“The first time I had done what some people call third base, I was guilted into it; I didn’t really understand what I was doing, and he was kind of an emotionally abusive boyfriend,” senior Jane* said. “I was in this state of mind where I felt like I had to do it because, why else would he be with me?”
“When I think of pressure I think of consequences; people don’t always know how they are going to feel after having sex for the first time,” UVA Teen and Young Adult Health Center specialist Mary Sullivan said. “We really have a double standard when we talk about how young men and young women are treated when it comes to being sexually active, and young women seem to have more negative consequences.”
There are many consequences that go along with having sex as a teen. Pregnancy, STI’s [sexually transmitted infections], and unanticipated regret are several major examples.
Pregnancy will change a teen’s life. According to the Center for Disease Control, only 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by age 22, versus the 90% of adolescents who didn’t give birth in high school.
“I think that when you have an unintended pregnancy it’s hard to find one solution that is going to make you feel good,” Sullivan said.
Jane said when she lost her virginity, she had a pregnancy scare. “After my first time we were freaking out even though I was on birth control and he used a condom,” she said. “Just make sure to be prepared and take all the steps you need to.”
One in four teenage girls nationwide has had a sexually transmitted disease, according to USA Today. Nearly half of teen girls who have had sex have evidence of once having an STI.
“If you had the flu or if you had strep throat nobody would talk about you like you’re a bad person, but if you may or may not have an STD then you are said to have a major character flaw,” Sullivan said.
While popular culture usually depicts teen girls in tears after their first time, “I think it impacts guys emotionally a lot stronger,” freshman John* said
Some reasons for teens regretting their first sexual encounter could be how much trust they put in their partner. “I have been cheated on a few times. Not only does it hurt but it really breaks down your confidence and it feels like, oh there is someone out there who is better?” John said. “It really does break your heart.”
Freshman Kali Vosper admits that she had cheated on someone; however she regrets it and she said, “I really wish I had never done it, but I happen to know plenty of people who were in relationships that cheated, it’s not very uncommon.”
Jane said, “ I wish that the first time I had sex was with someone that I really loved.” However Jane said, “ Looking back I don’t regret my first time at all because I was ready, I was in a good relationship; we were very much in love with each other and that was good for me.”
With today’s hookup culture, various people have differing opinions about sexual intercourse. Jane said, “I think sex is supposed to be meaningful, I have never had sex without being in love.” However, Vosper thinks, “People should be allowed to have casual sex and others be okay with it but it’s not really my thing.”
When you decide to have sex for the first time make sure you consider the benefits and the consequences. Jane gave some advice to “make sure to talk about it with your boyfriend, before and after, [and] you should even talk about what would happen if you got pregnant.”