Last week, I devoured Anna and the French Kiss. It was an excellent book. Funny and romantic and satisfying, but it also left me aching a bit, and here's why: the main character, Anna, feels embarrassed by being a senior in high school and still a virgin.
This is something I've noticed is very common in general market teen fiction, that if the main character is still a virgin, they feel like they're the only virgin left in high school, and they frequently get teased about it by their friends.
I'm coming to you all today in hopes that you can straighten out my thinking - is it my high school experience that was weird? Because anyone who knew me knew I was waiting until I got married to have sex, and I never caught any grief for my principles.
I had friends who were having sex. And many of my friends who weren't yet sexually active intended to be once they had a serious boyfriend. But no one was ever like, "Stephanie, you're such a weirdo for being a virgin." I honestly believe - both then and now - that nobody cared about my sexual status. (Other than my parents, of course, and my boyfriend.)
As I've mulled this over for the last couple days, it's occurred to me that even though I'm a person who embarrasses easily, I can't dream up a single thing anyone could have said in high school that would have left me feeling awkward about my choice. I believed to the core of my being that waiting was the right choice and that not waiting was foolishness. Just like if all my friends divorced their husbands and teased me for staying married, it would in no way humiliate me because I believe in my marriage.
As someone who writes for teens (and who is raising kids), I would greatly appreciate your feedback on this. If you're a virgin, do the other kids at school tease you for it? Do you feel like you're alone? And if you're not a virgin, do you feel like it's more common at your school to be sexually active or not? I welcome you to either leave an anonymous comment or contact me privately by clicking here.
Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers and does so on her blog www.GoTeenWriters.com. To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com.