Article by Sheryn Gung
First published in Insight Magazine May 2011. www.insightmagazine.com.au
“What about you? Got a nice boy interested in you yet?”
I sighed. “No Matt, not yet. I’m only ever here or at home.”
Onto the next pot. I tried to hide my sulking as I worked, scooping soil and poking holes. I had never even held my lips to a boy, much less slept with one. I didn’t know how some girls did it – reached graduation and went, “Oh, I have to lose my virginity and sleep with someone,” and off they went to Schoolies and got drunk and spent the night with some boy who would never love them.
I didn’t speak much about romance or even boys I liked. I’d promised myself when I was thirteen that I’d wait for someone worthwhile, but who was this worthwhile person and when would he come? No one had asked me out in high school and I didn’t get much of a chance to meet new people now that I was working full-time.
Alex had dated Jarrod Grayson in Year 11 and slept with him. I remember her running up to me at the lockers, beaming and whispering to me the secret I’d already suspected. It was the first time for both of them. What do you say in those circumstances? Congratulations? How does it feel to be a real woman? Did it hurt? I couldn’t remember how I’d actually responded, but I remembered the distinct weight in my gut – the fear that I was losing a best friend to more worldly, adult interests.
Preparing a pot of daffodils and bearded irises, my mind wandered over to Chrissie. Chrissie! Chrissie is still a virgin! At least that made two of us. I doubted if her parents would ever let her date anyone until she was thirty-two, and even then, he’d have to be Chinese and an accountant or IT specialist.
Are there still twenty year-old virgins? Thirty year-old virgins, even?
* * * * *
The “Birds and the Bees” talk that most parents give their children (except for my dear mother, who gave me a Johnson & Johnson’s booklet on menstruation and sanitary pads) is enough to make most adults clear their throats and writhe in discomfort. As much as teenagers wince to think that their parents had to have sex to conceive them, most parents don’t want to acknowledge that there is a time when their young adults will be engaging in sexual relations.
Through the barrage of questions about falling pregnant, contraception and bodily changes, there is inevitably a handful of questions that make adults stop and think carefully about their responses. One such question is, “When do you think is a good age to lose your virginity?”
Reports are rife about teenage pregnancy and how adolescents are “doing it” from a much earlier age nowadays. While I don’t personally believe this (and my fourteen and a half years of experience in working with children and teenagers supports my understanding), the peer pressure to have sex, whether it’s to fit in or not appear frigid or to stop your boyfriend from dumping you, is just as valid now as it was decades ago.
Teenagers need to know that it’s not embarrassing or shameful to wait until they’re older to experience their “first time.” On the contrary, a certain amount of inner strength and dignity is required to make a decision like this in the face of peer pressure and hormones!
I regularly say to parents that self-esteem is the greatest gift they can give their child. Using self-esteem as a launching pad, parents and mentors may want to suggest that waiting to have sex is not necessarily about abstaining until marriage, but acknowledging that you deserve to share a special moment in your life with someone who truly loves and reveres you. For some, this moment may come at an early age. For many others, it will be later in life.
Having developed a strong bond of trust with some pre-teen students in my Crystal Girls Club, they once asked me to take them through sex ed, which is definitely different topic from what I usually teach the girls! I obliged (although I addressed it from an alternative angle of moon cycles and natural remedies for period pain). When they started griping about some of their precocious friends, I explained that while they might attract a lot of male attention at this stage for their skimpy clothing and make-up, they will, as adults, start looking for decent guys to have long term relationships with. And the truth of the matter is, decent guys – honest, respectful and loving – generally do not want to settle down with girls who have had many sexual partners. As Zac Efron quips in “17 Again”, “How do you expect boys to respect you if you don’t respect yourselves?”
Then came the big question. Brimming with innocence, the girls asked, “Sheryn, when do you think is a good age to lose your virginity?” After a thoughtful pause, I turned it back on them to garner their responses. Thankfully, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and co, hadn’t seemed to have made their mark on these impressionable young souls in terms of premature sexuality: the general consensus was around the age of seventeen or eighteen years old, and the best answer that their parents would want to hear also popped up: Never! My response to the girls? Regardless of gender, it’s whatever age you feel mature enough to handle the emotional side of a committed relationship.
And for some people, this age may be twenty or thirty or older.
Excerpt in this article from “The Autumn Year”, used with permission from EarthDream Publishing.
Sheryn Gung specialises in the Children of the New Earth and their Ascension. She is the author of “The Autumn Year”, a self-development novel with strong spiritual and environmental themes, written for Crystal and Indigo Children in their teens and early 20s. Sheryn is also a natural health practitioner and a TV presenter, currently working on a mainstream international project about spirituality and enlightenment. Visit www.EarthDream.com.au.