Welcome to Get Real!, Scarleteen's Q&A column on Rewire! Get Real! is a sex-ed advice column for teens that reminds us all to never forget our "first" – real sex-ed that is! It’s not easy being a teen today – especially when it comes to getting straight answers to your questions about sex and sexuality from adults. There is a lot of noise – mixed messages galore from MTV to movies, fashion mags to favorite web sites. Who do you listen to? How do you find the facts you need to make healthy decisions that feel right for you? Scarleteen is the web’s most popular source for young adult sex education. Rewire is thrilled to partner with Scarleteen to feature its founder, the queen of the Q&A, Heather Corinna, in this new bimonthly column for young people, their parents and professional sexual and reproductive health advocates.
If you’re a teen needing answers to your questions about sex, sexuality, dating, or your sexual health, this is the column for you! And if you’ve got your own questions that need answers or you just want to engage with others your own age on these issues, head over to Scarleteen’s message boards! Rewire cannot accept any questions for Heather or Scarleteen’s fine volunteer staff so please visit Scarleteen for more information.
"He Wants To Have Sex, But I Want Him To Ask Me Out!"
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I'm 14 yrs old and this boy that I have been fooling around with, asked me if I would ever have sex with him. I do but I don't. If we use a condom, is there a high risk of getting pregnant? I also really like him alot. I just wish he would ask me out. Another question of mine is that, how can I bring up the matter of him asking me out?
You know, in general, asking a person out comes BEFORE asking them to have sex with you.
If he's only doing the one, it's pretty safe to assume he's got little or no interest in asking you out, as much as that might suck. He's expressed his interest: it's sex. And if you've interest in having a boyfriend, and his only interest is in having someone to have sex with, that's a recipe for disaster when it comes to your self worth and your heart.
I'd suggest talking about you wanting to be asked out before talking any more about his desire to have sex. I'd also point out to you, and suggest you point out to him, that for the most part — especially when you're young and not interested in or ready for things like one-night-stands — there are a lot more steps involved before you have sex with someone.
There are physical steps: vaginal intercourse all by itself poses big risks of pregnancy and STIs, especially to women, and it also isn't often very enjoyable for women all by itself. To boot, before you leap twenty paces forward to something like intercourse, any two people often need a lot more practice with other things to establish a basis of communication, as well as an understanding, over time, of each other's bodies, limits and boundaries. Needless to say, it can be awfully hard to sit and discuss the things you need to with a sex partner — things like birth control, sexually transmitted infections, boundaries and how the two of you might deal with negative consequences — right off the bat. Again, these are things that take time.
If you've already been "fooling around," but can't even connect well enough to be able to ask for a date, there's a big problem there. If you can't talk about that, I'm willing to bet you haven't been talking very much about anything, and when it comes to sex, that's yet another recipe for disaster.
What a healthy sexual relationship also requires is some degree of emotional investment, particularly when you're young, and that's something that someone who says "Want to have sex?" before they say "Want to have coffee?" doesn't likely have going.
There are emotional and interpersonal steps to all of this, too, like the other person caring just as much about your wants and needs as their own, and you feeling safe with them, trusting them, and being in a position where you can be open and honest with them, even when it's awkward. Is this the guy who, if he starts to have intercourse with you and it hurts, you'll be able to ask to stop, and he will, with no argument? The guy who you won't feel embarrassed around if there's a bit of blood, or if you accidentally fart during sex? The guy who makes you feel awesome about yourself and your body? The guy who you can easily ask to pay more attention to your clitoris, or tell you didn't reach orgasm from intercourse, so ask for a little more of something else? The guy who is going to snuggle the heck out of you afterwards — without you asking him to — and make you feel okay if the experience of sex freaks you out or makes you feel insecure? The guy who is going to keep what you do private, rather than telling a lot of friends afterwards, and leaving you to deal with social fallout without having your back? The guy you can call in tears for comfort if your folks find out you had sex and blow a gasket? Doesn't sound like it.
It's sounding to me like you might have fallen into something plenty of folks do, which is the idea that if you just give the guy the sex that he wants for long enough, that eventually he'll give you what YOU want in terms of, say, a simple date, or behaving like more of a partner than someone who just shows up to get his own sexual needs fulfilled.
The thing with that is that end result rarely happens.
Sex doesn't "earn" anyone a romance or a boyfriend or girlfriend, and when all someone wants from you is sex, and you're giving it to them, there's no need for them to adjust anything on their part. See what I mean? It's also pretty ooky to think of sex in any way as something to barter or try and exchange for love or romantic interest: someone who has that interest in you isn't someone you'll need to do anything for to get it.
Really, I'd put the brakes on and look at and talk about all these things WAY before you start talking intercourse. If he is a good guy, then talk about him not asking you out as in "I'd like to go out together and have you show some interest in that, not just have sex or talk about sex," — or take the step and ask HIM out: you've been taking bigger emotional risks than that already, after all. And if you can't face the possible rejection or emotional risk in terms of just asking the guy out, I can say that you absolutely are not ready to be having any kind of sex with him, intercourse or otherwise.
I'd also prepare yourself a little for some possible disappointment: he may well have no interest in anything other than sex, or, in order to get the sex he wants, may agree to dates or boyfriend-status that he really isn't that interested in. Trust your gut.
Bear in mind that "I do but I don't" is a very good reason NOT to do something sexual: when you're going to have any kind of sex, it feels like a big, loud, giant DO, with no maybes or don'ts in there. You should want to do it 100%.
When you are at that point in your life, condoms, when used properly (on from start to finish, used with a bottle of extra lubricant nearby, etc.) and consistently (as in, ALL the time, every time), are a good method of birth control, and essential for STI protection — if you've been giving him oral sex without using them, know that you'll want to stop doing that and also get an STI screening: that presents infection risks. They don't protect you 100% — a risk of pregnancy and STIs does still exist, but they reduce those risks dramatically. However, again, given they don't provide 100% protection, and you're so young, if you're going to have sex with someone, you're going to need to have some serious discussions about sexual health and how you might manage an accidental pregnancy first.
Really? I'll be honest: I'm not a psychic, but I have had this job for a really long time now, and I tend to have a good read with people's questions. And from what I can gather from yours — and I get a lot of questions like yours, especially from very young women — this guy not only isn't likely a good guy for you to be having sex with, but he's not likely a good guy for you to be fooling around with, either. You're stepping right up and giving him everything he seems to want, but he's not doing, and isn't likely to do, the same for you. I also don't hear YOU that excited about any of this, save for the hope he might ask you out, and that's just a cruddy deal, sister.
So, I'd suggest you move on, and you wait for the kind of relationship you want, where "Do you want to go out?" comes before "How about a blow job?" There's just no good reason for you to be settling for something that isn't what you want, especially when the risks for you are so high, to body and heart. You deserve exactly what you want and need, and no less.
Here are a few links for you to walk away with, including a checklist about sexual readiness in case you decide to keep considering this with this guy, anyway. As you know, these things are up to you, but at least do yourself the favor of considering them with all the information you need to know about what's at stake, for real.