Sex + Love

Have It Your Way

Choosing the path less taken (but more fun).

Things weren’t so pleasant between me and Sonja’s mom, though, from that point on. I loved this lady so much that I called her “Aunt Kate,” and she had always considered me a “great influence” on her daughter. Not anymore. After her spy mission into my bedroom (well, technically my boyfriend’s), she looked at me differently—she seemed warier, less warm. She started lecturing Sonja and me every time we left their house to meet up with our guy friends: “BE SAFE!” she’d scold, with the terrified glint that adults can sometimes get in their eyes when they think of teenagers having sex. None of this was a huge deal, but it was my first brush with the kind of judgy feelings that other people will often hold, and sometimes express, regarding another person’s totally personal and private sex life.

Now, that is completely unfair, and I hate it. But I think it’s something you should know if you can already tell you’re probably gonna break a few rules, customs, and possibly laws on your way through life. Because while I wish the world were not so, and for the most part I do see things getting better, there’s still a long way to go and plenty of assholes out there who think a young woman is supposed to be modest and “pure” and, in a heterosexual hookup, to be the one putting the brakes on sex (because of course a guy can’t possible rein in his own horniness). I don’t want you to let such assholes keep you from anything that makes you happy in life, so you gotta be prepared for their judgment.

First, realize that they are just telling you their (unsolicited) opinion. When someone talks shit about your sex life/body/outfit/musical taste/whatever, it’s not like they’re providing you with facts. “Slut” is not a fact, it’s just a way that people try to rein in and control female sexualities, based on their own ideas, values, and fears around sex. My hypothesis is that anyone who uses slut as a pejorative has the idea that there’s something shameful about having lots of enjoyable premarital sex with any number of people. Opinions based on shame are among the most spurious, because shame doesn’t teach us anything. (Shame, I should say, is not the same as guilt—you feel guilty about stuff you’ve done; you feel shame about who you feel you are. Feeling guilty about bad shit you’ve done is not a terrible thing: it teaches you why you shouldn’t compromise your values in the future; shame tends to isolate you and send you into a spiral of self-hatred.) And when it comes to having sex, shame is disproportionately heaped onto us: women and girls.

In my eighth grade class, a lot of girls (like me) were disparaged for having sex. We were called “sluts,” “easy,” “bad,” all that stuff that’s meant to cause shame. But at the same time, other girls were made fun of for not having sex. Once I saw that unwinnable game for what it was, I felt even more confident in not caring about what other people my age were doing or what they might think of me exercising my ~budding sexuality~ (can we agree to collectively forget this was ever a term, by the way?). And from that point forward, I knew that as long as I was making choices that I thought were safe and responsible, I wouldn’t beat myself up for choosing my own adventure instead of conforming to other people’s ideas of how my life should go. Since then, I have never thought it weird or wrong to four-way kiss my friends or do a nearly-nude photo shoot in a hot tub filled with McDonald’s cheeseburgers (yep, this actually happened) or basically live my life like a series of accepted dares. Instead of politely declining an impromptu stick-and-poke of a friend’s initial, a naked Slip ’n Slide race, or swapping outfits with someone I barely know in the middle of a party, I just did them. And I’m glad I did, because they ruled.

I’m not saying that the only consequence you’re likely to run into for any of this stuff is extreme side-eye from your peers. One night from my freshman year comes to mind, when I got caught smoking weed in a parking lot at night, and my mom had to give me a super-fun and not-at-all-hellaciously-terrible ride home from the police station. But even if your thing isn’t against the law, depending on what where you live, how you were brought up, and what you want to do with your life, you might face criticism or even rejection from friends, family members, or potential employers (this last thing is dependent on how public your Facebook photos/Twitter feed that includes something like “@laxweeddude69 HAD SO MUCH FUN DRINKING ALCOHOL OUT OF YOUR LACROSSE TROPHY LAST NITE” might be). So be aware of how much you’re putting out there and who might be looking at it, and think about how you might handle it if someone you wouldn’t want to see it, does.

I’ve found the following thought progression helpful in holding other people’s opinions of your choices—in any arena—at arm’s length. When you’re worried that something you’re considering doing will suck in the long run, back away from it for a sec and try to figure out why you feel that way. If you realize that you actually don’t agree with this thing you’re thinking of doing—e.g., going to college when you’d really rather work and save money for a few years, or making out with someone who your friends think is perfect for you but you think is kind of gross, or taking a prescription that isn’t yours because it’ll make people think that you’re “ballsy” and “different”—don’t do that thing. If it’s because people keep telling you not to do it, and you really want to please them and/or fit in, but none of their reasoning makes any sense to you, ask yourself these questions:

• Is what you’re doing illegal, and is there a chance you’ll be caught?
• Are you harming yourself physically, mentally, or emotionally by doing it?
• Does it go against your (not your community’s) core values?
• Do you think you’re going to regret it later?
• Do you really give a shit what your peers might say or feel about your decisions?

If you’ve answered no to all of the above, party on, Wayne. (Just try not to let your best friend’s mom catch wind of it, OK?) Because I promise you this: not everyone is going to like what you do all the time, so you might as well shred in a way that feels true to your heart. Sorry to be a warm slice of cornbread, but it’s true. ♦

This post is generously sponsored by MTV’s Awkward, which airs on Tuesdays at 10/9c. The content was produced by Rookie.


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138 Comments

  • chawi April 22nd, 2013 3:09 PM

    That was so so good, and interesting, and just…true! It definitely made me realise I don’t have to conform to what everyone else thinks is “cool” as long as I’m happy!

    http://sunshines-and-blue-skies.blogspot.co.uk/

  • rosiesayrelax April 22nd, 2013 3:10 PM

    Call me a prude, but I don’t think I’ll be able to listen to Blower’s Daughter without blushing now. Har har.

    http://rosieandthewolf.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Abby April 22nd, 2013 3:33 PM

    Amy Rose I want to know why we aren’t best friends because you’re amazing.

  • MabelEnchanted April 22nd, 2013 3:42 PM

    This was such a honest post! I really enjoyed reading it, thank you.

    http://mabelsmind.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Faith April 22nd, 2013 3:46 PM

    This makes me so sad. I’m not a prude, but I know MANY young girls who have regretted these decisions/were not ready/didn’t know what the hell they were doing (I live in the south- no sex ed). It’s sad that you portray sex (or any ‘rebellious’ behavior) as something without many consequences. It’s great that things worked out for you, but that isn’t the case for everyone. You should at least state that this article is your opinion, rather than presenting your information like facts, and anyone who’s against you as it being ‘their opinion.’ How about instead we teach girls to consider the emotional effects of this kind of thing? I hate to be that person, but if this is what Rookie is doling out to young people, I might be done supporting this publication.

    • Anna Poplawski April 22nd, 2013 4:03 PM

      I understand that you’ve witnessed young girls having bad experiences with “rebellious” behavior. But why is that behavior considered inherently rebellious or bad? If it wasn’t stigmatized and kids were better educated about sex/drugs/whatever, would their experiences be more positive? Would they be safer if they felt comfortable being open about their choices/desires? I think so, and that’s why I think views like yours can be toxic. It’s the stigma that makes “slutty” behavior dangerous/negative, not the nature of the behavior.

      • Faith April 22nd, 2013 11:07 PM

        I agree that sex should not be so stigmatized. But it also shouldn’t be presented as something fun to do with no consequences. Sex creates an emotional connection that cannot be replicated. Girls (and boys) need to be just as aware of that as how to use protection, etc. And those issues are not discussed.

        • hazeleyedgirl April 25th, 2013 11:00 AM

          What you’re saying has two sides as well. See, you say that sex creates an emotional connection that cannot be replaced. You present it as a fact. But actually it’s different for everyone. For me personally, sex IS something fun to do, and I don’t feel any negative repercussions when I do it. It doesn’t necessarily create an emotional connection. It depends on the parties involved. I do agree that the use of protection is something that not everyone is educated about, and that is a problem. Many schools need better sex education. I think in this article Amy Rose does make it clear that sex is okay IF you take precautions and are knowledgeable about sex. Nowhere did she encourage naive or unprepared people to start having sex.

