Childrearing

The Sex Talk: My Mom’s Best Parenting Moment

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When I was in high school, plenty of people assumed that I was having sex. Whether it was friends, teachers or random girls at a party, my proclivity for dating seniors as a freshman seemed to indicate some advanced activity. However, I was pretty surprised when one woman jumped on the “You must be sleeping with him” bandwagon. My mother.

Even more uncomfortable in this whole situation, my mother wasn’t admonishing me or trying to keep me locked in the house. She wasn’t explaining over and over again that I should save myself for marriage. She wasn’t condemning those who have sex in high school as terrible kids who will ruin their lives. My mother actually didn’t have a single negative thing to say, even though she assumed that her 15 year old daughter was considering sex with her 18 year old boyfriend.

Here’s what my mother told me, as I remember it.

“Lindsay, if you’re thinking about or have already decided to have sex, here are a few things that I want you to know. I’m not going to tell you that sex is dirty or bad. It’s not. It’s a beautiful way for two people who love each other very deeply to connect. In fact, it’s the most intimate connection that you can have with another human being.

You already know that teenagers have plenty of hormones running through their body. It’s natural and healthy to feel excited by the idea of sex. These aren’t feelings that you need to be ashamed of. But I want to give you one warning.

You can’t take back sex and the choice to have sex is your’s alone to make. You shouldn’t make it because your boyfriend is ready and you want to make him happy. Someone who truly loves you will be more than happy to wait for you. You shouldn’t have sex because your friends are. You all will grow and mature at your own age.  You should only choose to have safe, protected sex because you feel that you’re emotionally ready to handle the possible consequences, like having children, and you love your boyfriend enough to go on that journey with him.

You should only have sex if you, in your heart, feel like it’s the right decision for you. It is a very big step and it will have a huge emotional impact, so I don’t want you to make that choice until you’re positive that it’s what you want.”

Now, I’m sure it didn’t come out exactly like that, but this is the message that I received from my mother about sex as a freshman in high school. And you know what, I remembered these words when I finally decided to take that step about five years later. And I’ve remembered this lesson as I watch my own daughter grow and think about “the talk” that I’ll have with her someday.

Sex is an important part of life. (Ya know, since it creates it… sorry couldn’t help myself.) I feel so blessed that my mother taught me early on to respect its significance, but not to be ashamed of sexual desire. She taught me to value myself and my own choices. Her guidance has made all the difference.

Valentines Day might be all about romance, but it also makes me thank my mother, for teaching me to appreciate and embrace love, even the physical aspects of it.