Chapter 3: Responsibility and Prevention Part I: Avoiding Pitfalls
I have temporarily truncated this article because I have enrolled the ebook versions of Wage Peace Between the Sexes in KDP Select, and therefore cannot have it in another format. From October 21st through October 25th, both ebook versions are available for free download.
To read Chapter 2, All the Good Ones are Taken - Really?, please visit this link:
Interrogate with Interest:
Determine which of these statements are true, and which are false.
1) If a guy asks a girl out, that means they’re automatically going steady; seeing anyone else is cheating.
2) Emotionally abusive people are easy to spot, since their behavior is usually obvious.
3) The best time to meet each other’s parents is before the first date.
4) Having sex and dabbling in alcohol and drugs are common rites of passage for teens, and is therefore harmless.
5) If you fall for your best friend’s date, you should go for it, since all is fair in love and war.
6) Healthy and wholesome living can help a girl avoid date rape.
7) Sticking to environments where people respect each other can help a guy avoid getting raped.
8) A guy will not be harmed by having an affair with an older woman, since guys don’t get pregnant.
9) Guys can be just as afraid of sex as girls.
10) Though homophobia exists, there are venues where gays and lesbians can meet each other in a healthy and wholesome atmosphere.
Answers: 1, 2, 4, 5, and 8 are false; 3, 6, 7, 9, and 10 are true.
Dating is a greatly enjoyable experience (or should be, anyway;
if it isn’t, you’re definitely doing something wrong). Its purpose is to discover what sort of person you like, and ultimately, to find a marriage partner. Once you decide to go steady with one particular person, this is your time to get to know one another better.
Many teens – and adults, for that matter – immediately go steady on the first date. It’s as if they assume they belong to each other, just because they went out one time. This serious mistake can lead to uncomfortable situations, such as embarrassment if it turns out one partner is not as interested as the other. Also, people who do that often tend to be extremely jealous or possessive, which are signs of an abuser. It is best to date several people at once; ideally, it should start off in groups, so you can get to know lots of kids on a casual basis before going off alone with someone. The first time you go on a solo date, the two of you should meet each other’s parents, so they can assess your characters (there are many more reasons; I’ll go over them later). After having gone out with one person half a dozen times, then the decision to see each other exclusively should be mutually decided.
Mainly, you will be able to spot and avoid an emotionally abusive partner. Signs are someone who is manipulative; they may use “icing out” and sulking to get what they want. A guy may pressure his girlfriend into having sex early in the relationship, threatening to dump her and ruin her chances of any more dates if she refuses. Or a girl may erode her boyfriend’s self-esteem by putting down his achievements and making fun of his goals. The person may be controlling or domineering, constantly demanding you tell them where you are and what you’re doing. They may accuse you of things you didn’t do, like cheat on them, or blame you for factors beyond your control, like their poor behavior (“I reacted this way because you made me mad”). They may have the habit of co-dependence, which is intruding on someone else’s personal boundaries and treating them as an extension of themselves (this is very common among addicts). The aforementioned traits of jealousy and possessiveness are definite giveaways. If you encounter someone like this, RUN. It is not your job to “fix” anyone; they need professional help for their problem, which is beyond the scope of practice for high school students. Besides, the only person you can fix is yourself. If you harbor any of these traits, work on getting rid of them, since like attracts like; the more dysfunctional you are, the more likely you will wind up in such a relationship.
The general consensus is, “Everybody’s doing it”. Yet, statistics present an entirely different picture; only about half of high school students have ever had sex, with 17 being the most common age for their first experience.
Listed below are reasons why high school students shouldn’t have sex.
They usually know very little about it. I once read a story of a teen couple who used to make out all the time. Then one day the girl was home alone, and decided she wanted to lose her virginity. She called her boyfriend to come over, and they finally went all the way. She wondered why it wasn’t enjoyable, and was downright painful. There’s a lot more involved in sex than the act.
They have not considered the consequences. What do you know about STDs? What type of birth control will you use? What if it fails and the girl gets pregnant?
They are seldom emotionally mature enough to handle it. Many teens feel squeamish about even discussing the aforementioned topics, so how can they actually deal with it – or the aftermath, if they don’t deal with it, or if things go wrong? (Example; a girl can get an abortion, but both parties will be scarred for life due to the gut-wrenching decision of terminating the pregnancy). Sex can also cloud one’s judgment; you can feel bonded to the person, making it difficult to leave the relationship after finding out later he or she has undesirable characteristics.
