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Should I feel bad for having sex young...

Regret is normal. Shame shouldn’t be.

That is the simple answer, but lets dig in to it.

Regret is normal

A series of reports published in the British Medical Journal surveyed over 7,000 high school students about their first experience of sexual intercourse. Only 18% of girls and 15% of boys had experienced sexual intercourse, and out of those 32% of the girls and 27% of boys felt it had happened too early in life. Even more so, 13% of girls and 5% of boys said that the experience should have never happened at all (Wight et al, 2000).

We see here that regrets over sexual experiences early in life are quite common. Largely this regret is linked to the feeling of pressure around the experience, lack of planning, and an overall lack of control in the timing of the experience. For this reason, RealEd stresses the importance of resisting social pressures surrounding sex and seeks to foster in students the ability to take control of their sexual choices.

While regret is normal, it all too easily turns into shame and…

Shame shouldn’t be normal

Shame most often stems from the perception of those around us and the violation of our personal values (Magsig, 2008). These internal and external forces leave us with feelings of judgement, unworthiness, objectification, and other emotions that directly impact our self-esteem. This is what RealEd calls emotional baggage.

Emotional baggage can negatively affect our sexual health by altering sexual attitudes and causing us to continue making harmful decisions. (World Health Organization, 2002). In response, RealEd encourages students that their sexual histories do not have to define their futures. We remind you that abstinence is just as accessible for those with past sexual experiences, allowing one to work through baggage with trusted individuals and to build the self-control necessary to make healthy sexual choices going forward.  

In this journey, you must understand your immense value as a person, that you are worthy of sexual health now regardless of past sexual choices, and that you have the power to make healthy sexual choices in the future.

I end as I began- Regret is normal. Shame shouldn’t be.


Wight, D., Henderson, M., Raab, G., Abraham, C., Buston, K., Scott, S., & Hart, G. (2000). Extent of regretted sexual intercourse among young teenagers in Scotland: a cross sectional survey. BMJ (Clinical research ed.)320(7244), 1243–1244.

Magsig, Hailey M., "Shame, Guilt and Society's Conception of Sex" (2008). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 878.

World Health Organization. (2002). Defining Sexual Health: Report of a technical consultation of sexual health . Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization

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