"Life without sex might be safer but it would be unbearably dull. It is the sex instinct which makes women seem beautiful, which they are once in a blue moon, and men seem wise and brave, which they never are at all. Throttle it, denaturalize it, take it away, and human existence would be reduced to the prosaic, laborious, boresome, imbecile level of life in an anthill."
To Have Sex Or Not To Have Sex: That Is The Question!
Few parents want to face the idea that their teens are having sex — but research shows that many teens are sexually active by high school. We can all agree that sex is awesome, sex is incredible. It is something shared between two people and by golly, I am not opposed to getting down and dirty. What I am opposed to is unprotected and illegitimate sex (sex without meaning) in teens. Now, I'm not perfect. I've had illegitimate sex in my teen years, but because of the emotional consequences, I now know to try to go against the primitive desire to have sex without any sort of feeling, emotion, or commitment.
So how can you talk to your child about sex?
1. Promote Abstinence
Tell the child you'd prefer they wait until they are mentally capable to handle the ramifications of sex. Ask your teen to think about his or her own values and hopes for the future — and consider how sex might affect them.
2. Discuss Birth Control Options
Give your child options, just in case abstinence is not their course of action. Make sure to take them to a doctor to have everything checked out beforehand. And make sure that your child is getting tested for STDs regularly thereafter. Talk to them about male and female condoms, spermicide, prescription birth control, emergency birth control, and natural family planning. Don't be afraid that talking to your child about contraception will encourage them to have sex. They're thinking about it whether you bring it up or not.
3. Encouraging Responsible Behavior
Make sure your teen knows that alcohol and drugs will impair their judgement. Be sure to tell them about different birth control options and the frequency of the medications.
4. Let Your Young Woman Take Charge of Her Sexual Health
This is not the 60s anymore! Women are demanding their piece of the pie. Yes, women have needs and a couple of years ago, sexual satisfaction was not much of a priority in comparison to now. If you have a young woman who desires to take charge of her sexual pleasure, help her out. I remember when my mom purchased my first vibrator. It was awkward for me to talk to her about it, but I appreciate the fact that she did it on her own. Many teens simply see the television shows of women and men being engulfed by a passionate kiss only to find that the woman has her legs spread wide open, making all kinds of porn star noises.
By purchasing a love toy, your teen can experience an orgasm alone, which may make some females decide that they don't have to have sex this early in life. I know some of my teen friends back in high school just wanted to know what an orgasm felt like. Had they known that sex wasn't like it is portrayed in movies, they probably would have waited.
5. Let Your Teen Know That His/Her Desire To Have Sex Is Natural
Your teen should not be ashamed that he/she wishes to have sex. Yes, the topic may be difficult to bring up at the family table, but it is definitely a topic that all parents have to go through eventually. Assure your child that their natural instinct to engage in sex is a totally primitive catalyst agent to procreate. Try to make your teen aware that there are plenty of things about sex and your own body's response to sex that you will have to learn along the way.
The number one challenge of raising adolescents: the Superman complex! Psychology 101-they think they are invincible! No one can touch them. This is why many teens sext, drink, etc. They think that no one understands them, which makes them feel isolated, which in turn causes them to act out. Behavioral changes becomes prevalent as the adolescent is faced with pressures in school, realization of sexual identity, and the like.
To better manage these changes, talk with your child. Healthy communication is key here. There may be an underlying cause that clouds their judgment on things. Offer to just be there, even if they do not want to talk about a situation. Let's be real, some things kids just do not want to share with their parents. I'm sure no teenage girl would like to come out to their parents and say, "My boyfriend tried to have sex with me, and I wanted to do it, but I was scared. What should I do, mom?" In reality, there are very few kids that will say such a thing to a parent. Instead, offer to be there to just hold them, even without saying a word. Support is crucial here. They will realize that they are not alone.
For the Parent: Coping
How can you cope with your teen having sex?
I know it can be difficult to admit to yourself that your child is having sex. Admitting it is the biggest hurdle and everything after that seems to be a bit easier. Please understand that your child is not a child anymore. S/he is a young adult. A young adult with desires, primitive instincts, and the ability to make their own decisions. Just think of it this way- whatever advice they are not getting from you, they are getting from their friends, books, movies, the internet, and magazines. You cannot stop your child from experiencing the real world anymore. The real world doesn't care about age appropriate exposure and the only way to stop your child from being miseducated is to educate them on the subject yourself. If you don't know an answer to their question, find the answer- or better yet, find the answer together.
My mom used to have an "office drop box." That's what she called it. If my sister or I had any questions that we were too afraid to ask her in person, we were to type up the question, print it out (for fear of her recognizing one of our handwriting), and drop it in her "drop box" that was a pretty pink cardboard box with a slit in it. The box stood on a stand right outside of her master bedroom. My mom would check the box every day and she would construct a reply. She would place the replies in another two boxes outside of the kids bathroom. Each reply had a date.
She constructed an excel worksheet that listed the date the question was received. My sister and I remember the date we sent our questions and looked on the excel chart that was overhead of the box. We got our replies back from whatever box coincided with our date so the other sibling wouldn't have to know what we asked our mother. I think this was an excellent method because it kept us anonymous. And sometimes, the unbiased reply made my sister and I want to strike up a conversation with my mom about it. But sometimes, we did prefer to have our answers in the reply drop box.
Parents, please make an effort to be as unbiased and nonjudgmental as possible. This will help you cope with your child, but also make your child feel as if they can come to you with anything. Be sure to also tell your teen that if they can't talk to you, although advised, they can speak with another adult that is experienced enough to answer their inquiries. There are plenty of resources out there for them. If your teen has a question about sex, STDs, abortion, etc, they can call Planned Parenthood at (800)-230-7526 or American Pregnancy Hotline at (866)-942-6466. If they feel as if there are some LGBTQIA related issues that need to be discussed, they can call the Trevor Project hotline at (866)-488-7386. The Trevor Project even has an online chat during certain times of the day. The opportunities for you and your child are endless. It is indeed a journey, but you have to start somewhere with your child, before your child starts the journey without you.
"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." -Martin Luther King Jr.