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In her latest book, "Dirty Little Secrets: Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity," she examines the many reasons teen girls may engage in sexually promiscuous behavior. You see them everywhere. They walk along busy highways in low-slung jeans and tank tops, peering into every car that passes. They sit with their friends in diners and coffee shops, searching, their thoughts clearly on who is looking at them.
They catch the eyes of the boys they pass. They smile and flip their hair. They post photos of themselves in bikinis on Facebook. They are just girls. They are your sister, your daughter, your friend, your niece. They are not remarkable, really, in any way. They are almost every girl you see. They believe in their hearts that they are worth nothing, that they have little to offer.
They believe boys will pull them out of their ordinariness and finally, finally, transform them into someone better than who they are. They have sex too early and for the wrong reasons. They get STDs, and they get pregnant too young. They are "friends with benefits," but with no benefit to themselves. They give out blow jobs like kisses and hope for love in return. They are ignored. They don't get called. They get dumped again and again.
They lie alone in their beds and hate themselves for being so unlovable, for being so needy, for not being like every other girl, for not being able to just have fun. But they aren't sex addicts or even love addicts. What they crave is the attention, that moment when a boy looks at them and they can believe that they are worth something to someone. They can believe that they matter. When these girls grow up, they find that in this way, they are still girls. They carry their pasts with boys into their futures.
They remain needy, desperate, anxious for someone to prove their worth. The boys, though, become men. For much of my life, I was that girl. When I became a therapist, I learned that there were many others Naughty teens wants black girl sex me. And when I wrote my memoir, Loose Girl, about my experiences, I heard from many, many more girls like me. They assumed that they were the only ones, that they alone suffered this peculiarity. How could this be? How do we get so far into our lives and into these experiences without sharing them—and our feelings—with our friends, our parents, Naughty teens wants black girl sex a caring adult?
Because we feel so alone—because we carry immense shame about our behavior and, more so, our desperation. Some came from divorce, like I did. Others had lived through severe abuse. Still others had untarnished childhoods, intact families, and the feeling that they had been loved.
Some had sex with only three men; others with fifty. The of men isn't important. It is the feelings these young women experienced—that if they got a man's attention it would mean they were worth something in the world. You might be this girl, too. Maybe in some ways you have experienced such feelings even if you never acted on them the way some of us did. You have met eyes with a man and thought, Maybe he could save me.
You have done your makeup and dressed provocatively to attract men at an event. You aren't immune to the feeling that a man will make you feel something more than just love, more than just sexy—that he will make you feel valuable. We aren't sex addicts or love addicts—at least not at first. We aren't diagnosable. We aren't yet to the point where we let these feelings utterly destroy our lives, even if, in some ways, it seems they do.
They consume us. We are obsessed with getting love, with using male attention to make ourselves worthwhile in the world. Like the girls Courtney L. Martin describes in her book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughter: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body, girls who don't have eating disorders per se but obsess over the idea of needing to be thinner than they are, the girls I discuss in this book are on a continuum of promiscuity. What happened to us?
How did we get to this point, where we use male attention like a drug, again and again, as unsatisfying to us as it is? Why do we keep going back, even though our behavior often becomes self-destructive? And, finally, how do we move from that behavior, those feelings, toward real intimacy?
After Loose Girl arrived on bookshelves, readers were eager to share their stories, to voice their feelings, to know that they weren't alone. Many wanted answers, a formula, to get themselves to a new place, to stop harming themselves with their promiscuity. This book is my answer to their plea.
It is a study of the cult of female, teenage promiscuity, and the silence that surrounds the topic; it is a sharing of numerous stories about the harm done and the movement toward real intimacy. It is also a genuine discussion about how we can make change for ourselves, our daughters, our clients, and our culture. The bottom line is that we don't like to talk about teenage girls and sex. Sure, we see it everywhere.
Teenage girls in provocative clothing flood the media. And they definitely have sex on reality shows like The Real World and 16 and Pregnant. But when we discuss adolescent girls and sex, it is only in one way: don't have sex. This is easier than anything else. We tell teenage girls to stay away from sexual behavior and to practice abstinence. Don't have sex, we say, because we don't like to imagine them having sex. If they do, then we have to think of them as sexual creatures, and that makes us squirm.
In fact, much of the promiscuity among young women, both heterosexual and homosexual, is likely to go undetected because it makes therapists uncomfortable. When I appeared on Dr. Phil to discuss two teen girls whose parents were unhappy they were having sex, the Naughty teens wants black girl sex next to the girls' names when they were on screen was "sexually active," as though that was a disorder or a crime of some sort.
But while we refuse to discuss teenage sex, it is happening. According to the Guttmacher Institute, although teenage sexual activity has declined 16 percent in the past fifteen years, almost half 46 percent of all to year-olds have had sex at least once, and 27 percent of to year-olds are sexually active.
