’re already over halfway there, with 19 days to go!) You can share your story at their Tumblr, “Without the Internet We Never Would Have Met.” And you can watch the trailer, oh, right now!

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February 18, 2011

I’m worried I’m too good for him

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:19 am

Starting doubts young on May 25, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

Hi. I am 14 years old and even though I shouldn’t worry about guys, I do. Right now I have a boyfriend. This is the second time I have gone “out” with him. He told me that he never thought he was good enough for me, and to his and my dismay, I am starting to believe it. My friends say he isn’t good enough for me, too, and that I could do much better. Complete and utter strangers that I have never seen before in my entire life tell me I could do much better. I want to follow my heart and do what my heart tells me. But I am not sure exactly what my heart is saying. Even though I am only 14 and probably insignificant to you adults, please help!

– Young, Naive, and Confused


Dear YNC,

Okay, first of all, you are hardly insignificant. In fact, teens and adults pretty much have the same problems; it’s just that teens have them in smaller units of time (e.g. “I am hopelessly in love with my girlfriend of three days;” “It’s 3:15:29 and he hasn’t called since 2:47:31 — should I dump him?”). A grownup would have written a letter with your exact question after, like, eleven years.

Anyway, your question. Um, were you a guest on a daytime talk show? That’s the only way Breakup Girl can fathom total strangers telling you your boyfriend’s not good enough (”Girl, toss that chicken dinner and get yourself a winner!”). To be sure, this whole “good enough” thing is risky, highly subjective territory, but if, like, the whole town is turning out to give you their opinion, maybe there’s something to it. Never mind the strangers, ask your friends: “What do you guys mean, not good enough? I need specifics.” Then listen. To them and to your heart.

Love,
Breakup Girl

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October 28, 2010

How sex ed saved my life

Filed under: Treats, blogs, issues — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:07 am

In case you didn’t already know this, Scarleteen is the source for real sex education in the real world. It’s deserving of a shout-out of far more than 140 characters; it’s run and supported by people “who want better for young people than what they get in schools, on the street or from initiatives whose aim is to intentionally use fearmongering, bias and misinformation about sexuality to try to scare or intimidate young people into serving their own personal, political or religious agendas.” And right now, there’s a extra push for cash going on to help Scarleteen keep doing the honest, empowering, and irreplaceable work they do. Read recent testimonials such as “How Scarleteen and Sex Ed Saved My Life,” and “Accentuating the (Sex) Positive: Discovering Scarleteen” — and maybe you’ll be inspired to show Scarleteen a little love yourself.

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October 27, 2010

I’m not gay, but

Filed under: News, Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:09 am

A new analysis of teen sexual behavior in New York City offers some troubling/fascinating/instructive insights — and not just of the “only in New York” variety.

Published in the latest Pediatrics, the study found (for one thing) that among sexually active adolescent boys and girls, nearly one in ten had had a same-sex experience. But how many called themselves “gay”? Well, of the teens who’d had at least one same-sex partner, 38.9 percent answered “heterosexual or straight.” Which is fine in a hey-who-needs-labels sense — and hooray for experimentation, when that’s what it is — but not fine in a hey-who-needs-condoms sense. That is, the study also found that teens reporting partners of both sexes also reported higher-than-average rates of risky sexual practices, such as not using a condom during intercourse.

Hmm. Especially among those in the “I’m not really gay” camp, could there be a related sense that “it’s not really sex”? And does “I’m not really gay” stem from “Gay’s not really OK?” (”Even in New York”?) “These are kids in New York City where there’s more awareness and perhaps acceptance of non-heterosexual behavior, and you’re still finding such high reports of risk behavior and violence,” Laura Lindberg, senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute, told the AP.

Ah yes, also violence. Students reporting same-sex partners also reported higher rates of dating violence. What’s going on there? Back to the AP:

Thomas Krever, executive director of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a youth advocacy organization that runs an alternative high school for gay teens in New York City, said the survey results did not surprise him.

Many teens with partners of both sexes lack supportive adults and peers in their lives and may experience depression because social stigma, Krever said.

“Young people who are exhibiting characteristics of depression and lower self-worth can indeed place themselves in more risky situations including risky sexual practices,” he said.

Homework:

1. As advocates continue to stress, sex ed has to focus not on identity/orientation, but on behavior. No matter what you call what you do, it’s safer with a condom.

2. Let kids know we accept them as they are and that they are loved matter what.

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October 21, 2010

It could get even better

Filed under: issues, media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:27 am

I know that not everyone thinks It Gets Better is the best response to anti-LGBT bullying. I understand the criticism — it’s facile, it’s privileged, it misplaces responsibility — and even agree with much of it. But I’m still a fan of IGB, not as the response to anti-queer bullying, but as a response among what needs to be more and more, at individual and societal levels. That’s why I like Hillary Clinton’s contribution (h/t Andrew Sullivan) as an addition to the mix. She (appropriately, for her position) makes it not about you the sufferer versus them the mean kids, but about civil — American — society, how far it has come, and what it demands. Yes, it’s on the bullies to desist and the queer kids to keep it real, but more than that, it’s on all of us.

And it’s on all of us not just to give miserable kids hope for magical “later” land when they get to graduate  and move to Seattle. It’s on us to help them — and continue changing the culture — now. Some less in-the-headines folks who are working to make it better, today:

Do Not Stand Idly By: A Jewish Community Pledge to Save Lives (more/interesting context here)

Responsive Classroom (h/t Marjorie Ingall)

WeStopHate (h/t I Heart Daily)

This list is the opposite of exhaustive. What other great anti-queer-bullying and pro-tolerant-society work should we all know about?

Oh, and here you go:

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September 30, 2010

Struggling LGBT teens: It! Gets! Better!

