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May 1, 2000 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

The Birds, The Bees, and the Ugly:
Teen Sex ... or Not

Hey guys, here's something we could use eleven more of: National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month! Let's take a minute out of gym class for a little talk, shall we? Of course, when it comes to talking about sex with you guys, this is hardly BG's first time. So here are some thoughts both review and new:

To do it, or not to do it?

  • NOT. Here -- among other places -- is where BG says so. I'm not just wagging my finger: the majority of teens say they wish they'd waited longer.*
  • Like, a virgin? "Virginity" is so four bases ago. Don't think of virginity as something you lose; think of sex as something you add to your life. And that actually doesn't always fit so well; it often comes packed in emotional (to say nothing of physical) complications so thick and stifling they often smother the fun part. So make sure you're ready not only in your loins, but also in your life. (And having done it once doesn’t mean you have to do it again.)
  • The Heidi / Ho complex. How come girls are "either" "nice" or "hooches?" How come when boys do it they get high fives but when girls do it they get low reputations? Lots of reasons, all of which are no fair. So girls, you shouldn't feel "bad" if you do do it -- but you also shouldn't do it if you feel bad.
  • Pre-speech. You know how you practice what to say before you call your crush? Plan what to say before you're in bed with your crush too, okay? There's no one right way to say "no," but a little advance work can boost your nerve and resolve.
  • Just say DUH. Having sex without protection (teen-friendlier stuff here) is just about the DUMBEST-ASS thing you could ever do. It could make you really ickily sick (see letter from Pariah in this column), or it could kill you, or it could -- if it gets you/your partner pregnant --  end your life as you know it. In fact, a sexually active teen who doesn't use contraception has a 90% chance of getting pregnant within a year.* Yeah, I totally know it's hard to talk about this stuff with someone you're not already really close to. Right, so don't sleep with that person.
  • It takes two to tongue tango. Boys: yeah, you. Having sex with whoever doesn't make you a man, it makes you a desperate/lonely boy in a stud suit. But to be fair, studies show that boys are interested in "doing the right thing" and carrying their weight in latex (or whatever) when it comes to sharing the responsibility for not being parents.* Okay? Be that kind of statistic.
  • Get busy. Girls involved in sports and volunteer stuff are half as likely to get pregnant as those who aren't.* Not only do these girls -- and the boys who love them -- have better things to do, but they also have a clearer sense of the value of their time, their place in the world, and even the body they command and control.

  • "But that's not sex ... " Guys, call it what you want, but oral sex counts as something

    (a) dangerous. Look, liquidy things are happening here, but latexy things, I suspect, not so much. If you're not down with some mad flavored condoms, you're dumb.

    (b) intimate. Ideally. But I know you guys sometimes think of oral sex as relocated kissing or something. And thus maybe even more detached (you don't have to look them in the eye?!); in any case, I know you guys no-big-deal this stuff. But, I mean, think about what you're doing. And you don't know where that's been. Care before you go there.

    (c) unequal. High school may not, in most cases, be Hollywood, but still: why do I have a feeling that in this context, we're talking mostly about girls giving it to guys? Gals: start accepting this imbalance now, and in a couple of years, Dan Savage will kick your ass.

* source: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Yo, grownups: Studies -- not commissioned by parents! -- show that kids want their parents to tell them more about ... you know.



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