Okay, So What's Sex, Yo?
Turns out everyone has their own definition of sex. The dictionary (do people still read those?) says sex is "sexually motivated behavior." Fair enough. But really, everyone has their OWN definition of sex.
Some people consider it only penis-in-vagina. Others call it penis-in-anus. Some people think of sex as genital rubbing WITHOUT penetration. Others call it mouth-on-genitals. Still others call it masturbation.
How Do I Develop Sexually?
Learning to develop sexuality can be kinda confusing. You may not know what your feelings are right away, or if they are normal. There may be peer pressure to say who you like, and you may not feel comfortable revealing your sexual orientation. It's okay not to know or share this information.
There are a few things to remember:
- It's okay to ask questions
- It is okay to be gay
- It is okay to be bisexual
- It is okay to be straight
- It is okay not to know yet
- If you experiment with a same-sex partner, this doesn't necessarily mean you are gay
- Don't be afraid of who you are
- It is okay to be confused
- Your peers probably feel as confused as you do
- Don't rush into anything you're not comfortable with
- Talk to an adult you know and trust if you have questions or fear
- Conversations with trusted friends or relatives
- Kissing and touch
- Self pleasuring
- Sexual experimentation with a willing partner (physical, verbal, etc.)
- Reading books or watching movies
What's, Um, Sexual Orientation?
Sexual orientation is who a person is physically attracted to.
Same-sex attraction (homosexual) is an attraction to someone of the same sex. Gay and lesbian attraction is when a boy is attracted to or has sex with another boy, and a girl is attracted to or has sex with another girl. It is not uncommon to have feelings of attraction to someone of the same-sex, as expressed by admiration or “crush” feelings; however, these feelings may change over time.
Opposite-sex attraction (heterosexual) is attraction to someone of the opposite sex. This describes when a boy and a girl have attraction to one another.
Bi-sexual attraction indicates an individual who feels attracted to same- and opposite-sex individuals.
Asexuality (also known as nonsexual) is an individual who has no desire for sexual activity and may not identify with a sexual orientation
While there are other forms of sexuality, these four categories describe the majority of individuals; however, it is important to remember that sexuality exists on a spectrum. Sexual orientation is fluid - often changing as we grow and develop. Because we often have no control over our attractions, relationships can be confusing.
What's Virginity, Anyway?
Standard definition of virginity is "someone who's never had vaginal penetration by a penis." However, that definition sucks ass. Why? It leaves out a lot of people - the people who've never had vaginal sex, but have had oral sex. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks who've never had penile sex, but don't consider themselves to be virgins.
Since sex is defined in broad terms by lots of people, it could be oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Or humping, mutual masturbation, hand jobs, or using sex toys. Others don't believe that being raped counts as losing your virginity.
Lots of people feel they've lost their virginity when they've had an intimate sexual experience with another person - not the first time penetration happens.
So I guess what I'm saying is this - everyone has their own definition of virginity. And that? That's okay.
So, When Do People Start Having Sex?
Well, that's kinda dependable. The average age is 17, but really, it's up to you.
That's Your Aunt Becky's way of saying WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE READY.
Here are some things to think about before you have sex for the first time:
- Do we think that sex should only be shared in a marriage or other committed relationship?
- Do we think that two people should be in love before having sex?
- Do we think a person should be a certain age before having sex?
- Are we prepared to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection?
- Are we prepared to deal with the consequences if pregnancy or infection occurs?
- Are we prepared for our relationship to change?
There's no right answer here, guys. Just food for thought. And TOTALLY stuff to talk about before you have sex.
GAAAH! I Don't Know If I'm Ready To Have Sex.
Most of us don't. So don't feel weird about it, yo. Being ready to have sex is a very personal thing. Weigh the benefits and risks and open a line of communication (no matter how squicky it might seem) with your partner.
Here are important things to go over with yourself before you have sex:
1) Do you both want to have sex?
2) Do NOT pressure someone into sex.
3) Be HONEST (with yourself and your partner) about your sexual feelings.
4) Sex should be pleasurable for both people.
5) Figure out your birth control options to protect against pregnancy and STD's.
