Sex Talk

The interviews on these pages are the result of an award-winning, multiyear project on teen sexuality begun in Habib's hometown of Concord, N.H.

"I think that's pretty crazy to ask teenagers to be abstinent. Because most teenagers, with all they hear in music, TV, and movies, they're not gonna wait to have sex until they're married. And with all the peer pressure to have sex, if you make it until you're married to have sex, then that's some great feat, 'cause you've put up with a lot of crap."

GABE, 15

"Sex is the ultimate physical expression. It's also the ultimate emotional expression, if there is love that goes along with it. If you never give that to anyone else, except for the person you marry, on your wedding night, then that is the ultimate act of love."

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MICHAEL, with TINA on their wedding night

"I didn't feel any pressure to have sex. I always said to myself that when I was ready, I'd have sex. I didn't set an age on it. It just so happened that when I was 16, I felt ready. It could've been when I was 27."

MICHELLE, 18

"I don't trust anybody. No one. I was just a carefree kind of guy who loved everybody, but in high school that doesn't go. I found that there's a lot more bigotry against gays among blacks. And it angers me, because black people, of all people, should know what it feels like to be oppressed. I don't see any hope for society. The most important things, like accepting ourselves as individuals, and not judging or being judged, I don't see."

RAPHAEL, 19

"Most of the guys I know put up a front to get girls. They try to make their voices sound deeper on the phone. Being tough--that's what's in. If you get girls, you got 'game.' Game is just what helps you get a girl. Whatever works for you, works for you. I got my game. I don't lie with a girl. I'll tell her straight up about myself. The truth is I'm just myself, I'm the funny man. That's my way, and it's worked for me so far. That seems to attract the right girls for me, so I'm gonna stick with it."

GERMAINE, 16

"When you're younger, you're told by your friends that guys are assholes, they're pigs, they're basically just trying to get in someone's pants. And the girls are like, 'I think I'm gonna let him. I'm gonna let him sleep with me.' It's not, 'I'm gonna make love to him.' It's, 'I'm going to let him do this to me,' like a reward or something. If you didn't, you were a tease. And if you did, you were a slut. A lot of adults still think that way."

LINDSAY, 18

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