Filed under: blogs, issues — posted by Breakup Girl @ 7:09 am

In Internet years this is ancient already, but I wanted to make sure that the ten of you who haven’t seen this yet did. Truly moving, and possibly live-saving, it’s Dan Savage’s You-Tube-based It Gets Better project. Savage wrote:

Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother’s property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates — classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself….I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.

But gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don’t bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay — or from ever coming out — by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.

Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.

And so we are. Watch (and upload your own?):

H/t Marjorie Ingall (w/whom BG shares mixed feelings about Dan Savage. But not in this case.)

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September 23, 2010

Take this sex ed quiz and win awesome prizes!

Filed under: News, Treats, issues — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:41 am

It’s the National Sex Ed Week of Action! Now with PRIZES! (For the first reader who emails me with answers to the quiz below!) But first, a quick true or false:

• The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate among the world’s developed nations.

• According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least one in four teen girls has a sexually transmitted infection.

• Half of sexually active young people in the U.S. will contract a sexually transmitted infection by age 25.

• Approximately 750,000 teenagers in the United States will become pregnant this year.

• The health care reform bill  included a renewal of $50 million per year funding of abstinence-only education for states until 2014.

This Op-Ed by an Atlanta teen about the importance of comprehensive, accurate sex ed is awesome.

Answer key: TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE.

Which, now that we’re all riled up, brings us to the one with PRIZES! Planned Parenthood of NYC, BG’s local affiliate, is giving away a package of safe-sex goodies to the BG reader who emails me with the correct answers to all five of the following (at least peripherally) sex-ed related questions. Pencils ready?

1. In how many states is it still illegal for an unmarried heterosexual couple to live together?

2. What was the name of the first daytime television show to feature a same sex wedding?

3. What famous female advocate founded the first birth control clinic and later founded Planned Parenthood?

4. Japanese love pillows, which usually decorated with life-size animae characters are called what?

5. What species was the famous gay couple who raised an offspring named Tango together?

(And now, New Yorkers, join the campaign!)

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September 1, 2010

The guy Veronica will never get

Filed under: News, pop culture — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:12 am

On stands today: Riverdale’s “hot new guy,” who’s gay. Yes, that Riverdale, home of Archie, Jughead, Betty, and now Kevin, who is really, really, not interested in Veronica. As comics fans first heard in the spring, “the most mainstream, Middle-American comic book” — which last made headlines with a good old-fashioned traditional marriage — has now officially gone the way of, well, actual communities with gay people in them. Win.

What’s extra-cool here, as Barbara Spindel reports in the Daily Beast, is how — how mellowly — the gayness is presented and framed. “After Kevin and Jughead enjoy some homosocial bonding at a hamburger-eating contest, Jughead warns the new kid that Veronica isn’t likely to stop pursuing him until he returns her flirtations. ‘It’s nothing against her. I’m gay,’ Kevin explains nonchalantly, showing how much more casual coming out has become since the X-Men superhero Northstar made headlines in 1992 with this clunky announcement: ‘For while I am not inclined to discuss my sexuality with people for whom it is none of their business — I am gay!’”

Also, Spindel notes, the fact that he’s gay does not become the plot. Instead, it gets absorbed right in as the basis of some true-to-Archie-world hijinks: “Far from being labored, Kevin’s coming out feels entirely relevant to a comic book about how teens relate. What’s more, Parent uses Kevin’s sexuality as an ingenious plot device that fits seamlessly within the well-worn Archie narrative. ‘Kevin is going to tell her that he’s gay, but Jughead tells him not to because he enjoys seeing Veronica making a fool of herself,’ [veteran Archie artist Dan Parent] explains. ‘Everyone knows he’s gay except Veronica. Betty doesn’t push it because she realizes if Veronica is chasing Kevin then she’s got the time for Archie.’”

Setting aside my only concern — Veronica’s gaydar clearly needs to go into the shop — what I also like here is the reminder of connection made between gayness and wholesomeness (if, indeed, wholesomeness is to be considered a worthy goal). Gay here (and in real life) does not (necessarily) equal subversive, alterna-,  Adam Lambert, or “worse.” Why, the gays fit right in, see? That’s what always puzzled me, in a certain way, about the whole gay marriage thing. It’s like, “People. We scared you when we were flamboyant and counter culture. Now we’re trying to settle down, just like you, and you’re really freaked out?!”

Speaking of marriage — and perhaps the best news of all — Archie Comic Publications editor in chief Victor Gorelick noted to the Daily Beast that protest was much more vociferous when the news broke that Archie would marry Veronica. Perhaps we can look forward to seeing Riverdale celebrate the wedding of Kevin and, I don’t know, Steve?

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May 27, 2010

When teen pregnancy is no accident

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 5:27 am

We all know the fable of the conniving woman — call her the femme fertile — who schemes to “trap” a man by “accidentally” getting pregnant. This story at TheNation.com from BG’s alter ego, on an issue we’ve long been tracking here, turns that tale, and our understanding of “unwanted” pregnancy, on its head. It’s an important read for anyone interested in, or touched by, domestic violence or sexual abuse, especially when they — all too often — overlap.

Leyla W. couldn’t figure out where her birth control pills kept going. One day a few tablets would be missing; the next, the whole container. Her then-boyfriend shrugged and said he hadn’t seen them. She believed him—until she found them in his drawer. When she confronted him, he hit her. “That was his way of shutting me up,” says Leyla, who is in her mid-20s and living in Northern California. (For her safety, Leyla wishes to withhold her last name and hometown.) He also raped her and, most days, left her locked in a bedroom with a bit of food and water while he went to work. (A roommate took pity and let her out until he came home.) Thanks to the missed pills, she got pregnant twice, the second time deciding against abortion. (more…)

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