Teenage Girls Are Moving Faster Than the Speed of Teenage Boys

Teen coupleI don’t know why more people aren’t talking about this article, “Our Teens’ Secret Sex Lives,” that was in the October issue of Essence, the one with Michelle Obama looking all fabulous on the cover. Aside from being really well-written (excellent work, Jeannine Amber!), some of the stuff in the piece was really surprising, even as someone who has a teenager.

One part in particular sticks out for me: a conversation with two boys, 13 and 15. “[Girls] text you naked pictures when you don’t even ask for them. Or they get real freaky on the phone. They’ll say stuff like, ‘I’m naked; I wish you could take a shower with me.’” Then one of them drops the gem, “After a girl gives you a blow job, you have to act like you’re not happy. That way she’ll come back and try to make it better.”

We have to, have to, have to teach our girls to respect themselves more than this.


Some of our kids have such nonchalance when it comes to sex, it’s scary. Terrifying, actually. A few months ago, I got a feeling like I needed to check up on my daughter. So I seized her netbook, no provocation at all. She was caught off-guard and was hot on my heels as I walked back to my room, ready to comb through the contents of her online activity.

Turns out, she was having conversations with 17- and 18-year-old boys on Twitter. My child is only two weeks into 13. To make matters worse, during one string of messages, she told one boy what size bra she wears and giggly accepted compliments from another about how hot her body is. Needless to say, she didn’t tweet, Facebook, or Skype for a mighty long time.

I thought she knew better. I know I taught her to respect and value herself beyond her boobs, booty, and what’s between her legs. Between all of the positive girl power reinforcement she gets here at home, my uncut, ask-me-any-question approach to talking about boys and sex, and being informed at church and in school groups, she ostensibly should be empowered to think of herself as more than some fabulous flesh. Thank God for mother’s intuition because, alas, she apparently needs a refresher. The root of the problem for her, just like it is for that poor misguided child Amber Cole and all the other girls out there like her, is believing that she is better than being somebody’s personal jumpoff.

I’ve noticed that young women in general — and alas, not just teenagers — have a gross lack of respect for themselves. There’s almost a desperation for attention from the opposite sex and a willingness to one-up the next girl in an effort to snag a guy. The competition plays itself out in how much flesh they can expose, how suggestively they can walk, talk, and dance, and yes, how far they’re willing to go to hand out sexual favors and do them well, at that.

I know I’m setting a better example for my child than that and I’m hoping Amber’s mother is, too. But we just have to keep out ears open, our heads out of the clouds, and stay vigilant in teaching that the way to win a man’s heart is not through his zipper.

Where’s the disconnect between all this sex education and basic, common respect for self?

Image via la_c/Flickr

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