What One Life to Live Has Taught Me About Relationships (Seriously)
I have been watching One Life to Live for what seems like forever. It’s my guilty pleasure and I love getting wrapped up in the characters’ lives. I also think it’s one of the few shows on television that actually gives a realistic picture of what teen relationships are really like. I know “realistic” and “soap opera” aren’t usually used in the same sentence, but OLTL tackles teen issues in a really thoughtful way.
I was watching the other day when two of the teen characters, Danielle and Nate, were talking about whether they were ready to have sex. They were home alone and things started to go a little farther than Danielle was ready for. But instead of avoiding what could have been a potentially awkward conversation, Nate straight up asked Danielle if she’d had sex before and what she thought about the whole thing. It was really cool to see a guy opening up a dialogue on sex and relationships. Nate told Dani that he wasn’t a virgin and that he thought about having sex with her A LOT. But when she admitted that she wasn’t ready to take their relationship to the next level, he didn’t pressure her at all and even reassured her that her decision didn’t make him feel any differently about her. Now that’s a great boyfriend!
The truth is that sex is a HUGE decision and both you and your partner have to be ready for it both physically but even more importantly, emotionally. You also have to be willing to talk about it, because if you can’t even say the word, then you’re most definitely not ready to be doing it.
Sex changes a relationship. Most teens say that they wish they had waited. Why? Sometimes it doesn’t bring people the closeness they are looking for. And, it can add all kinds of emotional baggage that isn’t at all fun to carry. Plus, there is the potential worry about having a child (that can really ruin your plans!).
So you also need to be willing to deal with what might happen if things don’t work out. I know it’s hard to think about breaking up when things are going really well, but think about how much harder it would be to end a relationship with a person you’ve had sex with.
The smart money is on waiting until you’ve known your partner at least for 6-9 months. And, if your partner pressures you in ANY way to have sex before you’re ready they’re so not the ones you should be doing it with. As Danielle’s mom told her later in the episode—after Danielle confided in her—when it comes to sex, there’s absolutely no hurry. Sex can wait. And if your partner can’t, then they aren’t the one for you.
Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant Number: 90-FE-0024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
Michelle Hainer is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in numerous national publications including InStyle, The Washington Post, People, and Teen People. A former teen magazine editor, Michelle’s covered everything from pregnancy to peer pressure and is now covering all things relationship for Stay Teen. Have a question for Michelle? Send us an email!
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