Chapters 12 & 13

Summary: Chapter 12

Katherine describes Sharon and Ike’s apartment. There, she and Michael joke around and end up on the bed. Taking most of their clothes off, they explore each other’s bodies and bring each other to orgasm. The next night, they return to the apartment for more sexual exploration. Michael pleads with Katherine to have sex. Katherine expresses concern about bleeding on the bed and says they should have sex on the floor. She then asks Michael to wear a condom, but he thinks he doesn’t have to because Katherine has just finished her period, and he assures her that he no longer has a venereal disease. Katherine clarifies that she doesn’t want to get pregnant, so Michael finally agrees to wear a condom. But before he penetrates Katherine, he orgasms. After resting and going out for a hamburger, the two return to the apartment to attempt to have intercourse again. This time Michael breaks Katherine’s hymen and once again orgasms very quickly. He apologizes to Katherine for not making her first time enjoyable and wonders if the condom is to blame. While Katherine feels disappointed, she agrees with Michael that sex takes practice.

Summary: Chapter 13

The next day over brunch, Katherine feels surprised her parents can’t tell she’s no longer a virgin. Then she gets a call from Tommy Aronson, who’s home from college and wants to go out with her. When Katherine turns him down, he asks for Erica’s phone number. Michael then calls to say how much their night together meant to him. Later, Diana gives Katherine an article entitled “What about the right to say ‘no’?” that poses questions about sexual intercourse and the end of a relationship. Katherine tells Diana that she agrees that no one should feel pressured to have sex. 

At school, Erica describes getting together with Tommy and deciding not to make out with him because he is boring, especially in comparison to Artie. Katherine comments on her senior year being boring and reflects on the friends she no longer hangs out with, in particular her best friend Janis Foster, who already has her future planned out with boyfriend Mark Fiore. That evening, Michael comes over to study with Katherine. When they kiss goodnight, Michael tells Katherine he can’t wait to be alone with her that Friday night.

Analysis: Chapters 12 & 13

While many books about teen sex end with intercourse, Forever explores Katherine’s reality versus her expectations after the couple has made love. Katherine has been thinking about and anticipating losing her virginity for half the novel. When she and Michael finally have sex, she confesses that it is a huge letdown. Instead of being pleasurable or magical as books usually portray losing one’s virginity, Katherine describes an awkward, logistically flawed reality. Katherine told herself that losing her virginity would not be very good, but she still anticipated something more. Throughout the novel, Katherine shirks traditional wisdom and believes that her relationship with Michael is special and will be different from others. Repeatedly, Katherine’s expectations of escaping the inevitable are thwarted. For example, though Katherine’s parents tell her that this relationship isn’t forever, Katherine, for a short period, believes that her relationship with Michael will last. Katherine’s disappointing first sexual experience foreshadows more conflicts between expectations and reality.

Blume illustrates an important lesson through the motif of young people repeatedly ignoring the obvious. Katherine’s parents and grandparents go out of their way to help Katherine view love realistically and think logically instead of acting on emotions and urges. One way they try to help is by sending Katherine information containing facts and statistics about teen sex. Again, Katherine reveals her youth when she ignores the parts of the article that she doesn’t want to think about like relationships ending. Ignorance doesn’t protect us against uncomfortable realities and consequences. Katherine possesses the insight to see reality. She acknowledges that friendships may be very important one year and end the next, but she struggles to extrapolate that same knowledge to her relationship with Michael. At the beginning of her and Michael’s sexual intimacy, Katherine needs to believe in forever even when reality suggests otherwise. Ignoring the obvious and assuming one’s outcome will be different from the many that came before is a classic rookie mistake of young people.