Are We In Love?
The Physical Facts
Since the beginning of time every living thing has been genetically programmed to procreate in order to continue the species. In the animal kingdom, having sex is the method by which offspring are created and born, thus maintaining each species. This genetic programming includes the highest of the species... man.
You may have heard people refer to the "raging hormones of teens." That's because the hormones which genetically kick in during preteen and early teen years are the ones which create the sex drive for both girls and guys; and this causes very new, different, and strong feelings and emotions which you have never felt before.
The end result of all this is that the male of any animal species is programmed to go out and impregnate a female, and that applies to humans as well. At the same time, girls are programmed to be receptive of a mate in order to get pregnant and continue the species. The continuation of the human race, however, is also affected by the intellectual responsibilities of mankind, community morals, religious beliefs, and other factors. Consequently, instead of simply following their animal instincts, humans are separated from the animal kingdom by their high intellect; and they must use this intellect to restrain themselves and take responsibility for their actions rather than just going out and procreating all over the place.
Now this is especially tough on the guys, as that male sex drive is strongest between the ages of 17 and 21. Look Out Girls!
Girls, on the other hand, have the strongest sex drive during monthly ovulation, that time of the month when you WILL get pregnant if you have sex. This makes logical sense when viewed from the context of evolution. Ovulation is the most fertile phase for women, and increased interest in and responsiveness to sex during this time ensures greater probability of conception and procreation than at other times of your monthly cycle. This increase in sex drive has been attributed to increases in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, and generally kicks in anywhere from a few days before ovulation until ovulation is over. So if you don't want to get pregnant, beware of this heightened desire.
In spite of all this genetic programming, it is not an excuse to allow your animal instincts to overpower your intellect to the detriment of your life and future plans.
How Girls Feel
You feel wonderful, giddy, happy, cheerful, ecstatic, romantic, on cloud nine! He's so cute, adorable, you're obsessed, you think about him all the time, you melt at his feet, he's perfect! It must be love, right?
If you read The Physical Facts above, you know by now that all those hormones kicking in are meant to make you have these feelings when an appealing potential mate turns up. It's all part of that genetic drive to propagate the species. This is not real love; it's pure physical attraction propelled by increased hormonal activity. And... if you are near this wonderful guy in a very private place at that dangerous time of month when you are ovulating (when those hormones cause your sex drive to be at its peak), you are most likely to give in to those feelings, because you think this is real love. It's also the very time when many girls lose their virginity. This is when it's important for your brain to kick in and evaluate the whole situation.
Girls are very, very vulnerable to these physical attractions in their early teens, as they are also thinking about romance and how good that all feels. That's why they get pulled in by guys who will tell them anything, like "I love you," to get them to have sex; and that's why so many girls get pregnant under these circumstances, only to have the guy up and leave. Like, for example:
I was 13 years old and I thought I was in love with the guy. I was still
a virgin at the time, and he knew that. So one day he said if I really loved him I
would give it up to him. At the time I thought it was right because I thought I was
in love with him. Three days after we did it, he told me he had another girlfriend
and he just wanted to have sex with me.
I was 14 when I lost my virginity. I thought I was in love with the guy I
lost my virginity to. He told me he was in love with me and wouldn't leave me for
any reason. So I let him talk me into having sex. We broke up a month after it
I lost my virginity when I was 13. It was to a boy I loved, and I thought he
loved me. As soon as "it happened" it was a total flip. He was a total jerk. Two
weeks later we broke up.
Guys are inclined to have one-night stands, and girls tend to connect love and sex. Girls connect sex with romance and intimacy, and guys focus on body parts and functioning. Did you know that eight out of ten first time teen sexual relationships last only a few weeks or months, and one-quarter of them are one-time experiences? And did you know that 85 teenage girls get pregnant each hour?
Now here's one more thing to think about. Do you know what statutory rape is? Statutory rape is sex with a person who has not reached the age of consent, even if both people participate willingly. All 50 states have very different laws concerning the age of consent. In most states it is 16 years old, but in some states it is 17 or 18. Consequently, if you are under the age of consent, the "love of your life" could be charged with statutory rape.
Now think of this... do you know anyone who met their future husband when they were 13 and ended up marrying them and spending the rest of their life with them? Do you know any happily married couple who fell in love at 13? No... and that's because those feelings are only the beginning of understanding love vs. lust and all those physical and emotional aspects. Having several different boyfriends over a period of years gives you the experience of learning what you really want in a husband. All boyfriends start out "perfect" in the beginning, but after getting to know them better, you often find things about them that you really don't like. That's why boyfriends come and go before you pick your husband.
