Man, this is awkward. But it’s really important so I’m going to soldier through.
When I was about your age, my father took me on a motorcycle ride. He drove me out into the middle of nowhere (which was fabulously fun, by the way), stopped in some plowed field, and tried to give me the facts of life. He did the best he could, but it still made me want to throw up into my shoes. Just like you, when I was twelve I already understood the basics about the birds and the bees. What my dad was trying to do was prepare me for the subtleties. But, I don’t really think that’s a dude job.
You know how in our family there are certain tasks I’ve handed over to Daddy? Usually the icky ones like plunging the toilet or taking out the garbage? Those are dude jobs, for those of us lucky enough to have dudes to do them. Believe me, there are more than enough chick jobs to make up for it. Like childbirth for example. That’s surely worth twenty years of trash duty.
Anyway, there’s something I want to tell you that most definitely falls outside the spectrum of dude speciality: I want to talk to you about sex. Ew, gross… I know. But bear with me.
This hurts me more than it hurts you.
Pretty soon you’re going to start thinking that boys are maybe not that disgusting. Maybe you already think so, though I know your exposure to them is pretty limited. After you think they aren’t that gross you’re going to start thinking that some of them are pretty downright intriguing. Hot, you might call it. That’s totally ok. (Of course it’s totally ok if you think girls are hot instead, but at this point, I don’t really see you leaning that way – besides, lets be honest: girls are less scary than boys.) That’s how it’s supposed to be. In fact, in other cultures (or Jerry Lee Lewis Land) you’d be getting married in the next six months or so.
Please. Don’t be ashamed about it. Let me just call a spade a spade and say that being ashamed about your sexuality is about as anti-feminist as you can get. After all, boys think about sex all the time. Why shouldn’t you?
So, when that time comes, sometime in the next week, next month, next year or two, there are a few things I’d like you keep in mind:
First of all, you don’t owe anyone anything. NOT.ONE.DAMN.THING.
There is no dinner or prom ticket or concert pass that buys anything from you but your polite and heartfelt “Thank you.” Thank you should be enough. If it’s not, you’re dealing with a john not a boyfriend. (A “john” is a man who pays women for sex, by the way. That’s a conversation for another day.) Ditch him.
Second, there is no such thing as “too late to change your mind.”
No matter what people try to sell you, sex is not a ride at an amusement park where once you buckle in, you’re in for the duration. You are allowed stop at any time. This doesn’t make you a bitch or a tease or anything other than a person who’s reconsidered. If someone says otherwise, ditch him.
Third, sex is something that you do with another person not for another person.
In other words, you should be enjoying it as much as he is. As uncomfortable as it is, I think I should linger on this point a minute…
When I was growing up we had a system of bases. First base was kissing. Second base involved breasts. Third base meant you’d put your hands on someone’s private bits and a home run was actual intercourse. Now, your generation has tossed oral sex into the mix and completely thrown off our system. We didn’t even have a base for that.
Lets be clear: there’s nothing bad or wrong or shameful about oral sex. It’s just that it’s sex. And that means it should be reciprocal. It’s not a favor. It’s not like getting someone a glass of water to be nice. It’s something you do with someone. Which implies that they should be doing something too. And while we are on the topic: there is nothing gross or disgusting or god-forbid “fishy” about your girl parts. All decent boys know this. If someone says otherwise, ditch him.
Last but not least, I can tell you from scores of personal experience that having sex with someone you actually love is loads better than having sex with someone you just think is kinda cute.
Trust me on this. Even so, I’d be a hypocrite if I told you to wait until you got married (though your father is totally in favor of that plan) or to wait until you’re twenty or to wait for some other arbitrary benchmark.
So I’ll just say this: please wait to have sex (any kind of sex) until you are 100% sure that you want to do it. Wait until you feel confident enough and safe enough and self-assured enough to know you are going to get out of it what you want to get out out of it. Wait until you’ve weighed the risks and rewards and decided on the best course of action.
You are probably going to make some mistakes. I hope they aren’t too painful. But as my mother once told me, “There is nothing new under the sun.” You can always come tell me. I’ll do what I can, and I won’t even tell your father unless you want me to. No worries. He should be busy enough with rest of his dude jobs.