TEEN

I'm 18 And Have Never Been Kissed

02/25/2015 05:21 pm ET | Updated Feb 25, 2015
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Throughout the next few months, HuffPost Teen is highlighting the way teens think and feel about sex through anecdotes written for our series, "Teen Sex: It's Complicated." All of the authors are teenagers who have agreed to be published anonymously. If you want to share your thoughts, join the conversation here.

By Arielle, 18

To me, the word sex is still shrouded in mystery.

I don’t mean that in the sense that I’m uneducated about sex. People who know me know that I am one of the most sex positive people you’ll meet, and I am a strong advocate for sex education and access to reproductive health services.

I mean it's a mystery in the sense that I’ve never had it.

Okay, what’s the big deal? An 18-year-old college freshman who hasn’t had sex before, you’re not that special.

Fine, that’s fair.

But I’ve never kissed anyone.

Yes, you read that right. Sound the alarms, get me a sandwich board and follow me around campus with a neon sign that says, “Hey, everyone, look at this girl! She’s never been kissed!”

Okay, maybe I’m overreacting a bit, but it still sucks when your friends are in relationships and the furthest you’ve ever gone with someone was an awkward half-second stage kiss with a guy you’re still pretty sure is gay.

I was once participating in a group bonding session with some new friends at the beginning of college. We went around and everyone asked someone whatever question they wanted. I inevitably got “Describe your first time.”

Oh.

Mind you, this was the first time we were all hanging out, and I didn’t want them to think that I was a prude. I took a deep breath and quickly explained, “Well, funny story about that. I’ve never had sex. Or been kissed. One time in second grade my friends dared me to kiss my classmate on the lips. That’s the last time a boy’s lips have met mine,” I looked up and braced myself for the pity stares.

Another time, I made a joke in passing to a friend about how all zero of my lovers were coming to a show I was in, and he got really confused and exclaimed, “But you’re gorgeous and funny and smart!”

I want to clearly state for the record that I in no way determine my self-worth, or anyone’s for that matter, based on who they have or have not kissed. I know that I’m pretty and funny and smart; I don’t need to kiss someone to confirm that, I can just look in the mirror or read my most recent tweet. I know that I’ll still be pretty and funny and smart even if I never kiss anyone.

It's as if hooking up is like a slice of cake that everyone else has gotten, but I came late to the party and the cake is gone and everyone keeps telling me that another cake is on its way, and finally the cake will come, and maybe I’ll like it, and maybe I’ll hate it, but either way, everyone else has already finished their slice and gone on with the dancing -- and I’ll inevitably be back to playing catch-up.

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