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 Sophie, 17
I am nearly 18 years old, and I’ve never so much as kissed someone.
I’m every adult's dream teenager. I’ve never been to a high school party, never been drunk, never smoked, never had sex, never done drugs... never been kissed. I’ve never even had a boyfriend (unless you count my “relationship” in the sixth grade where we couldn’t so much as look at each other after we started “dating”).
I attribute this to my homeschooling. I traded in the ordinary social existence of a teenager for travel with my nomadic parents. I traded raging keggers for cocktail parties in London and Sydney, where I was only ever surrounded by adults, where I was occasionally given a glass of champagne. Sounds glamorous until you think of all the things you miss out on when you never stay in one place.
I’ve had “things” with guys. I came very close to my first kiss when I was 14, but I freaked out so badly when the moment came that I ran away. I’m like the sad, geeky girl you watch in adorkable rom-coms only without the rom. I’m glad I have had the life and the experiences I have had, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve missed out on the “teen” experience.
I am a senior finishing up my schooling at an online high school so I can go to design school in the fall. Recently, I had to go to the campus to take senior state tests. I ended up sitting across from another senior who happened to be a super cute guy. The first day, we accidentally made eye contact. We both smiled and went about our business. But the next day we spent the whole three hours non-verbally flirting. Once the day was over, we went our separate ways with barely a word spoken to each other and a million, unusually meaningful glances shared. I couldn’t ignore the sinking in my stomach when I realized that I would probably never see him again.
It felt like the sort of thing you only see in movies, and it was awesome because it was exactly what I’ve always wanted to happen with a guy. But I don’t care so much about the fact that I’ll most likely never see him again, what I care about is the stuff it got me thinking of.
1. I really want to see him again. (But this is beside the point.)
2. I really want to make out with him. (Embarrassing to admit, but I’m a teenager, it’s what we do.)
3. It made me think about sex.
I’ve never thought of myself as being the kind of girl guys like. I’ve always felt like guys barely notice me let alone flirt with me, so the thought of sex being a reality was completely non-existent. I always figured I would be alone for the rest of my life, at one point I even wondered if I were asexual! But then this guy came along and sparks like none I’ve ever experienced before started flying. The kind of sparks that happen to characters in YA books and romantic movies that you don't think happen in real life. I realized that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, I had just never met anyone that I had shared something with.
It also made me realize that sex will most likely be a reality for me one day.
Every time I have thought of the “S” word in the past it’s inspired butterflies of the evil variety to flutter in my stomach. Sex has always been this scary, out-of-reach thing that is something teenagers just should not do. It didn’t sound like something I ever wanted to experience. I never thought I would be able to go through with it, that my fear of it would get in the way of it ever happening. But when I thought about it this time, I had no such reaction. I didn’t feel scared or worried or grossed out.
I feel confident about sex now, empowered rather than utterly terrified, and if I was with the right guy and the moment felt right, I would go for it. My confident feelings on sex have had a profound effect on how I view myself. I feel truly confident in myself for the first time in my life. Sex is a decision I will make knowing who I am and what I want.
I feel like the walls I built out of fear that have kept me from ever doing anything with a boy have finally broken down and I feel like, when the moment comes, I will be ready and it will be right. And I most definitely will not run away.
I realize now that a lot of my negativity towards sex came from the things adults told me about it. I keep thinking of the line from "Mean Girls" where the gym coach is teaching sex ed, and he says, “Don’t have sex because you will get pregnant and die!” This perfectly sums up the way adults talk about sex to teens. Maybe if they would truly accept that we are going to do it and decide to acknowledge it they could focus on teaching us how to be safe rather than trying to scare us away from the inevitable. It doesn’t seem fair to project sex as being “shameful” or “wrong." I feel like this is just setting up already helplessly confused teenagers for a lifetime of shameful, negative feelings towards something that everybody does. Something that should be beautiful.
To me “sex” means seeing yourself in someone else and finding a profound acceptance that cannot be found in any other way, and when the time comes I guarantee that safety and caution will be at the forefront of my mind (you know, so I don’t get pregnant and die). All I ask is for the adults in my life to trust in my ability to make this decision for myself.
---Read more from "Teen Sex: It's Complicated":
- "I'm Gay, But I Don't Regret Having Sex With My High School Girlfriend"
- "I'm Demisexual -- Here's What That Means"
- "What Losing My Virginity Made Me Realize"
- "My 'First Time' Was Really Embarrassing"
- "I Wanted To Wait For Marriage -- Then I Changed My Mind"
- "Sex Was Mysterious, Intriguing And Terrifying"
- "I Expected A Monumental Change In Myself After Sex"
- "Immediately After Sex, He Stopped Talking To Me"
- "The Act Of Sex Scares Me"
- "I Slept Around Because Sex Didn't Feel Like A Big Deal"
- "Being A Virgin Sucks, But I'm Still Waiting"
- "There's No One I Can Talk To About Sex"
- "In Eighth Grade, I Signed A Celibacy Contract"
- "I Feel Like I'm The Only One Who Doesn't Regret Having Sex"
- "I Thought I Was Ready To Lose My Virginity"
- "Sex Is A Symbol Of Popularity At My School"
- "It Seemed Like Sex Was Some Kind Of Boulder Hanging Over Us"
- "I Argue With Myself Every Day About Losing My Virginity"
- "I'm Staying A Virgin So I Don't Disappoint My Family"
- "Sex Was Nothing To Me"
- "Sometimes, I Don't Know What To Believe When It Comes To Sex"