Hello, I've had a few questions lately, and I thought this might be the place to ask. I'm 16, and for the past year and a half or so I've been pretty curious about sex, which is probably normal. I've come to the point where I'm almost confused with my own morals. I was raised to refrain from being sexually intimate with someone until I'm at least 18, and I still kinda agree with that, but now I'm not so sure how long I should wait. I should obviously love the person, but I'm not sure if it's right to just let go, even for a reason so strong in the moment as love. How long should I wait? Soap operas everywhere have girls younger than me losing their virginity and they're everywhere on the internet as well. I feel as if I'd be okay with losing mine as long as there is full protection involved, but I've also read in many places that girls should take pride in being virgins. Even though abstinence never surprises you with something unpleasant, and the virtue is quite popular, I don't know if I really care - and I'm wondering if I should. Frankly, all the conflicting opinions and scary stories have got me stuck somewhere in the middle. Knowing myself, I don't want to just wait until the bridge comes to decide to cross it, because my reasoning seems fine until the morning after and I certainly don't want that to happen with sex. At the moment I'm feeling indifferent, and to a spur of the moment girl like me, that's a dangerous standing. At this point, I think I just need a standing. The problem won't be sticking to it, just finding one in the first place.
Welcome to Scarleteen, Myia! Good on you for wanting to make up your own mind! I'm sure the other users will be glad to share their thoughts on this with you, but in the meantime, I want to link you to some articles that may also help you in your decision making:
I too was raised in the idea that abstinence is the only way and that you must be a virgin on your wedding day, but I soon realized that concept wasn't for me. While I haven't had intercourse (my boyfriend wasn't ready), I've done everything but, and surprisingly despite my upbringing, I've had no regrets. Just as you said, I think if you love and care for someone, and they feel the same, go ahead and have sex if you both want. Sex can be an expression of love, and despite what others may tell you, there's nothing inherently bad about safer sex. It won't spoil you or make you a bad person or anything. Honestly though, it's nothing but a personal choice, and you ultimately need to do what's best for you. Sex is awesome, but only if you're ready for it.
Posts: 238 | Registered: Jul 2011
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Don’t mind me, but I’m probably gonna sprinkle in some questions here and there while I ramble on in this post. Were you raised to refrain from sexual activities until you were 18 because of religious beliefs or parents’ wishes or something else entirely?
“Losing their virginity” and “virtue” are part of this idea that society’s given (especially to women) about consensual sex as if we’re losing a part of ourselves and that we’re better people and only worthy of love or respect if we choose to abstain; but I don’t think that that’s an accurate or healthy portrayal of consensual sexual activities. Notice how men haven’t been held to this same standard and they’re actually made fun of if they don’t have sex? Doesn’t make sense. September’s given you some great links, but I hope I can also give my two cents as an 18 year old female.
Do you feel as if you’ll be not as good of a person if you decide to have sex before you’re 18 or if you decide to have sex, period? I think that someone can still be “virtuous” whether or not they decide to have sex if we’re going by this dictionary definition of “conforming to moral and ethical principles; morally excellent; upright.” You can still be an ethical person if you engage in sexual activities (whether it's a one-night stand, a committed relationship or any other scenario in between), just like you can be an unethical person if you don't. For example, someone could be a volunteer at an animal shelter and never had sex before or they could be a volunteer at an animal shelter and had sex with multiple partners before. Just like someone could be a cruel bully and never had sex before, they could also be a cruel bully and had sex with multiple partners before. My point is that the amount of sex we’ve had (or not) doesn’t reflect on our character, it’s just that we’ve been told since we were little girls that if you don’t wait until marriage/committed relationship/“true love”, then you’re a bad person and are unworthy of love or respect. Though, I would like to point out that I think the way people treat their sexual partner(s) does reflect on them (ex. someone who tries to force or guilt their partner(s) into having sex with them without their partner’s consent). Do you feel pressured by your peers/family/spiritual or religious beliefs/something else entirely to abstain from having sex? I'm only asking these random questions to get a better sense of where you're coming from.
