by Colleen Godin
Between keeping up with classes and crushes, squeezing in after-school activities, and trying to make sense of your school’s sad excuse for sex education, high school is a battleground for your burgeoning sexuality. Your body and brain are just waking up to the potential for pleasure that lies between your legs, and it’s no easy feat to figure it all out when you’ve got slut-shaming cliques and tattle-tale teachers at your heels.
When you’re all grown up, you’ll look back and wish you could write a letter to your younger self. As they say, hindsight is 20/20, and unfortunately you can’t turn back time, grab teenage You by the arms, and yell “Don’t fall for that guy from third period!” or “Sarah was just jealous – you’re not a slut for kissing your crush!”
Although we can’t predict the future or change the past, your blogging gal pals at Dame are here to hand out some hints for strolling down your school halls with confidence and knowledge – no matter what that group of gossipers is whispering in the corner.
Yes, Seriously: Everyone Masturbates
These weird wanking rumors just never seem to die. As far back as your great-grandparents’ school days, kids have been making up all sorts of fake facts about self-pleasure. From growing hair on your palms to wrecking your ability to orgasm during intercourse to disappointing your local church priest, masturbation myths are alive and well in every decade. And guess what? They’re all big, fat lies.
Growing up, you’ve probably heard most kids claim that they never masturbate, and these same kids usually taunt anyone who admits that they do. But – shocker! - they more than likely do, and while it’s pretty crappy to shame someone else for their healthy pleasure habits, it’s totally normal to orgasm alone at any age.
Masturbation does a lot of awesome things for your brain and body. It releases feel-good chemicals like dopamine that relieve icky feelings of sadness or depression, and it even helps you fall asleep faster. Self-pleasure also teaches you what feels good and what doesn’t, which are helpful tools that can lead to amazing sex in your future relationships.
So go ahead and delight in nature’s little sexy stress reliever when you’re alone in your room, and if you can get your hands on a beginner-friendly vibrator like the Pom or the Fin, all the better. This time, everyone really is doing it!
What Happens Now Doesn't Set Your Sexual Future in Stone
As long as you’re using condoms to protect against pregnancy and potentially incurable STDs, your youthful sexual decisions don’t have to affect your entire future.
When it comes to sex, it’s always a good idea to do it sober and with someone you trust, and only when you’re absolutely ready. Beyond those basics, that doesn’t mean that if you’re crushing on every girl or guy in school, you’re a total skank (c’mon, are you really gonna believe the slut-shamers?), or if you’re super attracted to girls in your teens, you’ll never want to date a dude (which is still fine if that’s how things works out).
Gossipy kids love to find reasons to tease and torment their peers over anything and everything, especially over sex and hook-up stuff. Those stupid high school labels don’t have to follow you into adulthood. Your sexual identity and preferences can and will change throughout your life. (If you need further evidence, grab your parents’ yearbooks. We bet you’ll hardly recognize them!)
The Madonna-Whore Complex is a Lie
Ah, good ol' Sigmund Freud. After denying the relevance of the clitoral orgasm, this often-misguided sex researcher developed The Madonna-Whore complex, a theory that compartmentalizes women into groups of monogamous, no-sex-til-marriage purists and serial one-night-stand addicts. This theory is about as blatantly false as it is disgustingly patriarchal.
In truth, sex and the people who have it are neither pure and perfect nor slutty and raunchy, and whips and chains have nothing to do with it. No matter who you're screwing or how you're getting down, sex is always somewhere in-between. Sometimes it's soft and sensual; other times it's delightfully kinky; often it's boring or challenging or raw or mind-expanding. For some folks, a pair of fluffy handcuffs is crossing the line, while another couple might snore at the thought of anything less than an entire trunk of vibrators and lingerie to drag along to a swingers’ party. There's really no way to define enthusiastically consensual sex, and having it doesn’t make you a slut any more than saying No makes you a nun.
In Conclusion, It’s All Up to You (and Whoever You Screw)!
When it comes to sex, always remember: the only rules are your rules – the rules that you and your partner set up to keep you both feeling good and safe. It literally doesn't matter what you're doing with your boyfriend or girlfriend, or how many people you date junior year. As long as everyone is having a good time, practicing safe sex, and giving and receiving pleasure through open communication, there's nothing wrong or immoral about your sexual behavior. Tell that one to your sex-ed teacher (or don’t - they might not be prepared to get schooled)!