      • kookookachoo April 23rd, 2013 4:40 PM

        Agreed, but as some of the people here have mentioned, not everyone has access to resources to deal with accidental pregnancies and STIs if something negative were to come from a sexual encounter.

        87-ish% of the counties in MOST U.S. states don’t have an abortion provider while some states have less than 3 abortion providers to service the WHOLE state:

        http://www.theatlanticcities.com/politics/2012/06/geography-abortion/1711/

        http://www.guttmacher.org/in-the-know/abortion-providers.html

        and MANY of those same states simultaneously make access to contraceptive and plan B more ridiculously difficult for “minors”:

        http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_MACS.pdf

        http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_RPHS.pdf

        …so YAY for slut-shaming-shaming, boo for little recourse for most girls in the U.S. to deal with repercussions of an oops-pregnancy and/or an unwanted-STI(s).

    • AllieBee April 22nd, 2013 4:20 PM

      Faith, I agree with you 100%! This article was well-written and funny, but it missed the reality of the situation for many girls. Regret is a serious thing! The emotional effects of having sex too young should have been discussed somewhere in this post; I feel like MANY girls blindly follow this website for advice, and respect it, as do I, and I think many of them will get the wrong message from this article and get in some bad situations. Rookie, keep in mind that many young girls are readers too! Kudos for talking about sex honestly, but next time, include the whole story. Caution, ladies!

      • Anaheed April 22nd, 2013 7:55 PM

        But there are some people who don’t have those regrets. A lot of them. Amy Rose is speaking to, and for, those people, because they aren’t spoken about or for very often. If you want to hear a story about a girl who had sex and was ruined (physically or emotionally or otherwise) by it, you have the rest of our culture to turn to, you know what I mean? I’m not trying to say you’re “wrong,” because you’re not. Of course some people regret having sex too early (for them). Absolutely! But other people don’t and are made to feel like they SHOULD feel bad.

        • AllieBee April 22nd, 2013 8:46 PM

          I respect what you said, Anaheed, because Amy Rose’s article isn’t wrong, or anything! I liked her article and it content, and her p.o.v., because I agree that some people don’t have regrets. It’s just that girls won’t know they will regret something until they have already done that something. I just want people to understand that they need to think long and hard about having sex. And then they can do whatever they want. Thanks for taking the time to reply!

        • Faith April 22nd, 2013 11:12 PM

          “Amy Rose is speaking to, and for, those people, because they aren’t spoken about or for very often.”

          I agree that this is a good thing, however Rookie has to realize that not all of their readers are these people.

          I don’t think that people should feel bad about having sex (at any age). I just think they need to be aware that they could have strong emotional feelings (positive and/or negative) after doing so. This article essentially presents sex=orgasms, when really it does provide an interpersonal connection. If you’re ready for that, good for you! But many girls are not, and this article is almost a persuasive piece on why sex isn’t actually a big deal at all.

          Also, many girls are currently being pressured into sex. This can talk themselves into doing something they aren’t ready for.

    • Badlands April 22nd, 2013 4:24 PM

      I agree. Not my favorite Rookie article.

      Also it really doesn’t seem like your friend’s mother was trying to shame you, I am sure she was just very worried about you and her daughter because of the emotional and physical ramifications that can come with having sex at a young age. I don’t know her or you, so maybe I am wrong, but from what you wrote it sounded like her apprehensions came from a place of love and care.

      I also think some young girls will read this thinking this is the way they should be, further perpetuating the idea that “everyone is doing it.” You may have been a very mature 8th grader who could handle sex and all the feelings and very real consequences that come with it, but I am sure a lot of girls that age are not- I certainly wasn’t. At 23 I’m still trying to understand my emotions when it comes to sex.

    • soviet_kitsch April 22nd, 2013 4:25 PM

      i can only speak for myself/generalize, but i think that there are A LOT of teenage girls who are fine with this kind of behaviour, but regret or don’t act on it because of arbitrary social consequences (as opposed to it being the capital-w Wrong Thing To Do). the article isn’t promoting any illegal or harmful activity and instead talks about how sex is perfectly fine when you are ready for it, whenever that may be. again, i’m generalizing here, but i feel like a lot of the “emotional consequences” are the result of societal/familial/social/community pressures that say certain things are wrong as a way to stifle women. there are obvious consequences to having sex but i appreciate that amy rose is talking about the positives aspects of sex, without any fear-mongering.
      i hope that none of this came across as rude!

    • AllieBee April 22nd, 2013 4:27 PM

      This quote from the article –
      “most of us are lucky enough to live in places, and all of us in a time when STIs and unwanted pregnancies can be managed. If you don’t buy in to the notion that some eventuality can ruin your life, then guess what? It won’t.”
      seems a bit too hopeful. Having a child too early or facing the emotional impact of an abortion can be life-altering, and did anyone forget that HIV is deadly and is an STD? If you’re having sex with someone, you’re basically having sex with everyone they’ve ever had sex with too.

      • NotReallyChristian April 22nd, 2013 6:54 PM

        Not if you’re using a barrier method, which is exactly what Amy Rose advocates – she’s absolutely not encouraging unprotected and/or reckless sex and makes that more than clear in the article. Her point is not that sex carries no risks, but that the risks are often exaggerated as if people think that terrifying teenagers is the only way to keep them from behaving irresponsibly (which is patronising and demonstrably not true).

      • Marissa Rivers April 22nd, 2013 7:42 PM

        Yeah, the line “most of us are lucky enough to live in places…[where] STIs and unwanted pregnancies can be managed” kinda rubbed me the wrong way. LOTS of girls (most girls in the U.S., I would bet) aren’t East Coasters with sex positive parents, and all the access to abortion and other resources that comes with it. Not to get all social justice tumblr or whatever, but I think that statement showed a certain degree of unchecked privilege. And not to say that Amy Rose was wrong for advocating doing what you want with your sex lives (I agree!), but you should consider your circumstances and whether you’ll have recourse if something does go wrong.

        • Anaheed April 22nd, 2013 8:03 PM

          This is a good point, and I’m gonna adjust that sentence, because the wording was mostly my fault. THIS IS AN ANNOUNCEMENT THAT I AM CHANGING A SENTENCE, Y’ALL. Thanks so much for your feedback; you are brilliant and I love you guys.

    • starbarf April 22nd, 2013 4:35 PM

      It sounds to me like Amy Rose described her choice to have sex as part of a loving, mutually respectful relationship. It also sounds like the subject was well-researched, including the consequences like STIs and pregnancy. Sure, 14 year olds can sometimes have slightly skewed long-term perspective on things, and a lot of girls that age make choices that they later regret because they did things they maybe didn’t really want to do or understand, but I think the point Amy Rose was trying to make here was that it’s important to make choices based on your OWN feelings, not the feelings of those around you. I don’t think this was an instructional guide to breaking rules and getting away with it. It felt more to me like a reminder that it’s okay to listen to yourself sometimes, rather than always doing what you imagine someone expects of you.

    • Kelly K April 22nd, 2013 4:37 PM

      If a girl and her sexual partner do research and become emotionally prepared like Amy Rose describes, I think I can get behind them doing whatever they want. I get that it’s bad for girls to have sex when they aren’t ready or don’t know what they’re doing, but this article doesn’t support anyone having sex under those circumstances. Amy Rose talks about wanting to have sex, trusting her sexual partner, getting emotionally ready, and doing fairly extensive research before losing her virginity.
      I suppose, that yes, someone on this website might feel slightly pressured to lose their virginity early and maybe they’ll regret it, but that’s really not what the article says at all, at least not to me.
      All of that being said, you’re brave to openly disagree with Rookie on their own website, and I hope you can see why this article isn’t so bad. :)

    • Sorcha M April 22nd, 2013 4:44 PM

      I disagree. I believe we should separate sex from emotion and enjoy love and sex separately or together, because they’re both great! Boys are rarely encouraged to think about sex meaningfully, boys are expected to have plenty of experience, and when it comes down to it, sex is physical. Once we’ve got contraception, STD protection, and absolute consent down, everyone can have as much sex as they want. It’s okay for teenagers to ~explore their sexuality (ugh, I also hate this phrase) and work out what they like. If there wasn’t such a stigma around young girl’s sexuality, I’m pretty sure 70% or even more of the regrets they face after having sex wouldn’t exist.

