The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Sex Doesn't Make You a Man
Damon Washington

I’m 17 years old and proud to be a virgin.

I choose not to have sex because I’m still young and have a lot of life ahead of me. I have college to look forward to and having sex won’t help me further my education.

Of course, the idea of having sex does cross my mind every now and then, but I already have too much to deal with in my life as it is. I have goals. I want to get married, become a writer, and, if I’m lucky, play football in the pros someday. Having sex will not make these things happen.

Until a couple of years ago, I lived in the Cypress Hills Projects in East New York, Brooklyn. I experienced everything there—guns, drugs, violence. But a lot of the time the main issue was sex. Outside on the benches my friends always talked about how they were going to get with this girl and that girl. They would call girls nasty names whenever the girls wouldn’t give them the time of day. In fact, I’ve never seen these guys do anything nice for a girl. To them, girls were just sex objects.

My friends would question me constantly about whether I ever “got any.”

“No,” I’d tell them.

“What’s the matter with you?” my friend Kevin asked one time. “You too busy or something?”

“Yeah,” I told him. “Because, unlike you guys, I want to treat girls with respect before I even think about moving to the next level.”

“Man, you don’t know what you missing.”

My friends teased me so much that I almost felt I had to have sex just to get them off my back. But no matter how many times they asked me, they still got the same answer: “I’m still a virgin and proud of it.” As long as I’m happy with myself and what I’ve accomplished in life, I don’t have to prove anything to anybody.

Two years ago I started a relationship with a girl named Lynnette. We spent time together, talked on the phone a lot, and showed our affection towards one another by hugging and kissing. One day Lynnette and I were talking and I asked her if she had ever had sex. She said she hadn’t. Then she asked me the same question and I told her I hadn’t either.

Lynnette told me that in her past relationships sex was all her boyfriends thought about, 24-7. And when she found that out, she dumped them. She said she hoped that I wasn’t that type of guy, because she would dump me too. I told her I wasn’t and that being with her was all I ever needed.

We used to joke around about sex in terms of who would last the longest, but our relationship was based on having fun together. Lynnette said she wanted to be married before she had sex and I respected her for that. Not too many people our age realize that waiting to have sex can be a good experience.

It’s not that I didn’t think about it sometimes, or that we didn’t have plenty of opportunities. Once Lynnette and I went over to my house after church, and my mother went out and left us all alone. We were talking, kissing, and playing around, acting silly. Then we went to my mother’s room to watch a movie. I was still playing around with her but Lynnette seemed more interested in the movie than me and I felt kind of neglected.

After the movie was over we went downstairs to the kitchen. Lynnette was cooking ribs and watching a basketball game on TV. She was a big time Chicago Bulls fan but I wasn’t into it. I tried to take Lynnette’s mind off the game by kissing her.

image by Nishan Aznavorian

“Stop,” she said, and kind of pushed me off.

Later, when I took Lynnette home, I didn’t say much to her because she’d been ignoring me.

“What’s the matter with you?” she asked. “Why aren’t you talking to me?”

“Nothing,” I said.

I walked her to the door and just when I was getting ready to leave she said, “Hold up. You ain’t gonna give me a kiss?” I walked over, kissed her, and went back to my mother’s car.

Later that night Lynnette called to find out what the problem was. “Why didn’t you want to kiss me when you dropped me off?” she asked.

“Because I didn’t like the way you was ignoring me,” I said.

“It wasn’t like I was ignoring you the whole time,” she said. “It’s just that you kept kissing on me.”

“I have a confession to make,” I said. “The reason I kept kissing on you was because I was kind of anxious to take our relationship further, and with the situation we were in, the moment was there and anything could’ve happened. I was wrong and I’m sorry.”

“I forgive you,” Lynnette replied. “But it wasn’t like I was gonna let you take advantage of me. You should know me better than that.”

“I know I should’ve never thought about you in that kind of way,” I said. “I just thought that if we continued to get to know each other like we did, then maybe something could have happened between us.”

“Maybe I will have sex someday, but only with my future husband on our honeymoon,” she said.

It felt good being honest with Lynnette that day. It showed me that we can overcome any obstacle as long as we are honest with one another.

About six months after we started going out, Lynnette moved to Georgia, but we are still together. Eventually, when we are reunited, we will just pick up where we left off and see where we go from there. The time to have sex will come in the distant future. Hopefully we will be married and make love on our honeymoon.

Sex doesn’t make a relationship—it’s the love and dignity of how you feel about one another that does. I love Lynnette with all my heart. I was faithful to her. I was there for her through the good and bad times. I was there to console her when she was sick. She once said to me that I filled her heart up with joy, and that is why she wants me to be hers forever.

That may not seem like much to some, but to me it’s what a real relationship is all about.

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