I am a 21 year old girl who has never really been kissed yet I find myself, more and more, wanting to a) start dating and b) become sexual. While I am taking steps towards the dating there is a part of me that really just wants to have a one night stand or something along those lines.
I know my lack of experience is one item that prevents me from acting out, but a bigger part is my worrying that something bad might happen. All of my knowledge about sex has come from a fundamental Christian mind-set of NO PRE-MARITAL SEX!!! Yet I’ve never really bought into that and have a different opinion on the matter, i.e. as long as if safe and done in a healthy exploratory manor I will be fine and might even enjoy it especially since I am extremely horny. (which might be odd for a female but oh well that’s what I am)
I also know that I haven’t been ready for this step until recently because for one during junior high I was diagnosed with cancer and struggled with surviving it until sophomore year in high school which truly damaged my social skills and self-esteem. Being know as the fragile sick kid didn’t help much and plus I was busy focusing on recovery, getting back to basket-ball, and graduating on time with my class. (I had missed lots of school during treatment.) Once in collage I found myself at odds with most of the kids my age because the social scene seemed a little immature, and fake also I have an unfortunate “wiser beyond my years” outlook on life and I had to take so time to pause and reflect on who I was and digest what id been through.
Now I’ve done that and feel better centered and much more confidant in myself thus I’ve taken steps towards dating. I have seen great results of this too, i.e. being pick up on the street for just smiling at a guy, being asked for my number twice at one party and so on. But my dilemma arises from not knowing when sex would be good, and how to advance to a more intimate/physical relationship. Are one night stands ok? What precautions should I take to protect myself emotionally, and mentally- I’ve been drilled on the physical part such as birth control and condoms but what else should I know?
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I’m sure I could write a book about your question, but instead, I’ll limit myself to answering your obvious questions.
Is it normal for 21 year old women to be horny?
It is not at all odd for sexually mature women to want sex, even though traditionally they are not supposed to come across that way. The shame attached to much expression of sexuality is, in my humble opinion (not shared by all) a way that some cultures (including our own) exert control over sexual desire for purposes of better controlling people. If they can get you feeling ashamed every time you want sex, then you’ll feel ashamed much of the time (because many sexually mature people want a fair amount of sex), and if you are ashamed, you are easier to control and manipulate. There is a whole ton of literature on this subject, some good and some poor. Take a class in women’s studies and you’ll be exposed to some of it, but you can also do some reading here, and here.
Are one night stands ok? What precautions should I take to protect myself emotionally, and mentally. I’ve been drilled on the physical part such as birth control and condoms but what else should I know?
Apart from the mechanics of birth control (so that you don’t become pregnant before you are ready) you also need to know about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) for one thing. Any time you have sex with another partner you are potentially exposing yourself to pathogens and diseases that he or she may have contracted. This is the case even if you properly use a condom (although the risk of transmission of some diseases is lessened if you use a condom). STDs generally don’t kill you (although AIDS can indeed kill you), but they can be incurable (e.g., herpes, hepatitis), and/or render you infertile. You don’t want to mess with them if you can avoid them. For the simple reason of the risk of getting one or more sexually transmitted diseases alone, casual sexual relations (which is what one night stands are essentially) are just not a good idea. Our Sexually Transmitted Diseases topic center has a good article to help bring you up to speed. While you’re at it, you might want to look at our Dating topic center as well as its contents are relevant to your present situation.
Apart from physical risks, there are real emotional risks too. Sexuality easily gets bound up with emotionality and relationships, probably because it is designed to do so. It is easy to feel closer to someone you have just had sex with, and there is a normal desire to want more sex and to want that sex on an exclusive basis (to not want competition from other people who might steal away your partner). It is easy to develop a crush on someone you’ve slept with, and to feel possessive of them, and also to feel crushed if and when they do not want to be with you anymore (which is likely in experimental-minded young people and frequent enough with older people). These sorts of feelings are not under most people’s direct control (are any feelings under direct control? I wonder). They can creep up on you and leave you feeling dependent and unhappy. They can also leave you feeling exhilarated. Sex just makes relationships more intense. If you are going to be sexual, you have to be ready for this sort of intensity to occur, and for you to experience both the good and the bad sides of the relationships that follow.
Some people engage in casual sex so as to avoid the intensity that sexuality brings to a relationship. By this I mean that they have their sex without any relationship, and try to enjoy it just as a physical pleasure. It is a physical pleasure to be sure, but, heck, so is heroin. This sort of thing gets hollow pretty fast for many people with reasonable maturity. Many adults gravitate towards wanting their sex in the context of an ongoing relationship.
I can’t recommend casual sex experimentation, mostly for the health risks it presents, but I do think that there are going to be reasonable way for you to find a sex partner who you can experiment with safely. The key is to find a sexual partner whom you can trust. You don’t have to be on the road towards marriage, but you ought to get to know the person you are considering having sex with well enough to know that you mutually like each other and that their relationship history and sexual habits does not contain anything that might negatively affect you (such as a tendency towards sleeping around).
If you want to be completely safe (or at least as safe as possible), you should ask for your potential partner to be tested for STDs and to show you the certificate from the doctor showing that he or she is clean. This is probably social suicide however. You have to find a happy medium that will balance your need to deal with your desire against the real risk of STD and/or pregnancy. You want there to be some sort of ongoing relationship there and for there to be some trust and some solid reason to believe that your partner will be safe. It is a bad idea to sleep with someone on a first date. On the other hand, potential partners may lose interest in you if you put them off too long (and maybe that is okay?). Most everyone I know has struggled with the question of when to put out at some point in their lives and they have solved it in different ways. Mistakes are made, but most of the time they are recoverable.
Why not survey people you trust and ask them how they handle it? If you are too embarrassed by the self-disclosure that would come with such a question, you could ask anonymously on the internet. Maybe some readers will contribute suggestions here too (I hope).
In closing, a few thoughts:
- Get yourself to a doctor and have yourself put on birth control or at least get some birth control handy. Even if you are on the pill, refuse to sleep with any man or woman who you do not know very well who will not use a latex condom or dental dam (necessary to reduce risk of STD transmission – skin condoms won’t work for this purpose!).
- Tease and flirt all you want, but don’t give away the goodies (as my grandmother used to say) for a few dates at least. The principle is supply and demand. People are more interested in ‘buying’ what they can’t easily obtain. If you put your partner off for a bit, it will heighten desire for both of you. It also gives you time to judge his or her character; you want someone who will be true to their word and to you.
- Since you are a virgin, there may or may not be pain upon your first intercourse. There is a good article on the GoAskAlice website hosted by Columbia University that I recommend you read on this subject.
- Good sex and good sex partners are about pleasure and fun. Sex has an essentially playful quality when it is done well. Don’t go back for seconds if a partner you choose ends up acting in an abusive manner.
There are many other suggestions that might be made. Maybe our readers can contribute some other suggestions that helped them through this awkward adjustment?
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