Alex Runyon, Photo Editor

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“I’m 22, and I haven’t had sex yet. I want to, but it’s hard for me to be physically vulnerable with someone. I feel like I’m missing out on a lot and have to sit out of my friends’ conversations about sex. It just feels like I’m in a different realm than everyone else. Am I weird? How do I feel normal about this?”

No, you are not weird. If you are abstaining from sex because you’re having trouble with physical intimacy, you’re doing the right thing. You should only have sex if you feel safe, comfortable and ready with a consenting adult partner who feels the same way. I know being different from your friends can be isolating and frustrating, but you should never do anything just to fit in. To “feel normal” about this, remind yourself there is no “normal” or correct age to begin having sex. You are functioning on your own timeline, and that’s OK.

“I feel like sometimes I compare myself to others. About a lot of things, but lately I’ve been comparing my body to others. I feel gross and not good enough. Not all the time, but sometimes I put myself down, and then I feel bad about doing that. I practice a lot of body positivity, but sometimes I can’t help but throw it all out the window when I feel insecure. How do I practice body confidence when I feel insecure?”

I’m glad you said you practice body positivity, because it really is something that takes practice. Some days, for me, it feels like every piece of media I consume is aimed at making me feel bad about the way I look. Try your best to drown out that noise with genuine positivity and self-love.

Your voice is the one you hear the most – do not allow that voice to be unkind to you. The more you talk down to yourself, the more you will believe those negative ideas. Try to literally say something positive about yourself every day. Try to think about your body in terms of what it can do, not just how it looks. If you play a sport, knit, sing, swim, dance, etc., praise your body for being so capable. You are more than your appearance. I don’t know about you, but a lot of my insecurity is born on the internet. To combat that, I unfollow any Pinterest boards or Instagram accounts that repeatedly post images of people whose bodies are unrealistic or heavily photoshopped, and I don’t follow any so-called thinspiration or fitspiration accounts. I don’t allow anything in my fun phone time that will trigger any self-loathing or will lead to me comparing myself with someone else. I encourage you to cleanse your social media of anything that makes you feel “gross and not good enough.” You are not gross, and you are good enough. Your self-worth cannot be defined by other people’s looks. Remind yourself that you are special and beautiful. And, if it is any consolation, almost every person in the world is dealing with the same issue you are. No one feels good about themselves all the time. It truly does take practice to feel confident, but you deserve to put in that work and feel good about yourself.

This column is the opinion of one person and is not a substitution for professional help. Free counseling services are available to all Marshall students on the first floor of Prichard Hall.

To submit questions anonymously, visit For comments or concerns, e-mail [email protected]

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