17 Year Old Sex

I live with about 90 girls and about 90 boys. I am what you might call a ‘house mom’.

I was speaking with two of the boys yesterday and the topic of sex came up. Being an almost 25 year old virgin..when I finally cashed it in…I do struggle to see the ability for 15,16,17 year olds in having, what the boys dubbed as, ‘causal sex’.

Some classic lines of the conversation:

It feels good
I think it’s normal to have sex with whoever, whenever you want
Yeah, they fake it all the time. If they fake it, I am not going to please them
The girls want it, so we give it to them
If you really care about the girl and the relationship, then you wait.

I am not here to throw judgment around about when you should and/or shouldn’t have sex.

What I do care about..and I’ve written about this indirectly before..is a culture of women who are lining themselves up to be perfectionist seeking, attention hungry, validating needy…. empty women.

Perfect Women who are EMPTY.

One of the comments from one of the boys, which absolutely made me think was,

‘Yeah, I have this girl who walked up to me last night and was like ‘Yeah we can be f–k buddies…that’s all I want’. So yeah, that’s what we are’.

I realise that women have the right to be whatever they want to be: virgins, f–k buddies, strippers, mom’s, single w/ kids…

What makes me question the motives of this girl is that she’s 17.  (she’s legal in Oz, if he’s 18) Now some 17 year olds are going to have their heads screwed on straight and are going to be able to maintain a level of composure about this and know that being f–k buddies with a guy isn’t going to preclude her from have a healthy, normal, emotionally intimate/satisfying/stable relationship in the future.

I have had instances in my life where I have THROWN myself at men because I was wanting affection, attention, love, adoration…etc. I wanted my soul filled. In fact, when I first started going out with my ex, it started out physical and I got emotionally tangled in it. After being told I needed to lose weight..I did. Then I cashed in my V-chip. The whole time pinning after his love. Even after this emotionally exhausting and damaging relationship, I have used sexual encounters to soldify my need for a ‘soul filler’ and end up leaving feeling more empty then I was before…because sex does not, in my opinion, fill that void.

I get that there are confident, independent women who do not use intimacy as filler for emotional baggage/needs.

I am not one of those.

Perhaps a 17 year old can be one of those women who are not phased by the immediacy of sexual fulfillment to then be slammed with the deep emotional neglect it self-inflicts.

I don’t know even where to start….but it makes me very aware that as a woman…who preaches self-respect, love, upholding..I to have found myself (at a lesser degree) feeling like a 17 year old girl wanting a boy to like her.

Do we actually talk about sex on all the levels that need to be talked about?
Is it a ‘big deal’?

(I don’t care what your response is…I think it needs to be discussed though from all vantage points)


17 thoughts on “17 Year Old Sex

  1. Sarah says:

    I’m with ya, Mish. I had sex WAY too young and with too many people for my liking…and I don’t think that it was a coincidence that my casual sex coincided with the worst times of my anorexia and bulimia. Yeah, I acted as though I wasn’t phased by sex, and I never sat around berating myself about it. But I knew it was self destructive. I knew that no matter how many precautions I took, there were still risks of pregnancy and STDs. But I did it anyway, and probably for the same reasons these 17 year olds do. Because it feels good to be wanted. Because when you hate your body, it feels good to know that it turns someone else on. Because I was lonely and a little bit lost. Because I was learning how to use my sexuality to my advantage. I could go on and on, but the point is that some of them will realise it one day, but many of them will not. I think most people in modern society go through an unhealthy phase with sex (either in their head or through their actions), but I think some people are able to reassess their relationship with sex, whilst others never do. For some people who do change that relationship, it takes a wake up call…something that scares them…and for others it changes gradually as they mature (which is what happened with me). I hope for these kids sake (and yes, I would call them kids), that their relationship with sex…and of course, with themselves, which is the real issue….changes.

