Discussing sex and sexual problems with teenagers can be a intimidating task, especially for parents. Just how media venues depict sex and sexuality has shaped societal perceptions and created an openness that has been much more muted when I was a young woman. 24Hour Party Playmates When my daughter was on the point of enter middle school I felt we had a need to have a discussion on the ramifications and risks associated with sex. My daughter had already told me in regards to a fourteen year old girl she knew was pregnant and that a thirteen year old peer who had already had an STD twice. This last bit of information had been garnered in the sex education curriculum the school district used as part of ‘health’ in the sixth grade for children whose parents gave permission because of their child to attend the class.
Opening and sustaining a shared dialog between teens and a parent is paramount as, developmentally and emotionally, most teens are somewhere between adolescence and adulthood regardless of what their chronological age. Serious discussions, especially concerning peers or social-emotional issues should be approached carefully. The key would be to not alienate teenagers by minimizing the worthiness of their knowledge or experience, to be casual rather than demanding, not to lecture, also to include them in the discussion. Parents need to listen in addition to talk no matter what the topic of a discussion is they are having making use of their sons and daughters.
To be sure I was up to date and able to undertake this task I did research on the Internet and at the local public library. I garnered information from the local chapter of Planned Parenthood and the County Health Department. I got statistics on teen pregnancy, single parents, along with other data from the Kansas Kids Count book. All states collect statistical data by city, county, township, and offer that data through some kind of written source. At that point I felt ready to sit back and attempt to speak to my daughter, hoping she wouldn’t be too embarrassed to talk with her ‘mother’.
I waited until my son, who was simply ten at the time, was on a camping trip with his Boy Scout troop. My hubby worked second shift and was at work. I was watching a movie with my daughter on television and I casually introduced the subject of boys, asking if she had a boyfriend. I was well aware that parents are often the last to know whenever a child has her first boyfriend. Although my daughter didn’t have a boyfriend yet, she added that she didn’t want a boyfriend because guys expected the lady to stop all her friends, didn’t want them to possess other regular friends who have been boys, and just wanted sex, whether that has been oral sex or physical copulation. She had learned this from the close girlfriend who was coping with her first boyfriend and who had confided in my daughter, needing someone to talk to.
This was the opening I had been looking forward to. First I told my daughter that I wasn’t trying to insinuate she had engaged in heavy petting or sex, and I wasn’t attempting to lecture, that I simply wanted to make sure she had the various tools and knowledge needed if she were ever drawn to a man physically or emotionally. I told her to jump in and correct me if she felt I were wrong or misguided about anything, to let me know easily was making her feel uncomfortable, also to share any information that she might have since my intent was not to lecture or coerce.
I discussed the lengths many boys would head to get physical which included telling the lady he loved her and could not cheat on her and if she loved him she’d take part in a sexual act with him, or threatening to split up with the girl if she’d not give in to his sexual advances. My daughter added a peer had also suffered through the experience of having a man tell his friends and male peers at school that they had “oral sex”, an act which hadn’t even taken place.
This in turn led to a discussion on how a girl might respond to a similar situation. I gave my sympathy for what the other girl was going through by stating that lie needed to be very painful for the lady. I also explained that lots of guys, during their teen years often liked to brag about their conquests whether real or implied, to be able to convince peers of these sexual prowess. We discussed some options my daughter’s friend might take, which included ignoring the guy and some of his friends who might make advances or snide remarks, to tell the guy that she feels sorry he has to lie in order to feel important, or tell him she is not even going to dignify his lie with a reply.
My daughter responded that when it just happened to her she’d tell the guy loudly and in front of his friends, “maybe in your dreams” with heavy sarcasm. This was a good example of teenage bravado, a thing that could hold my daughter and other teens in good stead. I agreed that creating embarrassment for a young man might work. By having a mutual and open dialog from the beginning, I was able to interject various information. My daughter added little tidbits and asked some very intelligent questions.
At one point I stressed to my daughter that I hoped she would wait until marriage and that I had not been condoning sexual activity beyond marriage. I added that I was aware that I would have no control over any decision she’d eventually make regarding any sexual activity or when she chose to become sexually active and that my main goal was to prepare her for that eventuality. We discussed different sexually transmitted diseases and their symptoms, although the kids in the community had received some of that information during intercourse education.
My daughter brought up the main topic of peers who took alternate precautions in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy because the male did not desire to wear a prophylactic. I was then able to let her understand that the sexual ‘myths’ that many uninformed teens believe are a complete fallacy. Those myths included using the rhythm method would dramatically decrease the probability of an unwanted pregnancy, as would having the young man grab of the girl’s body before ejaculating, and learning when the fertile section of the girl’s cycle using body’s temperature, etc. to make sure they did not engage in sex during that period of time.
I was asked about oral sex and when the act was sex, by itself? My response was that yes, this is a sexual act that served to protect the guy from having a woman get pregnant, but that it is degrading to the girl and disrespectful. The girl could still get STDs like herpes and Chlamydia and AIDS, as could the guy, based on how promiscuous both parties had been in the past. It was through the discussion on oral sex that I learned that a significant large numbers of my daughter’s peers were engaging in that sexual act as a way to “pleasure their boyfriends and not get pregnant.”
I talked to my daughter, and later, my son, concerning the different kinds of love including infatuation, hormonal, lust, love for someone of the opposite sex that was non-sexual, and the deep emotional love that is included with the maturity of adulthood. I explained a relationship, at any age, can rarely be sustained for any length of time if it is built primarily on sex, which was also one major reason many relationships end up in divorce court or separation and abandonment if the couple is not married.
Last, I asked my daughter to consider weighing any future decisions she might consider regarding sex meticulously, considering all the advantages and disadvantages. To use protection as a way of avoiding STDs also to combine the use of a prophylactic with a foam or other contraceptive as a prophylactic can be, or become damaged. I also informed her I knew she would never arrived at me with the info that she would take part in sex but that I’d let her then twenty-six year old half sister understand that she had my permission to greatly help her get contraceptive pills at that time. I did so are the information that abstinence is the only guarantee she wouldn’t get an STD or get pregnant.