For some adventurous students, Blair grounds are a convenient venue for sex
Where only first names appear, names have been changed to protect the identities of the sources.
On their two-week anniversary, they had a spontaneous celebration. That night, they took their relationship to the next level - in the Blair auditorium.
Randy, a senior, and his girlfriend left the football stadium for a walk as the 2004 Homecoming game against Wheaton kicked off. They chanced upon the auditorium door propped slightly ajar, as if inviting them inside. Around the fifth row of the center section, illuminated only by the aisle lights, they kissed for 20 minutes before, as Randy puts it, the night became "extreme." By halftime, the home team had scored, and so had Randy.
Nobody discovered Randy and his girlfriend in the act, but eight teens at Osbourn High School in Manassas, Virginia, were less lucky. On Sept. 28, a building services worker discovered five teens having sex in the auditorium while another three watched. Apparently, for the 47 percent of high-school students who have had sexual intercourse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sex at school has become increasingly common.
This startling trend appears to be gaining ground at Blair, too: According to an informal Silver Chips survey of 200 students during the weeks of Nov. 7 and 14, 41 percent of Blazers say they know someone who has had sex in school. Some name the arts hallway, the portables and the staircase nearest the gym, among other places, as "sex spots." But for those with an appetite for the risqué or simply nowhere else to go, sex in school is more than a rumor - it's a reality.
"An adrenaline rush"
During the hour and a half Randy and his girlfriend spent in private, one thing led to another, he says, culminating in "an adrenaline rush in the auditorium." He did not think twice about the possibility of being caught. "At the time, I didn't really care. Afterwards it was like, 'Oh my God, I can't believe what happened,'" he recalls.
Sean, a senior, and his girlfriend used more caution when they shut themselves in the girls' bathroom in the 310s hallway during lunch one Friday in early November. They had sex standing up for half an hour while their friend stood guard outside. Before Sean and his girlfriend left, they flushed their used condom down the toilet. They decided against a second rendezvous in the bathroom, preferring the comfort of a bed at home.
It appears that within the last decade, teens have increasingly forgone these traditional comforts in favor of sex at school, says Deborah Roffman, a human sexuality educator at The Park School in Baltimore. "Ten years ago, kids knew that you're not supposed to have sex in school," she says. "How are these kids [today] so clueless?"
Throughout high school, Dennis, a senior, has defied adult expectations for teen sex. In his freshman year, he and his former girlfriend fondled each other in the main stadium, once under the bleachers and once on top of them. Two years later, Dennis moved to the band room, where he and his current girlfriend spent 45 minutes having oral sex. "It was one of those spur-of-the-moment, 'have-to-have-you' kinds of things," he says.
Then, in February of his junior year, Dennis and his girlfriend ventured into the uniform room of the band room after school while his friends practiced their music outside. In a "real quickie" that lasted 20 minutes, Dennis committed the final forbidden act.
After his first time having sexual intercourse in the band room, Dennis came back for more. Once, he skipped class and snuck inside a practice room with his girlfriend, waited with her for the band members to begin practicing and then had sex against the wall, their noise drowned out by the music outside. Another time, they did it during 5B lunch inside a friend's car, which was parked by the sidewalk near the Colesville Road entrance. At one point, a security guard stood only yards away, completely unaware.
Dennis feels no remorse about his sexual adventures, only a sense of accomplishment. "It was a fantastic use of public property," he says.
One time in the band room…
The band room also served the purposes of Angela, a junior, who had sex there twice around 4 p.m. with her boyfriend, a Kennedy graduate, in June. The first time, they had not seen each other for a few days, and they could not wait any longer. Sitting on chairs in the instrument storage room, they got physically reacquainted.
The second time, Angela and her boyfriend had returned from Starbucks with a latte in hand, and Angela had a building services worker unlock the door so that she could get her instrument. But she stayed a little longer than expected. The latte cooled for half an hour while Angela and her boyfriend had sex in the main band room. She was unconcerned about the possibility of being caught because at that time of day most teachers had left the building.
