6 Things Phin Lyman, Teenage Virgin, Gets Wrong About Sex
I’m more than a little obsessed with Phin Lyman, the 18-year-old British boy who broadcasted to his boarding school (and coincidentally, the world) that he is a virgin and his peers should be, too. In a piece he wrote for his school newspaper, Lyman insists that teens should wait for “true love” before having sex. Sex outside of a loving relationship, he posits, will only bring regret and shame and sadness. “Once you have had sex with someone, you’re connected to them emotionally and physically," he writes. "If you tear that bond, the rip leaves open scars where the glue once was.”
He knows all of this because...well...he just does, OK?! Shockingly enough, Lyman — who has never had sex — gets a lot wrong about sex. Here are the most striking, what-the-hell-bro claims from his now infamous op-ed.
1. Girls Don’t Watch Porn
One of Lyman’s fundamental problems with young, casual sex is that teen boys learn about sex from pornography, while girls yearn for something more romantic. This disconnect in desires, he claims, ultimately leads to massive disappointment. While this may be true sometimes, we have to stop pretending, as a society, that women don’t watch porn. Female teenagers are sexual beings, too, and many watch porn. Conversely, there are male teenagers who, like Lyman, want sex to be romantic and meaningful.
2. Casual Sex “Doesn’t Work” in the Long-Term
While casual, commitment-free sex can lead to disappointment, as it’s rare for expectations on both sides to align perfectly, it is, in fact, possible to have healthy and rewarding sex that is not “true love.” (The French understand this a little better than we do.) Sexual experimentation can be an important part of a person’s growth, and teens should not be shamed or discouraged from sexual experimentation, as long as they feel comfortable and safe. It is harmful to deny our innate human desires, or to wholly reject the wide variety of happy (and healthy) relationships that exist outside of the standard monogamous model.
3. Sex Is the “Glue” That Binds People Together
Lyman writes, “'I believe that sex is an incredibly strong symbol of love between two people. Think of it as glue. Once you have sex with someone, you're connected to them emotionally and physically.” Again, it’s really interesting to me that Lyman has such a clear, confident grasp on what sex is and does, seeing how he’s never had it. While sex between two people in love can form special emotional and physical bonds, sex can be (and has been, for hundreds of centuries!) a pleasurable act that does not glue two people together forever. You'll have to just trust me on this one.
4. "90 Percent of People Are Drunk" When They Lose Their Virginity
Show me the study, Lyman, and then we’ll talk.
5. Teens Are Losing Their Virginity Earlier and Earlier
“One of the reasons I decided to go public is I am at the top of the school now and I can look down and see there is so much pressure on younger pupils to have sex,” Lyman writes. “It doesn’t make them happy and it upsets me to see it.” This casual sex epidemic — as Lyman conceives of it — among young people may not be as rampant as he thinks. The Times points out that the percentage of boys aged 15-24 who are virgins rose from 22 in 2002 to 27 in 2011. I know it seems like everyone but you is losing their virginity, but that may not be the case.
6. This Isn’t Going to Make Girls Want to Have Sex with Him
When asked if this op-ed was just a ruse to attract the ladies, Lyman responded, “I have never seen any evidence that girls are interested in that sort of challenge. I want to wait until I have met someone who knows me and I love them.” Mmhmm. Whatever you say. Check in with me in about a month.
Image: Phin Lyman / Facebook