Reading the incredibly eloquent op-ed of teenager Olympia Nelson last week, it struck me how much the sexual expression of teenagers has shifted in a relatively short time.
Much like teenagers of today, we explored our sexuality and pushed boundaries. For my group of friends that generally meant dressing inappropriately and sneaking into town to try and get into Good Bar, or somewhere like it, on Oxford St.
Getting in was validation (a 'like') of how deceptively sophisticated we thought we were (we weren't). And while we would dance seductively (so we thought) and have the odd kiss with an older man, that was as far as it went.
For the most part.
There were girls who would go further. In an attempt to prove their maturity and possession of their pubescent sexuality they would provide favours to men in the toilets of a nightclub. Men who, in theory, believed they were 18. They were, in fact, several years from 18.
But, those girls were the rebels, the rare ones who would simultaneously regale and scare us with their racy stories. We were fascinated, but afraid because beneath the pretense of sexuality we knew we weren't ready. We were still just toying with the idea of adulthood and all that went with it. It wasn't really real.
Now the sexual rat race has become normalised for teenagers and no longer is it the domain of the precocious few.
Teens connect and prove themselves on social media. It has become a vast popularity contest where those with the most 'likes' win.
"But what kind of photos produce an epidemic of 'likes?'" Olympia Nelson asked. "Nothing with too much creativity but hip, titty and kiss."
And whilst this display of sexuality does not necessarily equate with behaviour, it does result in a game of one-upmanship.
"How confident can you appear at being lascivious? How credible is your air of lewdness?"
Faking such confidence in an area that few actually have much experience in leaves little room for the vulnerability and fear that so often lurks behind the facade of teen sexuality. Of course there is curiosity, but for many there is also a sense of being completely uncertain and feeling pressured to step up or risk being ejected from their social circle.
One recent study from the University of Western Australia found that "more vulnerable young people were influenced by peers, social expectations, needing to fit in, alcohol and keeping their romantic relationships".
This lead to some losing their virginity before they felt ready and regretting the experience.
Now around a quarter of all 15-year-olds have lost their virginity and about half of all 17-year-olds.
It is a paradox where exploring sexuality is normal, but normalising such explicit expression of it is not.
I look back and feel thankful that such expression was the exception not the rule. That and that we didn't have the added pressure of such a public forum while trying on our sex for size.
It is an equally exciting and scary time and, as Olympia said, banning expression is not the answer. Girls, and boys, will always explore and will always want to fit in. It is in having a firm-enough foundation outside Facebook, Instagram and other social media so that the number of 'likes' is not their sole source of confidence. It is also important that they know that they can choose the time, terms and pace at which they explore.
There is also the hope that, with a trend like the sexual selfie, it will eventually lose its appeal. As with most things in life that were rare or cool, once they have been adopted by the masses, they lose their edge. As the mystery fades, people start to see that it wasn't actually as desirable as they thought it was. The Zeitgeist shifts once again and teenagers will hopefully start to see the truth, that all along, it was just a facade.