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 Kira, 17
To me, the word "sex" means confusion. It really does. I don't think it's because I'm inexperienced. I'm the first to admit that I am. I'm 17 and haven't done so much as kiss someone. But I've always been around those with far more experience than me, and I'm also the youngest of three siblings, so I've known about sex for a very long time.
I remember the time I saw a condom in my sister's pencil case. I remember the time I saw a condom on a camp counselor's bed, and she claimed it was a wipe, because after all, what would a 12 year-old know about condoms? I've known about sex since I was really little. My parents had to teach me what a dildo was when I was in third grade, because I picked up a copy of "Bored of the Rings" and thought the word sounded cool. I learned about oral sex because of Bill Clinton.
The people around me are sexually active, and that makes it really tough for me. I have close physical relationships with some of my guy friends, and while they're entirely platonic, I often feel awkward about it when I know they're considered "studs." I wonder what people will think of me, and if they'll assume that I've had sex with those guys. Then I wonder why it's so bad for people to think I'm sexually active. Despite all my attempts at being progressive, and my honest belief that other people's sex lives are none of my business and not up for my judgement, I've been conditioned to believe that sex is dangerous, and that young sex is reckless. I've been warned about the dangers of teen parenthood. And this has left me in a confusing situation.
My dad is more socially conservative, and he certainly doesn't like to talk about pre-marital sex, mostly because he doesn't like the idea of anyone getting close to his little girl. My mom is more liberal about it, and she knows that I'm a young woman, and will someday be sexually active. She told me to be sure about a guy before I lose my virginity to him. She said that he doesn't have to be the love of my life, but I need to be confident that he's a good guy so I don't look back with pain and regret. And neither of my parents has had to tell me to research the risks associated with sex. I like numbers and facts. I've seen numbers and facts about STIs and the success rates of different birth control methods.
There will likely never be a time when my dad is fully OK with me having sex. He's my dad and I'm his daughter. My mom told me that sex is for when I'm a little older, but each day I get older and it seems as if my maturity fluctuates. And I've seen those terrifying numbers. A New York Times article shows that with typical use of condoms, after 10 years of being sexually active, there's an 86 percent chance that I could become pregnant. That's almost as bad as the "withdrawal" method.
It's hard for me to organize my writing because it's hard for me to organize my thoughts. On one hand, I long for a healthy sexual relationship. Perhaps I imagine an idealized version of one, but it's something I truly want. On the other hand, I'm terrified, and there's nothing that can stop that feeling. I don't need to be warned about the risks. I know them. I need support to help me understand intimacy and be okay with it. I've almost kissed people, but I've always been scared and run away before anything could happen -- literally. Maybe it's time that schools or other services offer support, not pamphlets, so sex can stop being confusing and start being liberating and appealing.
Read more from "Teen Sex: It's Complicated":