While Angela risked the act at school out of convenience, Dennis and his girlfriend did so because of limited options. Although his parents knew and accepted the fact that he was sexually active, his girlfriend's culturally conservative parents forbade her from dating, and certainly from having sex. So the two satisfied their desires in the most practical place, the place where they saw each other every day: Blair.
Amber Eisenmann, coordinator of Training and Adolescent Services at Planned Parenthood of Maryland, explains that in most cases, sex at school is purely a means to an end. Because teens tend to have little personal space and spend a large part of their time at school, school happens to be the most convenient location for sex, Eisenmann says.
"A crazy sex story"
Abigail, a senior, resorted to clandestine sex in school because of the lack of privacy at home. When her boyfriend at the time suggested they have sex in a school bathroom as a joke, Abigail thought, "Why not?"
But there was something else about the idea of sex at school that tempted Abigail. She found herself intrigued by the risks, excited by the threat of getting caught in the act. "It's a turn-on… knowing at any second you could get busted," Abigail says.
In the first few months of her junior year, Abigail and her boyfriend had sex after school three times in the first-floor girls' bathroom by the auditorium. They crammed themselves into a stall and positioned their bodies so only one pair of legs peeked out from under the door. Abigail bit down on her lip to make sure no one would hear her. "Everyone wants to have a crazy sex story," she says. "This was mine."
Part of what made the sex so thrilling for Abigail was that it involved breaking out of the rigid conventions of a school setting. "It's almost like you're breaking one of the 10 Commandments," she says. Having sex at school was not just in spite of school rules, it was purposely to spite the rules.
Here at Blair, however, the rule banning students from sexual behavior is an unwritten one. MCPS does not specify consequences for students caught having sex in school, and neither does Blair's discipline policy, according to administrator Patricia Hurley.
But Principal Phillip Gainous expects that the punishment would be similar to that of the eight Osbourn High School students, all of whom were suspended. He says students who are caught in the act at Blair would face a minimum of a 10-day suspension, possibly with a recommendation for expulsion and a referral for counseling.
So far, Hurley and administrators Suzanne Harvey, James Short and Linda Wanner have never had to deal with any incidents involving sex inside Blair. Security guards Ed Reddick, Jeffrey Seals and Jose Segura say they have never seen students having sex.
Staff members do not expect to catch students in the act, Wanner says. "There's certain things in the discipline policy that you would hope people know. You would think that civilized people would know not to [have sex in school]," she says.
Students should realize that school is simply the wrong place to have sex, Eisenmann says. Sex should be a well-planned, safe experience, and the decision to have sex at school could indicate an immature or even nonconsensual relationship, she says.
In fact, three weeks after Randy and his girlfriend had sex in the auditorium, their relationship was on the rocks. They broke up over an argument he has trouble recalling.
Randy's short-term affair is not uncommon in this era of casual sexual relationships. For Carmen, a senior, a mere in-school flirtation escalated into a one-time hook-up without the romantic ties. She and her "random" friend had sex on the catwalk in the auditorium during stage crew after school, but that was the extent of the relationship.
Eisenmann blames this casual treatment of sex partly on the sexually explicit media, which has desensitized teens to the emotional impact of sex. In fact, a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that of the top 20 television shows most watched by teens, 70 percent included sexual content, and 45 percent included sexual behavior. Meanwhile, of all shows analyzed that included sexual content, only 14 percent mentioned the risks or responsibilities that accompany sexual behavior, including sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.
Bombarded with sexual images in the media, teens have become blasé about sex and its implications, Carmen believes. "It's not a big deal anymore to most, so you have kids running around giving it to anyone they can," she says. "No one cares anymore."
Abigail agrees, calling it "just sex." And if that sex happens at school, then all the better, she says, grinning. "It's like stealing a candy bar. If you get caught, you get caught, and you deal with the consequences," says Abigail. "If not, you walk away with a candy bar."
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