parenting advice

I Want To Teach My Daughter Not To Be Promiscuous Like I Was

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Sad womanIn my early twenties, I was a slut. I don’t use that word to slut-shame myself, I use it because I feel that it accurately describes me at 22. “Kinda whore-y” would also work. Or perhaps, “sexually pliable.” But regardless of what name you use, I was one and now that I have a daughter of my own I plan to raise her to go down a different path.

On Reddit yesterday, someone posted to ask, “Mothers who were promiscuous in your younger days, did your values change once you had a daughter?” I wouldn’t say that my values have changed at all, and that was part of the problem. I knew in my gut that sleeping around wasn’t good for me (physically or emotionally), but it took years for me to understand that no matter how many people I slept with, it was ever going to make me love myself. When it comes to my daughter, I know that I am already raising her to value herself. What I want is for her to value her values and believe that what her heart says is more important than all of the pretty things that guy in the bar is telling her.

Some people have a lot of partners because they are adventurous and love sex and are sex-positive and all that good stuff. But in order to feel that way, you have to have a real clear hold of who you are and what your worth is. There has to be a level of equality in those relationships. I had neither of those things when I was younger. I had no idea who I was and used sex to seek approval and a sense of worth. Newsflash – that doesn’t work. My hope is that I can spare my daughter that particular life lesson.

I want my daughter to love and enjoy her body, but that doesn’t have to mean having a lot of partners. I think it’s rare – not impossible, but rare — for a young women to be settled enough in her skin to be able to have a lot of partners without regrets. Sure, sex can be part of figuring out who you are and is a large part of one’s identity, but mistakes come at a high cost. Choosing the wrong partner, or choosing to have more partners than you are truly comfortable with, can do a number on your self-esteem. Ask me how I know that.

So now I have this little girl, and I am tasked with trying to turn her into a young woman who is comfortable with her body and her sexuality and feels free to share that with whoever she wishes, but who also values herself enough not to share it too freely. I will continue to tell her how awesome, smart, and funny she is, and compliment how strong and wonderful her body is, so that she can use that as a foundation for her teen years. I want her to know that sex is great and can be a lot of fun, but it is also important. It means something.

I want my daughter to know that she will never, ever discover herself through other people. Other people can never teach her how to love herself. That is something she has to do all on her own. Ask me how I know that one, too.

(photo: Piotr Marcinski / Shutterstock)