Teen Girls Discuss Their Sex Lives

May 17, 2006 — -- What happens when 14 teenage girls get together for a sleepover?

Naturally, they tell secrets about their lives, and some talk about their first sexual experiences.

"I didn't really like the person that I lost my virginity to," said Tiffany, one of the girls at the sleepover. "I'm kind of shaky about it. He really started ignoring me. And I was just, 'What the heck is your problem?' And then we got in a fistfight, and we stopped talking for seven months."

"Primetime," along with Seventeen magazine, recruited a group of girls to participate in a sleepover to talk about what sex means in their lives. Their parents also participated, by joining the group later to see what their daughters had said.

The parents said that, for the most part, they had an open relationship with their children and talked about sex.

According to an ABC News poll, about 90 percent of parents nationwide say they've spoken to their teens about sex. Only half of their teens agree. So whatever parents think is "the sex talk," it doesn't seem to register with their kids.

Atoosa Rubenstein, Seventeen's editor, says girls today are forced to grow up faster than in the past.

"Everybody always wants to be accepted by boys," Rubenstein said. "And everything is accelerated and more intensive. But I don't think it's any different than when we were younger and we wanted boys to like us. It's just today boys are asking them to do things that just weren't part of the picture back then."

Is Oral Sex Really 'Sex?'

The 14 girls assembled for the sleepover were ages 13 to 17 and had a range of sexual experience or inexperience. Only four said they had sex -- but what some teens don't count as sex may shock you.

Ruby, 13, of New York City, was one of the youngest girls at the party. She came with her sister, 15-year-old Betty.

"I dislike the word 'sex,'" Ruby said. "It's kinda like really weird to say, for me. I mean, I'm still like not there yet, you know what I mean?"

Only 32 percent of teens say they get most of their information about sex from their parents, but Ruby said she was one of them -- she gets most of her information from her mom, she says.

But Ruby wanted to know something from her sister -- "how to kiss a guy."

Betty said earlier in the year she had her first kiss, and she was wondering how she did. "Well, I'm just like worried that it's not a good kiss," she said. "Because you read all these magazines."

For many girls, kissing -- still known as "first base" -- begins at 11 or 12. While several studies say that actual intercourse among teens is on the decline, there is an increase in other types of sexual activity -- including oral sex. By 16, nearly a quarter of teenage girls have engaged in oral sex.

The girls at the sleepover were divided as to whether oral sex qualified as "sex."

As one girl Natalie said: "We just consider it to be like another thing to prepare you for actual intercourse."

Most of the girls seemed to agree that if you had oral sex with a boy, you could still be a virgin.

The majority of teens said they were determined to stay virgins -- such as 17-year-old Arielle from Chicago.

"He's awesome. I love him," Arielle said of her boyfriend. "And … we don't want to ruin it. You know, I definitely think having sex too soon is gonna ruin everything."

For other girls, like 15-year-old Sarah from Tennessee, the reasons are religious.

"We're still children," she said. "And I just think it's … just like in the Bible, God said it was a gift to give to married couples. It's a gift. And we're like spoiling that gift."

The 'S' Word

The ABC News poll shows that among female virgins nationwide, 63 percent say they are waiting for the right time to have sex, and 31 percent say they are waiting specifically until they are married.

For many other 15-year-old girls, the best of intentions can sometimes be derailed. Natalie, for example, faced the hard question: What was she willing to do to get a certain boy to like her?

"I liked a guy but I knew he didn't have the same feelings for me back, but I was like desperate for him to like me," she said.

Natalie said that, later, the boy she liked told her something very hurtful.

"That the only reason he even talked to me was because there was a chance that he might get something out of me, and that I was totally not attractive, or his type, or anything," she said. "And um, and that was kind of a wake-up call."

The ABC News poll showed an astonishing 70 percent of teens said their first time had been unplanned, such as Tiffany, who was 14 when she lost her virginity.

"I kind of regret the decision to do that when I did it," she said. "Uh, honestly, I was at a party. I was drinking. I was really young, and I didn't really know what I was doing. I didn't know what I … was getting myself into. And … nobody had really told me about it, and so I was just kind of like, 'Oh, OK. Time to do it.' Like, I didn't know."

For so many girls, "the first time" is not filled with the movie magic of moonlight and music, but instead with regret. Our ABC poll shows that about 51 percent of girls wish they had waited longer to have sex.

How girls feel about themselves plays a huge role in their decision to have sex. Girls with low self-esteem are three times more likely to do something sexual that they didn't want to do, according to our ABC News poll.

While some boys are busy pushing girls to have sex, do they really like the ones who do? "Primetime" talked to some boys about it and brought the tape back to show the girls.

"And if the girl gets with all these guys. … If she had sex with everyone, [she's] like a bike that gets a ride," said one boy Johnny, with a laugh.

"No one wants to get with a girl like that," said another boy.

And no girl wants to get called the name that goes along with it -- a slut.

While boys who have sex with different girls are called "players," it's a very different world for the girls who do it. They are, as one girl said, "ruined."

"The reputation for that girl. … Like her name would basically be trash," Betty said.

Girls will even use the threat of being called a slut against each other.

Tiffany said that she hadn't done anything with a boy she was friends with, but because an older girl liked that boy too, she and her friends began to "terrorize" Tiffany.

"They would drive to my house, and they would be out in like their car, beeping and screaming, 'Whore, slut!'" she said. "They would drive by me in the park and do it to me, in the middle of the day, when I was with my friends. Like it got to a ridiculous point, so I left my school."