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The Bare Naked Truth
By Rebekah Martin
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2013Rebekah Martin
All rights reserved.
I Have All the Sex Facts
I'm not sure if it was the crash or the blood-curdling scream that brought me to my knees. Two months after 9/11, I was sure I was on a plane with a group of terrorists. I sat there staring, shaking, wondering.
So this was it: my final moment. I'd always wondered if I would be heroic and strong. But the only strong thing was the sound of my heartbeat in my ears. And my breath. Maybe I could take these guys down with that.
It was all happening so fast I could barely respond. One moment the "terrorists" sat in their seats, quiet and subdued. The next moment they hit the floor, shouting and crowding around some unknown device.
Which turned out to be a digital camera—apparently a very expensive item—that they had dropped. And we all know that screaming in a foreign language on an airplane after 9/11 about a dropped digital camera is a perfectly sensible thing to do.
After a few hours, when I crawled out from under my seat, I realized ... things aren't always as they seem.
I thought I knew all the details of the situation. But if I'd known it was a digital camera hitting the floor, I could have avoided the whole being-bribed-by-an-airline-attendant-with-a-cookie-to-getout-from-under-my-seat thing.
But no. I was operating only on the information I'd been given.
I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I did it again yesterday. Not the whole terrorists-on-an-airplane thing—just the failure to get all the details.
It all started because I'd always wanted cute eyebrows like other girls. You know—the kind that curve and then come down perfectly in just the right spot. My eyebrows wander haphazardly across my forehead like a village of lost caterpillars.
"Don't do it," my friend Katie warned when I told her I wanted to fix my brows. "Don't touch them." Katie and I have been friends since we were three years old. She has seen the effects of my impulsive self-makeovers.
"Do you not remember the perm that made you look like Willy Wonka?" she asked. "Or the spray-on tan that turned you into a crunchy carrot stick?"
"I'm telling you," she said, "leave this to the professionals."
"Leave this to the professionals," I repeated to myself as I walked into the salon. "Leave this to the professionals." Somehow those words brought comfort to my heart. Professionals know what they're doing, right?
"Waxing?" the man behind the counter asked when he took one look at my caterpillars.
"Yes. How'd you ...?"
"Right this way."
The room he led me to was scarier than anything I'd ever seen in a spy-interrogation movie.
"Lie down," the woman with the hot wax said. You read that correctly. She told me to lie down.
"Excuse me?" I said. "What is this? Surgery?"
"No speak English," she said. "Lie down."
I made her job easy, because with the words "No speak English," every hair on my entire body stood on end. Rip! Within sixty seconds, my face stung like I'd spent two days on the beach without sunscreen.
"Did you leave my eyelashes?" I asked.
Hot Wax Lady eyed me suspiciously as she plopped the mirror into my lap. Shakily, I picked it up and stared.
"You like?" she asked, smiling.
"I ... I ... I ..." I tried to breathe.
It's a good thing I was lying down.
I'd never seen anything like it. Tiny strands of hair wandered aimlessly above my eyelids. Everything else was gone. Gone. I didn't like the caterpillars, but they were better than the little line of picnic ants now wandering across my skull.
My puffy eyes welled with tears. How could I ever show my face in public again?
"Looks nice," Hot Wax Lady proclaimed. "Seven dollars."
It's been an entire day since I almost slugged Hot Wax Lady. But even though I had a right to be mad at her, I also had a right to be mad at myself. I'd failed to ask the woman some very important questions. Questions like "Are you insured? Have you ever done this before? And you do realize I want some hair left over, right?"
It may sound crazy that I would let anyone touch my eyebrows when we couldn't even communicate, or that I'd crawl under my seat just because a camera hit the floor on an airplane. But we all make gut-impulse decisions every day. We decide who to hang out with, where to go, and what to do based on a few facts. We might even decide which bubbles to fill in on a test based on just a few minutes of studying.
But what we're talking about in this book—the issue of keeping our legs crossed (or not)—is a bigger issue than our usual everyday decisions. As you know, sex isn't something to do or not to do just based on a few sources. Eyebrows grow back, but this whole sex thing—it has the potential to affect the rest of our lives.
I don't know why you've decided what you've decided about sex up to this point. I do know that in high school I didn't set out to decide the sex issue for myself. For the first few years of high school, the topic kind of decided itself for me.
But one day I was faced with the decision. And I knew I didn't want to make a half-informed one. Don't get me wrong—I knew what sex meant physically. I knew the risks, and I knew the benefits. I knew about STDs and pregnancies and—ahhhh!—orgasms. But what I was worried about was how I would feel emotionally after sex. Was it just me, or did the high not seem to last very long for my friends? Was it just me, or was that heartbreak in their eyes? Was it just me, or did the majority of my friends struggle with feelings of emptiness and depression, even when they'd agreed with their partners beforehand that they would just be "friends with benefits"?
I had to know.
It turned out it wasn't just me. I'll keep this short, but study after study shows the emotional effects of multiple sexual relationships for teen girls:
Due to the bonding properties of dopamine and oxytocin released during sex, you can actually lose your ability to bond to your future spouse if you bond with multiple sexual partners beforehand (McIlhaney and Bush 2008).
Sexual baggage can cause distrust and fear in future relationships (Maher 2008).
Having multiple sexual partners actually increases your future risk of divorce (Maher 2008).
Seeking love through sex leaves many teens, especially girls, in emotional turmoil afterward (Meeker 2002).
Premarital sex increases a teen girl's risk of suicide by three times (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 1994).
Early sexual activity could prevent girls from developing academically (Rector and Johnson 2005).
My friend Camy, who is now a successful writer and biologist—a brilliant person—somehow overlooked studies like this when she was in high school. But don't let me spoil it for you—she wants to tell you in her own words.
SPOTLIGHT Camy Tang
I'd always been top of my class in school. So I knew all about sex. What I didn't know about was love and relationships.
I knew the major stuff like:
A. Avoid getting pregnant like those girls in my class.
B. Avoid the violent guys who'd give you a black eye and broken arm.
C. Make sure the guy has a car.
And then there were the other things to keep in mind:
D. Make sure he respects you and doesn't talk down to you.
E. Make sure he understands up front what you are and are not wil
Excerpted from The Bare Naked Truth by Rebekah Martin. Copyright © 2013 by Rebekah Martin. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
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