Q Is it okay to kiss someone? If you have their consent! If it’s a first kiss and you are still getting to know the other person maybe take things slowly.  There is no rule book on kissing but paying attention to how the other person responds (e.g. do they pull away and say, “Yuk!") Remind yourself that there are many, many people your age that haven’t kissed or gone out with someone before and for most people in your age group this relationship stuff is all new. It’s one of the ‘jobs’ of adolescence to learn how to relate to people in ways that are different from when you were little kids. And new things are always a bit scary. If you go out with someone or kiss someone that you are already really comfortable with, you’ll feel less self-conscious and may even be able to talk to them about how you’re feeling.
Q Why does hardly anyone ask for sexual consent? Remember that we never see this stuff on movies/TV/advertising and no-one really talks to us about it. It’s hard to know if we haven’t been taught and it’s also hard when popular culture tries to tell us that it’s not important. Lots of people DO ask and hopefully we’ll see it more in the movies soon.
Q Why do girls get treated like objects in media? Sometimes people can be disrespectful and like you because of your body, or things, or money instead of who you are as a person. This is not okay, you deserve to be treated with respect, and to be treated as an equal. Sometimes, when people are disrespectful to a group based on their gender, their race, their religion, their education, whether they have money…. It can be because they think their wants, desires or beliefs are more important than others.  When we think we are more important than others, it can turn into behaviour that preferences ourselves over others, belittles others, or even behaviour that is disrespectful and harmful to others. So it doesn’t matter if someone is male, female, religious, has a PHD or left school in year 12, is black white or even grey….. if they are human, they are to be respected.  And we have to constantly check in with ourselves about the how and why we treat others the way we do.  And when we muck up (as we all do) think about how you can make things better. Not everyone thinks this way, but some people still believe in those stereotypes.
Q What do you do if you really like someone but it makes you anxious? Lots of thoughts and feelings arise when you are around the person you like – and a big one is the fear of rejection. Most people are scared of being rejected because they think that it means that there is something wrong with them. But chances are, if you’re trying to act like anyone other than whom you really are, you’re probably acting like a bit of a dork. Just remember that this relationship stuff is new to everyone your age and the person you like is probably just as nervous about getting it right as you are. If someone is causing you anxiety and stress because of their behavior towards you it would be best to talk to a trusted adult.