Scarleteen, sex ed for the real world

Back
Anonymous asks:

I lost my virginity when I was 15 to the boy I've been with for nearly 2 years now. He's a wonder. He was exceptionally gentle with me when I needed it, and with a little persuasion, isn't afraid to give me what I want. To put it gently, I think we're past the 1 minute quickly in the back seat of a car. He's also been awesome about my recent admittance of being bisexual. He's neither perverted or turned off about it, but basically just thinks it's cute.

I have two friends who are in the same boat as me as far as sexual experience, but two of my other close friends are not. One minute they try to get me to share, then the next minute come down on me and claim to do so because of religious reasons. They say things like "We're waiting for marriage, why aren't you?" and "Well, I feel differently." Their attitudes change quickly, but only after I get done sharing as they ask me too. The boyfriend says it's not religious reasons, that its really jealousy. Only one of them has been kissed, the other has never had anyone ask her out. Because of those facts, part of me thinks he's right, but knowing them as I do, I'm not sure that it is. Is it jealousy, or is it religious reasons?

Heather Corinna replies:

No matter what THEIR reasons are for holding off on any kind of sex, all of you need to be respecting the choices each of you makes for yourself. So, if you're making different choices than they are, the choices you want to make, this discussion with them shouldn't be going on over and over again. Just one time of you saying, "I respect your reasons to wait, and your sexual choices, but mine are different, and as my friend, I hope you can accept those and support me in my choices, too," should be enough.

That said, hopefully you're close enough with the friends you're talking to about something as personal as your sex life that they'd be honest with you. Really, I don't see that a lot of disapproving friends are merely jealous: it's not like it's that hard to find a willing sexual partner as a teenage girl, after all, and if they wanted a sexual partner, in earnest, they could probably find one just like you did. I also think you have to be careful with attributing jealousy to people -- that's particularly something that's more often lobbed unto women, especially, when women have an objection to something, as if the only real reason to object to someone's choices is to covet them, and it's not particularly sophisticated or compassionate thinking.

I gotta also tell you that it's pretty patronizing to find someone's sexual orientation "cute," and saying it is is a way to disempower someone. I'm not dissing your boyfriend, but if we don't take something seriously, or figure it to be somehow secondary, or not real, or just not a very powerful thing, we find it "cute." A lot of people will say bunnies are cute, but not a lot of people find killer sharks cute, and that's all about how much of a threat something does or does not present.

If you were having strong emotional and sexual feelings about another woman which he understood to be just as important, primary and valid as the feelings you had for him (which they would be), it probably wouldn't be so "cute" to him anymore. Men often find female bisexuality cute when they don't take women loving women seriously, figure women's sexual relationships are mere dalliances compared to male/female relationships, and/or are bringing heterosexual privilege to the table. It kind of sounds to me like your boyfriend stating your friends must simply be jealous may be a similar sort of patronizing: in other words, diminishing their feelings by making it about something emotionally small, when, if they're saying it's religious for them, from their perspective, isn't at all small.

No matter what, though, so long as you and your friends are treating each set of your sexual choices with respect, and accepting differences, it should all be okay. No matter why they feel the way they do, it also doesn't mean it's abnormal to be sexually curious: someone who isn't choosing to have sex or pursue sexual relationships isn't somehow devoid of curiousity about sex. It's normal to be curious. Maybe they're waiting for religious reasons and are just curious about what sex is like. Maybe they're also waiting because they're fearful, and want to hear from you because they need some of the mystery taken out and need to know sex can be okay, not something to be afraid of. maybe they're asking you to share because they ARE trying to be accetping and acknowledge something that's a big deal in your life. Maybe they think they SHOULD want to wait for religious reasons, but they're feeling conflicted about it, and aren't sure how to voice that conflict: it can be tough to be curious about or even want one thing and also feel very strongly that it's better not to want or have it, especially when those are spiritual or religious issues. Who knows the why of it, unless you simply ask them and value their responses, but there's no reason it can't be okay so long as everyone gets respected and no one is made to feel bad, or pressured to make a different choice than the one she wants to for herself.

It might help you to understand a perspective on waiting -- or maybe to have a deeper conversation about it with your friends, so y'all can do a better job supporting each other, even in your varied choices -- to take a look at this: Does Abstinence Make the Heart Grow Fonder?

Back

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.