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Why I wrote the sex manual Id have loved as a teenager

The Spanish YouTuber Chusita gives young people honest, down-to-earth advice on sex in her new book, This Is Not a Sex Book

At a recent book signing in Barcelona, Spanish YouTuber Chusita was approached by two parents with their teenage daughter.Although Chusitas book is a sex guide for her teenage fansand followers, she sometimes hears from parents who thank her for writing it, and for helping them broach a difficult subject. Some have told her theyve sat down with their teenage children and read it together. This time, though, the parents wished to thank her for a different reason.

Loudly, in front of the whole crowd, they said theyd bought the book for their daughter, but decided to read it first to check it was OK, says Chusita. They then told everyone how much they loved the book and that it had rekindled their sex life. Their daughter stood beside them, completely mortified!

In some ways, Mara Jess Cama, Chusitas real name, is similar to the UK vlogging sensation Zoella although a much less polished version. The apartment she shares with a friend in Madrid is a long way from Zoellas 1m house in Brighton. When we talk, she wears no makeup and her YouTube channel, Chusita Fashion Fever, is a fun, imperfect mix of unsophisticated pop covers (Adeles Hello in Spanish anyone?), confessionals, random musings and straight-talking agony aunt-style advice.

Her book This Is Not a Sex Book: The Uncensored Manual for All Things Intimate was published last year in Spain, where it sold well. It has since been published across Latin America, as well as the US, Holland, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, the Czech Republic the list goes on. Next week its published in the UK.

Its an odd read. In some ways its sweet, almost innocent with cute quizzes, comic-strip storylines, emojis and fun facts such as the worlds largest penis or the mating habits of seahorses. There are chapters to help teens to navigate todays complex modern relationships (hook-ups, sexting, friends with benefits, etc). And then theres the lowdown on actually doing it masturbation (male, female and mutual), sex toys (real and improvised), sex (vaginal, oral and anal) Perhaps its pitched perfectly at todays youth, the internet generation, who on one level know everything, yet In Real Life (#IRL) may be no more sophisticated than the generations before them.

According to Chusita, its aimed at young people aged 14 to 20 (her fanbase) who havent had much or any sexual experience, but who want to be fully informed when they do. She based it on the kinds of questions she is asked on her channel and also what she wished shed known herself but had to learn by trial and error.

Chusita, 30, who dropped out of school, certainly never imagined or planned this career path. She grew up in Madrid, the youngest of six siblings, and was educated in a convent primary school and a secular state secondary.

The vlogging began when she was 21, living with her then boyfriend and his family, and working as a receptionist. My boyfriend and I werent getting on well. Work was busy. Problems piled up and I started to get depressed, she says. I went on antidepressants and for seven months lay around feeling low.

An
An illustration from This is Not A Sex Book.

On a night out with a friend, they met a group of boys. There was a bit of sexual tension, and the next day Chusita made her first video back when few people did about sexual tension in clubs. She sent it to her friend to watch; her friend passed it about. Chusita made more about the music she liked, what happened in the supermarket, her thoughts on her daily life. It was a kind of confidence booster, a sort of therapy. Her following grew.

A popular section of her channel is If I Were You, where fans send in problems and Chusita reads them out and gives advice. Its not all about sex but a lot is. I get loads of different questions, every possible sort, she says. Many times, itll be my boyfriend is insisting he wants to have sex and Im not sure or my boyfriend wants to have anal sex but I dont like the idea of it. I think its horrible. How do I handle this?. Often, the questions will revolve around saying no or setting limits.

Sitting on her bed, giant cuddly toys in the background, Chusita dispenses refreshingly sensible advice on her vlogs. Her repeated message is finding whats right for you (whatever that is) and not being pushed around. She shares plenty of personal experience in her posts. My First Kiss aged 16, on the school bus, she remembers a lot of saliva. My First Time she was the last of her friends to have sex, nearly 19, as she preferred to wait until she was with a person she felt comfortable with. Nonetheless, the sex was forgettable.

Other popular If I Were You posts include Sex with my cousin (from a teenage boy who was seduced by his cousin and is debating whether to go the whole way) and I cant orgasm (an 18-year-old who lost her virginity to her boyfriend four months ago and has yet to orgasm with him though she can do it fine on her own). Chusitas advice on the cousin question is to think years ahead, at family events this cousin will be in his life for ever. Of course, being sexual feels good, she says. Thats normal, but personally, shed find someone who wasnt in her family to do it with. On the orgasm problem, she wonders if the couple are trying too hard, focusing on the problem instead of relaxing and letting herself go. She also urges her to tell her boyfriend what she likes, give it time, be patient.

Why does she think people come to her with their questions? I think its partly the fact that people prefer to listen to someone they dont know, she says, someone outside their circle who doesnt have any preconceptions or ideas about them. Someone with no agenda. Ill also tell it clearly theres no holding back, no taboos. Ill talk about anything.

