When you're an adolescent, coming into your teen years sounds awesome. We wake up every morning pick out outfits based on how we feel that day, or consider the thought of grabbing the attention of a cute boy at school. Life is so easy for us then.
I remember developing later than the rest of my female peers; my best friend in fifth grade went to the bathroom and was gone for a really long time. I asked my teacher if I could go to the bathroom. I walked in and called out her name. There she was, still in a stall at the end of the line of toilets. I walked up outside of the door and asked her what she was doing. "I think I just started my period," she said. Period? What's that, I wondered. My best friend asked for a teacher; thankfully our teacher was a female so she could go into the girl's bathroom. I walked back and told her that my friend needed her; she walked off and eventually my best friend left for the day. I didn't walk into this adventure of womanhood until I was in high school.
I was never given the "birds and the bees" talk. I don't recall that conversational moment when your mom or motherly figure walks into your room, closes the door, sits on your bed with you, and talks about what will happen as you get older. I didn't know when my breasts would grow. I didn't know why my genitals looked different than boys -- I was ignorant to everything involving sex or sexuality. My friend returned to school the next day carrying a purse with feminine materials inside. I ignored all of it aside from asking her what it was like -- I regretted asking.
I was in high school before I crossed into this womanly phase of my life. When I walked into the bathrooms, I would hear the girls asking each other for pads or tampons. During gym, they would complain about cramps getting worse as they ran around the track. It was weird, to say the least. My older half-sister started her period before we lived in separate homes, so I really got to experience what my eventual fate would be. What I learned, heard, and saw during her "change" was all I was "told."
I knew sex existed; I knew my classmates were having it, but I never cared to talk with them about it or to participate. I was a virgin until I was nearly 20 years old, and only lost it then because it felt like I had to so I wouldn't be a "20-year-old virgin." I was in seventh grade when I first realized that I wasn't only attracted to the opposite sex; I was attracted to the same sex too. I eventually discussed this with a friend of mine who felt the same about herself -- she called it bisexuality -- she learned what it was online. Before too long, she and I were the first female interactions each other had. We were girlfriends in eighth grade. Our classmates weren't familiar with our lifestyle and that was clear, so I stopped it before it got too weird. I never openly expressed my bisexuality again until my late high school years.
I remember being in cahoots with my parents at one point in high school and stayed with a friend of mine. We were in our junior year; she had her own car and drove us to and from school and wherever else we went. I remember we had a couple of guys over to hang out one time and I kind of liked this guy, but I hated the thought of having a boyfriend so I avoided it at all costs. My friend and the boy she liked went off together somewhere else in the house, and I was left with this boy alone. I remember making out, he grabbed my hand, and we went into the bedroom in the back corner of the finished basement. It was then I had my first consensual sexual experience with a male. I had no idea what oral sex was, how to give it, or what he should be doing while I was doing it. I tried. It was terrible, and I stopped within a couple of minutes.
It wasn't until college that I considered getting physically involved with anyone more than a make-out session here and there. I had more female interactions than male interactions within my first few months of college. Art school was full of homosexuals who welcomed me into their community with open arms, even though I wasn't just exclusively interested in women. I met a guy online who was in the Army, we had an online relationship and when he came home from war for a family tragedy, I stayed with him. It was then that I lost my virginity, in his parent's house, on the cold bathroom floor. It led me to take the morning after pill even though I was on birth control for my periods. Better safe than sorry; I had no right to attempt motherhood at 19 years of age, and I knew that.
After my breakup with my "devirginizer," I went on a spree to understand sex and my sexuality. I didn't always practice safe sex, but I monitored everything with medicine and routine doctor visits. I felt like my high school peers, except we graduated more than two years before and hadn't spoken to each other since walking across the graduation stage. At 22 and 23 years of age, I was in another relationship experiencing a terrible sex life. Finally, at 24 years of age, I gained the much desired sex life I hoped I would eventually find. The one you hope for while watching movies that involved sex, while watching porn, while reading sex novels in your bed at night... it was all worth waiting for.
If you're a young woman and need sex advice, visit sexetc.org
If you're considering having sex, visit plannedparenthood.org
If you're in an abusive or controlling relationship, visit thehotline.org
If you're LGBTQ and need support, visit justleftthecloset.com
If you're being bullied in school or work, visit stopbullying.gov
If you're unsure of how to start the Birds and the Bees talk, visit PowertoChange.com