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 Zoe, 18
"Mom, what do tampons taste like?" After seeing a feminine hygiene commercial involving a tampon dispenser, my four-year old logic determined that any sort of machine in which you put coins would automatically dispense candy. Therefore, tampons = candy. My mother corrected this fallacy and gave me a toddler-appropriate explanation of the birds and the bees that ended with her showing me her Caesarian section scar. Questions like these continued throughout my childhood, and no matter how intimate, Mom would answer without any sign of embarrassment. I knew when and to whom she lost her virginity: age 15, to my father, her future husband and later ex-husband. I was well ahead of my peers when it came to knowledge of the different methods of birth control. Thanks to my mother and her promotion of an open dialogue concerning sex, I've been a sexually aware, sex-positive person for as long as I can remember. Despite having all this information at hand, at age seventeen, simple facts weren't enough: I wanted experience. Throughout high school, I was not the dating type. The idea of being in a romantic relationship, wrapped up in another person, being dependent, in my teenage brain, went against my feminist "image." I had one boyfriend, Tyler, that I dumped after only a few months and later regretted. Our relationship was rather brief and extremely innocent; sex didn't seem like an option.
A year later, I became hell-bent on losing my virginity, and Tyler seemed like a viable option. After discussing it with him and determining that neither of us wanted a relationship, we decided to be "friends with benefits." We found one another attractive, and there were no feelings present.* With the permission of my best friend, we met at her house when her parents weren't home and had sex in the guest room. It was nothing special. I didn't expect the first time to be a passionate, multiple-orgasmic experience, but this was the furthest thing from it. My ex was serious about it; he requested a strip-tease. I danced around the room to Digital Underground's "The Humpty Dance" while displaying my wicked dance moves (think Elaine from "Seinfeld"). Tyler wasn't amused. When we finally got down to business, it hurt -- I thought my vagina was being ripped in two -- but I continued to laugh and crack jokes the entire time. My ex played Lil Wayne in the background, which increased the hilarity for me, but he, still, was not amused. When he finished, he got out of bed, redressed, and departed with one word: "Peace." I went downstairs to my friend (whom I later found out stood outside the door listening the entire time) and laughed about the experience.
As I drove home, I cried. Not because I was no longer "pure" (read Jessica Valenti's "The Purity Myth"), nor because of my sore vagina, but because I had just faked my way through my first time having sex. I didn't fake pleasure. I didn't fake orgasms. I faked a nonchalance, a lack of feelings that were, in reality, very much present. I was dishonest in my approach of sex with Tyler, and sex, if anything, should be honest. Two people (or more -- I don't judge) should go into a sexual experience with clear motivations and expectations, whether it be a one-night stand, a summer fling, a long-term relationship -- whatever, as long as both parties are aware and considerate of their own and their sexual partner's desired outcomes. Even with what I originally perceived to be an expansive knowledge on the topic of sex, I did not realize the importance of being honest about my intentions until it was too late. Had I been upfront about my own feelings, hurt (and awkward stripteases) could have been avoided.
*Lie. There were definitely feelings present, especially on my part, but neither of us would admit it.
- "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"