The other day, I was chatting with one of my best friends. She mentioned casually that she was going to have sex, for the first time, with her boyfriend of four months.

A bit taken aback, I asked, “Are you… ready?”

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“Yes,” was her simple reply. We moved on, switched topics, started talking about something else.

The problem with this situation is that it doesn’t happen often enough.

In America, teenage sex is made out to be a Big Deal. This is due largely to the religious undertones of our nation, of God-fearing people who adhere to the Bible’s call for abstinence. I feel as if I need to remind everyone that America is not a theocracy. Thus, any conservative religious values should not be imposed upon us. People are allowed to have their own opinions, yes; but they fail to see that sex is a natural part of human life. As natural as breathing, eating, sleeping. Teenagers are just as human as any of us — so why, then, should sex be denied to us based solely upon our age?

True, a lot of our decisions are made spur-of-the-moment. The adolescent brain is still largely developing. As a result, all adolescents are generalized against, morphed into shady, flaky characters who cannot be trusted to think for themselves. Of course, this means that other authoritarian figures should think for us, decide for us.

…Right? Wrong.

Having sex is not a Big Deal. True, it comes with many strings attached. People often use the “teenage pregnancy” argument. The solution for this is simple: educate our children in the practice of safe sex. Condoms and birth control work wonders. Those who preach abstinence fail to realize that, even if they tell their kids not to have sex, the kids shall do it anyway. Since when has telling teenagers not to do something ever worked? As teenagers, we feel a need to grow independent, break away from our parents, to rebel. If we are forbidden to do something, obviously we are going to engage in it.

Sexual intercourse is not bad, evil, or “unpure”, as it is often made out to be. It is, in fact, quite the opposite. Sex elevates your mood, induces euphoria, satiates your innate need for it, satisfies your hormones. You are not obligated to have sex with someone you’re in love with. You can have sex with whoever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want. Sex and love are not interchangeable. While it is, in fact, a wonderful experience to have sex with someone you are in love with, it shouldn’t be restricted to only that.

It all rests upon the individual’s choice. The choice you make to have sex or to not have sex, to have sex with someone you love or to have sex with ten different people you like. And there’s nothing wrong with either of those options. Most, if not all, humans will have multiple sexual partners in their lifetime. Just because you’re in your teenage years doesn’t mean you’re somehow not entitled to the perks that the rest of humanity is.

Another argument against this is that you should “wait until marriage.” That somehow, having sex violates the perceived “sanctity” of marriage. Yes, this is yet another illogical belief fostered by religious motivations. We are supposed to turn against our natural instincts for… what? To be “pure”? Why is abstinence the symbol of “purity”? Furthermore, why should it be? And why should anyone be obligated to adhere to it, just because someone else says so?

Frankly, if you’re going to have sex and you’re a teenager, I wish you luck. There’s nothing wrong with it — not in the least. All I am advocating is to do it safely: use condoms, always, and birth control, if possible. Make sure that neither you or your partner have any STIs. Make sure that you are comfortable enough with your partner to engage in intercourse. And I can assure you that everything will turn out fine.

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