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When I was a teen, I thought I had it all figured out. I didn’t just want a boyfriend, I wholeheartedly believed I needed one, with a sense of urgency. If I could go back and slap myself, I honestly would, but that is beside the point.

This just goes to show how susceptible teenagers are to the circulating myths surrounding sex and love. Our society is a sex obsessed, and for a consenting adult who understands the reality of love and sex, that is no big deal. For an especially vulnerable teenager, however, these myths can be life-destroying. Below, I will clarify 6 lies our teenagers believe about love and sex.

1. Love = lust.

Teenagers often believe that sex and love are the same. If you feel a spark with someone, they must be the one, right? However, with age and maturity (not age alone) we tend to find that love is based far more on shared values, beliefs, and unconditional acceptance than it is on sexual compatibility.

2. Teen boys need to have sex to be ‘healthy.’

Growing up, I was told that if a male had an erection if he wasn’t taken to the point of completion, it could cause him physical harm. While blue balls may very well be a real thing-this is NO reason for a teenage girl to be made to feel as though she owes anyone sex.

3. Follow your heart.

Take one peer down your social media timeline, and you are destined to see things that say ‘live your best life,’ ‘Yolo’ ‘follow your heart,’ etc. It’s all fine and good to pursue your dreams, but taking major risks with sex and with relationships too early on can be devastating. Additionally, in many cases where a teen is ‘following their heart,’ they are more so following their hormones.

4. Sex has no consequences.

No matter how much birth control, condoms, and additional protections your teen may have, they are not protected from the consequences of sex. No matter how much our society tries to separate sex as a purely physical act, it is not. If carried out with the wrong person at the wrong time, sex can be devastating.

5. You need to find a partner NOW, or you will spend your whole life alone.

I remember feeling so much pressure to have someone that loved me. Deep down, I felt like if I didn’t have a partner as soon as possible- I would spend my days alone. Now, I realize that all that rushing did me nothing but harm.

6. Living together is the only way to ‘test out marriage.

I once heard someone say it was silly to get married before you lived with someone because you wouldn’t know what it was like to live with them and be married to them in real life. However, humans aren’t cars that need a test drive. Instead, it’s important to take things one step at a time and do things in their natural order.