You're sitting at the dinner table. It's 4PM and all you want to do is run up to your room and call Jojo about that scruffy guy in third period. Unfortunately, mom wants to sit down for a little chat.
"So now that you're a little older, I feel like it's the right time we talk about this…"
Uh oh. You stare at that star shaped indent in the countertop, dreading what is to come.
We have all experienced some version of the modern "sex talk". Parent talks to child about love making, fornication, intercourse — or whatever awkward terminology fifty year olds use these days. Your thirteen year-old self is traumatized. You are uncomfortable looking at your own boobs, let alone, letting some boy who still owns a Nerf gun fondle them. Mom pulls a worn out icy-hot Trojan out of her purse. Oh dear god.
While we have all endured the horror that is sex education, not all of us have received the same teaching.
Some are told sex is a sin, a deed of the devil. Boys are bad, stay away. "Cool moms" provide condoms, share their own Prom night adventures, and keep a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
Others train their teeagers to play a game, wait until you've secured the title boyfriend-girlfriend: demand respect.
Maybe some of us don't have a mom. We've learned all we know about the birds and the bees from The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and perhaps some tips from Katy's older sister.
The variances of our instruction are problematic, especially when our perceptions are shaped by the opinions of our friends — not our middle-aged parental.
Two or three years pass by, and suddenly, you're picking out red lace bras in Victoria's Secret.
Homecoming is four days away, and you're sending provocative pics to Tyler — despite having no intent getting naked with him anytime soon. In all truth, you have no idea what the hell you're doing.
And if it gives you any reassurance, none of us really do. More times than not, we're hungry for attention, not whatever he has going on underneath his khaki shorts. We all seek out validation in different ways.
To Karen, studying biology and pursuing medicine proves herself worthy of her parents love. Maybe reaching 5k followers is your dopamine orgasm. Wow so many likes, maybe I actually am pretty? For others, mastering their craft -- whether that be ice hockey, chess, or stone carving -- fuels their life purpose. No matter the circumstance -- seeking the approval of others to feel whole -- is damaging to your mental well-being. When our romantic interests become the determinant of our self-esteem, this pattern of behaviors can become especially destructive.
So maybe you're having trouble in the love department. You choose guys who care more about the score of the Wisconsin vs. Oregon game than your passions, interests, and perceptions. When he screws you over (which he will), then you will engage in self-destructive retaliation. You'll act on ego, sleeping around a bit, posting so called "thirst traps" on the gram. The gratification is fleeting. Unfortunately, feeling sexy does not equate to happiness. And while I am not a therapist, I know that sex is not a healthy coping mechansim. Hopping on top of Erik sans clothing will not solve all of your problems, nor will it bring you any closer to him (except in the most literal sense).
Girls are instructed from an early age, to keep your pants zipped in order to be taken seriously. Boys are boys, tits away, or else you'll be trapped in a cycle of eternal singledom. If you do choose to engage in pre-relationship sexy time, have tissues near — tears and insecurity are looming. This notion, as you may assume, can be confusing to the post-puberty teenager. We want to feel loved; we want to feel beautiful and wanted. Take off your pants — if it feels right — but don't expect it to mend your wounds of a broken family and previous heartbreak.
It feels almost natural to engage in a post breakup hoe rampage. Your tactic of "revenge" is only hurting yourself. By no means am I suggesting abstinence as a remedy to all of your problems. I am just recommending an alternate approach to finding yourself — one that will never kick you out of their apartment at two in the morning. Friends — unlike hookups — can offer advice, binge Taco Bell, and condemn your poor choices without an ulterior motive in mind. If you're feeling down, take action to improve your circumstance — even if it's as simple as hitting the gym three times a week. With solitude comes reflection, which is integral to your growth as a human being. Perhaps you never realized, but your lack of professional motivation stems from insecurity in your potential. Take a drive, listen to whatever speaks to your soul, and discover how to seize control over your own life. Maybe once you're done with that, you can head over to his place and have a go at some one-on-one cardio. At least you'll be doing it because you want to, not because you need to.