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In My Opinion:

Teen Sexual Attitudes

A survey by Teen Editorial Board Member, Kendra Congdon

August 1999

To explore attitudes of 14-16 year olds, Kendra sent out 40 email surveys with questions about sexual behavior, the double standard, and so on. She only received responses from 4 girls and 1 boy, which might say something about how difficult it is for some people to talk about sex (even via email!) The responses she did get will tell you what these 5 teens feel about some very important issues. Read the questions, the answers, and then think about where you stand on these issues.

The InSite: Is it more "acceptable" for teen guys to be sexually active than it is for teen girls? Why?

"I think that it is just the same for a teenage woman to be sexually active as it is for a teenage guy."

"I think it's more acceptable for guys. When people know a girl is, they automatically assume she is some nasty names which I can't say on here. When people know a guy is, they are thought of as "cool," or are just accepted easier because they have done the deed."

"I think that the media tends to be more accepting of promiscuous males than women. Women are considered to be prostitutes if they loose their virginity, but males are given a high five or a pat on the back for getting in a girl's pants. In a world where everyone is supposed to be created equal, men and women just aren't."

"I'm not condoning the actions of others, but if people do decide to have sex, the women have just as much right as men do."

The InSite: Does physical intimacy mean something different to girls than it does to guys? What's the difference?

"Mostly, I think guys are more sex-crazed and females are fine with making out."

... I think guys are more sex-crazed ...

"Yes, I think that for girls physical intimacy may include French kissing on a couch, while guys think the only physical intimacy is sex."

"I think girls and guys mainly have the same view on physical intimacy. Although some guys and girls don't. But the majority do."

"I don't think I can answer this question because I really don't know how guys feel about this."

"I honestly don't know. I can only say from a guy's point of view, and at that only as me."

The InSite: Why is sex such a difficult thing to talk about even with your bf/gf?

"It's a difficult thing to talk about because they are the ones that make it hard to talk about. They think that it is a subject that shouldn't be talked about just done. "

"With the bf's I have had sex with, it was an easy topic to talk about openly. Neither of us had a problem talking about it."

"I think sex is difficult to talk about because it is considered to be sinful in the eyes of our society. As much as people try to approach the topic, it is still hard not to feel uncomfortable when you are discussing the process of a man or women's genitals reaching yours. It sounds dumb, but ever since we have been children we have been taught not to say penis or vagina out loud and to this day, we still feel "naughty" when using the words."

With the bf's I have had sex with, it was an easy topic to talk about openly.

The InSite: If a teen girl gets pregnant by her boyfriend, what do you think would be her best course of action? What part (if any) should the boyfriend have in the decision making process?

"The boyfriend should have as equal say as the mother. They both made the baby and if the bf stays with the mother, they should have equal say in the child's future."

"I think her best course of action would be to either have an abortion or give it up for adoption. I don't think the male has any say in it what-so-ever."

"Well, it's their choice together, [the woman's] a little more than the man because she is the one who has to go through with it all. But if he is going to be a responsible father and take part in the "growing up" of the child then she should have the kid."

"The girl should keep her baby no matter what. She was responsible enough to have sex unprotected and now she has to take responsibility for what she did. "

"She should have the baby and keep it, or give it up for adoption. Abortion should never be the answer."

"I think that the child should be given up for adoption. The choice should belong entirely to the mother. She is the one that the baby will be coming out of and she will go through the pain and agony of birth."

"I think the girl should probably do whatever is in her heart. If she's strong enough, and has the kind parents and support to take care of a baby then I say she should have the baby, if she thinks she can handle it. If not, it's probably best to not bring it into this world. The guy should be helpful to the girl. No matter what happens, it's his baby too!"

The InSite: Do you believe personally that girls should wait until marriage? Do you think guys should also?

"No. Some people don't marry till they're 40. When the time is right, I think you should wait until you feel you are old enough to handle it. They should go when they are ready. They make the decision of when they should go, and when they are ready. Well, what happens if you are a person who doesn't get married but still wants to have sex...then you have a problem. I think that girls and guys should have sex whenever they are ready. And maybe marriage is when girls and guys are ready, but if you love someone and you both want to then I think you should. Waiting till your married and having sex isn't gonna be any different than having sex before marriage, but waiting might mean more to you."

I think it is too hard for girls and guys alike to wait until marriage for sex.

"I think that it is too hard for girls and guys alike to wait until marriage for sex. I think regardless of your gender, you should wait until you find someone that you are willing to spend the rest of your life with in case of a mistake. You should be sure that your partner returns that love and respect for you."

"I personally think both should wait until they can accept the consequences of their actions. It's not something that I have any control about, but with all the crap that's going around, it's better to wait."

The InSite: Who pushes more for sex, guys or girls? Why is that?

"Guys and who knows why?"

"Most people would probably say guys do, but I think it is about 50/50."

"I think guys push more. I think they push for it more because in some cases a guy just wants it to fit in with all his guy friends. But then again guys probably want it more because it seems their hormones are racing all the time!"

"Guys do because they feel they have to prove their manhood or something."

