Though I am not very old, it seems we had an understanding growing up in the ’70’s: Getting to know a person before sleeping with him/her was preferable to not. Why it was preferable (or as teens say, “beneficial”) seemed self-evident: that trust would follow friendship, and that trust is a prerequisite for a meaningful relationship, just as Global History One is a prerequisite for Global Two.

Nowadays kids do not even have this notion. They put sex before trust, and getting to know someone last, if not nil. If the hook-up is good, who cares what you call it!

Sext, Bed and Repeat.

Until: Hurt, Left, Soured.

Rarely is there a connection about why the sudden loss/abandonment/pain.  Just move on and fill the void with the next willing participant in the tango of non-dating.

Call me silly, but teenagers and young adult women who I work with are not happy when the anxiety sets in. They look around at their friends, and this culture and ask, “Why me?” This sets up a feeling of profound shame and inadequacy when they have done nothing wrong. You just sit there helplessly and say, “What did I do to deserve this treatment?” Like all common decency has flown out the window.

Turns out getting to know someone as a friend first, instead of last, is not such a bad idea.

Friends First

Friends First

ENTER SEXTING

A well-regarded study says teens use sext and sex as currency:

Sexually suggestive images sent to the privacy of the phone have become a form of relationship currency. One high school senior girl reflected:

“When I was about 14-15 years old, I received/sent these types of (sext) pictures. Boys usually ask for them or start that type of conversation. My boyfriend, or someone I really liked asked for them. And I felt like if I didn’t do it, they wouldn’t continue to talk to me. At the time, it was no big deal. But now looking back it was definitely inappropriate and over the line.”

How can you get to know if someone is respectful and decent (never mind committed) but at the very least, just not a jerk, before you launch into something over which you have no control?

  1. Spend time together
  2. See if you have mutual friends or interests
  3. Do something outdoors
  4. Have a conversation beyond text
  5. Go on a date

It’s funny, I find teens and young adults talking about “dating” but what they are doing is not going anywhere but bed. That is the opposite of dating.  Dating surely does sound so last Millennium but perhaps there is something in-between “hook-up hell” and going for a soda pop.  Perhaps just “Getting to Know You” is the reward in itself.