The common assumption is that teen girls are having sex because guys are pressuring them into doing so, and that is often not the case. What may surprise you and what I am hearing from 8th grade girls is oftentimes their decision to have sex is made long before guys even ask them for sex or long before they have boyfriends in some cases.
Following are some reasons 8th grade girls have given for PLANNING to have sex:
Because I will be a certain age:
I wanted to give up my virginity at 17 but since you told what the consequences are, I'm not ready to mess up my life for a guy.
So my boyfriend will like me more…
I was actually thinking of ‘doing some things’ with my next boyfriend so he would like me more. Now I know that’s STUPID!
To prove my worth…
Before this class, I honestly thought that I would be having sex in high school because I felt like it would be the only way to prove to people that I am not some goody two shoes, smart girl. It would also show that someone actually likes me enough to have sex with me.
All of the above quotes are from 8th grade girls and their decisions to have sex have nothing to do with any particular boy. These young ladies don't even have a boyfriend in mind. They just believe sex as a teenager is normal, expected and even inevitable!
The next reason REALLY broke my heart when I read it.
Because virginity is a burden…
I was actually one of those girls who thought my virginity was a burden that I didn’t want anymore, and I was ready to give it to one of my ex boyfriends.
Can you imagine a 13 or 14 year old girl feeling that her virginity is a burden?!?! Such a burden that she is willing to give it to an ex-boyfriend.
In many cases today, guys do not have to pressure girls into having sex. They just capitalize on a decision the girls have already made before they ever show up on the scene. I am sure some of the guys look at it as simply “being in the right place at the right time.”
This is the progression you may remember from your teen years:
Girl meets boy…
Girl falls in love with boy (he becomes her boyfriend)…
Boyfriend asks girl to have sex…
Girl agrees to have sex with her boyfriend…
This is the progression I am seeing today:
Girl decides to have sex….
Girl meets boy…
Girl may or may not fall in love with boy….
Girl has sex with boy…
When sex becomes “the goal” for girls before they even have a boyfriend, we have to ask, “What do girls think they are accomplishing by reaching that goal?”
I spent two days last week with over one hundred 8th grade girls and I asked them that question.
They gave me the following reason why an 8th girl may want/plan to have sex:
- Since it’s something she’s “supposed” to do, she just wants to “get it over with.” The sooner she “gets it over with” the better so she won’t have to keep dreading it.
Unfortunately the way teenage girls think and talk about sex today, it’s just a physical act they do and then cross it off the list and say, “OK, I’ve done that.” They don’t stop to consider what happens AFTER that first time when they have crossed “sex” off the list of things they must do.
Among other things, they don’t consider:
- How they will feel emotionally after the sex is over.
- What they will do if/when the boy wants to continue having sex.
- What will happen to their reputation if the word gets out that they had sex.
- How the boy’s feelings may change after the sex is over.
- The possibility of contracting an STD or getting pregnant.
What can parents do?
- Discuss this post with your daughter. Ask her if she knows any girls who think like the girls who wrote the above letters. Discuss why that line of thinking is dangerous.
- Have discussions with your daughter about everything that sex involves beyond just the physical act.
When do you think the shift happened in our culture that reduced sex to a “to do list” item for teen girls and what do you think we can do to change things?