Question from Eliza
Should I lose my virginity to Sam?
Two important factors should be in place before you engage in sexual intimacy.
1) You should be at least 18 years old. Let us not imagine that sex does not make babies. Sex is, in fact, the number one cause of babies. Additionally, teenagers tend to be rather inept at birth control. That takes practice. Teenagers are especially fertile and eager to experience sex and thus, teen pregnancies. In summary, sex makes babies and you should be prepared to raise a child before you engage in sexual intercourse.
2) You should also be in a loving and committed relationship before you become sexuallly intimate. The term “intimacy” assumes vulnerability. Yes, sex is a carnal and natural desire but the act requires exposure and risks … both physical and emotional. Before you are ready to see and be seen this intimately, you should love and be loved so that the utmost care will be taken, by each of you, to protect one another and to have a meaningful experience that is not taken but shared.
You know yourself. You know Sam. Make your decision carefully.
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Question from Oliver
Weezy, I am a 14-year-old male and I am very active on a site called Fanfiction.net. This is a place where you can write fictional stories using the characters from famous books, movies, games, etc. It’s a pretty safe, anonymous site but still, I have met some good friends there and we have been talking via Zoom.
The thing is, my parents don’t know what I do on the internet. They’ve never really cared as long as I don’t go into inappropriate sites or talk to strangers. They trust me not to do something stupid. But now one of my awesome Zoom friends is visiting my town this summer and she would like to meet up.
I have no idea how to tell my parents without them losing trust in me. It doesn’t help that I have two older adult brothers who tease me. She is a girl and up until now, nobody knew I had a female friend.
I feel that my parents will want to get a lot more involved in what I do on the internet, and though I am a bit irrational about it, I hate that. It just feels like an invasion of privacy. What should I do? And thank you.
The truth is that you have been going kind of rogue online. Of course, every teenager is going to violate a few parental rules (within reason), make mistakes and then learn from them. The problem is that in this process of push and pull with parents and guidelines, some teenagers make fatal and disastrous mistakes from which they can not return and learn.
What your parents wish for you is good judgment. They want you to make choices that feel wise. That’s a lot to ask of a kid whose brain is not finished maturing. In fact, the last part of your brain to develop is the judgment part.
It’s been discovered that this frontal lobe of the brain does not kick completely into gear until age 25. This helps explain why every spring, drunken college kids set couches on fire.
Your parents should have been more closely monitoring your online activities. If they knew about fanfiction.net, they may have signed off on it and approved of the friends you are making there. Left to your own devices, however, you are responsible for the judgment calls and I feel like you are doing very well.
However, you ARE violating the very broad rules that were outlined by your parents. Given that they are pretty hands off, it may have been better if you had told them along the way what you were doing.
Your parents want you safe, and they want to know that you are listening to them and that you are not putting yourself in danger. For the most part you are doing well, but you have broken a big rule, “Don’t talk to strangers.”
To get yourself out of this predicament, you can first tell them about Fan Fiction. It’s a very creative outlet and you should not have to hide it. Show them a story that you have read or written. Show them the feedback that you have received, and then gently let them know that you’ve made a few friends.
I understand that you are going to feel nervous about sharing that one of these friends is a girl, but your parents and your brothers fully get that you may become interested in girls around the age of 14. Let them tease. You can say something like, “Weren’t you once 14?”
Bottom line: You have not done anything horrifically wrong, but you will have to face the music that starts to play when you want to meet somebody you have met online and when you begin to become interested in dating. Your parents really should be more involved.
I know you have grown accustomed to your privacy but you were violating trust, which means that this privacy was never really yours in the first place. It was stolen. There is all kinds of privacy waiting for you when you get to be an adult. Right now, let your family help you stay safe and unburden yourself from these secrets.
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Got a question for Weezy? Email her at email@example.com and it may be answered in a subsequent column.
— Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She also co-hosts the podcast Media Path with Fritz Coleman, and teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.