What are the Age of Consent laws in your state? Not knowing can get you into BIG trouble. There are instances where guys have been listed as sex offenders because they had sex with their girlfriends who were slightly under 18!
Succumbing to peer pressure is one of the worst reasons for having sex. Especially if you don’t really know what your peers are doing. Also, the crowd that is having sex may very well be the loser crowd.
An emotionally immature person may have sex to try to win someone’s love, or be “grown up”. The former is manipulative, the latter foolish. Manipulation repels desirable people and attracts dysfunctional ones; rather than love you, the person will most likely use you. Likewise, you prove your adulthood by being responsible, not screwing around.
The time to have sex is when you’re of age, know your partner well (this takes AT LEAST six months of seeing each other exclusively, with LOTS of open communication; some believe you should wait until after marriage), and both of you have fully educated yourselves on the subject, including birth control and STD prevention. No pressures, secrecy or control issues should be involved in the decision-making process. The two of you need to discuss whatever consequences might come up, and how you will deal with them. Contrary to popular belief, declining sex is not that tricky, and you don’t need a million ways to do it. Just avoid situations which will tempt you, like being alone together in isolated places, and politely tell your partner you’re not ready yet; you need to know each other better, develop emotionally, and be prepared to deal with whatever may come up. Anyone worth having will respect this; if they don’t, you’re better off without them.
Why do guys push their girlfriends into having sex? Many times they believe that’s what they really want, but it can turn out to be more than they bargained for. Peer pressure plays a part, or proving their “manhood”. Or it could be simply to show they’re interested. I once heard a story about a man who propositioned a woman on the third date, and when she declined, he actually thanked her. He told her he wasn’t ready for sex either; he just wanted to show her he cared.
Here, I need to add a note for high school guys. No doubt you have heard of recent cases in the news about female teachers having affairs with male students, some as young as 12 years old. You may think this is a desirable situation, and boys can escape it unscathed, but that is NOT TRUE. This is child molestation, no different from if the genders were reversed. Being used as a sex object wreaks havoc on a boy’s emotional development; going from zero to ten in nothing flat prevents them from learning how to court girls and manage the nuances of a relationship. Inevitably, they later resent being used, with some going on to become child molesters or rapists. Also, a boy can impregnate a woman, who then turns around and sues him or his parents for child support. Imagine having to be financially responsible for a baby on a part-time minimum wage job, before you’ve saved up for your first car! And it will go on for eighteen years!
Women who seek out boys for sexual relationships are usually extremely immature and on a power trip. There is a story on the web about a 12-year-old boy who had an affair with a babysitter, already divorced at the ripe old age of 22. She used to make him vow to marry her soon as he was old enough – this, when he’d never even had a girlfriend. Later, when he was 17, he had a brief affair with a woman who had separated from her husband. It turned out she was using him too; when she decided to give her marriage another try, she dumped him on the spot. Fortunately, he later met a wonderful girl his age who was able to help him work through the resulting emotional wreckage, and they are still married after 30 – odd years. However, many are not so lucky. Regarding the news cases, follow what happens to the boys involved, and find out what becomes of them.
As you can see, such women make lousy partners anyway. Never approach an adult for sex, no matter how attractive you find her. Likewise, if she approaches you, REFUSE. If she harasses you, report her to your parents, or a minister or counselor, so they can deal with the situation. You will have plenty of opportunities in your lifetime to find someone who is both desirable and appropriate.
Likewise, girls should stay strictly away from men who want to “school” them. The dangers in such situations are well-known; it is a surefire way to become a crime victim. Many times these monsters are recruiting streetwalkers, the lowest form of prostitution and currently the most common form of human trafficking. At the very least, as soon as he gets you pregnant, he’ll abandon you, leaving you to face decisions that will adversely affect your life forever.
Date rape is using physical force or emotional coercion to get sex on a date. A guy can commit this act without realizing what he is doing, so he needs to learn that no means NO. He can serve a sentence for not respecting boundaries. I know a case where a guy wrestled with a girl in a grocery store. He was most likely just being stupid and immature, since rapists know better than to commit the act in public places, but the girl reported him, and he wound up spending 30 days in jail. He will be registered as a sex offender the rest of his life, prohibiting him from working in certain job fields. All this before he turned 18!
How can a girl avoid date rape? Having the guy meet her parents before the first date is an excellent idea; while most guys aren’t rapists, this should intimidate one who would think of doing such a thing. Also, meeting his parents gives her an idea of what sort of home he comes from, giving perspective to his character. If they were involved in the same social group at school, that should give her insight from the start.