      • Faith April 22nd, 2013 11:20 PM

        “Boys are rarely encouraged to think about sex meaningfully, boys are expected to have plenty of experience, and when it comes down to it, sex is physical. ”

        Perhaps instead of teaching our girls to think this way, she would be teaching ALL genders to understand the emotional aspects of sex.

        • Faith April 22nd, 2013 11:21 PM

          Sorry, that should say “we should,” not “she would.”

        • Nikilodeon April 24th, 2013 3:13 AM

          I find it very ironic that boys (particular straight, cis boys) are expected to have so much experience yet girls are expected to be “chaste” and “modest.” Uh, if straight guys are expected to do it and straight girls aren’t, then who are these guys supposed to do it with..? I like the way Amy Rose tackled the issue of society’s double standard.

          Also, “Because I promise you this: not everyone is going to like what you do all the time, so you might as well shred in a way that feels true to your heart. ” was maybe the best line. Rings true for so many experiences, not just sex-related ones. I hope one day I can be this wise.

    • DymondMag April 22nd, 2013 5:10 PM

      I understand what you’re saying because some of these things can be a big deal, but also I think we get that view from a lot of other places and how EVERYTHING THAT YOU EVER DO IN YOUR LIFE MATTERS SO MUCH. But some things are just well, fun. I mean I know that for some people it doesn’t turn out well but for other people it’s just awesome fun. But I definitely understand what you’re saying about everyone having fun but staying safe while doing so.

    • AnaRuiz April 22nd, 2013 5:24 PM

      I think what Amy Rose is trying to say is “don’t mess with my sexuality, and I won’t mess with yours, regardless of what that sexuality IS.”

      But then, I’m biased, because I friggin’ loved this article.

      http://anaruizwriting.blogspot.com

    • sophiethewitch April 22nd, 2013 6:14 PM

      First of all, I don’t think Amy Rose needed to point out that her views are opinions, because that’s a given. Rookie pretty much only published editorial pieces.

      Secondly, do you think these girls would have been so emotionally damaged by their sexual experiences if sex wasn’t so stigmatized? I think sex is a big deal only because our society makes it one.

  • Faith April 22nd, 2013 3:48 PM

    P.S. I do love your tutorials, and I think you’re very funny. I can appreciate the writing and humor here. I don’t hate you or Rookie. I just can’t see myself supporting something that presents this behavior as no big deal, considering how many women I’ve seen that are/were totally broken by this kind of thing.

    • Meriel April 22nd, 2013 6:48 PM

      If I understand Amy Rose correctly, she is challenging the ability of sex to “totally break” women. If we don’t teach young girls that they will be devalued/deflowered if they have sex – a natural part of being a human – they will not feel guilty or ashamed about having or wanting sex.

      She’s not saying that having sex is no big deal, but that the social rules constructed around sex are what makes it a big deal; if we take away that stigma, girls will be able to decide for themselves if it is or is not a big deal for them.

      • Faith April 22nd, 2013 11:21 PM

        I really hope that devalued/deflowered comment is a Girls reference.

    • Olivia Marge April 22nd, 2013 7:14 PM

      I agree that some people–usually those who succumb to the much booed & ballyhooed monster “peer pressure”–do deeply regret partaking in what you refer to as “this kind of behavior.” However, I think you’re missing the point of this article. Amy Rose was not damaged by having sex at an early age. People are usually not damaged by orgasms.The dangers of sex lie in societal myths–this includes both sides of the peer pressure surrounding virginity–and STIs. Amy Rose is not condoning “bad behavior,” she’s advocating for people who have healthy, normal urges. What other people think about sex shouldn’t have anything to do with your love life. I wish you could see this article beyond the word “sex.”

      • Faith April 22nd, 2013 11:17 PM

        However, sex and orgasms are not the same thing. Allowing someone to literally enter your body for the first time or the thousandth time (in this instance I’m using traditional, heterosexual sex) does create an emotional response. Be it positive or negative, the article doesn’t really discuss that emotional ramifications can be a possibility.

        • hazeleyedgirl April 25th, 2013 11:10 AM

          You posted a previous comment that bashed Amy for presenting her views as facts, but you are doing the exact same thing. You say sex does create an emotional response as though that applies to everyone. It doesn’t some people can treat sex and emotions as separate entities. I personally can have sex without this ‘emotional attachment’ you are implying. It depends on who you are having sex with, and the circumstances, and your own beliefs, and a whole bunch of factors.
          I think the point of this article was to discuss the fun and harmless aspects to sex that are so often overlooked or stifled, especially regarding women. So no, perhaps the article doesn’t discuss the possible emotional ramifications that some people may feel, but I don’t think that was the purpose of the article anyway, because those aspects of sex are talked about a lot in society- even used as something to shame those women who do have sex without experiencing these ‘ramifications’.

    • glitter riot April 22nd, 2013 10:51 PM

      Yes but having sex doesn’t=being broken. The risks of sex don’t magically disappear when your turn 16 or 18. People aren’t going to not have sex just because there are risks involved, that can be prevented and dealt with.

      • Faith April 22nd, 2013 11:25 PM

        I did not/do not claim that to be true. I have seen many women who were hurt by having sex too soon. I don’t believe that everyone who has sex is broken!

        All I’m saying is that emotional ramifications are not really discussed in this article.

  • waesome April 22nd, 2013 4:05 PM

    I lost my virginity at 13. At the time we didn’t realise what we were doing because it was queer sex, which neither of us really knew anything about. We had no feelings for each other at all, and really it was just experimentation that had got a bit out of hand.
    Some days I really regret it. When I have sex with someone whom I love then I will probably stop thinking of this as when I lost it, but until then there is nothing I can do about the fact that I class what we did as sex, and therefore the moment I lost my virginity.
    I’m a big advocate of doing what you want so long as you feel ready, but I know now that this wasn’t the right time for me and that it’s something I’ll have to live with. Sometimes it’s hard to accept, especially when, for example, there are people at school talking about how underage sex or sex before marriage makes you a slut (it’s a Catholic school and there’s a lot of this kind of belief), especially when it’s coming out of the mouth of someone you respect.
    I find it incredibly hard to talk about but I wanted to share my personal experience in light of this article.

  • JennaF April 22nd, 2013 4:20 PM

    I had a similar reaction to Faith. The emotions are often way intensified when sex enters the equation, and that’s a whole other risk aside from STDs and the rest. (Btw, while HIV can be controlled, strictly speaking, it’s a major, lifelong expense with many other implications. That seemed to be glossed over a little in the STI section, even though Amy Rose was/ is clearly very responsible, herself.)

    Anyway, back to emotions — that’s a real risk, too, opening yourself up emotionally as well as physically, and there can be serious consequences to that (for anyone btw, not just girls). Amy Rose seems to have sidestepped all of that — awesome! But many people can’t avoid it as deftly.

  • abby111039 April 22nd, 2013 4:32 PM

    I thought I’d seen it all when I read “Love-O-Matic”, but “Great Sexpectations” was fucking golden. XD Great article!

  • Kimono Cat April 22nd, 2013 4:40 PM

    I have to disagree with Amy’s definition’s of guilt vs. shame. Firstly, the idea of guilt feeling bad about what we’ve done, as opposed to shame feeling bad about who we are, is flawed to me. Aren’t we defined by our actions? Secondly, I feel guilt all. the. time. Mostly, it’s about stupid stuff that I’ve done that shouldn’t affect me, but it does. I don’t think this type of guilt is useful or healthy. Also, I think that shame can be useful, if for example, you realise that you are mean person. Then maybe the shame can set you into shape. Also, I think all serial killers and their ilk should feel ashamed about who they are. And also guilt.