  2. gemfit says:

    I waited to have sex. Longer than any of my friends and longer than people know. Why? Not because I was waiting for marriage or The One. But because I was waiting until it felt right, until I was ready. I kissed a LOT of frogs (and enjoyed the kissing) but everything else for me took a little longer. It was amazing how people ASSUMED that I was sexually active a lot earlier than I was.

    I think there is a lot of pressure to give it up younger and younger but that said, I don’t judge those who have sex whatever their age. I do think it’s sad that it’s seen as a necessary, as a given, that it’s what you DO, regardless of whether you’re “ready” or not.

  3. Katie @ Health for the Whole Self says:

    I’m so glad we’ve become “blog buddies” because I really think you touch on some very important topics.

    I think that an unintended effect of the women’s/sexual liberation movement has been that many girls now think that having sex is always the right choice – that if they don’t do it then they’re a “prude” or not liberated or something. While I could never judge any individual case because it’s based on internal motivation, I do think many girls engage in sexual acts not because they are any more free or liberated, but because they are trying to please a guy.

    If you haven’t already, you should check out Ariel Levy’s book called “Female Chauvinist Pigs.” It’s a really interesting take on things like Girls Gone Wild – she basically argues that that is not what freedom and choice really is. It’s pseudo-choice, almost. Women think they’re making the decision to engage in those sorts of things, but in reality they are still being influenced by a society that prizes women’s bodies above all else.

    • Mish says:

      Wanna come over for coffee? I wrote a post abt the book here..http://eatingjourney.com/2010/05/21/big-boobs/ I just love the book. It’s funny cause the two boys have read the post….and they’re like..wow you can write and you’ve made us think. If that’s what I get from writing this post..is more self-aware men..then I am one happy girl 🙂

  4. Corinne (breathe and savor) says:

    oh gosh! a lot of those comments were hard to read! just as you said many girls pine after boys to feel worthy of affection, to not feel empty inside. the sad irony of it all is that these actions are not fulfilling and only deepen the emptiness. being f*** buddies gives them a sense of value!? ugh. tear. the teenage years are so awful, many feel and act disposable. i remember growing up in a very very loving family. my mother and father and grandparents always telling me how beautiful i was, but i didn’t believe them because no boys my age ever told me this! 😦 true beauty and self worth take a while to understand. i just wish there was a way to really teach those values to young girls and boys.

  5. marzipan says:

    It actually hurts me to read this. I feel like we are experiencing a world-wide epidemic of the low self esteemed teenage girl (and boy – but for now lets discuss girls). When I was a teenager, I was sexually active to the point of promiscuity and absolute zero respect for my body – I felt so awful about myself that A) I sought validation from boys sexually since I wasn’t getting any attention otherwise (re: overweight/uncomfortable/unhappy) and B) In those situations, I said yes (or nothing at all) even when I really wanted to say no – because I didn’t feel like I was worth enough to say no.

    This is an extremely dangerous state of mind, but unfortunately one that I think is more common than we would like to believe. Teenagers now are operating on a whole different playing field, and it makes me nervous because the stakes are really high.

    -the fine line between positively exploring one’s sexuality and having sex just because everyone else is and you believe you’re expected to
    -sex that is centered almost entirely around pleasing the man (some girls I’ve worked with DID NOT EVEN KNOW that their bodies were capable of achieving an orgasm)
    -the over-sexualization of girls that are really young
    -the very short time between “ew boys are yucky” and having sex, and finding a way to deliver sex positive health information to kids before they are actually sexually active (and it is shocking how early that is)

    Anywho. Heartbreaking really. But I’m glad you’re there Mish! You can be a good role model for those kids! I can’t imagine anyone better 🙂

    • Mish says:

      thank you for this comment. the boys read my post..and they I think were moved to think outside of the box…and I hope that I have engrained something in them. It’s so important…SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT!!!!!

