Can Teenagers Have Consensual Casual Sex?

Last week I participated in a Women’s Media Center “#sheparty” Twitter party. For those of you who don’t know, a Twitter party is discussion on Twitter about the topic of the day. WMC’s topic on that particular day was the ads being placed marketing lingerie to elementary aged girls.

It being my first Twitter Party, I entered the waters timidly by offering what I thought was a pretty mild observation.  I suggested we teach our young people sex in the context of relationship.

Why did I say that?

My comment was immediately addressed by two young adults – one male and one female – who agreed with one another that casual sex amongst teenagers was okay as long as it was consensual.

Now that you have stopped gasping and tsk tsking, I want to remind you that tweets are limited to 140 characters. Space is limited and there are not many shades of gray in 140 characters. Like me, I am sure they wanted to explain more but were just limited by space and time. However, this has been weighing on my mind for almost a week.

Is it truly possible for teenagers to have consensual casual sex?

I don’t need 140 characters to answer this question. No, teenagers can’t have consensual casual sex.

Teenagers may participate in what we would consider casual sex but can it really be consensual? Given the peer pressure our children experience which is complicated by the hormones surging through their bodies, do they really have the ability to knowingly consent to sex?

I am neither a prude nor a particularly religious person. In my opinion, this is not a moral issue, it is a practical one and every woman over the age of 30 who has some sexual experience know this is true. Women will always get the short end of the stick (no pun intended) when it comes to casual sex. If grown women can’t get I right with grown men, how can teenage girls get it right with teenage boys?

It is time to tell the truth.

  • Teenagers don’t date anymore. They “hook up”.  I’ve heard young men say they won’t spend money on a woman because they want to avoid gold diggers. All I could think was “Man, you don’t have any gold!”
  • There is no such thing as good sex amongst teenagers. Teenage boys will enjoy it but the girls generally don’t. How many women remember their first sexual experience and wondered “Is this it?”
  • A teenage girl’s sexual experiences establish low expectations for sexual satisfaction that carry well into adulthood. Forty-year-old women still don’t know they can have multiple orgasms!
  • If a young woman agrees to have sex because they are afraid of being seen as “square” or worried that they boy will stop calling, there is an element of self-imposed coercion in “consensual” sex.

I am not naïve. I know teenagers will have sex. However, it is our responsibility as adults to help them understand sex is a valuable experience not to be engaged in lightly.

When it comes to sexual activity, teenage girls should not be asking  the boy, “Will you respect me in the morning? “ but should be asking themselves “Will I respect myself in the morning.” I may be living in the “Twilight Zone” but what is wrong with young women and men having standards about whom they become sexually intimate beyond, “She’s hot.” Or “He’s cool”? Is it really too much to ask them to get to know each other and enjoy spending time together before they “hook up”?

Casual sex, if you choose to indulge, is an adult activity for folks who have the capacity to handle all of the physical, health, financial, emotional and spiritual ramifications. While our teenagers may have all of the requisite equipment to participate in casual sex, it doesn’t mean they are ready any sexual activity much less casual sex.

What do you think?

Related Links


The Sex Ed Women Really Need


About The Momarchy

As a single mom, I was desperate to restore some semblance of order to my life and enjoy raising my children. My children are adults now and I believe I achieved my goal. This blog post is to share what worked, what didn't and what I learned from the other wise women in my life. Take what you need or share what you learned. Married or single, it does take a village to raise a child. Ladies...this is our village.
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3 Responses to Can Teenagers Have Consensual Casual Sex?

  1. Julie says:

    Your perspective is so important. Please come back to SheParty — we need your voice!
    Julie, President of WMC

  2. Amy says:

    I like this – I think it makes me, as a parent, think twice about what motivates kids to have sex. And it’ll definitely influence how I talk to my son about his partner’s experience!

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