    I also agree with Faith, who’s commented above me. I’m fifteen, and I really can’t imagine that losing my virginity a year ago would have been a good thing. I mean, yeah, people mature differently, but still. I think that studies have shown that people who waited until they were eighteen ended up the happiest/most successful.

    slightly-surreal.blogspot.co.uk

    • caro nation April 22nd, 2013 7:18 PM

      What “studies?” This is exactly what Amy Rose is talking about in this article. What if I’m responsible and have a willing partner and I’m 14 years old? 15 years old? 16? 17? What if I DON’T, and I make the “mistake” of having sex and not enjoying it, having sex and feeling baffled and confused, or end up contracting an STI or getting pregnant, all that stuff that, yes, CAN be a ramification of having sex at ANY AGE. But who has the fucking NERVE to tell ME that i will not be happy, successful or well-adjusted because I had sex before some arbitrary cut-off? The main objection in these comments seems to be that Amy Rose glossed over the emotional baggage that can, but certainly should not be EXPECTED TO, attach itself to sex. I agree. But I’m not going to let anyone tell me WHEN IS RIGHT FOR ME, anyone insinuate when is the morally or socially “acceptable” time to take this step in my life. My success or failure in life is not and will never be because of my age first having sex, whether it was a good experience or not.

    • lizzyheinie April 22nd, 2013 8:08 PM

      I think her whole point was that people mature differently! As you pointed out, sex at 14 would not have been a good decision for you. So it’s good that you waited! Meanwhile, there are girls (like Amy Rose) who absolutely were ready at that age. Or another age.

      The problem is, a lot of people and adults believe that EVERYONE should be treated the same and wait until some older age, when really, like you said, everyone matures differently! I took her argument as “Know yourself, and when YOU are ready, and not when somebody else says you should or shouldn’t be ready.”

      For what it’s worth, I lost my virginity at 15, and sitting here now four years later, I can definitely tell you that I am better off than I would have been if I had waited. But again, that’s just me (:

    • glitter riot April 22nd, 2013 10:48 PM

      Ok, but that’s your own personal opinion about YOUR body and your emotions, not every one else’s. You may not feel ready for sex, but other people do. I didn’t feel ready for sex until I was almost 17. Everyone is different, and everyone has the right to make their own choices about their life and their body. And that ‘study’ is flawed.

      • Kimono Cat April 23rd, 2013 4:11 AM

        Okay, I’m sorry. I was grumpy when I wrote this comment. I was wrong. I will never dictate what people should or should not do with their lives and bodies. Here’s the study if you want to read it: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-10/uota-dtl101812.php

        I was quoting a secondhand, garbled version of the study that I vaguely remembered. If you read the study, it says that people who waited longer are only *more* likely to be more content in the adult relationships. It’s not a black and white matter, and if you feel that what you did was the right thing, it probably was.

        Please don’t hate me, I’ve had a super bad morning, and again, I was wrong.

  • teril c April 22nd, 2013 4:51 PM

    I enjoy the frankness of this article. I also like that you denounce the idea that women/girls who have sex are shameful or ought to be. I completely agree. Thank you for this. However, I think your diminishing of some of the very serious potential consequences of sex is very problematic.

    “First of all: if you use a reliable form of birth control and/or a barrier (like a condom or a dental dam) to protect you, you’re probably not gonna get pregnant or catch an STI. But also: most of us are lucky enough to live in places, and all of us in a time when STIs and unwanted pregnancies can be managed. If you don’t buy in to the notion that some eventuality can ruin your life, then guess what? It won’t.”

    I appreciate that you acknowledge that there are consequences, and yes, it is true that there are precautions to take to significantly decrease the chances of some of these consequences. But downplaying the difficulty and seriousness of teenage pregnancy, catching an STI, and public bullying/shaming (which has recently resulted in some highly publicized suicides) is just irresponsible.

    • teril c April 22nd, 2013 8:52 PM

      “And even if this weren’t the case, I think I would have realized that none of those possible outcomes are as truly awful and apocalyptic as some people might try to have you believe.”

      This also rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not sure someone who hasn’t experienced those consequences should be judging how “awful” they are. I respect Amy Rose’s personal experiences/opinions, but in this case I think this comment reeks of privilege that needs to be recognized.

      • kookookachoo April 23rd, 2013 1:15 AM

        Agree. I’m for Amy Rose’s progressive argument about anti-slut shaming and using “risks of having sex” as a stealthy way to shame/scare girls into “living modestly.” However, like you said, this progressive idea/casual attitude about sex might come to an impasse when met with a regressive reality– like living in one of the many states that simultaneously make it very difficult to obtain contraception AND where there are only one or two abortion providers in the whole county/state– a huge “apocalyptic” “eventuality” that can actually “ruin your life” if you have little resources and/or emotional/community support for sexual health/reproduction related decisions.

        not to sound hostile, because i don’t intend to, and i’m a fan of Rookie and it’s mission to be a forum where girls/womankind can conduct an open conversation, but it IS a privilege to have progressive/supportive parents, to have what i’m assuming is reasonable access to sexual/reproductive health services and other resources on the coasts (north east and west). THOSE people can brush off “eventualities,” because they have various fallback systems to rely on.

        however, for the rest of us, we can’t be so devil-may-care about sex, because the consequences could literally end our lives as we know them, futures, dreams, career paths

        Again, though i support the message “slut-shaming, fear-mongering about risks in sex is bad,” it has to be put in the context of a reality where the consequences of sex are more than just shame/regret. I think that line of possibility needs to be less glibly addressed in the future

        • Roz G. June 12th, 2013 4:50 PM

          Completely agree with this comment. I’m all for bashing the social standards that state girls should be chaste pure beings whereas men are hardly/never shamed for any kind of sexual behaviour.
          However I would like to point out that not all of Rookies readers are American, so if not all of the States in the U.S have the resources Amy Rose mentioned in her article imagine Latin American countries etc. I for one can tell you that abortion is not legal in Mexico (except for Mexico City) and our public medical system pretty much sucks. So no, we don’t have those great privileges and we probably should think more than american girls when it comes to the repercussions of having sex. Well that sucks.

  • stelliform April 22nd, 2013 4:52 PM

    Stellar article. Wish I’d read something like this last year when my boyfriend and I broke up because of my chastity. I may have reconsidered my options a lot sooner (it took me a couple months to change my mind). I can’t wait until the day that our society realizes that sexuality is nothing to be ashamed of!

  • itsaoifedahling April 22nd, 2013 5:05 PM

    I can deffo relate to this. Two of my best friends have ‘ done it’ recently and that has made me question my own values about sex, and my morals in general. Then I came to the realization that I’ll do it when I’m damn ready and when/where/with whom is strictly my and their private business only.
    And I always do that checklist in my mind before I do something risky! Works a treat ;)
    Aoife xx
    http://passtheteacup.blogspot.ie/?m=1

  • Ozma April 22nd, 2013 5:46 PM

    This is so refreshing! I find it extremely frustrating to see how conflicted so many of the girls my age are with their sexuality. In my school, to be female and to say something as simple as, “I would have sex.” or, “Actually, I think the way she dresses is empowering!” causes quite the uproar.

  • Francis Dorage April 22nd, 2013 5:50 PM

    the myth that guys are having lots of sex and girls shouldnt be shamed for the same actions is a myth. Im a guy who never gets laid and id bet 80 percent of the males out there never get laid. (80/20 rule i would bet applies here too). You have a luxurious problem. People are judging you for have sex. Something most people only get to fantasize about. There are many people out there living in quiet desperation.

    • lizzyheinie April 22nd, 2013 8:03 PM

      Actually, fun fact, my cousin’s high school does an anonymous survey of seniors every year and it’s actually about 50/50 by the time kids graduate. I mean, that could obviously be less than accurate and certainly only comes from that one high school, but I just thought it was interesting. About half also said that they had drank alcohol too.

    • Hazel April 22nd, 2013 8:09 PM

      Being degraded as a human being for being a healthy sexual being isn’t a “luxurious problem” and, unfortunately, it’s something that happens mostly for the female sex.

    • Tavi April 22nd, 2013 8:18 PM

      I’m sure it seems like a luxurious problem to someone who has the privilege of not encountering it.

    • photi April 22nd, 2013 10:26 PM

      i think being ‘shamed for the same actions’ is referring to sexually active people rather than those individuals who don’t have sex, which is what you’re talking about. with the word ‘slut’, solely females are admonished by society. in general it seems that males who frequently have sex are admired or seen as strong, dominant figures. But conversely, females are seen as ‘dirty’ or whoring. There’s a plethora of nouns to describe sexually active females e.g. skank, slut, whore, bitch, all with extremely negative connotations, whereas i can only think of one for a male, which is ‘player’, a word that suggests admirable qualities.

