This article is part of our series on The Hookup Culture. Read more articles in the series by following the links at the end of this article.
The summer between freshman and sophomore year is the first time it becomes acceptable to have sex. I don’t know why sophomore year is the time; it’s more of a tacit understanding. Your 15-year-old teen and their best friends are gearing up for it, whether you like it or not.
It isn’t necessarily that they want to have sex or even know what it entails; they just revel in the thought that this summer, they are officially free from being “good.”
We didn’t even know what sex is. We’d heard our Sex Ed teachers tiptoe around it, and we’d seen the pretty versions of it in The Notebook and Gossip Girl.
To me, the whole thing was like eating my first Big Mac or getting a new dress. I sort of just pictured myself submitting my V-card to the nice lady at the front desk at Disneyland. She’d take it and say, “Congratulations! It’s your right to experiment with your body. Heeeeeerrreee weeeee gooooo!!!” Cue the fireworks, images of Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling still in love the next day, and that first ride on Space Mountain was done.
But then, one day, it almost sort of happened, and it wasn’t like that. Nevertheless, I called my best friend screaming with glee. Because that’s what you do after losing your virginity.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yes!” I said. But I wasn’t okay. I wanted it back.
I wanted those seven minutes of my life back. Alright, four minutes. I could have read a magazine. I could have painted my nails. I could have stared at the ceiling. I could have dribbled a ball. ANYTHING. BUT. THAT.
I wasn’t able to acknowledge how hurt I was until a year later. It was the wrong everything. It sucked.
But, I was free now. There was power in saying, “No,” when someone asked me if I was a virgin. It was anti-society. It was everything that they tell you not to be as a teen girl. It was feminism, right?
It was pain and regret and really hard to explain. I felt little or no empowerment.
Some teen girls experience it; they go out with three different people per weekend, and it’s real for them. They fully use their sophomore year privilege and feel great about it. I am different from them.
So, here are my questions:
Why do teenagers, especially teen girls, feel we need to be sexually liberated or even liberated at all? Where is the line between a virgin and a whore, and why doesn’t that line exist for boys? Lastly, why does anyone else care what I do with my body?
Read more articles in our series on The Hookup Culture:
The Hookup Culture—Expert View: How to Talk to Your Teenager
The Hookup Culture—Expert View: Understanding Teen Attitudes Toward Sex
The Hookup Culture—Teen View: Hooking Up Can Be Confusing
The Hookup Culture—Parent View: I Won’t Give Up Without a Fight