The road to sexual maturity is a bumpy one

Illustration by J.Q. Hammer

The beautiful thing about getting older is that you learn to love and respect yourself.

Growing up, I was about as unfortunate looking as it gets. I rocked a mean unibrow and a few extra layers of baby fat, and my eccentric personality matched my unconventional last name. I was that child that babysitters looked at and felt genuine sympathy for.

Flash forward to my high school years. As my unfortunate looks carried over, my popularity with boys didn’t exactly fall where I would have liked. Like any chubby and sexually curious 13-year-old girl, I settled for fantasizing about boy bands, making out with my forearm and wishing I looked like the popular girl in school who just gave Greg Peters an old-fashioned in the bathroom (because she was mature like that).

But as high school went on and my ongoing love affair with food continued, that baby fat tripled, and the list of guys wanting to date me only included my good friends Ben and Jerry.

I remained sexually curious and anxious to experiment until 17-year-old me discovered subpar men who just wanted to put their pecker in anything that was warm and inviting.

This is where my decisions in regard to men and sex became questionable at best. Who doesn’t love 18-year-old boys who smoke menthol cigarettes and rep a crappy tattoo across their back in big, bold letters?

But with maturity comes knowledge, and after a college course in nutrition and a realization that I wanted to get it together, I lost the weight and moved on to bigger and better things.

Enter the good old college years, where hormones rage and alcohol encourages.

This is where you find yourself cut free from the leash to which your parents once held a firm grip, and you finally realize what an extended education is all about. This is where you discover beer goggles and subsequent walks of shame and where dreams become reality, kids.

College is the mecca of sexually frustrated young adults, and that, mixed with college party culture, can only lead to one thing: sex.

I would be lying if I told you that I have never showed up at my front door with heels in hand, regret on my breath and a loss of dignity. But I sure as hell had a great story to share with my friends.

In my experience, part of college is going out, living life and learning from the results. While it may seem like making questionable decisions that lead to regrettable mornings couldn’t possibly be teaching me something, it taught me a lesson in what I don’t want.


Along with gaining a genuine love and respect for yourself comes a certain set of standards in regard to who you allow in your life and how you allow them to treat you.

Although embarrassing moments and bumps along the road seem like hindrances in your growth, they really shape you into the individual that the universe intended you to be. I’m not sure I would have wanted to reach that realization in any other way.

Sophia Xepoleas can be reached at [email protected] or @soph_mxx on Twitter.