Hearty Sexuality in Adolescence is Normal

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Reader’s Question

I am a 16-year-old girl. I knew about sex when I was 12 and I was not so excited, but suddenly I started to have such a very strong desire to have sex that my friends keep telling me I am abnormal. They accuse me of wanting to have sex as much as boys do!

Just seeing a sexy boy or touching a boy’s hand by mistake turns me on. I can spend hours and hours imagining sex! Sometimes I even wish to be raped, so I watch bad movies. Also, just to calm myself down, I created some imaginary friends who sometimes touch my body or my back.

Am I abnormal, as my friends say? All my friends are girls, and I am not allowed to have male friends, but I have many male classmates. I cannot have sex before marriage, which will be many years from now, for sure!

Psychologist’s Reply

Your sexual feelings sound very normal. Some cross-cultural research has shown that children around the world typically experience sexual attractions to others around the age of 10. That’s not to say that such children necessarily understand what sexual activity is, or that they want to have sex. The point is that sexual feelings and interests tend to develop years ahead of the time that it’s usually considered acceptable to act on those feelings.

The fact that your female friends accuse you of being as interested in sex as males are reminds us that there is a double standard when it comes to sexual interest. Society expects males to be much more interested in sex than females are, so when a female expresses her own hearty sexual feelings, she may be accused of having a problem. As a result, many girls and women either stifle their sexual feelings or feel embarrassed and ashamed for having them. Unfortunately the sexual double standard doesn’t apply just during the teen years.

One factor contributing to your excitement may be the ‘off-limits’ nature of boys right now. Because you’re not allowed to have male friends or to have sex, any contact with an attractive boy is probably even more sexually charged. Also, fantasies are often better than reality, so fantasizing about being touched and even raped is an activity performed on your own terms, with your own desired details. In other words, we can make our fantasies conform to our own interests and desires, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we want to experience similar scenarios in real life.

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Your intense interest in sex at this point is probably the result of your age and circumstances, and will vary as your situation changes over the years. There may come a time when you look back with fondness on this time, when just the thought of sex is so exciting. In the meantime, allow yourself to feel what comes naturally for you, with no need to compare yourself to your female friends. Sometimes the important lesson is not to stifle our feelings, but to learn who we can and cannot share those feelings with safely.

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