Heads-up for this paragraph: I’m not trying to impose my choices on you (not at all!). I’m just trying to use myself as an example here, so please don't feel pressured to do what I'm planning on doing. I plan on having some casual sex in college, because I don't want a boyfriend/girlfriend at this point in my life but I still want to have sex. Thanks to some awesome people here at Scarleteen, I was given the idea of making a list of things that I want/need in order to make it happen; this led me to making rules and standards for me to uphold when I do have sex whether it’s casual or not (ex. never have sex without a condom, you don’t have to say “yes” every time, etc). When I wrote these rules, they made me feel empowered and like I actually had sexual agency; not because I was “going against the grain” and aiming to be a “rebel” against society (though I am a bit of a hipster-rebel-nerd anyway ), but because I knew I was thoughtfully preparing myself for choices that I wanted to make and not letting anyone else influence my choices.
I’d also like to point out that you can always change your mind at different points in your lifetime. For example, even though I plan on having casual sex at this point in my life, I might change my mind and want a committed monogamous relationship later on during my time at college or after college even. Who knows? Either way though, it’ll be my choice.
I agree with Roxie102 in that "you ultimately need to do what's best for you". I think that if you’re going to wait to have sex, you should do so solely because that’s something that you want to do. This also applies to if you do desire to have sex one day; if you’re doing it solely because you want to (and the partner(s) involved give their wholehearted consent), then at the end of the day that’s what really matters. Regardless of what choices you make during the course of your life, you could make a list (like I did) of things you want and things you'll need to make it happen. You don’t need to decide any of this right now, though. Just take your time, you’ve got plenty of it.
I wasn't grown up in a religion that tells me I should wait for sex, but I might as well have. My mother is very against the idea, I'm sure for all the reasons that mothers are. She's afraid for me and has a strong desire to stop me from making the same mistakes she has. To give you one idea, I was an accident. I won't say mistake because that isn't how we see it, but that's just one of the issues.
For the past few years, I've lived in Phoenix, and if anyone knows it, they know that it's either mormons or mexicans that you're hanging out with as a kid going to high school. I was right in the middle, because I'm not super pure (no offense to ANYone who is LDS) and sheltered from life, nor am I one of the impregnated, partying mexicans (no offense to anyone who's hispanic). Maybe this experience is what is giving me an inconclusive mind about this. There is a huge pressure from the mormon community to be like them..and there's this thing in my own head that stops me from fully engaging with the mexicans.
This all isn't really the point, I guess, but maybe it's what raised the question. I've always felt that sex is natural, and I didn't really find anything wrong with it..except some stuff is just eww..but maybe that is my answer. I see nothing wrong with sex itself, maybe I just have something wrong with the idea of being slutty, but you aren't slutty unless you're handing it out due to a direct result of your own insecurities, right? I think that if love is involved on both sides and I feel %100 okay with it as well as %100 protected, then it's okay. The idea of a list, or boundaries is a good one.
I won't have sex with just anyone. Not for me right now. It has to be somebody special enough that I don't feel any pressure from them to have sex. I don't want sex RIGHT NOW. But I think I have an idea when it should be, and it all depends on what happens to me. I will make the best decision for ME when the time comes. And I have boundaries surrounding sex that I've already thought of for when I come across that time. For now, I'm probably not looking at sex for at least another year. Something may change that, but I think I'll feel better about my choice now.
Thanks for both of your replies. They helped. A lot. If anything, you made me feel better about my inner feelings on it, and didn't in the least influence me. Which is good.
Ah, so you feel pressure to fit in at school and pressure from your mom is what I’m gathering from your post, right?
Honestly? I never really felt like I fit in entirely at my school either. I was a nerd who hung out with other nerds, but even though I had never had sex before (I still haven’t yet, actually), like you, I was still very much interested in sex as well. I wasn’t really comfortable in my own skin at the time and even though my school was very open-minded about LGBTQ issues (had a gay-straight alliance club and everything), I hadn’t fully come to terms with my bisexuality yet. So, I understand how it feels to feel out of place. You don’t really need to try and fit in anywhere; you just need to be you. That’s all really any of us can do. Sounds really clichéd, I know, but it’s the truth. Seriously. A lot of my friends are in relationships, but I realized that that wasn’t for me at this point in my life. It’s okay if you realize that certain things the people around you do are not exactly for you, you know? It’s totally fine.
