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By Sandi Bhutella

Sex. Scary word in a lot of ways. Virginity. There's another scary word, because the teen world thrives on peer pressure. Are you a prude if you wait for sex and are you a tramp if you have sex? Are you a loser if you blush at the thought of seeing a girl naked, or are you the coolest kid in school if you've seen your older sister's friend change? It's all about you and making choices you can live with and being safe along the way. Don't forget, you're not just making a choice that has physical risks (sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) or pregnancy), but there are also emotional risks.

Let's face it - your virginity is no one's business but your own. Since my unwilling, yet very public announcement, of my virginity, I've been doing a lot of thinking and researching about the subject. I was really surprised at all there is out there on the subject. It seems everybody has something to say about virginity. There are those who choose to have sex at an early age. There are also groups of teens that sign pacts to maintain their virginity until marriage. Others still are trying to 'regain' their virginity by making a pledge of body forgiveness. Everyone seems to have something to say on the matter.

And don't even get me started on the true definition of 'virgin'. I mean, everybody has a different idea about what being a virgin means… is it going all the way or getting to second base? Can you have oral sex 100 times and still consider yourself a virgin? It's all about choices.

Obviously, I'm in no position to tell you what's right for you. All I can say is to know the risks and know your self. There are the physical risks of unplanned pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) like herpes or AIDS, but don't disregard the emotional side. Are you going to regret your decision and feel guilt, shame or sadness when you find that one special person who you would have liked to make your exclusive partner?

Whether you decide to wait or decide to have sex, the decision is yours and yours alone. Just make sure you know the facts and are prepared for whatever implications your decision may have. It's your life and you are most important person in your world, so do what'll make you happy.

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