    • farawayfaerie April 23rd, 2013 4:37 PM

      don’t be ignorant to issues which you will never have to face, and also just generally be a good person, and I’m sure you will find someone who will have sex with you. For now keep your quiet desperation quieter, and don’t let male privilege skew your judgement.

    • Ruby B. May 1st, 2013 6:20 PM

      Women tend to be more drawn to people who don’t have brash and biased opinions about subjects they are ignorant about. Just a tip!

  • lilylaughs April 22nd, 2013 5:57 PM

    I’m kind of disappointed to read some of the comments criticizing Amy Rose’s article. People mature at different rates, and many people are ready to have sex at a younger age. I went through puberty really early, and I think the idea that girls will become “emotionally” messed up or something after their sexual debut is totally misogynistic. I’m not some emotional wreck who can’t make decisions for myself. As Amy Rose said, unprotected sex, while obviously stupid, is not always going to ruin your life. “Losing” one’s virginity is like this huge thing (esp. for girls) in society; it’s not as big of a deal as it as made to be (like all that “lock and key” bullshit). I also disagree with people who are saying that this sends a bad message to younger girls. Girls are not stupid. Just because I read an article about someone who felt empowered and safe having sex at a younger-than-average age does not mean that I’m gonna be like “wow! this means i need to have sex RIGHT NOW EVERYONE IS DOING IT AAAHHH!” Instead, I’m like “wow! I really respect how Amy Rose defied stupid socialized bs about sex and did what she was ready for/ comfortable with.” hope that wasn’t too rambling :)

    • abby111039 April 22nd, 2013 7:49 PM

      That’s exactly how I felt reading through these comments, lilylaughs. I found the article empowering and inspiring. Instead of feeling compelled to have sex at a younger age, I instead got the meassage from this that the decision is entirely in my own hands, and not to give a fuck what anyone has to say about my choices. I think that’s what Amy Rose was trying to say with this piece. I understand that people will view this topic in a number of different ways. One girl might read it and think “Wow! That’s great, and I totally agree!”, while another might say, “This isn’t for me.” That’s the beauty of it, I think. It’s all about CHOICE.

    • dreamygirl April 22nd, 2013 7:50 PM

      PERFECT COMMENT

    • whodatgal April 23rd, 2013 3:33 PM

      omg i agreeeeeeee

  • Maz April 22nd, 2013 6:00 PM

    Hey, Rookie, quick question, who sponsored this post? Thanks!

  • HaverchuckForPresident April 22nd, 2013 6:21 PM

    This reminds me of when Allison from the Breakfast Club calls virginity ‘a double-edged sword’ – if you haven’t had sex you’re a prude, and if you have you’re a slut. But your sex life (or lack thereof…) is something private. It shouldn’t be affected by how you think you will be judged

  • Kaetlebugg April 22nd, 2013 6:24 PM

    i don’t think this is amy rose’s fault but now I do feel somewhat sad for not having any experiences REMOTELY similar to the *fun! exciting! spontaneous!* ones described here. How about “it’s ok to be ‘boring’” as well?

    • Ella W April 23rd, 2013 5:55 PM

      Yeah, this is how I felt when I read this article.
      I felt I couldn’t really relate to it that much, as I don’t enjoy being spontaneous, or going to parties, and the thought of getting practically naked in front of people really scares me.
      I am 16, and I am no way ready for any of the stuff Amy Rose describes in the article.
      But I’m fine just being boring as long as it’s being me. If I like reading, and watching films by myself and drawing and so on then that’s fine, because it’s me.

      • kelsey April 26th, 2013 3:10 AM

        Good for you! Frankly, I’d rather hang out with a bookish, artsy person who is knowledgeable about films any day – it takes all sorts to make a world, as they say.

  • jenaimarley April 22nd, 2013 7:02 PM

    I think a great take-away from this article is that it is really important to act in an intentional and personal way and not in response to social pressures (that are either telling you to do something or not to do it). That way, it’s easier to take responsibility for the consequences and use “mistakes” to live more in the way you want to in the future.

  • LizzieS April 22nd, 2013 7:14 PM

    I liked this article. But I’d also like to point out you seem to have been pretty lucky! Please don’t take this badly, as I love your articles, but I do think you’re one of a minority. On the other side of the spectrum, my first time was incredibly painful and incredibly unpleasant. I agree with everything you said about slut-shaming, but I definitely think this one is purely an individual decision. Sex isn’t always ‘more fun’!
    x

  • Freddie April 22nd, 2013 7:45 PM

    I think Amy Rose is just trying to say that feeling ready for sex or not are both fine. As long as you are having sex because you want to and you aren’t putting yourself in any danger – then that’s ok. If you don’t want sex, that’s fine too! Also – don’t feel like you have to listen to society’s idea of virginity. If your first time doesn’t live up to expectations, you can choose to see your ‘first time’ as when you first really enjoyed sex (I feel like good sex and awful sex really do not belong in the same category of experience)

    • LizzieS April 23rd, 2013 11:20 AM

      I agree! Not sure if this was aimed at me, but I hope you don’t mind me replying anyway ^_^ As I said, I agree with Amy Rose and thought the article was great. I just wanted to offer an alternative view, as we had such different experiences. I like what you said about good sex and awful sex being different different categories though. That’s probably the answer.
      x

  • dreamygirl April 22nd, 2013 8:02 PM

    Amy Rose, you are a fantastic writer presenting an amazing idea. It’s true that you are lucky, though, and not all of us are. I disagree with Faith on basically everything (the lack of sex-ed may apply to you, too), except that there is an emotional-thingy related to sex (and not only for girls). You have to have a lot of responsibility, because honestly, what if the condom rips? You have to be ready to support someone–and that someone isn’t the child–it’s the other parent. Because they’re going through something (no matter how not-a-big-deal it is) with you. No matter what, it would probably hurt to be alone, without the person that supposedly respected and loved you. If they’re the guy, I can understand being frightened by it, but having a not-really-even-a-baby can be scary too. And WOW that’s a “what if?”Glee moment so um feel free to disagree but anyways props to Amy Rose for writing an awesome article, much love <3

    • dreamygirl April 22nd, 2013 8:03 PM

      and yes I totally realize that while covering a big topic you might have not have thought of EVERY SINGLE SCENARIO

    • Faith April 22nd, 2013 11:04 PM

      Not sure how you disagreed. We essentially said the exact same thing- that sex is a big deal and shouldn’t be treated quite so lightly.

      In regards to sex ed, I’m not sure how you could gather my sexual knowledge from that post.

      I was simply noting that in the south, some people are very jaded. I actually had a discussion with a college-aged woman who would not relent on her position that women can only get pregnant 2 days a month. She claimed it was physically impossible to get pregnant at any other time. So obviously, I am a proponent of sexual education. There are girls walking around the south who think they understand how to prevent pregnancy/STI’s when they do not.

  • Emmie April 22nd, 2013 8:27 PM

    I am especially interested in the use of the word slut in the context of slut walks. I understand and wholeheartedly agree that claiming your body as your own, and doing with it what you please vs. what society/the patriarchy thinks you should do (as long as it’s not seriously harmful) is a positive message, but I don’t agree with labeling that as being “slutty.” I know that the point of slut walk is to reclaim the word and make it less offensive, but it seems to me that instead of accomplishing the goal of changing the meaning of slut, it labels normal, healthy sexual/aesthetic desires/choices as “slutty.” I don’t think bandying this word about is going to change the opinions of people who use the word “slut” seriously.

    • farawayfaerie April 23rd, 2013 4:48 PM

      Ugh, I hate the word slut. I hate that Slut Walk is called slut walk, even though i whole-heartedly agree with its message. I feel like the more women start calling themselves sluts, the more men (and also other women, which is annoying) will think it’s okay – Tina Fey told us this in Mean Girls. I get that you’re reclaiming it to change its meaning into something positive, but i feel like it’s still used negatively way too often for this to be okay. basically, i agree with your comment.