Other ways to avoid date rape are:
Do not drink or use drugs, and refuse to attend parties where people do this. Alcohol and drugs negatively affect judgment, and render you less able to fight off an attacker. Date rape drugs can be slipped into an alcoholic drink (non-alcoholic, in some instances) while the person isn’t looking, making them unconscious and remembering nothing when they sober up. The crime can be difficult to report since you may not even know who raped you. To make matters worse, while unconscious, victims have been defiled and photographed and their pictures posted on the web. There are plenty of ways to have a good time that don’t involve fogging your brain; stick to those.
Trust your instincts. If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t go off alone with him. Sometimes rapists put out a vibe of being a total loser that thinks nothing of taking advantage of someone. I once had a girlfriend who rarely went out. When she finally got a date, she proudly introduced me and some others to him. I picked up on that vibe. Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t know what it meant; I just assumed he was as desperate for a date as she was (if I had known, I definitely would have pulled her aside and warned her!). The next day, she told us he had driven them to an isolated spot and tried to rape her; she was lucky to be able to jump out of the car and run to safety. What became of the case is another story; however, several years later, I was watching a newscast where three rapists were being interviewed, and I felt that same vibe coming from the screen (it would be a good idea for you to look up such an interview on YouTube, to get an idea). Rape is not an act of passion; it is a form of bullying that simply takes on a sexual nature. Not all bullies are rapists, but all rapists are bullies.
Date only guys who respect girls. Have nothing to do with someone who despises them, or sees them as lesser people. If you harbor such attitudes towards guys, get counseling to change that before dating, since like attracts like.
In addition, avoid guys – and girls – who don’t respect you. I’m talking about people who accuse you of being “hypersensitive” when you call them on inappropriate behavior, or being uptight if you refuse to do something against your values. Also, beware of those with violent, hair-trigger tempers. While this does not always lead to date rape, it signifies an abusive relationship. One reason women become battered wives is because of the company they keep; I have been told by several that over half the women they know are beaten on a regular basis, even though the national average is closer to thirty percent for a single incident.
Wait until you know each other well before going off alone. Hanging out in the same group and meeting each other’s family helps towards that end.
Make your intentions clear regarding sex. Make up your mind beforehand how far to go, and stick to it. Guys; no means NO! (Refer to the grocery store incident I told above, to see what could happen if you disregard this.)
Take self-defense courses, so you’re better able to protect yourself if a problem comes up. You may also want to carry pepper spray; check the laws in your state. Make sure you’re trained how to use, and keep it within easy reach.
Incidentally, guys get raped too. It usually happens when they’re in a “rape culture” setting, such as a prison, or any rough crowd that bullies, blames victims, and basically disregards human rights. While less common, it can be even more devastating, because of the stigma involved. It is assumed guys are invincible to that sort of thing, or that they always want sex so the victim must be homosexual and therefore asked for it (the fact that homophobia is alive and well in this country makes matters worse). However, it is EXTREMELY important that anyone with this unfortunate experience report it immediately. Go to the hospital and demand a rape kit, even if you were only mildly injured. See a qualified counselor as soon as possible; you can even chat anonymously through the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) website (https://www.rainn.org/ ). Rapists often attack dozens of people before they’re caught, so you’ll be protecting future potential victims as well.
Toil over the Turmoil:
1) You live in an area that is rife with drugs. Write a list of ways you and your friends can live a healthy and wholesome lifestyle and engage in activities without drugs. Hint: sports and drugs don’t mix!
2) Where you live, disrespect for the opposite sex is rampant. Rap music, movie portrayals, reality TV and lewd music videos exacerbate the issue. Discuss this with your friends, parents, and teachers of both genders. While discussing, compare the social scene of today with the way it was 100 years ago. Include all ethnicities (special note: Dick Gregory, African American comedian, grew up in St. Louis during the 1930s and 1940s; his was the only family in the neighborhood headed by a single mother). Do research on the internet, if necessary. In the past, people had to treat each other better because they needed each other. Though technology has rendered this less necessary, what would happen to society if it continues on this path?
3) You live in an area where violence is rampant. Discuss ways with your teachers and parents that young people can enjoy activities without being victimized, or being forced to join a gang for safety. Hint: there is safety in numbers!
To read Chapter 4, Responsibility and Prevention Part II: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, please visit this link:
© 2015 Yoleen Lucas