"I'm a guy and I'll probably be considered a traitor to my gender for saying this, but I think that guys push it more, no question about it. Because we're hormone driven horny pigs basically. (just kidding) Sometimes girls do push it, but really the guys are the ones who think about it all the time. Again, this is from a guy's perspective!"

I think that guys push it more, no question about it.

The InSite: Are guys just "out to get it?" Are girls?

"Not all guys, some of them. Same with girls."

"I think guys are just "out to get it" and I think girls do it because they either really love the person or they feel obligated to."

"Some guys are and some girls are. I think that guys have more of a tendency to be hornier than girls."

"I would say half of guys are out to get it. Some guys really are only looking for sex. But there are the good ones who want it because they love you and you love them and you want to express your love more."

"I think that some guys want it, but others are really looking for someone special."

"I think that some guys are actually in it for the emotional relationship between 2 people, not just for the sex. No matter how much guys brag, somewhere most of them want to be loved. "

The InSite: Is a girl badmouthed for having sex?

"In High School she is!"

"Depends. If she just went to a party and slept with a guy she'd never meet before then, yes, she would be, but if she had been with a guy for a while, I don't think she would be."

"Yes, a girl is badmouthed for having sex. She gets called some nasty names."

Yes, a girl is badmouthed for having sex.

"Normally, yeah. It depends who, when, why, and where she did it."

The InSite: What does "easy" mean to you?

"Easy to push over, slutty, easy for a guy to get."

"Being involved in sexual acts without giving it any thought and not caring what you do and who you do it with."

"That the person can get sex very easy, like if she or he (most of the time it is a woman) were to go out on a date the other person would automatically know that she is ready for sex because she has had it on all other dates. Like if the other person wants it he/she is gonna get it."

"To me 'easy' means someone who will do anything with any guy. She does pretty much whatever the guy wants. And I mean physical things, or someone who will have sex with anyone right away."

"A guy/girl has sex easily/fast."

"I try not to butt into other people's sex life too much so I don't call them stuff, usually."

The InSite: How young is too young to have sexual intercourse?


"I think anything under 14."

"High School and below...well for me anyway."

"I am not gonna judge people by the age of when they have sex. I hate when adults say that kids our age don't know what love is. Well, we do and I think if you love someone and it's a mutual feeling then if sex is what you want to do then do it."

I am not going to judge people by the age of when they have sex.

"You have to learn from your mistakes, if later in life you realize that you shouldn't have had sex then [it might be too late.]"

"I would have to say that 16 and under is too young."

"When a person can't handle what they're doing and backs out of a relationship as soon as it becomes to much for them to handle, [then they are too young.]"

The InSite: If a girl wears revealing clothes, is she "asking for it?" Does that belief apply to guys also?

"No. Wearing certain clothes is a style, not a request [or an invitation.]"

"I don't always think if she wears revealing clothes she's asking for it, it depends on the girl. I think all guys believe that, though."

"No, not necessarily .... depends on how revealing her clothes are."

"No, I don't believe if a girl is wearing revealing clothes that she wants sex. I think what people wear is just a sign of their style and individuality. I for one sometimes wear revealing clothing, and I am certainly NOT asking for it. It's just my style. No, guys who wear revealing clothes usually do it to show off their muscles, or lack there of!"

"Guys can wear whatever they want and they won't be 'asking for it.' But girls on the other hand may be called names or criticized if they 'show a little skin.'"

"I think they may appear attractive without 'asking for it.' People wear almost anything now-a-days."

The InSite: What is the difference between having sex and making love? Should there be a difference?

"I don't think so."

"Making love should be something you do with someone you feel a connection to and you want to show them how much you care. Sex is what it is in its raw form. Sex isn't as special."

"I think the difference between sex and making love is that when you have sex you may not love the person and just think of sex as only a pleasure and fun. But making love is something serious and it shows your love for that person more."

But making love is something serious ...

"I think there should be a difference. They are two different things, the feelings aren't the same. [with making love] ... the two people love each other and are committed to each other."

"I don't know, I think when people say there is a difference it's just a bunch of crap."

The InSite: Does the media influence teens to "just do it?" Should there be laws protecting minors from outside influences?

"A little bit and no."

"I don't think the media has anything to do with it."

"No, I don't think the media makes us want to do it."

"I think that certain magazines and TV programs do glamorize sex, but other programs may make it clear what will happen as consequences."

The InSite: Do guys or girls talk more about having sex?



"I would have to say that the girls, because they sometimes have a better relationship with their friends than guys do."

"I think we talk about it equally. Some people talk about it more than others because a lot of people aren't comfortable talking about it."

I think we talk about it equally.

"GUYS, DUH! They do it in their football huddle, where else?!"

"From what I've seen, guys probably, but I haven't been hanging outside girls' rooms to listen to their conversations lately."

The InSite: Are guys or girls more likely to tell their friends about all their "experience(s)?"




"Well, guys ... tell because they want to be cool with the guys. But girls have the gossip thing going on, so I think it's equal. "

"I think that girls will tell if it was meaningful, but guys will tell to put another name on the list."


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