North Carolina: Some Teenage Girls Now Seeking Casual, No-Strings-Attached Sex

The desire for casual, relationship-free sex associated more with teenage boys is now developing a following among some girls, according to researchers, counselors, and educators. Borrowing from the boys, these self-described female "pimps" and "playas" are taking the initiative on everything from asking someone on a date to suggesting sex.

"The playing field, if you will, has been leveled a bit," said Kwain Bryant, a health educator who speaks to teen groups in the Charlotte, N.C., area. "The girl will say, 'We were just friends. It's no big deal.'"

Janine Davis, a radio host at WPEG-FM (97.9), became so concerned that she has started Girl Talk, a foundation aimed at increasing girls' self-esteem and dissuading them from casual sex. Davis believes fractured families leave girls unfamiliar with healthy relationships and the sexual bravado of music video ingénues unduly influence teen girls. Davis began her foundation after her niece gave her a startling answer to the question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" "She said with much conviction that she aspired to be a dancer in a rap video," Davis said.

Though not all girls are taking the casual approach to sex, there is a segment of teens "hooking up" or who have a "sex buddy." A survey by Seventeen magazine and the Kaiser Family Foundation last fall found that two-thirds of teens said people their age wait less than six months before having sex, and more than one in five wait less than a month. Youth counselors and teens say oral sex is particularly common, based on the incorrect assumption of no risk of disease or pregnancy.

Meanwhile, Davis is on a mission to show girls that success stems from self-esteem, self-respect and education -- not sex. She believes the girls engaging in casual sex need to see a future for themselves beyond that. "When you feel better about yourself," said Davis, "you realize it's about more than sex."

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