  6. Karen (KCLAnderson) says:

    What a great conversation. Like Gemfit, I waited longer than most of my peers, but not because of religion or wanting to wait for marriage. That said, once I did have sex, I went through a rather promiscuous period and it was mainly because I didn’t have much self-esteem. I was doing it for all the wrong reasons.

    Sexual desire can start at any time, even before puberty. Children are known to touch themselves because it feels good. It’s important to talk about those feelings (physical and emotional) as soon as a child becomes aware of them.

    Later in life I met a woman who told me that she really loved having sex when she was a young teen (she was 13 when she lost her virginity). She wasn’t promiscuous…she had two boyfriends during that time (not at the same time) and she said she knew better than to have unprotected sex. By all accounts she’s well-adjusted, happy and healthy. So I think it’s possible for both girls and boys to have a healthy, responsible sexual lives as teens.

    But given all the other stuff (lack of self esteem, lack of knowledge and responsibility, and the Girls Gone Wild atmosphere), it seems improbable that it’s possible. Does that make sense?

    I think the key is to teach both boys and girls to respect themselves and that means not doing anything that they don’t want to do. Teach them that there are other ways to pleasure themselves. Teach them that sex is natural, wonderful, healthy and fun as long as it’s done with mutual respect (and with respect for oneself). A lot of things can get in the way though…

    • Mish says:

      I think that this is exactly what I am hoping for “each them that sex is natural, wonderful, healthy and fun as long as it’s done with mutual respect (and with respect for oneself). A lot of things can get in the way though…”. It’s interesting cause I came from two parents who were open about sex..not in a creppy way..but they would answer any question that we had. We were told that it was OUR decision when we were READY. I think it surprised my parents that I waited for so long, but they never put pressure on me either way. I think that sometimes relgious schools tell that ‘sex is bad unless you’re married’ and public schools say ‘wear a condom’. NO ONE talks about the depth of it. we aren’t making kids critically think, apply, be present. gahhh.

  7. simplytrece says:

    I could have written Marzipan’s post. The most damaging thing for me has been that my marital sexual relationship was/is sh*t. He is obese, I am obese, so there’s mechanical difficulty. Additionally, he’s a lousy lover and I grew so used to faking it that I can hardly feel. When you put all this together with a relationship that barely exists, you have a real pile of crap.

    I was appalled when I first heard the term f-buddies. It seems to me that the shallowness we see in our culture today has a causative relationship. When f-buddies marry, you’re headed for a divorce right from the altar.

    I don’t have any solutions, just wanted to weigh in.

    • Mish says:

      wow..thank you for being so open. I don’t know if I can say anything…but that I think you raise a lot of important topics here. One that i’ll go with is that as women we need to know our bodies and our sexuality (this might make some people cringe) but we need to. We also shouldn’t sell ourselves short (all the time) with lovers…cause it’s important to be with someone who ‘knows you’…cause it is. Humm…things to think about…and hugs.

  8. Mary (A Merry Life) says:

    For me I held out a long time because of my Christian beliefs. And then once the religion thing had less importance in my life I kept waiting because despite the obesity and the self doubt I struggled with, I actually have really fucking high self esteem and knew that some lousy guy that just wanted sex wasn’t worth it. I knew that if I waited for the right guy he would eventually show up and make it worth it. I managed to outlast almost every single one of my friends, despite most of them being the good Christian kids. And the funniest part? They most people just assumed that I’d been having sex for a while. No one assumes virginity anymore, it’s assumed that you are having sex by the time you are 17, unless you tell someone differently.

    I think that sex as a teenager is fine as long as it’s done with some level of respect between the people. For me casual sex is not something that should be happening when you are that age – it’s just too confusing. And Mara’s points above are all right – there is no time for girls to figure out who they are before they go straight to pleasing guys because they think it’s what they are supposed to be doing. It makes me really sad, and always has, when I watched it happen to all my friends who would do whatever a guy wanted just to get tossed aside. I think a lot of girl jump straight to the sex buddies thing because they don’t want that hurt to happen to them. They have bought into the idea that if they are in control and don’t care at all they will be fine, instead of the ideas of mutual respect.