      • kelsey April 26th, 2013 3:15 AM

        I know. It’s a bummer too, because I know people who probably wouldn’t walk in it just because of the name – even though if they had it explained to them, I’m sure they’d agree with the concept. I understand why that word is used – totally – but the term isn’t turning around in people’s minds.

  • TessAnnesley April 22nd, 2013 8:33 PM

    *gives Amy Rose an internet high five*

  • allier April 22nd, 2013 8:35 PM

    I really really loved this post!! It reminded me of something i saw on tumblr (which I sadly can’t find or link to) that went something like:
    Reject Virginity: You aren’t losing something when you have sex, you are gaining an experience. To say that having sex degrades you as a person is to consider a woman as her sexuality, not as a human being.
    (Again: I’m paraphrasing)
    But this is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, and this article has given me a lot of food for thought. Who gets to decide my sex life? I DO! Who gets to make those decisions for me? I DO! Who gets to judge me about it? NO ONE! Thank you for your guidance, Rookie. It’s helped me grow a lot as a person and I’m very thankful to be part of a community of nonjudgmental people who are supportive, regardless of social norms. Being 14 is a confusing and weird and awkward and sweaty and kinda horny time, and I’m glad I have such cool mentors and friends on this site. Stay cool, Rookie!

  • hanalady April 22nd, 2013 9:06 PM

    I agree with people on both sides of this discussion. I really enjoyed the article and I think all the rhetoric about how people will be emotionally destroyed/die if they have sex “too young” (as defined by a misogynistic culture) is really messed up, but at the same time I think plenty of girls are also shamed for choosing NOT to have sex, which is just as messed up. Amy Rose touched on this a little bit, but the rest of the article kind of made it seem like if someone is choosing not to have sex (for whatever reason), they are just prudes/old-fashioned/buying into sexism, or like their choice is somehow less valid because it’s one that their parents/society in general might approve of (even though like i said, most of society doesn’t actually approve of anything girls do with their bodies, ever).

    also the line about how STIs and pregnancy can’t really be that bad (which I think Anaheed said she was going to change) really bothered me because I know several girls who got pregnant in high school and even though it didn’t “ruin their lives,” it’s not a small thing to have to deal with, and whatever decision you make (have an abortion, adopt away the child, raise the child) is often something that really sticks with you, it’s not always something you can just “get over” easily. it doesn’t HAVE to be this way, but to act like an unintended pregnancy or an STI is just no-big-deal felt really dismissive and minimizing toward people who have dealt with these and who have found them serious issues.

  • Dylan April 22nd, 2013 9:46 PM

    Shout out to Hattie’s roses. I wanna run through a field of them staring at me and laughing.

  • photi April 22nd, 2013 10:26 PM

    What i liked about this article, was that my opinion changed as i continued to read it. i think that shows some pretty good writing if you’re able to passively change a reader’s perspective over a few hundred words. this website is really great in regards to presenting a views which are generally disregarded in generic social debate.
    However, i’m surprised nobody brought up the law. i know in australia (where i’m from), 16 is the legal age to have sex, and so two consenting individuals below this age are still breaking the law. Of course many youths drink underage and experiment with illicit drugs, but perhaps that’s the caution with which sonja’s mother regarded the situation. Alcohol and other drugs can obviously have detrimental effects in quantities above moderation, but it’s interesting to wonder why there is an age, dictated by law, where it is suddenly acceptable to commit to such a PERSONAL act.

    also, not to be pedantic, but i think there’s an error on the first page, 6th line from the bottom. should it be mothers rather than mother’s?

  • glitter riot April 22nd, 2013 10:39 PM

    I loved this article and i’m tired of parents and everyone else telling girls to wait. Wait for what? I think the reason why all of these kids go crazy and have negative experiences is because our culture makes things like sex and drugs seem soo cool and ‘bad’ and rebellious, that of course they are going to jump into it without thinking. If we actually educated people about sex and drugs everyone could enjoy them in a safe, and fun way.

  • tobtob April 22nd, 2013 10:44 PM

    My experiences were the EXACT same way. I have no regrets about having sex at 15. None. It was really nice and fun. No one ever gave me crap about it – If you with someone kind and that you trust, gossip is just not an issue. I educated myself, made sure that it was what I wanted and was aware of the risks. As long as a girl knows about her body and has access to contraceptives the likelihood of getting pregnant/an STD are relatively low. Thank you so much for writing this article!

  • periwinkle_dreams April 22nd, 2013 10:50 PM

    I recently read a blog post that talked about two big sex myths: 1) Sex isn’t a big deal, and 2) Sex is the BIGGEST DEAL of ALL THE DEALS EVER. In my opinion, sex is a big deal. I think it’s really cool that Amy Rose had sex with a boy that she was in a positive, caring relationship with, at a time when they both decided they were ready and were going to be very deliberate and safe about it. [Full disclosure: my personal conviction/choice is that I want to save sex for marriage. But, it's not my right to force that belief on others.] However, I don’t think sex is something to take lightly – I think that before you have sex you need to have given some serious thought to your own sexuality and what you feel you’re ready for. I think we’d all find it disturbing if we learned that two 8-year-olds had had sex, because we can all agree that 3rd graders are not anywhere close to the emotional maturity and ability to think about various consequences that is necessary to make the decision to have sex. When I was 12, I had begun to explore my own sexuality and think about what I was feeling, but I wasn’t even thinking about actually, in real life, having SEX. To me, that seemed far-fetched and a little scary, and there’s no way I could’ve emotionally handled having sex. If you’re thinking about it, it might be helpful to ask and consider the advice of a close, trusted friend who knows you very well.

    My point: Don’t make decisions based on others’ opinions; DO make decisions based on your knowledge of, very specifically, yourself.

  • Faith April 22nd, 2013 10:54 PM

    Some things I’d like to respond to:

    I do not think that sex is ANYTHING to be ashamed of. I think it’s beautiful and wonderful and fun. However, I also do not think sex=orgasms. Even when it is casual, there is an unavoidable connection.

    I do not think that people (in this specific case, young girls) have issues with sex/regret it ONLY because it is something that is stigmatized. I agree that people should be less judgmental of others. However, sex is an emotional connection with another person that is unlike any other in the world. Some young people are not prepared for that, and this article tells them that sex really isn’t a big deal. When in fact, many times, it is a very emotional situation. No, not everyone gets pregnant or gets an STI, and far too MANY people receive negative feedback, but even without those tangible consequences, there can be emotion consequences. These consequences are mostly pushed to the side in the article.

    The main issue with this article is that rather than just recounting the story of one person who did not have regrets, and making it clear that some people do, it essentially claims that people who have regrets are in the minority. And in my life, I have encountered more people who wish they hadn’t than are glad they did.

    Rookie just needs to be careful. There are plenty of young girls/women who will read this and think, “wow, sex doesn’t really have any consequences!” when that is not usually case.

    • dancinginthetrees April 23rd, 2013 8:49 PM

      You say that having sex with someone creates an emotional connection that is “unavoidable.” That isn’t a fact. I have had sex with people that I had no emotional connection to. Ex: I met someone while on vacation visiting my best friend, thought he was attractive, went home with him that night, had a fabulous night, and hopped on a plane the next day and went back home without a care in the world. If I run into him again in life, fine, if not, that’s fine as well. I am completely ambivalent about him, despite having had great sex with him.

      I also was warned by my mother INCESSANTLY about how teenagers just aren’t ready for the emotional connection for sex. She knew I would be safe, she didn’t have religious ideas about premarital sex, and she liked my boyfriend. But she was absolutely convinced that some terrible sadness would befall me if ever I had sex with said boyfriend as a teenager and broke up with him or something. The specific hypothetical situation was never very clear to me, but it was SO REAL. in her head.

      I had a wonderful first time at 16, after dating my boyfriend for four months. We cared deeply for each other, we were safe, and we were ready for sex to become part of our emotional relationship. We dated for three and a half years, and have since gone on to date other people.

      These experiences have shown me that the “emotions! connections!” thing is just another side of the slut-shaming dice. Remove all the pearl-clutching about teen sex, and you will find that teenagers are perfectly capable of making decisions about their own relationships and bodies.