The larger proportion of these teenagers are black Much of the sexual behavior occurs in populations traditionally thought to have less experience in sexual activity, though, such as teenagers from affluent homes and preadolescents. Ultimately, the statistics for STDs and teenage pregnancy aren't promising. We are experiencing a record high of teenage girls with sexual diseases. Of the One in four teenage girls aged 14—19 and one in every two black teenage girls has an STD.
Each year, almostteen pregnancies are reported for women aged 15—19, and 82 percent of those pregnancies are unplanned. The MTV reality series Teen Mom, a spin-off of the wildly successful 16 and Pregnant, had the channel's highest-rated premiere in more than a year—evidence, I'd say, of our fascination with teenage motherhood.
What happens behind these statistics, the feelings and motivations behind promiscuous behavior, and the direct of it, is less clear. These are the dirty little secrets that girls carry. These are the stories they have—we have—but don't tell. There is some research that casual sex among teenagers can be more harmful than we've thought. The adolescent brain's prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain responsible for judgment—develops at an explosive rate.
There are in fact only two times during development that the brain is overrun with synapses neural connections in this way: right before birth and right before puberty. At this critical time in preadolescence, the brain manufactures far more synapses than necessary. The synapses that are used become stronger. The ones that aren't used weaken and die. As a result, certain experiences become sealed in that teen's growth, in the strong synapses.
If they handle intimacy—and sex—in ways that don't get them what they really want, again and again, they are likely to wind up with a potentially harmful approach to intimacy. What's more, the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until the mid-twenties, and there is some evidence that bonding through sex and then breaking up again and again damages the ability to establish meaningful connection through intimacy.
In other words, when teens bond and break, bond and break, before the cortex is fully developed, as most teens do, they potentially set themselves up for trouble with real intimacy later on. This research, however, is based on findings concerning oxytocin, and many have argued that we don't know enough about oxytocin to make such claims. See the "References and Notes" section at the end of the book for more information. At the same time, though, we know that a girl's ability to express her sexual desires is a necessary step toward developing healthy sexual intimacy, and it is essential if she is to protect herself against unwanted or unsafe sexual activities.
In fact, in one study, researchers found that the fewer sexual partners a girl had, the more likely she was to not assert her beliefs and feelings during sexual activity, thereby potentially setting herself up for negative sexual experiences. Not all teenage sexual behavior derives from self-harm. Ideally, in fact, none of it would. Sexual curiosity and experimentation is a perfectly natural part of growing up.
Girls have just as much sexual desire and curiosity as boys. They are curious about their genitals and others' as children. They masturbate. The hormones that race through a teenage girls' body create just as much sexual feeling as boys' hormones do. Psychological discussions about why girls might engage in sexual activity, however, do not include any information about girls' sexual desire. Michelle Fine refers to this as "the missing discourse of desire" in her article of the same name. In fact, sexual desire is seen as an aberration for girls, which means that we almost always assume that girls act sexually only to fulfill their hopes for a relationship.
This can certainly be the case, but it's potentially dangerous—as we make policy, as we aim to help girls, as we aim to help ourselves—not to for the fact that they also experience sexual arousal. We don't generally like to say these things about adolescent girls. We don't acknowledge that they have desire.
We live in a culture that provides little space for any sort of female teenage sexual behavior, including what many would consider normal curiosity and exploration, because it makes us so uncomfortable. How did this odd untruth about female desire arise? Ancient and medieval understandings of puberty emphasized vitality and social benefit, and they made little distinction between male and female desire. The rising influence of Christianity, though, established the beliefs that youthful sexuality was dangerous, immoral, and threatening to social order. With the Enlightenment, boys regained some freedom over their right to sexual expression, but girls' sexual desire remained deviant.
Over the following centuries, while puberty for boys took on its association with manly desire, for girls it grew more and more removed from any notion of desire and instead focused entirely on preparation for reproduction and motherhood. Our notions today about girls and female desire are built on outdated patriarchal, religious notions. Today, the cultural narrative is as follows: boys are horny, but girls are not, and so girls must do what they can to keep boys and their out-of-control hormones at bay. We like this narrative, outdated and unscientific as it is. It keeps us safe from the notion that girls might want to be sexual as much as boys do.
But, you might be thinking, what is the problem with keeping girls safe? As I explore in this book, the problem is that when you deny a group of people an essential part of who they are, a part they have full right to, they often wind up using it in a self-destructive manner rather than as a natural part of their development. In other words, if teenagers getting STDs and becoming pregnant and acting out sexually is a cultural problem, then stigmatizing teenage sex only makes it worse—much worse. The distinction between acting on natural sexual feelings and using male attention and sex to fill emptiness is an important one.
In this book, I carry the underlying assumption that teenage girls have natural sexual feelings, just like boys, and that perhaps we need to find an outlet for girls to express themselves sexually, an outlet that the girls control themselves, not the cultural expectations about who they should be as sexual creatures. I also try to demarcate what it might look like when a Naughty teens wants black girl sex has stepped beyond cultural boundaries and has begun using male attention and sex to try to feel worthwhile.Naughty teens wants black girl sex
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