In Catholic Spain, says Chusita, theres a huge gap in sex education waiting to be filled. Sex education was non-existent when I was at school and its the same now, she says. Theyll talk to you about reproduction but not about sex. Theyll talk about how to make babies but not how to avoid making babies but still have sex.

Nor is it talked about much at home. The only thing I was told by my parents was Dont get pregnant and If you do get pregnant, you will have the baby. I talked about sex to friends, of course, but they were as clueless as I was. We could share experiences, but the only way we could really learn was by doing it.

According to Chusita, little has changed since then. Young people still have a lot of questions What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to feel? and no one is covering them. Teachers and parents are too embarrassed to raise it and teenagers are too embarrassed to ask.

And into this void steps pornography, available everywhere at the tap of a phone. I dont have a problem with porn, but its no way to learn, says Chusita. Watching a porn film is like watching an action movie. You might think, Wow! That looks amazing. Id love to do that but its not the reality. You cant jump from buildings. Porn is not a portrayal of reality so when you start having sex with someone, you shouldnt think youre going to experience a porn film.

She doesnt pretend to be an expert, or even to know any more than the average woman. But thats her appeal. Shes like the warm, wise big sister any teen would wish for.

Im not a professional and I dont have very different sexual experiences to anyone else, she says. I think probably everyone finds it harder to talk about sex honestly when theyre starting out than when they get older and realise its not such a big deal. Probably anyone who has had sex a few times could write the book. Its just that Im the one who did.

This Is Not a Sex Book is, says Chusita, a more careful, more considered account of the advice and information she gives on her channel.

I had more time to think about it. Its better conveyed than in the videos, she says. Its the book Id have loved to have read when I was a teenager, written in young peoples language, in a way thats accessible to them. I want it to be part of peoples libraries, the book teenagers go to. And from time to time, their parents too.

This Is Not a Sex Book by Chusita Fashion Fever (Head of Zeus, 14.99). To order a copy for 12.74, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders minimum p&p of 1.99.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/08/why-i-wrote-the-sex-manual-id-have-loved-as-a-teenager

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Eight reasons why Jeremy Corbyn robbed Theresa May of a landslide | Zoe Willlams

The game-changing manifesto, the galvanised youth vote a number of factors combined to create the worst Conservative campaign for decades Support our journalism by becoming a Guardian supporter or making a contribution

Youve got to love it. A political system in which theres no winner. Almost everyone, from some angle, is a loser. Nobody can work out wholl be prime minister in the morning. Everyones muttering darkly about another election in October. Weve come down to wondering whether Sinn Fin will drop its absentee policy. And all any progressive can feel is triumphant, unbridled joy. I mean, youve got to love it. Even when you hate it, youve got to love it.

What delivered this almighty blow to Theresa Mays magnificently misplaced self-belief? In no particular order or rather, I believe all these factors to be of equal importance.

1) Jeremy Corbyns manifesto

The strategically magical thing about the manifesto was ending tuition fees, which was simultaneously a brilliant, simple, persuasive bid for the self-interested allegiance of a very large and coherent body of voters, and an iteration of his authentically held belief, that tertiary education is a public good.

2) Jeremy Corbyns campaign

I read in November as part of the dazed explanation for Donald Trumps victory that stans were more important than supporters. I had to Google what a stan was: it is a wild enthusiast, an off-the-charts believer, a person who will bore the pub down. Corbyn has these, and no other British politician does. If Im honest, I read that and I still didnt believe it, but when our Wales correspondent Steven Morris said this morning: Corbyns crowd was so big in Colwyn Bay that nobody could believe that many people lived in Colwyn Bay, I thought, stans.

3) The youth vote

This is not simply about student fees: it is about Brexit; about pensions as somehow being exempt from the toxic benefits narrative; about the housing crisis; about the dovetailing of so many issues in which the status quo was seen to serve the old; about the radical, the young.

4) Voter registration among the young

From the National Union of Students; from civic tech entrepreneurs, building apps and websites of dazzling innovation; from celebrities too cautious to endorse a party but feeling it enough to push the importance of representation. One million 18- to 34-year-olds have registered to vote since the election was called. It is seismic.

5) Turnout helps

All progressive parties pin a lot of their hopes on the people who traditionally dont turn up. In the few seats that have declared as I write this, turnout has been much more like referendum levels than 2015 GE levels.

6) The Green party

They have taken a hit in vote share. Numbers in the north-east are down to the hundreds. This is because they took a moral decision to stand aside in some seats, campaign together in others, form non-aggression pacts across constituencies to prevent a Conservative landslide at any cost. The cost, to them as a party, has been pretty great. Typically, it will hit them in university towns, where their vote share was high for reason of a concentration of educated people, thinking about things. In Newcastle-upon-Tyne East, they were down nearly seven points. The very least the Labour party, and all of us, can do is to acknowledge that this was the result of decisive action on their part, and not just an unfortunate loss of interest in the environment.

