I grew up a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, or rather the Mormon church. In my life, sex was very taboo subject. When sex was talked about, it was in very general object lesson like the used chewing gum or we were just reminded that it was a sin and we were to wait until marriage to have sex. While I was constantly taught that it was wrong to have sex as a teenager, no one ever openly talked about the consequences.
I recently wrote about my first boyfriend
, Andy and how amazing that experience was. Unfortunately, as good as that relationship was, it didn’t really end well and it changed me forever. You see, Andy and I had sex. No this wasn’t a random experience or something meaningless, it was something that built up over month after month until it finally happened. And honestly, it’s sad to say, but since it was such a slow build, I actually don’t remember my first time having sex.
It took me a long to time realize how having sex as a teenager actually affected me. While all the signs that I was changing were present, I didn’t recognize them because I really didn’t know what I was looking for. But over time, as I looked back and pondered what happened, the new me became obvious.
During that time, I remember getting angry often. I would pick fights with Andy, my friends, and family for reasons that probably didn’t make any sense. My anger made me snappy and annoyed with people easily. I no longer felt like a carefree teenager, but I had no idea why.
I became a crybaby. Ok, not really, but I did cry a lot more often. Before having sex, movies, TV shows, and commercials didn’t get a huge response from me. But after I start having sex, I would tear up even when a movie trailer was slightly sad. Also, I became terrified of public speaking. Anytime, I’ve had to speak in front of people since then I get really shaky and have no idea what I’m saying.
Distant with friends
My friendships with my high school friends were slowly destroyed. A lot of this was due to the anger and emotional issues I was experiencing. Jealousy overtook me anytime I felt left out of a situation. I picked fights and I took everything personally. None of my friends even knew what was going on, but I constantly felt like they were judging me.
Lowered self worth
If you’ve read my blog posts about my ex-husband
, you know exactly what happened to my self worth. As I began to move on from my high school boyfriend, I didn’t feel worthy to date someone who was “clean.” Finding out my ex-husband had been previously married my feelings grew for him because I felt we were on the same level. I decided he wasn’t able to judge me since he had been through the same experience. Having sex as a teenager caused me to settle many times throughout my life when I could have aimed for so much more.
Having sex as a teenager caused me to lose trust in myself and others. Often times, I let other people tell me what I should think or how I should feel. Due to my intense feelings of failure in church, I no longer trusted myself to make good decisions. Also, it became difficult for me to trust how other people felt about me. And due to my inability to to trust in friendships and relationships, I pushed people away.
When you make a choice in life, you have to live with the consequences. The problem is, we don’t get to choose our consequences. Often times I wonder what I would choose if I could go back and do it all again. Would I pick the same decision because that’s what I needed to learn to figure out who I am? Or would I choose differently and possibly remain naive about how it feels to make a mistake?
At the time, it felt like the right choice, something I truly wanted. One night on the phone with Andy, I played him “Work” by Jimmy Eat World while we were discussing if we should go further. The line that meant everything to me is “if you only once would let me, only just one time. Then be happy with the consequence, with whatever’s gonna happen tonight.”
So I choose to be happy about the consequences. I choose to take those memories and cherish them as good and bad ones. And most importantly, I choose to share my experience for anyone out there who may be trying to make a decision that goes against their beliefs. Your actions have consequences. Your choices will make a difference. But the good news is, no matter what, it will be ok whichever choice you decide to make.