One of the stories found in our Wait Awhile research confirms that teenage girls still feel a lot of pressure to explore sex, often before they are ready. Of the 16% of our respondents who said they had gone further in a sexual relationship than they were comfortable with, 77% of the girls said they regretted doing so.
And although our survey doesn’t ask girls to tell us the specific regrets, I know from talking with teenage girls through my work and personal life and having been a girl myself, though a long time ago, such regrets are deeply felt and can be long lasting, which is why our Wait Awhile initiative is about taking a deep breath and widening the gap between being a girl and a woman.
Having said that some high risk activities for teenagers, such as sharing sexually explicit material can lead to danger and harm and deep regret at any age. But becoming sexually active prematurely does carry enormous risks during the teen years.
There are plenty of reasons to wait awhile but too often the only reasons that are expounded on are the ones that focus more on the negatives consequences of premature sex instead of the positive benefits of waiting.
At UIO podcast, we believe there are enormous benefits in side-stepping undue pressures and expected behaviour that could result in deep regret. And we are not just talking about sex, though sex is a big deal. Sexuality, for example, is another topic that teenagers feel heated pressure to explore and know all the answers instantaneously.
In our On Dating Inside Out podcast with Cat Williams, the therapist points out that often when we are determined to do something no matter the cost, it might not hurt to step back and let the hormones settle, my words, not Cat’s.
Amongst the benefits of stepping back are living a life without the pressure of worrying about consequences, as well as the opportunity to align with your true values and live your best life in the here and now. And as you grow-up that here and now changes, as it should, giving you the opportunity to make more informed decisions that serve you, rather than cause regret and grief.
In our On Sex and Sexuality podcast, which we have re-released this week, our guest Rachel Gardener talks about the importance of putting your relationship first, before diving into a steamy romance. The benefits of learning loads about yourself while learning to relate to another person far outweighs living under pressure that can and so often lead to physical and emotional scars.
Waiting awhile is about reclaiming your space as a teenage girl. After all, you’re only a teenager for a few short years. Enjoy!