This email shares a little of my personal journey exploring sexuality as a teenager and what I wish I knew back then.
Often in working with people who are parents, they are very concerned with how to have real conversations about sex with their teenagers.
I am sharing my story to support parents in remembering their own early explorations of sex, in the hopes that it will inspire some understanding and compassion for what the teenagers in your life might be going through.
Like many teenagers, I was very curious about sex. Especially curious about what it would really feel like, as no one really talked about that.
From my explorations of touching myself, I had decided that I would like how it felt. But also, I had this thought that it was “really, no big deal”. I certainly wasn’t going to wait until I got married.
And I didn’t think there was any need to wait for someone special.
There was a part of me that kind of wanted to get it over and done with so that I could become sexually active.
By the time I was 15, I had already had a number of boys asking me to have sex, and I had responded no. Then they seemed to lose interest in me.
So I came to the conclusion that my virginity was a problem, something to be dealt with.
There was someone I had a big crush on, and so I decided that if an opportunity arose to lose my virginity with him, I would.
I thought that if I had sex with him, he might want a relationship with me.
We had sex.
Turns out he didn’t want a relationship with me.
But this was the beginning of a pattern for me. Using sex in an attempt to win love.
I pretended that I just wanted sex and that I was having fun. But I wanted a real connection and the experience of a relationship.
If the above sounds detached from my feelings, that is because I was, I was a 15-year-old girl. I had already learned to bury my feelings, to hide them at all costs, and to show no signs of weakness.
I have such a different experience of sex and sexuality now. If I could talk to my 15-year-old self, I wouldn’t tell her not to have sex, her curiosity was really strong, and saying “Don’t have sex” would have been like a red rag to a bull!
What I would say to her is, “Your body is precious and sacred, and such a beautiful gift. You are going to feel so much pleasure in your body, and there will be times when you will want to explode with the exquisite sensations arising from your sexual experiences. There will be other times when sex feels painful or awkward or clumsy, because, sex can be many different things and vary depending on your connection with the other person on that day.”
I would also share, “That teenage sex won’t be the best sex of your life (even though that’s hard to believe right now). And one thing that is important to know early, is that you take the energy of every person you have sex with into your body. You actually carry that energy, that person, with you in your body unless you know how to release it.
It will affect the way you feel, without you even knowing it.
Each time we have sex we are sharing our body with that person. Taking their energy into our body - just think and feel into that for a minute….. It’s actually quite a big deal.
So if you are going to have sex with someone, do it from a place of honoring your body, valuing who you are, and know that someone would be lucky to share that experience with you.
When we use our body to win love, it’s always a game with disastrous consequences. Using our body to win someone’s attention, just sets up a power dynamic of trying to “get someone” or “hook them” which doesn’t actually feel good for either person. And boys and men know, that’s why so many run from relationship. They know. They don’t want to be hooked or trapped.
However, when you develop friendship and connection first, that’s when the sex can be really fun and expansive and support you to feel a whole new horizon full of pleasure!
Any boy or man who wants to have sex with you needs to be willing to get to know you first. If you are vulnerable and take the time to get to know him, you will know whether he’s a good choice for losing your virginity.
If you are unable to talk to someone about having sex, in detail, then you or they are not ready for sex.”
For me, I probably would have still lost my virginity at 15 years old, but I wouldn’t have used my body and sex to try and win love.
If I had known the above, I would have worked on developing connection first, and having sex later.
The thing I most wish that I had known as a 15-year-old is how precious, sacred and valuable my body is, and that my pleasure and feelings are for me before they are for anyone else.
If you would like your teenage girl to have a deeper understanding of her body, sexuality, pleasure, and relationships, then you might like to consider supporting her to attend our upcoming workshop, Exploring Sexuality for Teen Girls.