News & Politics

Secret Life of Teens: Boy Meets Girl

Kids From Nearly 50 High Schools Told Us What They Won’t Tell You.

Editor’s Note: To protect the kids’ confidentiality, pseudonyms and photographs of models have been used.

What Happened to Dating?

“People don’t date so much as randomly hook up. It’s too late in our lives to really date. I think we all realize we’re not going to marry anyone from high school.”

—Erica, 17, Smith Jewish Day School, Rockville

“If you turn around at a party, half the time you’ll see two people making out with each other—two girls or a guy and a girl. It’s for attention. They’re not actually lesbians—they’ll just kiss each other with tongue.”

—Jennifer, 18, Springbrook, Silver Spring

“Boys just don’t listen. The other day, one just smacked me on the butt. I kept walking because he was with a group of people and I was scared.”

—Monique, 17, McKinley Tech, DC

“In the hallways, there’s a lot of standing there with your arms around each other. My boyfriend and I laugh about it. Obviously, I’m attracted to him, but we have our own time and we don’t need to do that and make our friends feel uncomfortable. I don’t think my friends have ever seen me kiss him. Maybe like once. My parents? No.”

—Julie, 17, Langley, McLean

“At all-girl schools, it gets so serious so fast. If you’re hanging out, that must mean you like each other, which must mean you’re in a relationship. So there you go—you’re done. You’re married.”

—Amy, 16, Madeira, McLean

Definitions of Love

“In our grade, ‘slutty’ would be defined as having sex.”

—Margaret, 15, Georgetown Visitation, DC

“A phrase you’ll hear a lot at school is: ‘Oh—they’re texting,’ which means they’re like a thing.”

—Anne, 16, Madison, Vienna

“There’s ‘unofficial,’ which is you like each other, you’re hooking up, but you’re not dating—you’re going on dates, but you’re not boyfriend and girlfriend.

“There’s a division between committed, unofficial, and dating. It’s so confusing.”

—Meg, 16, Flint Hill, Oakton

“A ‘man whore’ is a boy who messes with a lot of girls.”

—Kim, 17, Seneca Valley, Germantown

“People are like, ‘Are you guys hanging out? What’s your deal?’ You have to put a label on it. I’m told that gets better as you get older.”

—Amy, 16, Madeira, McLean

Who’s Having Sex?

“Age is not an issue anymore. Freshman year? That’s young. Sophomore year? That’s expected.”

—Kim, 17, Seneca Valley, Germantown

“I don’t think anyone in our grade has had sex with each other. Sex is more of a senior guy and a sophomore girl hooking up.”

—Rebecca, 16, sophomore, Madison, Vienna

“Most guys, as we’re getting to the end of senior year, are just trying to have sex before they go to college.”

­­—Jessica, 18, Sidwell Friends, DC

“At my school, you’re dating before you have sex. In fact, you’re probably dating for six months.”

—Tara, 17, Sidwell Friends

“If you hook up with a guy and go out with him for a week, you will probably have oral sex with him. Way more people at my school have done that than all the way.

“Some girls in my grade hook up with guys in older grades. Ex-girlfriends get pissed off, and it’s like grade wars.”

—Lucy, 16, Maret, DC

“There was this rumor going around in our school that one girl gave a blow job to some guy to get a ride home in his car.

“I’m pretty sure it was true. The girl’s in my grade, and I know her. It’s a small school, so rumors aren’t really rumors. They might get stretched out a bit, but they’re usually based on truth.”

—Arianna, 18, Potomac School, McLean

“Oral sex is a big deal. You really only have oral sex with your boyfriend because it’s so intimate—why would you do that with someone you were just gonna do it with once?”

—Samantha, 17, National Cathedral School, DC

“I know girls who don’t like to use condoms. I have a friend who told her boyfriend, ‘I will not have sex with you if you wear a condom.’ ”

—Heather, 17, Seneca Valley, Germantown

“The first time I had sex, I was drunk, high, and huffing spray paint. I had a miscarriage in February. I felt like I killed my baby. My ex-boyfriend was ignoring me, so I decided to get in shape. I was doing at least 150 sit-ups a day. I think [the miscarriage] was because of all the working out.”

—Name and school withheld

How Many Virgins in Your Grade?

“Hold on, let me work on this—I’m really thinking about this. . . .”

—Kim, 17 (senior), Seneca Valley, Germantown

“I don’t think I could name one. If I dated a guy who’s a virgin, it’d be awkward. It’s a bit of a turnoff.”

—Heather, 17, Seneca Valley

“I haven’t had sex. My parents obviously still check on us. I wouldn’t want them not to—if you learn young that your parents aren’t going to check on you . . . .”

—Julie, 17, Langley, McLean

“I had a boyfriend. He was Indian like me. It took us a while to tell our parents because we were scared. We didn’t even kiss, just on the cheek. But the concept of boyfriend and girlfriend was a no-no.

“After three months, we told our parents, and my mom was like, ‘What’s the difference between being your boyfriend and being your best friend?’ It was hard to explain.

“After a little while, it began being not okay with his parents. They said his grades were going down. His mother said that if she saw him with me again, she was going to make him switch schools.”

—Meera, Prince George’s County 17-year-old

“Sometimes it’s hard to be around non-Muslim friends. I see my friends with their boyfriends, hugging and kissing, and I feel left out. I’m just alone. I don’t have anybody to hug or walk me to class.”

—Salima, Prince George’s County 14-year-old

Anyplace Will Do

“One of my friends and his girlfriend used to have sex in the old locker room. There were foam pits for high-jumping, and they’d make a lounge.”

—Andrew, 18, Wakefield, Arlington

“I don’t think anybody really goes all the way at a party. Kids in public school do that; kids in private school don’t.”

—Lucy, 16, Maret, DC

“I was walking down the steps at school, and I saw a guy on top of a girl with no clothes on. I had to turn around and go back up the stairs. I was traumatized.”

—Name and school withheld

Mother Knows Best?

“I know my mom had sex before she was married. She told me about it. We were having a party, and she was drunk and talking about this one guy she could make do anything. And she said, ‘That’s because I slept with him.’ ”

—Abby, Archbishop Spalding, Severn

“I had an abortion when I was 15. My mom didn’t get mad at me because when she was 16, she got pregnant.”

—Lisa, Prince George’s County 16-year-old

“My mom has asked about sex. I’m like, ‘I wouldn’t do that’—only because I feel like if I’m going to tell her one thing, I have to tell her everything. And I’m not ready to tell her everything.”

—Erin, 17, Bethesda–Chevy Chase

“More girls are going on the pill, with their moms knowing. Some girls will make up that they have really bad cramps or that they get migraines. Or they’ll tell the gynecologist to tell their mom that.”

—Kate, 18, Churchill, Potomac