(Do you want to avoid these?)
1. Worries about Pregnancy and AIDS
For many sexually active young people, the fear of becoming pregnant or getting AIDS is a major emotional stress. Russell Henke, health education coordinator in Montgomery County, Maryland says, "I see kids going to the nurse's office in schools, crying a day after their first sexual experience, and wanting to be tested for AIDS. They have done it, and now they are terrified. For some of them, that's enough. They say, "I don't want to have to go through that experience anymore." A high school girl told a nurse:
"I see some of my friends buying home pregnancy tests, and they are so worried and so distracted every month, afraid that they might be pregnant. It's a relief to me to be a virgin." 2. Deep Regrets
Girls, especially, need to know in advance the sharp regret that so many young women feel after becoming sexually involved.
Says one high school girl:
"I get upset when I see my friends losing their virginity to some guy they've just met. Later, after the guy's dumped them, they come to me and say, "I wish I hadn't done it." A ninth-grade girl who slept with eight boys in junior high says, "I'm young, but I feel old." Girls are more vulnerable than boys because girls are more likely to think of sex as a way to "show you care." They're more likely to see sex as a sign of commitment in the relationship. If a girl expects a sexual interlude to be loving, she may very well feel cheated and used when the boy doesn't show a greater romantic interest after the event. As one 15-year-old girl describes her experience: "I didn't expect the guy to marry me, but I never expected him to avoid me in school." He dropped Sandy after sex . . .
Bob Bartlett, who teaches a freshman sexuality class in a Richfield, Minn., high school, shares the following story of regret on the part of one of his students whom we'll call "Sandy" . . . Sandy, a bright and pretty girl, asked to see Mr. Bartlett during her lunch period. She explained that she had never had a boyfriend, so she was excited when a senior asked her out. After they dated for several weeks, the boy asked her to have sex with him. She was reluctant; he was persistent. She was afraid of appearing immature and losing him, so she consented. "Did it work?" Mr. Bartlett asked gently. "Did you keep him?" Sandy replied: "For another week. We had sex again, and then he dropped me. He said I wasn't good enough. There was no spark. "I know what you're going to say. I take your class. I know now that he didn't really love me. I feel so stupid, so cheap." Sandy hoped, naively, that sex would have helped her keep the guy. Feeling trapped after sex . . .
Here is another high school girl, writing to an advice column about a different kind of regret. She wishes she could lose the guy she's involved with, but she feels trapped by their sexual relationship: "I am 16, a junior in high school, and like nearly all the other girls here, I have already lost my virginity. Although most people consider this subject very personal, I feel the need to share this part of my life with girls who are trying to decide whether to have sex for the first time. "Sex does not live up to the glowing reports and hype you see in the movies. It's no big deal. In fact, it's pretty disappointing. "I truly regret that my first time was with a guy that I didn't care that much about. I am still going out with him, which is getting to be a problem. I'd like to end this relationship and date others, but after being so intimate, it's awfully tough. "Since that first night, he expects sex on every date, like we are married or something. When I don't feel like it, we end up in an argument. It's like I owe it to him. I don't think this guy is in love with me, at least he's never said so. I know deep down that I am not in love with him either, and this makes me feel sort of cheap. "I realize now that this is a very big step...