My editor asked me to write a column about sex on prom night.
She told me it couldn’t be a column telling kids not to do it, but rather to list the Do’s and Don’ts if they’re gonna do it anyway.
I may be the worst person to have been asked to write this column.
“How are you going to write a column about sex on prom night?” my husband laughed. “You know where you stood when you were in high school. Totally anti-sex.”
He was right. It wasn’t so much that I was a prude or even saving myself for Prince Charming.
It was that I was afraid of getting pregnant. My mom had convinced me that as soon as I had sex, my belly would magically balloon with child. I had ambitions that didn’t include an unplanned pregnancy.
Teens like Bristol Palin, Jamie Lynn Spears and all of the stars on MTV’s Teen Mom prove my mom’s argument had substance.
On the other hand, she did tell me, when I was in high school, “If you do decide to have sex with your boyfriend, just promise me you will use protection.”
While it grossed me out to have my mom tell me to use protection if I have sex with my boyfriend, I appreciated the respect she gave me as an individual.
My mom was savvy back then in acknowledging that teens do face temptation every day. Shucks, just take a look at Brenda and Dylan in the original 90210.
And that’s why I think I may actually be the best person to write this column. I believe in our young women and men and their ability to make the right choice, particularly the right choice for them. That said, here are my Do’s and Don’ts of Sex on Prom Night:
1. Do Protect Yourself
Mom was right. If you are going to go all the way on prom night, do it as safely as possible. Don’t just arm yourself with birth control pills. Make sure to use a condom to protect yourself as much as possible from sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes and hepatitis B. (Read a little about STDs and teens, too. It’s never a bad idea to be more educated.)
And be aware that condoms break. There are always consequences to every action. Is this a boy or girl you trust? It wouldn’t hurt both partners to get a clean bill of health from their physicians.
2. Don’t Expect to See Your Prom Date in Summer
I get it. He’s the guy of your dreams. She’s your fantasy girl.
In summer, it’s also just as likely that he or she will be a fond memory of high school.
Make sure this is the person you want to share this experience with without requiring it to be permanent.
In fact, I’ve got a few friends who broke up with their significant others right after prom.
Prom forces a lot of romance that wouldn’t normally occur. Prince Charming may actually be a toad after graduation.
3. Don’t Do Anything You Wouldn’t Want Tweeted
When I was in high school, most prom night sex talk was conjecture. “He said-she said” stuff was thrown around, but rarely substantiated.
These days, prom-night sex can be tweeted the very next morning, if not immediately after the deed.
If you don’t want to see your date’s status changed to “TOTALLY DID IT!” you may want to hold off.
4. Do Know Your Bodies are Changing – Thank Goodness!
In high school your bodies are rarely what they will become. Girls get curvier in college and guys get a little more muscle.
Most of us fantasize about sex with movie stars – no one is built that way in their teens. If you think Justin Beiber is cute but fantasize about Robert Pattinson in bed, you may want to hold off. Beiber’s body is pretty much what you get with a high school boy.
5. Don’t Expect This to Be the Best Sex of Your Life
He doesn’t know what he’s doing. She doesn’t know what she’s doing. There’s no way this is going to be awesome.
It will likely hurt. It will also very likely disappoint.
True intimacy is founded on love and care. While some were lucky enough to find The One in high school, many of us had to wait for college and beyond.
6. Don’t Make the Backseat of a Car Your First Time
No one owns their own pad in high school, which means the first time could very likely wind up being the backseat of a car or in someone’s parent’s house.
Think about this very hard before deciding to go all the way. Practice telling your future child about your first time. Do you want it to start with, “When Mommy was in high school, I liked this boy so much we had sex in his Toyota Corolla?”
Personally, I like this one better: “When I met your dad in college, we were very much in love. When we were ready to take our relationship to the next step, we made sure it was in the right place.”
7. Do Be Aware Your Relationship Will Never Be the Same
Sex is a big step.
For me, it was an intimate experience I’m happy to have only shared with the guy I married. I’m selfish that way.
Just know your prom date will see you in class, at graduation, in college or even at the mall, and he or she will know that you shared a very intimate moment. If you can deal with that, you’re likely a stronger soul than me.
No matter what you decide that night, please remember there’s one thing you must have for each other as well as preserve for yourselves: Respect.