Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sex.

I was going to write about something else entirely today, until I saw this article on CafeMom, about parents allowing their teenagers to have sex at home, because it's "safer." Obviously this is a terrible idea, but there's much more to say about it than that.

As I commented on Facebook, being the mother of a 3-and-a-half year old and a 19-month-old, this whole topic makes me want to shut my eyes, plug my ears and sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and block it out for a few more years. Nonetheless, this article got me thinking against my will. How will I handle the topic of sex when my daughters are teenagers?

My master plan for making my kids successful, fulfilled and happy in life will also hopefully prevent them from having sex as teenagers. I plan to instill such self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence in them that they simply will not feel the need to have sex at that age. If I had had any self-esteem or self-confidence as a teenager, I would not have dated either of the losers that I dated in high school.

Yeah, I had sex as a teenager. And when it's time to talk to my teenage kids about sex, I'll tell them that. I went to an all-girl Catholic high school in which, naturally, we were expected to be abstinent until marriage. Knowing that this was unlikely, the nuns did provide sex education, but the message of it was, in a nutshell, "If you have sex, you will get a disease that will permanently disfigure you, then you'll die. Oh, and you'll get pregnant, too." This wasn't enough of a deterrent for me or anyone else I knew at my school, and in fact, I think by totally demonizing sex, they made us want to have it that much more.

At home, sex was a totally forbidden topic. I never had "The Talk" with either of my parents. It was just not discussed. The topic was so surrounded by shame and fear, thanks to what we were all taught as Roman Catholics, there was no broaching the topic. So I didn't talk, and I did have sex (albeit infrequently and badly).

Aside from instilling my daughters with high self-esteems that will make them prize themselves too much to want to have sex at such an early age, I will also have an open-door policy about any topic on Earth. Sex? Come talk to me. Drugs? Talk to me. Ask me anything you want. No fear, no shame, no embarrassment. I want them to have all the facts so they can make the most informed decision possible.

I also want them to know that, from personal experience, sex had while you're a teenager is extremely unlikely to be any good. In fact, the memory of it is likely to make you cringe for the rest of your life. It's not what you're picturing, or what you've seen in the movies. Sex had as a teenager is awkward, icky and embarrassing and if you're like me, you'll wish aliens would abduct you and delete those dorky memories from your brain. If you absolutely must have sex, make sure it is with someone that you are in love with and who is also in love with you. Then it might actually be good. Since teenagers are highly unlikely to be in a deep, mutually loving relationship, this alone will hopefully make them wait until later.

I don't plan to use fear as a tactic, and my daughters, being Jewish (I converted to Judaism 9 years ago and married a nice Jewish boy), will not be going to an all-girl Catholic school, so hopefully no educator will use horror stories and terrifying slide images projected onto a wall that they will never be able to get out of their heads to prevent them from having sex. Hopefully love, logic and open communication will be all that's necessary. That and making sure any boys they date know that their great, big daddy is always close by with a shotgun.
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