So, consider this time period as a training ground, and don't let your hormones rule your actions. They are programmed for only one thing...procreate. You, however, are programmed for many, many other things and need to understand that your physical needs have to be controlled so you can also pursue your emotional and intellectual wants.
The key to success during this time is to learn self control (both girls and guys). Girls, however, learn faster, as they're the ones who get pregnant and have to deal with the consequences. Once you have experienced several boyfriends, learned that self control, and look at the world with more mature eyes, you will be able to find real love. Real love is not just a huge physical attraction. It's wanting the same things as adults...home, family, etc., and making plans to have them in the future.
How Guys Feel
OK, guys, you know all about your sex drive. It's with you every minute of the day. And if you checked out the page on The Physical Facts, you know WHY that sex drive is so strong. However, just because you're genetically programmed to carry on the human race, it doesn't give you an excuse to go out and populate the world.
Most teenage guys are in lust, not love. There are exceptions to this, but here's a way to test out your feelings:
If you're totally focused on her looks and body and already fantasizing about what
she looks like naked and what it would be like to have sex with her, that's lust.
If you pressure her by saying, "If you love me, you'll do it," that's lust.
If you don't really listen to her when she talks about her life, interests, friends, etc.,
and are only thinking about having sex with her, that's lust.
If you want to or have sex and then brag about it to your friends, that's lust.
If you don't want her involved in your life, except when you want sex, that's lust.
For guys, lust is a very heady experience. The brain goes on vacation, and the red hot surges of testosterone run the show. Guys are perfectly capable of engaging in sex without forging any emotional bonds with a woman, and often do.
So, you're not responsible for all this... it's just those hormones, and they take over, so you can't help it! Wrong!!! You also have a brain, and it's your responsibility to keep it engaged... no matter how hard that is. Did you know that 50% of guys have never considered what their lives would be like if they got a girl pregnant? Well, you need to think about that.
If you want to be irresponsible and go out and get two or three girls pregnant, you can kiss your financial future goodbye. Ever hear of child support? Depending upon the state, you are financially responsible for your children until they reach 18 or 21! The average child support payment is $400 to $500 per month, depending upon your income. So, with anywhere from $400/$500 to $1,200/$1,500 per month going to child support, that college education, new car, house, etc., is going to be pretty hard to come by. And every hour 85 more teenage girls get pregnant!
Now here's another thing to think about. Some girls, especially the youngest ones, WANT to get pregnant because they want a baby; and they'll do anything to get one. She will tell you she's on the pill or other birth control, but you never really KNOW that's true. So it's very easy to be tricked into fatherhood, and it doesn't make any difference how it happened. You're still responsible for child support. And don't think you're going to get away with saying, "It's not mine." A simple DNA test will prove that.
Finally, are you familiar with statutory rape? Statutory rape is sex with a person who has not reached the age of consent, even if both people participate willingly. All 50 states have very different laws concerning the age of consent. In most states it is 16 years old, but in some states it is 17 or 18. Consequently, having sex with a girl under the age of consent could get you charged with statutory rape by her angry parents, and really ruin your life.
Now all of this doesn't mean that guys can't fall in love, but it takes a lot of maturity to get to that point, and that usually doesn't happen in your teen years. Real love is the most ennobling of human emotions and makes the guy want to "be a better man" and to make a home and family with this person.
Love vs. Lust
So how do you tell the difference? When you're strongly attracted to someone and are feeling desire and longing for them, it's very easy to confuse this with real love; but it's not. Lust is purely physical with a need for gratification, and it is driven by hormones. Lust is short term, and love is for the long haul.
If you find a person's face and body gorgeous, and the things he/she does pushes your buttons, then you have lust, and it feels fantastic; but it's not love. When the chemicals start to fade from your body, the lust will disappear; and you'll be wondering what you ever saw in him/her.
Now let's take a look at love because it's not just physical attraction. It's far more than just that.
1. You have great compatibility. You are sincerely interested in what your partner says and can spend hours just talking.
2. You want to spend all of your time together, without the involvement of sex.
3. You see a future together and talk about it seriously. You begin to plan your lives together, including marriage, home, and family.
4. You introduce him/her to your family and all your friends with great pride, and it is very important to you that they like him/her.
5. You include your partner in all your plans and consult with him/her for advice on things.
6. You become more romantic. This is especially true of guys, as girls start out that way anyway. Guys will send flowers and notes, plan romantic evenings, and call just to say they missed you.
7. If someone says something unkind about your partner, you jump to their defense.
8. WE becomes more important than ME.
9. You want to know everything about him/her and you can accept both the good and not-so-good qualities.
10. You support each other's interests and encourage them toward their goals.
11. You have an intense feeling of caring for your partner and only want the best for him/her.
12. You want to spend your whole life together.