08
Aug
  

CONFESSIONS of a “Teenage Slut”

By E.J. Gordon

I get these awkward questions sometimes. I’m with an old friend, catching up. This friend has a daughter approaching puberty. She attempts to phrase the question, the one about how to keep her daughter from being like me when I was in my teens. And what was I like, what is so bad about being like me?

I was a teenage slut.

Now, no, I wasn’t the chick who blew the whole football team. Ok, maybe a few of them … But I wasn’t the girl with the personality disorder who had a different partner every weekend and never had a boyfriend, and then went on to being a meth addict and is now living in a halfway house on the South Side trying to get her life back together.

I was the girl who guys knew they could get a piece of if they tried. And it didn’t take much … a simple, “you’re pretty” might have done the trick here and there.

My reputation started young, too, like in junior high. I wasn’t even having sex yet, but I went from boyfriend to boyfriend every few weeks and made out with them all. It wasn’t long before making out turned into going to third base, and the oral stuff was how I dated my freshman year boyfriends. And I always had a boyfriend. I would go out with a guy for a month; we would fool around, and then I’d get sick of him and be done. I really did love the guy I lost my virginity to when I was sixteen. I was really proud of myself for waiting that long, regardless of the oral sex I’d already had. But my first real lover and I only dated few months until he cheated on me, then dumped me, and so I slept with two of his best friends. I collected a few other lovers that summer, just to spice it up.

I had turned from being a girl with a lot of boyfriends to being a real slut.

By the time junior year started, I began to realize what I’d done to my reputation, so I started being more careful; that is, when I dated guys, I didn’t cheat on them, and I tried to hang on to my boyfriends for much longer than I had wanted. I even found myself in a slightly abusive relationship, in which the guy had convinced me that I had to be with him because no one else would want me since I had already been around the block a few times. Finally senior year I found myself a nice, stable boy with whom I stayed for over a year. Joining a sorority in college helped; I knew if I slept around, I’d be booted, so I had my long-term boyfriends and tried not to do any serious damage in between.

And after college, although I no longer qualified as a slut, it was difficult not to rack up my “number.” I would date a man for three to six months, which, being in our ’20s, of course meant sex, and then break up and move on to the next relationship. Since I didn’t start dating my very open-minded husband until my late ’20s, that meant a few men a year … needless to say, when the whole “what’s your number” conversation happens with friends, I demur. Honestly, I’m not even sure what it is … it’s more like “an X, less than Y” number.

When my husband and I first became serious, I had to have ‘that’ conversation with him. I knew he truly loved me when he told me that our personal histories make us who we are today, and he’d rather be with a woman who has a love for sex and has a history than a woman who has neither.

Why was I slut? Well, let’s start by saying that there are many reasons a girl goes rogue. Some might be:

1. Daddy Issues – the absence of or the perceived absence of a father figure
2. Poor Role Modeling – adultery in the home, mom’s bad behavior
3. Low Self-Esteem/Insecurity
4. Mood Disorders and Personality Disorders
5. Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Me? I had none of these issues. I had two married parents who loved me as much as I loved myself. I was a stable girl and a strong student. I just liked sex and no one ever gave me a real reason to say NO. But this is where the parenting comes in.

My mom was very ahead of her time. She talked to me about sex. She talked to me about birth control. She used to give me HIV pamphlets and tell me all about Nonoxynol 9 and its importance in killing the virus. She never made me feel ashamed of my sexuality. My dad never said a word. My dad demonstrated two templates in regards to women. The first was the way he was with his wife. He wasn’t always so nice, but she was his partner. He didn’t show her affection in front of us, but he didn’t hit her or cheat on her either. The second template was the way he looked at women. He would see a scantily-clad “broad” with large breasts and turn to me and say, “Wow. Look at her.” And that sums up what my dad taught me about men’s view of women.

So when my friends ask me what they can do to keep their daughters’ pants on, what do I tell them? The same thing I tell my husband about my own daughters:

DADDIES: TALK TO YOUR DAUGHTERS! I know, in my heart, that my choices would have been different if I had known at twelve what I know now about the way the male mind thinks.

Things I Wish My Dad Had Told Me:
1. When a boy tries to screw around with you, it doesn’t mean he likes you. It means he’s horny.
2. Many boys will screw around with just about anyone. It doesn’t make you special.
3. If a guy is not in love with you, then once you give it up, he’ll probably be done with you.
4. When a guy is kissing you, and you’re thinking about the fireworks and how much you like him, and how special the moment is, he is thinking, “please, please, please, touch my penis” and that’s all.
5. He will tell his friends about you and everything you do with him and to him.
6. A lot of guys don’t think much of girls who are too loose with their affections.

And when should these conversations happen? The second your daughter starts to show a real interest in boys, but of course the language should be age appropriate. And then he should tell her again and again and again. The conversations should grow with her. While all men joke that they are going to lock up their daughters until they’re 30, or fashion chastity belts out of their cheerleading briefs or place them in a convent, the truth is that eventually these girls will have sex. And unless they are marrying at a very young age or live in an uber-religious culture, it’s going to happen well before marriage. Know this. Accept it. Have the conversation.

Daddies should be the ones to tell their daughters how to know if a guy really loves them, because they’ve been there, and their daughters know this.

Girls might think their mommies know nothing about boys, but they don’t think this about their daddies, because they ARE boys, and therein lies why they have to be the ones to tell them.

And for God’s sake, Men, watch what you say in front of your daughters. They can hear the way you talk about women, both good and bad. Try not to insult the entire gender, because your daughter is one of us. You can dislike a woman without referring to her as a bitch, a whore or a dumb slut. And try pointing out women to your daughter who are dressed nicely and call them “classy”. Don’t give too much attention in your daughter’s presence to women who are overtly sexual. They’ll want to emulate it. Watch how you treat your wife in front of them. Show your daughters that women are meant to be valued, to be respected, to be cherished.

Remember Dads: YOU are your daughter’s first male love. She will use that blueprint her whole life.

Last year a friend of mine got a call from his daughter’s pre-school telling him that his four year old was “busted” kissing a boy underneath the sand table. When I heard what he said to her, I just about wept because it was something I wish I had heard from my dad before it was too late. He said: “Sweetheart, your kisses are very special, so you should be very careful whom you give them to. When you give your kisses to a boy, make sure that he is worthy of them.”

Daddies should tattoo that to the minds of all of our daughters. It will make a difference.

LB: This piece is already printed out and ready for my daughters. GIRLilla Warfare welcomes your comments. Have at it … 

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