    • Mish says:

      I really can identify with this comment so much. I think it’s interesting that many assume kids are having sex, when they’re not actually. I have also heard that xians have the same amount of unwed sex as non-xians…they tend to wait 18 months longer, but have higher levels of unprotected sex. Now..i can’t quote where I heard that….but it is something that has been passed through my brain. Beyond that, I do love what you stated “I think a lot of girl jump straight to the sex buddies thing because they don’t want that hurt to happen to them. They have bought into the idea that if they are in control and don’t care at all they will be fine, instead of the ideas of mutual respect.”. I know that it’s been true for me in some instances where by I have felt that if I do something with a man, then I won’t have to feel the emptiness of being alone…and I know that I can’t possibly be the only one who has experienced this. Thanks for writing this.

  9. Elisabeth says:

    I also find it hard to believe that a 17 year old (or any woman) is capable of having meaningless “casual” sex without being damaged in some way. Regardless of the nature of sex (casual, committed), women are hard-wired to get emotionally wrapped-up. It’s been scientifically studied and proven.

    That said, waiting to have sex is crucial. The emotions and bonds that are created with sex should really not be used as anything but a way to strengthen an already strong relationship. I don’t believe in using sex as a weapon or a tool. Not to say that I haven’t done it before…I was young and crazy once too. I’ve had casual sex, monogamous sex, been cheated on, cheated on people…it’s been ugly at times.

    In my OLD age, I’ve learned that it all comes down to the relationship. It comes down to intimacy, closeness, trust, and the bond that I believe can only be shared with one person. Not to say that people who are 17 are not capable of all of these things, but I dare say that it’d be difficult to handle all of the emotions that come along with sex without being in a trusting, monogamous, loving relationship. I don’t know of many 17-year-old “f-ck buddy” situations that have turned out well.

    • Mish says:

      I have to throw something out there (and perhaps I will get my head bitten off) I find it hard for any woman to have casual sex…without having some sort of emotional void and/or attachment. (I need a guys opinion on this)

  10. Nathan says:

    Giving a guy’s perspective here, when I was a teenager, I was desperate to “get some.” Well, maybe desperate is the wrong word. Eager is a better description for it. But it was eager to the point of nervousness and overanticipation. I probably would have jumped at the opportunity to have sex in high school, but I was too nervous to actually broach the subject with a girl.

    Anyway, I didn’t have sex for the first time till I was 22, and it was a one-night-stand kind of thing. Needless to say, it was extremely awkward for me, and I doubt she felt any better about it. I went home with “so that’s what sex is like” on my mind. She and I never spoke again, but I didn’t feel any sort of emotional void afterwards. It was more like, “I’ve finally gotten over that milestone in my life.”

    I had a couple more one-night-stands over the next two years, and then around the age of 24 I started to do the “relationship first then sex later” thing, which worked out much better. What I learned from this is that sex is great and fun, but it is so much better when there are actual feelings between the parties involved.

    So maybe there was a sort of emotional void for those one-night-stands, in the sense that I felt nothing for the girl afterwards. It was like “we had sex, I went home, I never called her or thought about her again.” At the time, I didn’t think there was anything missing from those sexual encounters, but in retrospect, I can see that what I was missing was the emotional connection between us.

    • Mish says:

      Thank you for writing this (finally a man’s response). I think that is EXACTLY how the boys, in this post, feel. I honestly think, truthfully, that they had NEVER thought of it any different than what you described as in your earlier years. However, after reading the post, they did mention that they were ‘thinking more about it’. I would argue that we are wired differently and for much of the sexual exploration for men it’s more driven by hormones and an innate drive to by physical..which is ok. But I think that you summarized it well, in that there is more meaning to it when it’s with someone you care about..it’s it’s more fun as well. Thank you for your response.

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