It's difficult to decide what method is best when it comes to teaching your kids about sex. I grew up in a strict religious home and was taught that abstinence was my only option when it came to sex. I wanted to know more; I felt like I wasn't getting the whole story. I knew about teen pregnancy, STD's, and how your boyfriend would leave you once I gave him my virginity. This type of negativity led me to view sex as something dirty and wrong. They weren't affectionate with each other so it seemed like people only had sex to make babies. As I was in the middle of puberty and my hormones were in full swing, I felt so guilty wondering what it felt like to have sex. I found myself wondering "What's wrong with me?" more times than I can count! I wasn't completely clueless because of what I had seen in movies and Google searches with my friends when I heard a fellow 7th grader talking about blow jobs. Negative information about sex led to serious insecurities with my body that I still struggle with today.
At 16 I lost my virginity to my boyfriend of 3 months, in his car. It was awkward, hot, clumsy, and nerve wracking. We weren't sure exactly how to put the condom on and I was trying so hard to keep him from seeing my body! It also did NOT feel good at all. Obviously my parents weren't aware of what I was doing so I was scared the whole time thinking they were going to find me and I would be dead. When I got home that night I felt happy but also dirty at the same time. The words I heard from my parents so many times "He will leave you if you have sex with him" kept replaying in the back of my mind. Three years later we're still together and have struggled at times with our sex life. Internet was a life saver when I had questions that I couldn't ask an adult. It has taken some time for me to heal and rewire my brain to believe that sex is a beautiful thing. Finally I am in a place where the guilt has stopped. I'm able to see that even though sex shouldn't be taken lightly, it's natural.
I'm sure you're probably wondering whether or not I'm saying it's okay for teens to have sex. I think the first thing to remember is that everyone is their own person. I believe in Comprehensive Sex Education. Teens should know that abstinence is ideal but if they were to choose another option they wouldn't be dirty. Just because you tell them not to do it doesn't mean they'll listen. It's better to know they will be able to make an informed decision than to have them doing something without knowing what to expect. It's best to tell them why abstinence is the easier option. There are responsibilities like pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, even heartbreak. Prepare for them to choose to have sex. Show them how to protect themselves and allow them access to a responsible adult that they can talk to about any questions or concerns. It's never good to act on impulse so they need to be sure they are ready. I can't stress enough how important it is to make sure they know that sex is a beautiful thing when it is between two responsible, mature, well informed people.
If you are struggling the way I did, don't panic it can be fixed! Please understand that there's nothing wrong with having a healthy and consensual sexual relationship with someone or even yourself. Talk to someone who has been through it. Eden is a great place to talk to others who have dealt with guilt like this. If you have a partner and haven't talked to them yet please do so. My partner is a big reason I have been able to progress because he helped me develop a pace that allowed us to explore our sexual side without overwhelming me. Whether it's a friend, family member, counselor, or partner you can learn to be without guilt about all things sexual.