By: Jessica Lin, Sports Editor and Chief of Media
Adolescence is characterized by a period of identity exploration. Whether that be gender identity, sexual identity, academic identity or other forms of exploration, teenagers are struggling through the mud on their journey of self-discovery. This period of time is intensified with the physical changes teenagers endure, making adolescence a tumultuous period of existentialism. For this reason, teenage relationships are popular, as we, by human nature, tend to search for those that most relate to us. With the addition of newly released sexual hormones, teenagers start to look for a relationship with people whom they are physically or emotionally attracted to. Parents might not understand because they went through the changes so long ago . . . but that cute boy over there is experiencing it with me. School keeps me busy though; what do I do? Ah, a summer fling.
By definition, a fling is a romance where both parties have agreed that it will end after a brief period of time. Through Manny and Ricky, imitations of high school teenagers, we will explore both the positives and negatives.
I don’t see why summer flings are almost a taboo subject; we’re teenagers, what do they expect? Summer is the perfect time to experiment and learn more about who I am. I know I’m not mentally prepared for a long-term relationship because if I don’t know who I am, then I run the risk of developing my personality with a dependence on another person, someone who might not be in my life past high school. Therefore, a summer fling is perfect.
Also, too many teenagers are worrying about their future and not taking the time to appreciate the present. Summer flings are a great way to slow down time and enjoy the moment. We as humans tend to value relationships more if we know they are coming to an end. It’s similar to senior friends graduating; you tend to spend more time with them the summer before they leave for college. If I know the fling is only going to last a month, then I’m more likely to focus on my fling instead of worrying about what’s going to happen afterwards.
Furthermore, scientific research has proven that there are health benefits to both physical and emotional intimacy. For example, kissing can boost your immune system because your body can develop resistance to new, foreign bacteria, provided by your partner. Although bacteria typically has a negative connotation, they are essential to our bodies. Hugging and cuddling also releases a hormone called oxytocin, whose job is to control social interactions and combat negative feelings of anger or loneliness. While hugging your dog or stuffed animal might be fun, human contact provides much more benefits. This is also why doctors highly encourage parents to provide skin-to-skin contact with their newborns. Other released hormones due to romance include dopamine, the “feel good” hormone, as well as serotonin, an attraction hormone. All these positive hormones lowers levels of anxiety and stress, both words teenagers are very familiar with. Thanks, Ms. Lighty.
Summer flings aren’t for everyone, especially those with more conservative feelings on physical intimacy. However, they are a great option for busy teenagers who are looking to investigate the life of an exhilarating romance.
I do not understand why my classmates have decided that they want to spend their summer in a fling. It seems like a waste of time to me, and if you’re not careful, it could end really badly. For example, human feelings are completely unpredictable, teenagers especially. It takes a very strong-willed, strong-minded person to be able to control how they feel about every situation, and even then, you cannot control how you truly feel, only how you much of that feeling you choose to convey. With this in mind, what if one party starts to have feelings more intense than pure physical attraction? And their feelings are not recuperated? That’s a quick way to make the summer awkward. The world is big, but there’s still a sliver of a chance that you could see your co-flinger sometime in the future. Again, awkward.
If the opposite is true, and there are absolutely no intimate feelings for each other, the summer fling could wind up being much more of a chore than a fun experience. Spending time with a person whom you find insanely attractive is adrenaline-filled and heart-pounding fun, but once that novelty wears off, you’re stuck spending time with a person that you might actually have nothing in common with.
Furthermore, there are two other problems that could arise due to the lack of knowledge about your co-flinger. First, they could turn out to be a complete jerk, or someone who you start to hate hanging out with. Second, the person could be harbouring all kinds of illnesses that they don’t tell you about. They could pass on a trivial summer cold or a serious sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as HIV. Keep in mind that although the S in STD stands for sexually, some STDs such as herpes can be transmitted through any bodily fluids, saliva included. A midnight run to the emergency room isn’t the best way to inform your parents of your activities.
There’s really no point to a summer fling. If you want a relationship, find someone who you really connect with, or else it’s just a waste of time.
Illustration: Victoria Lin, Staff Writer