6) Explain CLEARLY what you want to do and what you don't.
What if I Don't Want To Have Sex, Like, EVER?
We've ALL been through that before, so it's perfectly normal. Everyone has different levels of sexual desire - some want to have sex more and some want to have it less. Others want to have sex every day and others want to have sex, well, never. So it's kinda a spectrum.
Lots of things change our desire for sex - stress, hormones, how comfortable we feel with our partners, past sexual experience, our desire for our partners, if we feel safe, chronic illness, some medications, along with a shitton of other things.
What I'm saying is this - your desire to have sex is going to be different than everyone else's. And that? That's okay.
Eeps. Is It Going To Hurt The First Time I Have Sex?
Well, plenty of women feel pain the first time they are vaginally penetrated - usually because they have to have their vagina stretched and their hymen broken. This might cause some pain and bleeding. So try and prepare for vaginal sex by loosening up the vagina with your fingers first.
Dudes don't have the same problem, so they should not feel any pain during sex.
So *blushes* What's An Orgasm?
An orgasm is the release of muscle tension from sexual activity. Orgasms produce quick muscle contractions through the genital/anal area or through the whole body. At the same time, endorphins (chemicals) are dumped into the bloodstream causing relaxation and pleasure.
Orgasms happen through a lot of different types of sexual activity - women are more likely to have an orgasm after their clitoris is stimulated (and more likely to have multiple orgasms!). Men tend to reach orgasm more quickly.
It's worth it to tell you that people can have a lot of fun during sexual activity without achieving orgasm, too.
Okay, So Oral Sex. What Is It?
Oral sex is using your mouth to stimulate your partner's genitals. It's one of those things that some people love while other people don't. It takes a lot of time to know what works for you, so don't freak if you hate it the first couple times. Try to be honest and tell your partner what feels good and what doesn't.
You can't get pregnant from oral sex. BUT, unprotected oral sex does put you at risk for a number of sexually transmitted disease. So use a barrier when you're giving or getting oral sex.
Okay, So Anal Sex. Tell Me More:
Anal sex is the process of putting a penis into the anus of another. It's one of those sexual activities that some people hate, while others love. Learn what you like and go with it. And if you don't like it? NO BIG DEAL. If you do like it? Great!
Anal sex CAN hurt though, if you don't take certain steps. The anus doesn't produce lubrication like the vagina, so it's key to use artificial water-based lubricant (KY Jelly, Astroglide). And if it hurts too much? Tell your partner to stop. Sex that isn't fun or hurts a lot isn't okay.
You can't get preggers from anal sex alone, unless some semen spills into the vulva or vagina.
HOWEVER, like vaginal intercourse, anal sex is high risk for STD's. So strap on a condom to decrease those risks, y'all.
There's a lot of bullshit about how masturbation can make you crazy, blind, or stupid. But that's exactly what it is: bullshit. Masturbation is not harmful, in fact, it's GOOD for you. Here's why:
- Masturbation can release stress and tension.
- Orgasms are a natural painkiller that make you feel goooood.
- There's no risk of sexually transmitted infections OR pregnancy
So enjoy it! Both girls and guys do it - sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.
Okay, I'm Confused By All These Sex Terms. HALP!
Sensuality: awareness and feeling of your body and others’ bodies.
Intimacy: the ability and need to be close to another person.
Gender Identity: internal sense of being male or female.
Gender Expression: external characteristics about masculinity and femininity (i.e. how you dress).
Anatomy: the male and female sexual reproduction organs.
Additional Resources for Teens and Sexuality:
Virginity and First-Time Sex from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Coalition for Positive Sexuality provides sex education information.
Interagency Gender Working Group website contains articles and news relative to gender issues.
UK Lesbian and Gay Foundation – "We campaign for a fair and equal society where all lesbian, gay and bisexual people can achieve their full potential, and our mission is: ‘Ending Homophobia, Empowering People.’"
Parent-Child Communication – Article about youth and sexual health.
The Asexual Visibility and Education Network – a forum for asexual individuals.
Apositive – a place to discuss asexuality and sexuality that is open to people of all orientations.