Lauren Forcella: Girls get frank about hook-ups
Lauren Forcella Straight Talk for Teens by Teens
Posted: 09/28/2010 01:40:56 AM PDT
Updated: 09/28/2010 09:36:29 AM PDT
Dear Straight Talk: I counsel teens on college and career choices and have been learning about "hook-up" culture. I'm concerned that sexual activity, starting with girls as young as 11, does not include a relationship. To be sexual today, kids don't even need to exchange names. In college, many girls avoid commitment and just have sex so they don't derail their ambitious career goals. I feel that sex without love, respect, emotional depth and some level of commitment, is damaging for girls — and possibly boys. Today's scene seems warped toward pornography-inspired, emotionally disconnected male fantasies. I worry that females taking part in this male sex play will suffer long-term emotional consequences — especially when told that it's 'no big deal.' How do girls really feel about hooking up with strangers or friends just for sex? — Concerned Counselor
Rachel, 18, Redland: Teens act out what they see as cool and sexy in pop culture. Hooking up is usually degrading, rarely ends well, and can be dangerous physically and emotionally. Girls have the basic female instinct of wanting to please. I recently examined my own hook-ups and realized that many times I didn't want to be with that partner. I just wanted to be wanted. If that meant sleeping with the guy or living out his fantasy, I did. But looking back, never in these situations did I feel respected or even satisfied physically. Moreover, I usually never heard from the guy again. Whether the guy
vanishes or returns when he's horny, the relationship rarely develops into a partnership with emotional depth. Or worse, he'll "always be with you" through an STI.
Delaney, 19, Auburn: This new scene definitely favors the male. It worked perfectly for my last hook-up — a childhood friend. He embellished and told half-truths, including that he loved me, which I ran with, never asking him to specify how he loved me. After giving myself to him, he told me he loved me more like a sister! Two months later, I still could cry, and the pain when he's near is awful. Sexual intimacy is too powerful for a girl not to put her emotions into it. We think sex will lead to the big bad L.O.V.E., but having sex or hooking up doesn't make the guy want a relationship. At the most you become "friends with benefits" which always ends in heartbreak.
Jessie, 18, Eugene, Ore.: I've done the whole party hook-up thing and it's never that great. Luckily, the guys were more than passing acquaintances and I knew they wouldn't push me too far. Some of my girlfriends let themselves be pressured into sexual acts and they regret it. I recommend avoiding it entirely. You can still attend parties, just don't do random hook-ups. Yes, it's expected, but it doesn't have to be like that. I party with guy friends a lot without getting sexually involved.
Dear Concerned: You heard it yourself. Hooking up leaves girls cold. (FYI to parents: "Hooking up" encompasses everything from kissing to intercourse.) Delaney's description of "big bad L.O.V.E." tells you how elusive and hatefully maddening finding love has become. Many young people have given up on it. What drives me crazy is that girls don't realize they absolutely control the hook-up architecture with two words, "yes" and "no." Boys find empty sex unsatisfying, too, and many tell me they wish sex wasn't so easily obtainable. Girls: When boys act like they'll die if you say no (or love you forever if you say yes), it's just an act. Saying no is what will actually bring you the "big bad L.O.V.E." Which you can then call good.
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