"Late bloomers"

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bitheway
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"Late bloomers"

Unread postby bitheway » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:12 am

Hi! I'm a bi woman about to enter my junior year in college. I didn't have my first kiss until I was nineteen and a freshman, but since then I've gone on to lose my virginity and have had a few sexual partners as well. When I was younger and unkissed, I was fairly anxious about not living up to cultural standards about "normal sexual timelines" or whatever, but since then, I've come to realize that everyone moves at their own pace, and that's perfectly fine. (In fact, waiting until college was probably better for me in the long run since I wasn't super assertive for most of high school, but that's a whole 'nother story.)

Trouble is, I have quite a few friends who are in the same/a similar boat that I was in a couple years ago—they haven't been kissed/gone on a date/had sex/whatever—point is, they feel inadequate, like they "haven't done enough" for the stage of life they're in, and nothing I or anyone else says seems to change their minds. And I totally get it—I mean, I was fairly "late" culturally speaking and I felt kind of bad about it at the time too, but it really is just societal pressure and there IS no timeline for when you "have" to do certain things, 'cause everyone's different. I know ultimately it's their choice to feel how they're going to feel, but does anyone have suggestions for things I could say/do around my friends that might help to show them there's nothing wrong with being a "late bloomer" sexually? Thanks!

(also unrelated, but I've been lurking on this site for about a year now before finally making an account, so I'll say what I've wanted to say for awhile: @ everyone here, especially Heather and all the volunteers/staff members—THANK YOU for your posts; they've helped me with literally so many things related to sex/etc. over the past few months. I truly don't know what I'd have done without you guys.)

Sam W
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Re: "Late bloomers"

Unread postby Sam W » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:18 am

Hi bitheway,

Aw, thank you so much! I'm so glad that you've found things you needed on the message boards.

With your friends, can you give me a sense of what you've said to them or done to help them put their sexual experiences (or lack thereof) in perspective?

bitheway
not a newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:51 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: major Shakespeare fan!
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: bisexual
Location: Lexington, KY

Re: "Late bloomers"

Unread postby bitheway » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:26 am

For sure! The only person I've really had in-depth discussions about this with is my past roommate (who hasn't yet been kissed); in the past, I've both tried to say stuff like "it doesn't matter, there's nothing wrong with not being kissed yet because everyone moves at their own pace" and have also pointed out the fact that we both have mutual friends who also haven't been kissed yet (in order to highlight that she's not alone). I think it's helped a little bit? Maybe? It's clearly still on her mind, though.

With regards to most of my other friends, I've never had in-depth discussions about it, but occasionally they'll make self-deprecating comments ("well, guess I'll be single forever" "no one loves me" et cetera) and in those moments I honestly never know whether to just let it slide as classic sad millennial humor or try and say something encouraging. A lot of the time I don't say anything, which probably isn't the best thing to do, but I'm not sure what to say that wouldn't be horrendously awkward.

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 4830
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: "Late bloomers"

Unread postby Sam W » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:12 am

It sounds like you approached it a great way with your past roommate, by offering clear counterpoints to the things her jerkbrain was telling her. You've also shown that you're not going to judge her for where she is in her dating life, so you can probably let it be for now and hopefully she knows she can talk to you about it if it's still bugging her. When you say it's still on her mind, does that mean she's brought it up again?

With your other friends, I think if/how you want to approach it depends on how often those jokes or comments are coming up. If they are pretty rare and feel very jokey, then your strategy of letting them go seems like a good call. But, if you're noticing that a particular person (or persons) are tossing out comments about being forever alone more and more and it's feeling less and less like a joke, saying something could be helpful if that feels like a good call in the moment to you. If you were to make a comment, do you feel like you'd be more comfortable making a reference to your own experiences or saying something more general?

bitheway
not a newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:51 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: major Shakespeare fan!
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: bisexual
Location: Lexington, KY

Re: "Late bloomers"

Unread postby bitheway » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:40 am

Thanks! Re: my roommate—I mean, she's mentioned her insecurity with her dating life on more than one occasion before, yeah (and pretty much every time I've tried to respond in the ways I talked about above), but I haven't seen her for awhile since it's the summer, so the topic hasn't come up recently.

And alright, that's good to know! Honestly, if a situation like that were to come up, I feel like I'd be comfortable with referring to my own personal experience—for the most part, I'm an open book as far as my sexual history/lack thereof is concerned, as long as people are okay with hearing about it—but I also worry that I could come off as a little bit insensitive, if that makes sense? At this point, the friends I'm talking about are juniors and seniors in college, and I don't want to be like, "Well, yeah, I can relate because I didn't date anyone! Until freshman year, that is,"; I feel like that could accidentally end up making them feel worse about themselves since it eventually happened for me but still hasn't for them. Obviously I'd try to be a lot more tactful than that if the conversation actually came up, and I realize this is mostly hypothetical anyway, but I still wouldn't want to inadvertently make anyone feel worse about themselves.

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
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Re: "Late bloomers"

Unread postby Heather » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:31 pm

Just a quick addition: starting to date/engage in sexual activity with others in your late teens or early twenties is actually about average for American folks these days, rather than late.

(Thanks for the lovely thank you, by the way! <3)
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

bitheway
not a newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:51 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: major Shakespeare fan!
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: bisexual
Location: Lexington, KY

Re: "Late bloomers"

Unread postby bitheway » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:56 pm

Did not know that! Thanks for the information; I'll definitely have to keep that in perspective as well.

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6738
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago, IL and Vashon Island, WA

Re: "Late bloomers"

Unread postby Heather » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:25 pm

Sure. That has been changing for about the last 20 years. The most recent broad data I saw on that was in the biggest national reporting on teen and YA health behaviours we get each year (the YRBSS). It showed that now considerably less than half of all high school students have ever had sex (in my generation in the 1980s, it was more like 80% who had, to give you an idea of the shift over time), and less than 35% were currently sexually active.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead


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