I’m a huge fan of your Alice book, have been since I was nine! I’m so glad to see her growing up.
Well, the reason I’m writing to you is because I am terrified of having sex. A lot of my friends have had it before and they know I’m still a virgin, and I’m perfectly fine with that and so are they. They don’t tease me about it or anything, which I think is really great. But the thing is, not only am I afraid of never finding the right person, but I’m afraid of physically doing it. I’ve heard that it hurts a lot the first couple of times, and some people never enjoy it because of that. I want to get married, I want to have kids, and yes, I do want men sexually; however, I just do not know how to wrap my head around the concept. I’m not in a rush to lose my virginity, but I’m afraid that when the right time comes, I’ll be too scared and I’ll never have the chance again. Does this make sense?
Wait a minute. When the right time comes and you’re too scared, you’ll never have the chance again? I never knew that sex was a now or never proposition. First of all, girls differ in their anatomy “down there.” For some, the hymen–a thin membrane that partially covers the opening to the vagina–differs from woman to woman. In some, it hardly obstructs at all, and there’s very little pain. What often makes the difference is plenty of lubrication, and in a tense situation, most especially when the guy and girl aren’t really comfortable with each other yet and close, the girl is too embarrassed to use a lubricant, available at any drugstore, to get herself slippery enough to make it easier for intercourse. And the guy, if he’s young, is too eager and inexperienced to hold himself back and be gentle. If you have a family doctor or a gynecologist, it would be so helpful to schedule a visit. Every girl should do this before she becomes sexually active, both to become better aquainted with her body and to protect herself against disease and pregnancy. If you feel you can’t talk with your mother or a doctor or nurse about this, you might try your local Planned Parenthood Association. I remember going to them years ago when I was young and about to be married, for my first exam, and found them helpful. But one of the most important things to do is to wait until you have a partner who is kind and patient and with whom you can discuss your fears and feelings. And even if the first time is a bit painful, there is no reason that it has to keep you from enjoying sex for the rest of your life. Most of us didn’t enjoy that first sloppy kiss, either, but we sure learned to like it.