Contributed by: Angana Prasad
Dated: 20th March, 2015
In the past few months I have spoken with hundreds of teenage girls, thanks to our programme Teen Talks – an open discussion forum for teenagers to discuss issues that concern them the most.
Over the months we have discussed about almost everything under the sun- relationships, social media, self-image, break ups, self harm, crushes, sex, sexuality, gossiping and just about everything else that one could think of. These sessions have been both fun and funny and immensely interactive to say the least. Children have the option to ask us anything directly or write an anonymous chit and pass it forward and we try and answer just about everything that we possibly can, in most cases citing our own examples to normalize the hype behind the obvious teenage stuff.
As expected, there were too many queries. Here are a few of the most popular issues that came up in the sessions…
“Do boys have periods or anything like it when they hit puberty?”
No, they don’t! You do and so does every other healthy girl on this planet. There is nothing to be embarrassed about.
“Is it OK to have a boyfriend?”
Ummm… honestly speaking, I do not know what is right for you. In fact no one else can say what is right for you. So yes, having a boyfriend is OK but you need to be very clear about what and how much you want your relationship to mean and also whether you can handle it or not. Being in a relationship is good. It is OK. It is normal. We do not need to get burdened by what others believe in. “I am in a relationship because everyone else in my class is”, is not a good reason to be in one. Again, “I am not in a relationship because others think it is not good,” also is not good enough.
“Is it possible to fall in love at our age?”
Love can happen at any age and with any person of any sex. All you need to do is be aware enough to understand whether it is love or lust or just the excitement of being asked out by someone. I would say, give it some time. Get excited about this feeling, but still give this feeling some time till you act on this excitement.
“Are girls dating boys for fun bad? “
Not at all. If both people involved know what they are into and are completely clear that the relationship is not meant to be one with a serious commitment then it is absolutely perfect. If even one of the partner believes otherwise, then it is wrong.
“Are boyfriends and girlfriends are distractions?”
Boyfriends/girlfriends are not distractions. If your boyfriend/girlfriend is your distraction, then I guess you need to introspect your relationship. A healthy romantic relationship is one in which both partners support each other to do better. It is pretty much like the stick we tie a flowering plant against. It supports you to bloom beautifully in life.
“Tell us a bit about Sex.”
Sex is good. It is normal. And I repeat, it is good. BUT, sex is about a lot of responsibility both towards your own self and that of your partner, in physical, spiritual, emotional and moral terms.
Every relationship has it’s natural flow. After connecting at various levels, sooner or later, sex naturally happens. It will happen in fact. So, it is important we give ourselves the time to find the new “me” in the new “us”. Jumping upon each other just to satisfy curiosities or to make your partner believe that you love them or just because everyone is doing it is very very unhealthy.
It is absolutely fine if you want to have sex without an emotional involvement, but again, both partners need to be on the same page for this.
Things go wrong. You might have used a condom, but condoms provide only 97% protection. What if your’s is one of the exceptional 3% cases? Are you seriously prepared to deal with an unwanted pregnancy or a secret abortion? Is the one moment of pleasure worth the days of tension after missing your periods and not being sure if you are pregnant or not? Also, just fyi, the pregnancy stick DOES NOT always show the correct result.
Masturbation is so much a better option.
“So girls masturbate?”
Masturbation is also called ‘sex with self’. In this, you touch yourself to feel the same kind of pleasure that you will feel if you are having sex. The problem is, that no one is talking to you about masturbation. Supposedly, boys turn blind if they masturbate a lot and girls, girls do not masturbate!! Well, the fact is, masturbation is healthy. Be it for a girl or for a boy, it IS healthy. Isn’t it so much better to masturbate than to be worried if you are getting your periods this month?
“Is pornography anywhere close to being real and is it OK to watch it?”
Yes, it is OK to watch porn, but only if you are aware that the sex in a pornographic video is nothing close to what things look like in real life. Pornography is pretty much like an exaggerated sport of sex!
These and much more have been asked and spoken about in the sessions, mentioning some of them here might be getting a bit too explicit in a blog post.
The point is that teenagers are inquisitive- about themselves and of the opposite sex. They are dealing with physical, mental, emotional changes. Media, social media and the internet exposes them to a lot more than what they can handle… parents won’t talk, because parents are not supposed to tell them about “those things” and teachers won’t even teach certain parts in the biology lesson because “of course they are for self study”. Where, then, do they get the correct information from?