Does It Feel Wrong? Untangling the nuances of teenage dating and intimacy

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By Erica, ‘Does It Feel Wrong?’ Young Volunteer

Relationships link all people together. They shape and define our personalities; the way you treat others and interact with them is arguably the best representation of your values, the people you align yourself with play an overwhelming hand in your self-perception as well as how others see you. Some relationships you are born into and grow up with and therefore bring their own challenges, however, for a lot of teenagers, a whole new world of relationships opens up to us.

Navigating romantic relationships for the first time is undoubtedly a learning process, especially with the obstacles of social media, school, and learning about yourself. Being among the first generations to grow up online, it can be isolating and confusing trying to untangle the nuances of dating and intimacy which most adults in our lives didn’t have to deal with at our age.

Things are rarely as clean-cut as they initially seem when discussing relationships, which is why sharing experiences from a range of backgrounds and addressing common misconceptions is so valuable. That’s why I think it’s vital that we support and educate one another on this topic, so that we can create a safer and healthier environment for teenagers to explore relationships for the first time. 

I’m 17 and currently doing A-levels. For the past few years I’ve been interested in volunteering, I wanted to spend my time doing something meaningful which would also give me skills for the future. Being a huge advocate for more positive input on sex and relationships – especially for young people – SATEDA and the Does It Feel Wrong campaign felt like the perfect opportunity for me to get involved in an issue I feel passionate about. Volunteering for Does It Feel Wrong, I feel like my voice as a young person is heard in the messages we want to put out, which, in my opinion, is absolutely key to building a campaign that centres young people’s safety and experiences.

So many new social conventions are rising to the surface with our generation and the increase in social media usage, and it can be difficult to differentiate what’s healthy, and what’s not. By volunteering with SATEDA I’m able to use my creativity and ideas to create vital resources for people my age. Toxic behaviours can be more difficult to spot than you might think, which is why it’s so important to look out for one another, be aware of the signs of unhealthy relationships and know where to find help and support in leaving potentially abusive situations.

If you’re aged between 13 and 18 and you’ve got an experience of a toxic relationship which you’d like to share with us anonymously to help raise awareness, please fill out this quick form.

Make sure you also check out our Does It Feel Wrong? web page and follow our Instagram and TikTok accounts for content to untangle the nuances of dating and intimacy.