7) That coalition of chaos (or progressive alliance, as we prefer to call it)

While the Greens were the only party to pursue it officially, local activists in huge numbers, from the Liberal Democrats, Labour, the Womens Equality party, the National Health Action party, worked together to maximise their chances.

8) The internet has finally done something useful

The Conservatives ran their banner ads on Facebook as usual, but this time the progressive wing came back: Crowdpac raised money for candidates and campaigns; networks built up between British progressives and Bernie Sanders campaigners, which yielded new activism in the squishy meat world; tactical voting found online organisation that turned it into tactical campaigning.

Psephologists and commentators will spend the next few days talking about technicalities and tactics: how did the SNP lose what to whom? Why didnt the Liberals bounce? When will the Conservatives turn against May? Who will seek allegiance from where, to demand what kind of dominance? But never forget that this was the power of the swarm, people in huge numbers voting in ways that even the bookies told them they never would.

And just as an afterthought: it was the worst Conservative campaign in living memory. And thats even if you remember Michael Howard.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/09/jeremy-corbyn-theresa-may-landslide-manifesto-youth-vote-conservative-campaign

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Popular social media sites ‘harm young people’s mental health’

Poll of 14- to 24-year-olds shows Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter increased feelings of inadequacy and anxiety

Four of the five most popular forms of social media harm young peoples mental health, with Instagram the most damaging, according to research by two health organisations.

Instagram has the most negative impact on young peoples mental wellbeing, a survey of almost 1,500 14- to 24-year-olds found, and the health groups accused it of deepening young peoples feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

The survey, published on Friday, concluded that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are also harmful. Among the five only YouTube was judged to have a positive impact.

The four platforms have a negative effect because they can exacerbate childrens and young peoples body image worries, and worsen bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the participants said.

The findings follow growing concern among politicians, health bodies, doctors, charities and parents about young people suffering harm as a result of sexting, cyberbullying and social media reinforcing feelings of self-loathing and even the risk of them committing suicide.

Its interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing. Both platforms are very image-focused and it appears that they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people, said Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, which undertook the survey with the Young Health Movement.

She demanded tough measures to make social media less of a wild west when it comes to young peoples mental health and wellbeing. Social media firms should bring in a pop-up image to warn young people that they have been using it a lot, while Instagram and similar platforms should alert users when photographs of people have been digitally manipulated, Cramer said.

The 1,479 young people surveyed were asked to rate the impact of the five forms of social media on 14 different criteria of health and wellbeing, including their effect on sleep, anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-identity, bullying, body image and the fear of missing out.

Instagram emerged with the most negative score. It rated badly for seven of the 14 measures, particularly its impact on sleep, body image and fear of missing out and also for bullying and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness. However, young people cited its upsides too, including self-expression, self-identity and emotional support.

YouTube scored very badly for its impact on sleep but positively in nine of the 14 categories, notably awareness and understanding of other peoples health experience, self-expression, loneliness, depression and emotional support.

However, the leader of the UKs psychiatrists said the findings were too simplistic and unfairly blamed social media for the complex reasons why the mental health of so many young people is suffering.

Prof Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: I am sure that social media plays a role in unhappiness, but it has as many benefits as it does negatives.. We need to teach children how to cope with all aspects of social media good and bad to prepare them for an increasingly digitised world. There is real danger in blaming the medium for the message.

Young Minds, the charity which Theresa May visited last week on a campaign stop, backed the call for Instagram and other platforms to take further steps to protect young users.

Tom Madders, its director of campaigns and communications, said: Prompting young people about heavy usage and signposting to support they may need, on a platform that they identify with, could help many young people.

However, he also urged caution in how content accessed by young people on social media is perceived. Its also important to recognise that simply protecting young people from particular content types can never be the whole solution. We need to support young people so they understand the risks of how they behave online, and are empowered to make sense of and know how to respond to harmful content that slips through filters.

Parents and mental health experts fear that platforms such as Instagram can make young users feel worried and inadequate by facilitating hostile comments about their appearance or reminding them that they have not been invited to, for example, a party many of their peers are attending.

May, who has made childrens mental health one of her priorities, highlighted social medias damaging effects in her shared society speech in January, saying: We know that the use of social media brings additional concerns and challenges. In 2014, just over one in 10 young people said that they had experienced cyberbullying by phone or over the internet.

In February, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, warned social media and technology firms that they could face sanctions, including through legislation, unless they did more to tackle sexting, cyberbullying and the trolling of young users.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/19/popular-social-media-sites-harm-young-peoples-mental-health