When it comes to deciding whether or not to have sex, there are a lot of things for GLBT teens to consider.
- A gay teen might ask how he thinks having sex could make him feel about himself or his partner.
- A lesbian teen might think about whether or not she is ready to talk about this with her parents.
- A bisexual teen might try to figure out how to have safer sex, say by using condoms or a dental dam.
- A transgender teen might struggle with whether having sex reflects his or her personal values.
Though every teen will go through a different process to figure out if sex is the right decision, at some point almost all teens asks themselves, "Do I have to be in love before having sex?"
For some, the answer is clear. Love and sex need to go together. As a 16-year-old gay Californian says:
"You can have sex for fun, but it's never the same [without love] especially if it's your first time. Like, I still haven't had sex, so I want to do it with someone I love, not someone I barely know and trust."
A lot of people feel like this, not not everyone. A 16-year-old lesbian explains that she doesn't believe that being love has to be a prerequisite for having sex. She says:
"Sex and love is great. But neither needs the other to flourish. It helps, but they are, at the end of the day, two separate entities."
It's not that there aren't some very good arguments for having sex with someone you love. For one, sex is an intimate act that can make teens feel really vulnerable, and you are more likely to take care of a partner and have a partner take care of you--both physically and emotionally--if you are in love. But when it comes to sex, there is no "one size fits all" answer, and some teens feel that they can have positive sexual experiences without being in love. It also bears mentioning that while love can be great, it isn't a magic bullet that can protect sexually active teens from any of the risks associated with sex, including STDs and heartbreak.
The decision to have sex is a really important one. So it is helpful for GLBT teens who are considering having sex, either for the first time, or with a new partner, to figure out their own views and values about this issue long before they jump into the sack!