17 year old cousin seeking male attention

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    Tom Kokoszka

    Hi so I am a concerned cousin who is trying to look out for his own 17 year old cousin.  She tells me that she has no friends at school, she eats lunch in the bathroom by herself.  Her parents don’t participate in her life and don’t accept the boyfriends she had in the past.  She has anxiety upto the point where she is always biting her lips till they bleed.  Recently her sister told me that she craves male attention and that she sneaks out in the night to meet other guys and have sex with them.  She had a boyfriend for 4 years where she apparently cheated on him with numerous other guys.  She apparently meets these at parties or other meet you with friends and hooks up with them during and after the meet up.  In my mind this is not safe at all especially going to their place.  Her sister told me that she thinks that she was raped last year, as she was talking about to her classmates.  What can I do as a cousin especially when the parents don’t participate intheir lives or are to naive to think their doing anything wrong.


    Dear Tom Kokoszka:

    Reads like your cousin grew up isolated and lonely in her own home, and in school. Growing up without positive attention , a child feels unworthy. Feeling disconnected and unworthy, your teenage cousin looks for connection and worth through sex with boys.

    In my mind, this is not safe at all“, you wrote in regard to your teenage cousin’s promiscuity, and there is someone who agrees with you (she lists STDS and rape as two of the physical unsafe aspect of promiscuity). She is a psychotherapist who wrote 2 books on the topic. The first book is called Loose Girl, A Memoir of Promiscuity. It’s a book about her own experience as a promiscuous girl. Her second book is called Dirty little Secrets: Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity.

    Part from the Introduction of her 2nd book: “For much of my life, I was that girl. When I became a therapist, I learned that there were many others like me. And when I wrote my memoir, Loose Girl, about my experiences, I heard from many, many more girls like me. They assumed that they were the only ones, that they alone suffered this peculiarity. How could this be?… Because we feel so alone—because we carry immense shame about our behavior and, more so, our desperation… You might be this girl, too… You have met eyes with a man and thought, Maybe he could save me…that he will make you feel valuable”.

    You asked: “What can I do as a cousin especially when the parents don’t participate in their lives..“? How about buying her the first book, and/ or the second?

    Here is another interesting take on the topic, it’s from psychology today/ a link between sexual promiscuity and depression (Jan 2023): “The study does indicate a strong correlation between casual sex and depression in teens, as a matter of fact the relationship between casual sex and depression is so striking…  promiscuity may be symptomatic of depression. Given that sex is a pleasurable activity, it also stands to reason that teens who struggle with depression will routinely seek to engage in pleasurable and excitable behaviors to provide temporary relief from their experiences with chronic sadness, hopelessness and perhaps lethargy… a professional can help your teen identify his or her triggers for depression with focus on your teen learning new strategies on how to respond differently to these triggers. The next stage would be for your teen to begin the process of visualizing a future for his or herself and taking steps to make that future a reality”.

    “What can I do as a cousin especially when the parents don’t participate in their lives..“?- how about connecting your cousin to a professional (a counselor/ psychotherapist) for her anxiety and depression, so to find, like the above quote says, “new strategies on how to respond differently” to her depression?



    Edit: the name of the author of the two books is Kerry Cohen, and the article from psychology today is from Jan 2013.

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