Today is the last day of "Teen Week 2012." Teen Week: Words That Heal is, according to its creator, Medicinal Marzipan, an annual blog series that occurs the last week of March, where bloggers use their sites to speak out about their experiences with body image, sexuality, and self-esteem during their teen years."
Compared to most teenagers, I led a pretty straight-laced life. I was extremely involved in my Southern Baptist church, believed strongly that sex before marriage was a no-no, and was very conscious of trying not to sin, even though I was told repeatedly that I would be forgiven.
I don't know exactly what age I was when I went to church camp. I don't remember which friends I was there with or where exactly it was. But I do remember asking one of the counselors, in the midst of all the sin/forgiveness talk, about masturbation. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being absymal and 10 being off the charts perfect, I would give the counselor a 7 for how she handled the discussion. She wasn't shocked (it probably wasn't the first time she had gotten a personal question from an adolescent, guilt-ridden girl). That part was great - she talked to me calmly and rationally, and assured me I wasn't going to hell.
But she also gave me an article to read out of some magazine like "Christian Teens Today." The article addressed an adolescent girl's questions about masturbation. The takeaway was, "It's a natural thing that you'll be tempted to do. But think about it as the equivalent of a shiny gift. You are getting fingerprints all over that shiny gift. Would you want to give your future husband a shiny gift with fingerprints all over it?" Point being: keep yourself pristine for your future husband.
As a teenage girl in 2012, you may have already chosen to have sex. (By their 19th birthday, seven in 10 female and male teens have had intercourse, according to the Guttmacher Institute.) Choosing to have sex is giving your partner a gift, physically and emotionally.
But will "fingerprints" reduce the value of the "gift" when and if you get married? No. They're okay.
Note: For more information about Teen Week 2012 and a list of all the posts, click here.