Why High-School Dating Sucks

Everyone who has been to high school knows that dating in high school kind of blows. But now there is science!

According to Slate, a new study "confirms every suspicion you ever had about high-school dating." Specifically, writes Annie Lowrey, most boys want to have sex, most girls don't, and more sex happens at schools where boys have an advantage (ie, where they are scarce and therefore desired). The people most screwed (as it were) by this system are senior girls, who have the greatest "skew between stated sexual preferences and actual sexual activity" (they apparently feel they have to have sex in order to have a relationship), and freshman boys (as stereotype and Superbad say, they'd rather be boning more). This is all pretty sad, as is any study that shows people having sex when they don't want it, and anything that seeks to explain human relationships in terms of "markets." However, the study doesn't come anywhere close to confirming every suspicion I have about high-school dating and sex. Here are a few it doesn't cover:

High-school kids are even more status-obsessed than grownups, and they don't even feel bad about it.

I can think of at least two cute younger boys I did not even try to kiss or date because I was worried about what my friends would think. And I was a nice dorky kid with braces — imagine what dude-eschewing the real mean girls were up to! Sure, people date/don't date for stupid, status-y reasons as adults too, but at least they lie awake and write anguished blog posts about it. In high school superficiality goes psychically unpunished — if anything, it's rewarded.

Boys may want girls to have sex, but no one else does.

Sure, maybe the sixteen-year-old love of your life wants to go "all the way." But how do you even know if you want to, when your teachers and your parents and politicians and those billboards in the bus stop are telling you that sex is the worst possible thing you could ever do (worse than drugs even)? Whether you want to fuck or not, if you are a girl, you are pretty much guaranteed to be squeezed between the Plymouth Rock of American puritanism and the hard place of adolescent desire.

High school kids know nothing about sex, but they pretend they do.

I remember overhearing the following about another pair of teenagers, when I was a junior in high school: "he's not into the relationship anymore, but the sex is still good, so he doesn't want to break up with her." At the time, virgin me was like, "wow, those kids must be really hot and worldly." Now I'm like, the sex is still good? What sixteen-year-old has experienced a relationship where the sex went stale? My guess about this kid, if he was even banging anyone in the first place, is that he was staying with his girlfriend because the sex existed. I could go on and on about shit other teenagers told me about sex that I (stupidly) believed, but instead I will leave you with this: the amount that a teenager talks about sex is inversely proportional to how much s/he knows about it. Confirm this suspicion, will you Science?

Freaks, Geeks, And Economists [Slate]