Prom: When the Pressure’s On
May 5, 2017
With spring here and school nearing a close, it’s an exciting time of year. Promposals are popping up left and right, with creative posters, beautiful bouquets and flash mobs galore! But, there is a side of prom we don’t always talk about—also lingering in the air is the pressure to lose one’s virginity and have sex during prom weekend.
When I asked Billy*, 17, from Hillside, NJ, if he had felt this pressure before in his high school, he replied, “It high-key exists. Trust me and just ask around, I bet you’ll hear some wild stuff.”
And let’s be honest: we hear exaggerated stories all the time of teens getting “wasted” on prom weekend and unexpected hookups occurring left and right.
Why is there this pressure? While some teens believe prom is the last chance to lose their virginity before high school is over (basically the premise of American Pie), others feel as if they are obligated to have sex with the date who brought them to prom. (They’re not.) Still, other teens want to share their own exciting stories about what happened that weekend. Certainly, the media has played a large role it making it seem like prom is the “make it or break it” climax (pun intended) of four years of high school when it doesn’t have to be. In reality, there’s no way for us to know how many teens are actually having sex or “losing their virginity,” so teens should not feel pressured during prom.
Whether or not you plan to have sex during prom weekend is nobody’s business, and you have the right to make your own fully informed decision. Bottom line: Be yourself and only have sex when you and your partner both agree that you’re ready.
If you’re not ready, it’s OK to say no. Sex is not a life-changing experience that will make you a different person. You won’t level up and evolve. It’s not a race, so make sure you are physically and emotionally prepared before you make your decision. (And, of course, to avoid a pregnancy and STDs, don’t forget to practice safer sex when you decide the time is right!)
Finally, if I could offer any advice to you as a soon-to-be graduate, it would be to make the most of these last couple of weeks of high school. There are a lot of ways to have a memorable, fun experience at prom, from eating delicious food to talking to your friends to dabbing whenever the opportunities arise!
*Billy is a pseudonym.