      • dancinginthetrees April 23rd, 2013 8:50 PM

        on another note, my name is Faith too!

  • decemberflower April 22nd, 2013 11:21 PM

    Amy Rose, this was TOO GOOD. I had to come back and read it again because it was so spot-on.

    Although I personally don’t feel ready to have sex at this point in my life, I agree with the points you make here. I can’t stand how our culture constantly ignores/denies the fact that women and girls do indeed have sexual desires. And like you said, why are we expected to repress them while men and boys are given a free pass?

    Honestly, it’s the same stigma that surrounds masturbation (yes, I went there.) Our culture accepts the fact that guys masturbate, because CUT THEM A BREAK THEY ARE JUST TOO HORNY, and to a certain degree, it’s acceptable for men to talk openly about it (at least to each other.) Meanwhile, there’s so much shaming and taboo and secrecy around the idea of girls masturbating because EW HOW DO YOU EVEN DO THAT AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU ARE A SEXUAL BEING????

    • decemberflower April 22nd, 2013 11:32 PM

      (Sorry, I accidentally pressed enter.)

      The other thing I can’t stand is people constantly telling girls to “Respect Themselves.” Obviously, self-respect is very important, but I feel like the meaning that is often applied to it in the context of sex is very warped. This is because people aren’t generally even referring to the potential consequences that come with sex, but purely to the stigma that having sex “ruins” a girl or a woman, and that there is no way that a woman would CHOOSE to have sex with many different people, so she must just be doing it to please men, and therefore is doing some sort of damage to herself.

      But, fundamentally, doesn’t respecting yourself really mean to know yourself, and to know what you want, and to know what is good for you/makes you happy, and to be able to establish healthy relationships and avoid those that are unhealthy? So therefore, a woman who chooses to have sex for her own PERSONAL enjoyment with people who she ENJOYS having sex with– isn’t that the very definition of “self-respect?”

    • Hannah April 22nd, 2013 11:34 PM

      That masturbation thing.

      I literally thought this article was about masturbation at first and I was so happy. I hope we get a stigmatization of masturbation article soon.

      • Anaheed April 22nd, 2013 11:58 PM

        http://rookiemag.com/2011/10/do-it-yourself/

        ♡♡

      • decemberflower April 23rd, 2013 12:00 AM

        Thank you! I just had to take this opportunity to get on my soapbox about it. I distinctly remember having a conversation with a friend a few years ago (we were about 13) where she told me how a boy in her class had said to her that he would bet that 90% of the girls in the grade masturbated. She followed that by saying she was “proud to say she never had.” All I could think was why that was something to be proud of. It’s not that I feel that it’s wrong to choose not to masturbate- quite the contrary- but just the fact that at the age of 13 she had already internalized the sexist idea that it was gross for girls to do so. Sigh.

        P.S. Can anyone tell me what my display name is showing up as? Because it shows up to me as my first and last name even though I don’t think it’s supposed to do that and my username is decemberflower…

        • Anaheed April 23rd, 2013 1:09 AM

          Ugh, I don’t know why this username thing keeps happening — I think it has something to do with a spambot. We’re looking into it, and if there are any I don’t catch right away please email me at anaheed@rookiemag.com and let me know.

        • decemberflower April 23rd, 2013 7:18 AM

          Thanks so much, Anaheed!

  • 2cool4school April 22nd, 2013 11:22 PM

    I really enjoyed this article. I like how Amy did not let herself be defined and restricted by society’s expectations and “rules.” More people live like this. Sex is not bad thing and if you are mature and ready, I think it’s fine. Good article.

  • Hannah April 22nd, 2013 11:32 PM

    Wow this article has a ton of backlash in the comments.

    I wanted to say that I liked this article, because it seemed to be like Amy Rose was mature and knew herself well enough, and honestly addressed these issues at the end of her article, to have sex in 8th grade. Just do you.

  • Lorelei April 22nd, 2013 11:37 PM

    I liked this article. People mature at different rates and what’s right for one person at 14 might not be right for another person until much, much later. Amy Rose educated herself and even made a fun mixtape and had a positive experience and that’s awesome! By no means should any girls out there feel lame or anything if they don’t lose their virginity by a certain age. They also shouldn’t be shamed for losing it before a certain age. Just do what’s right for you and educate yourself and have a blast!

    (I also like Hattie’s illustration)

    (On a different note – I just started reading The Virgin Suicides. I bought it on Saturday and I tore through half of it but now I’m trying to slow down and savor the story. I just really wanted to tell someone about this because you guys would appreciate it whereas most of my friends would read the back cover and give me a weird look)

  • maddie123 April 23rd, 2013 12:03 AM

    I absolutely adore everything Amy Rose talks about. She’s so wise beyond her years and actually means what she says which is rare today. I am personally shocked at some of backlash in the comments because for most of this she was providing a smart view point of ‘do what you want, but make sure you’re safe and happy whilst doing it’. I don’t see the problem.

  • Madam S. April 23rd, 2013 12:59 AM

    I’m sorry, you orgasmed your first time? What? How???

    • Badlands April 23rd, 2013 11:22 AM

      I THOUGHT THE SAME THING!! !

      • crapbag April 23rd, 2013 11:15 PM

        Yaa the one thing that stuck out to me too!!

  • elinoir April 23rd, 2013 1:19 AM

    I love this article! So often society tries to put our sexuality up for public discussion when it’s nobody’s damn business but MINE. I’m a virgin but that doesn’t mean I’m a prude or that I lack sexuality. It doesn’t mean anything except that I haven’t had sex thus far. It doesn’t make me better or more “moral” than anyone.

  • unefillecommetoi April 23rd, 2013 1:54 AM

    i’d always been embarassed to say i had sex for the first time at 14 and this made me feel a lot better. it was my choice and i think it was right for me, even though my first time was really weird and awkward and physically painful but also somewhat perfect. thanks!

  • Lillypod April 23rd, 2013 3:13 AM

    Rookie, this is the least helpful and most self-congratulatory article you’ve ever published.

    • freya2770 April 23rd, 2013 8:14 AM

      The one about thrifting and the one about making jam deserve a mention for most self-congratulatory, surely?

    • whodatgal April 23rd, 2013 3:20 PM

      It may not be helpful to you, but for other people it can be helpful and relateable :) I liked it very much

    • Ruby B. May 1st, 2013 6:06 PM

      I don’t think AR’s point was to congratulate herself on being mature and ready for sex at 14 and have no consequences. I interpreted it much more as a different, usually unheard-of POV: that having sex won’t necessarily ruin you and your whole life. There can be complications, obviously, but the sex itself isn’t going to dehumanize/de-purify/deflower you or whatever. I feel it’s just saying that it’s okay to wait until you’re older for sex (as we have all heard millions of times), but it’s ALSO okay NOT to.

  • marie-fantomette April 23rd, 2013 7:01 AM

    I loved the article but I, too, thought it was a tad too dismissive of potential complications. Then I considered that we have a whole culture that worries about and emphasizes these potential complications, such that it’s sort of fine to counter all that with such an unabashed article. And after all, Amy Rose made it very clear that this was her own experience. I guess I would have appreciated a smoother transition from the part where she talked about her experience to the part where she expanded on what are the lessons to take home from this. And I’m glad Anaheed corrected that part about the supposedly easy access to medical care etc.

    Finally, I have a suggestion. I wonder if Amy Rose might be interested in writing a follow-up piece to this, in light of all the comments. Not because I want to see her apologize, but because I think she’d be just the person to write about caution without taking back anything she said about the liberty to make up our own minds depending on how ready we feel.

    Also, I would just love to read more of her writing here, beacuse she’s probably my favorite Rookie author :)

  • saramarit April 23rd, 2013 10:04 AM

    I have nothing constructive to add to the discussion, I just wanted to say that Amy Rose is my favourite Rookie writer too and everytime I see a new piece by her I’m like, air punch!

  • MaggietheCat April 23rd, 2013 1:34 PM

    My virginity losing song was Clove Smoke Catharsis by AFI. My boyfriend put on my favourite album by my favourite band so I’d be comfortable. I was 16, I wasn’t really ready, but I wanted to soooo badly that I did. And I turned out just fine.