As for your mom, I’m really glad that neither she nor you view yourself as a mistake. Is your mom aware of the various forms of highly-effective contraceptives that are available today? Are you aware of them as well? There’s actually a article on here (if you’re ever interested) that show various estimated statistics on the effectiveness of different combinations of birth control out there: The Buddy System: Effectiveness Rates for Backing Up Your Birth Control With a Second Method
I’d just like to mention that we tend to avoid using words here like “slutty” since they tend to connote negative things about the choices people make in their sex lives. I’m not saying that that's what you were intentionally going for, but it's just something to keep in mind in terms of thinking about what messages society's bombarded us with. We've gotten contradicting messages about female sexuality from the world around us that go something like this here; and it’s pretty much told women that we are “bad” or “slutty” if we engage in sexual activities and that at the same time we're "prudes" or "frigid" if we refuse to have sex with someone. Go figure!
I wouldn’t say that having casual sex with multiple partners is always “due to a direct result of [a person’s] own insecurities” necessarily; people can be plenty insecure even if they’ve never engaged in sexual activities before or have only had sex in committed relationships. For example, maybe someone feels like they’re not attractive enough for anyone to sleep with them, so they never even try to initiate sexual activities; or maybe a girl feels like she’s only attractive if she’s in a relationship with someone. Who knows?
Now, I’d say for casual sex, feeling like you’ll only be desirable if you have sex or feeling like you can never say “no” to anyone because you think no one would normally want to sleep with you would probably point to self-esteem issues (though sometimes people feel like they can’t say “no” for other reasons not relating to insecurities, such as fear, shame, pressure, etc.). For me personally, I’m finally comfortable in my own skin and I’ve now recognized that I just want sex without a relationship unlike many of my friends who are in relationships. I know that I don’t have to feel obligated to say “yes” to every single person I meet, but I’ll say “yes” if I want to and if the partner(s) involved agree(s) as well. I’m also aware that if I am turned down by someone, it doesn’t mean that I’m an unattractive or undesirable person. Not at all! I’m chill with who I am and if I ever doubt that for a slight second, I know I’m cared for by plenty of other people in this world.
quote:Originally posted by Myia: I don't want sex RIGHT NOW. But I think I have an idea when it should be, and it all depends on what happens to me. I will make the best decision for ME when the time comes. And I have boundaries surrounding sex that I've already thought of for when I come across that time. For now, I'm probably not looking at sex for at least another year. Something may change that, but I think I'll feel better about my choice now.
That’s great that you know what you want! That’s the first step in making awesome choices for yourself, you know? And yes, writing out what you want and what your personal boundaries are definitely helps! I’m glad that you didn’t feel pressured by us to do something you didn’t want to do, because ultimately it's your choice and no one else's.
I hope you don't think that what I define as slutty is someone who sleeps with different people - that's not what I meant at all. I simply meant that I don't want to be having sex for the wrong reasons. I know there are a lot of girls who have insecurities that have led to having sex and not saying no - I just don't want to be that girl. Which..I'm not. I've decided that one person is enough for me right now.
Another 'dilemma' I have found myself thinking about concerns birth control. I don't know if I should bring this up here, seeing as it's a different question, but since we're already talking, I'll ask. I am not currently on it, and I don't feel the need to be at the moment, but I can see that moment is coming up. My mom has done a lot of research in natural health - has a bachelor's degree in it, in fact, and has said that she is against birth control. This may seem silly, but I understand. It's not good for your body for several reasons, beside the fact that it's a cause of cancer. She says there are other methods to use instead, but I'm not so sure I'd feel safe with anything else. I don't know if I want to confront her and say I'd rather be on birth control, or take her advice and go for other things. Any OTHER thoughts? I want to learn more about it, seeing as my knowledge of protection is pretty basic.
Posts: 5 | From: WA, USA | Registered: Jul 2012
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It sounds like you are on birth control pills, right? Birth control pills are a hormonal method, but if you decide they aren't right for you there are a bunch of other options out there, like condoms, diaphragms, IUDs, etc.
I also wanted to add that the birth control method you use is up to you. You can take your mom's advice or not. If you think birth control pills are what fits with your life right now than stick with it, or change things as you see fit.
[ 07-07-2012, 04:10 PM: Message edited by: Janie Jones ]
-------------------- I don't want you to settle, I want you to grow. Posts: 21 | From: Northeast USA | Registered: Mar 2010
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