  • RaineFall April 23rd, 2013 1:59 PM

    I really liked this article and admire how Amy Rose is standing up for the people who are doing whatever the hell they want and liking it, and I’m all for that. I hate slut shaming, and one of my close friends is what some people may term a “slut”. I think thats totally unfair, and she is an incredibly lovely person, and I for one don’t care what she does with her sex life.

    However, I feel like there’s another group of marginalised people, and that’s those who don’t have sex past like 19. I feel society is completely hypocritical, in that you CANNOT do it until you’re 16/17, and by the time you’re 20, you HAVE to be doing it. How is it possible that in 3 years everyone has to be devirignised?

    I feel like the world just needs to accept that people all grow and develop at their own rate, which may be different from the norm, and just f***ing deal with it.

  • Hannnah April 23rd, 2013 2:18 PM

    This is awesome! I wanna say “refreshing”even though that is such a vaguely patroning-sounding cliche. But it’s absolutely true here. I didn’t realise until you brought it up that I had actually been waiting for the “and then… [something bad happened]“

  • imogan April 23rd, 2013 2:29 PM

    This is a really good article and I wish so much that a lot of the messages in this would be more widespread.
    It’s really sad because slut shaming and negatively parading girls with hate because they kissed several boys at a party is so common at my school and generally in my area, whereas boys are left alone and often saluted for their various party shenanigans and what not, and it’s really disgusting.
    I’m so glad that articles like these and Rookie in general and so many wonderful people around the world are making the change and advocating the topic and views that urgently needs addressing!
    Thank you!

  • whodatgal April 23rd, 2013 3:19 PM

    omg I can relate to this on so many different levelsssss <3

  • gracegoessquee April 23rd, 2013 3:40 PM

    I recently had a realization like this where i basically just said “screw you guys, you dont get to choose what i like and what i do.” it is a very powerful feeling! anyways, this essay really spoke to me. thank you!

  • Indigoblue April 23rd, 2013 4:25 PM

    Very honest and awesome!

  • CorduroyMagic April 23rd, 2013 5:22 PM

    The adjective “creamy” was an interesting choice…

  • Hannah L April 23rd, 2013 6:03 PM

    small typo–in the third paragraph on the second page it says compromiser instead of compromise!

  • Ella W April 23rd, 2013 6:15 PM

    I read through every single one of these comments, and I don’t really know what to think.
    At first I was like ‘Go Amy Rose’, but then I was like ‘wait.. whaaaatttt’.
    The best thing to do is just stick with whatever you think is right for yourself. And I think that’s pretty much what Amy Rose is saying.
    To be fair though, I’m just reading through this and thinking, well this is not particularly relevant to me. You know, I think about sex a lot, but actually doing it, naaaaaahhh. I’m 16 and I know I’m just not ready. I’m yet to have a boyfriend, and I know that all I really want at the moment is the hugging kissing stuff that comes before sex.

    Not sure how this comment is helpful, but just what I felt.

    http://gorillalegs.blogspot.co.uk/

  • runningfilm April 23rd, 2013 6:38 PM

    My boyfriend and I have been best friends since kindergarten and have been officially in a relationship for about a year and a half. We’re both seniors in high school, and early on in the relationship we decided we didn’t want to have sex in high school because for us, it didn’t feel right. But for us, that’s fine! And it’s fine for other people to be having consensual sex in high school. Just for he and I personally, it was a decision that we made together that feels right to us. We’re very much looking forward to it this summer- and who wouldn’t?

  • Runaway April 23rd, 2013 7:27 PM

    Amy Rose, thanks a lot for this article. I’ve been way too attuned to the thoughts and feelings of the people around me for most of my life.

  • crapbag April 23rd, 2013 9:53 PM

    I think this article rocks in terms of feeling comfortable with your sexuality and not allowing others to dictate it. I think the thing that unsettled me slightly was the fact that it sliggghtly promotes like children having sex? Like it seems like you’re saying you wish you’d had sex at twelve and why shouldn’t we all? I’m not at all saying you were forcing your views upon anyone who doesn’t want them but I still think telling twelve year old who want to have sex to have sex is not quite right. I don’t think it has anything to do with what society says or anything but sex isn’t for children, ya know? I feel like this mostly because of the responsibility that’s put on you when you start having sex, I have personally been a fourteen year old who thought she was pregnant and that was some serious stress to my teen brain. I was safe and that time but we all know you can be as safe as possible and things still happen. My point is that the reasonnnn sex exists is to reproduce, of course that’s not what we’re aiming for the majority of the time, but it is like a possible outcome (!?!?!?????) and I think you gotta be mature enough to deal with it if it happens, which I think most twelve year olds (ok most teenagers but ya) are really not ready to deal with an abortion let alone a pregnancy. I don’t know. Sex rules incredibly but make sure you’re emotionally ready for it my brothers and sisters!~~

  • Maisy Russo April 23rd, 2013 11:47 PM

    sex on the beach, there must be something in the water, oh oh.
    Great article by the way!

  • Ribba April 24th, 2013 3:14 PM

    Yay for a sex-positive article on Rookie!
    A lot of people here are discussing the notion that you need to be ‘ready’ emotionally to have sex. This is something that girls hear *alot* from pop-culture and media, but I never quite understood it. When will you know you are ready to have sex? It’s not like a unlocked achivement in a video game: congratulations, you are now READY FOR SEX AND ADULT LIFE! Actually I think the preoccupation with being ready with sex could actually stop you from listening to what your body says, something young girls are never really thought. In my opinion you are ready to have sex if you feel horny with another person and are mature enough to protect yourself. I really liked this article because of how casually Amy Rose deals with sex: it’s really not a big deal as long as you have your wits about you. Over-analyzing things can keep you from experincing the most pleasureable thing in the world. :)

  • TinyWarrior April 24th, 2013 11:44 PM

    One thing I hate is when grown ups just assume that since teenagers have urges, that they are *going* to act on them. Like, uh, I am capable of keeping an attractive boy’s penis out of my va-jay-jay if I want to. Yes, you could act on that urge, but just because you *have* an urge doesn’t mean you’re *going* to act on it simply because of your age.

  • kelsey April 26th, 2013 3:04 AM

    I’m pretty darn conservative, and I say AMEN! to not being shamed by holier-than-thou attitudes. If someone doesn’t ascribe to my beliefs, what right do I have to judge them on those lines? How is it that the “only girls have to be pure” thing has managed to get passed down through history the way it has? Regardless of whether I think premarital sex is right or not, that’s just retarded.

    My one and only issue with Rookie – only one! – is that a lot of your sex-related content seems very one-sided. Or, at least, presents opinions as norms for everyone. I’m not saying this article does so blaringly, but several times in the past, I’ve come away from articles thinking things like, “they not only think I’m going to do BLAH THING (like have many sex partners), but they encourage me to do so.” I don’t want to see the sex content removed or changed – by no means! I just wish there was a bit more stress on the fact that these are one person’s lifestyle choices – and I can learn from them what I may – not what I am expected to do.

  • Harriet April 27th, 2013 8:27 AM

    That was the greatest thing I’ve ever read in my entire life.

  • oliviaH May 24th, 2013 8:06 AM

    Wow.I feel really inexperienced after reading this article, im 14 and I dont even have guys friends let alone a boyfriend. Ughh the downsides of all girl schools :( Even if I really wanted to do this stuff, Which I kinda do, theres no way its happening anytime soon:/ Anyone else feel this way or am I the only one ??

  • pubertyblues June 19th, 2013 8:45 PM

    i agree with everything said here! i hope the rest of my teenage years are as good as yours were.

    http://pvbertyblues.tumblr.com

  • kelsey July 3rd, 2013 1:51 AM

    Came back for a re-read and was impressed again with how dang smart this advice is. Even if the choices I make don’t line up with what Rookie peeps advocate, I love how you guys are all about being confident, smart and not letting people give you crap for your choices.
    Also, the distinction between shame and guilt has been enormously helpful to me. I tend to wallow in self-loathing sometimes, and I know it isn’t helpful. Thanks.