So, I've been doing a lot of presentations and workshops lately for parents, other eductaors, mentors, on how to talk with teens about sex.
As with most things, I take a fairly unorthodox approach, so it's hardly the usual, but I always like to make sure I can deliver your own words and feelings as best I can to these sorts of things.
So, freestyle: in your ideal world, how do you want parents to be discussing sex with you? DO you want them to? How do you want them to listen? What are your boundaries like in terms of adult/young adult or parent/teen sexuality discussion?
What do you think parents right now -- yours, those of your peers -- just don't understand? Given that you likely only know so much about their generation per sex, what do you feel like they aren't getting or maybe might not understand about yours?
Just looking to keep thoughts going on this so that when I do these, I can be advocating for all of you, as ever, as best as I can.
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 68189 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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My parents have never talked to me about sex, never had "the birds and the bees" conversation. I remember asking my parents(I was around 11..) "what's sex?" and my dad saying that it's the difference between a boy and a girl and to call yourself female means that is your sex, and vice versa. That was IT. I can't even talk to my mom about my period. Would I like to have a sex talk with my parents? Honestly? No. I've learned all I need to know at this point in time from my older sister, and from the internet(mostly Scarleteen, you guys have been an amazing resource for me).
My mom doesn't understand that I'm NOT going to go out and get pregnant. I have a best friend who is a guy, and if I'm ever spending time at my mom's and I want to invite him over, he is NOT allowed to spend the night. On the other hand, it's perfectly okay for me to have female friends over for sleepovers. My mom doesn't trust me at all, and that really pisses me off. 1) I am not going to be having sex with guys because, well, I'm a lesbian. 2) Even if I wasn't a lesbian, I still have no desire to be having any kind of sex at this age. I hate that she doesn't trust me; it just makes me feel like crap.
She also doesn't trust my 13 year old sister, and she thinks that my sister is messing around with her best guy friend. It doesn't matter if my sister tells her over and over "I AM NOT HAVING SEX, MOM", she still doesn't believe and she just goes on about how "who knows what kids are up to these days.." It's sort of my older sister's fault, I suppose... She had a baby when she was 18, and mom thinks that me and my kid sis are gonna do the same.
I would like the freedom to talk about sex with my mom, instead of it being such a taboo topic. I wouldn't necessarily want to talk about sex with her, I would just like to know that I COULD, if I wanted to. I went a year after first getting my period without telling her. I hate how she looks at sex, and I know I could never tell her about girlfriends, or ask her questions because she is religious and would never approve of me having a girlfriend, let alone having premarital sex.
In my ideal world: My parents would be totally okay about me being gay, and would be more open-minded instead of just shoving the 'abstinence only' approach down my throat. I wish I had learned about sex at an earlier age. When I entered junior high sex ed, I knew NOTHING about sex or menstruation, or how a baby is made, masturbation.. etc.. I actually never knew what masturbation was until I was around 13.
If I ever had a suggestion for parents, at a teenager's point of view, it would be just to be open-minded, and make sure your kid knows it's totally okay to ask questions, have conversations about sex, etc.. Sex shouldn't be such a hush-hush topic.
-------------------- "think outside the box, collapse the box, and take a f***ing sharp knife to it." - banksy Posts: 58 | From: Canada | Registered: Jun 2006
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It seems like the main reasons a lot of parents do a poor job education their children about sex is because 1) they can't handle the idea that their children are sexual beings, 2) they themselves are insecure about it, and 3) they may be misinformed and/or be horribly biased.
In an ideal world, parents would be informed and aware, including understanding sexuality and it's relevance to humans at all age levels. They would establish open channels of communication with their children so open, honest, and understanding discussions about anything, sex or otherwise, could be had without fear of judgement or rejection of ideas. They would provide their children with age-appropriate and necessary information to understand any subject, particularly life in general, unbiasedly, and support their children in coming to their own conclusions and making their own decisions, instead of trying to dictate their thoughts and behavior.
In order for parents to be good teachers, they have to be informed and aware people, and need to be confident and communicative. When people are direct and unembarassed about uncomfortable topics, not only is it very admirable, but it helps change people's uneasy attitudes. The attitudes about sex presented at Scarleteen, for example, have made me much more confident and unembarassed about sexuality (part of that is also just being informed - insecurities seem to rise from ignorance).
My parents never established very good channels of communication, and were very much the "do it because I said so" type. I always kept my feelings and ideas that clashed with theirs hidden from them, under the fear that I would be punished for my deviance. Now that I am 19, however, and my parent's authority is no longer a threat and they respect me as an individual and adult, I have been able to communicate with them a lot more, especially about difficult subjects, such as sexuality and philosophical and theological beliefs. It's a shame they didn't have enough respect for me when I was younger to be this open. It's too easy for parents to pull the authority card, and simply dictate.
-------------------- "Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it is to be young." -Dumbledore Posts: 8 | From: Seattle | Registered: Sep 2007
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I don't know if I'm too late to contribute to this post or not, but I just wanted to shout out that chances are sex and sexuality will always be a very difficult situation between children and parents. I know I still have difficulty accepting that my parents are sexual beings. So that problem goes both ways.
I have always been lucky enough to have a fairly open family. My mom was telling me where babies really came from when I was in early grade school. I heard about sex first from peers but when I started my period, as the first child, things were a little awkward at first, but the problem was more on my end than hers. Attitudes about sex were out there within my family from an early age, but they could be debated and spoken of equally. My dad offered me condoms once, that really shocked me.
In the end I would say I would never go to my mom and ask her what her recommended sex position is, but I can ask her about anatomical things with little difficulty, mostly b/c she was a nurse. There are lines, but the lines are very blurry. If I had a problem, I would probably be able to go to her about it. Probably.
But enough about me. I wanted to shout out more importantly I would like to say that this question has not come from a male perspective yet. My boyfriend comes from a very different family, tight lipped and stern. He told me that the first time he woke up and found out that he'd had a wet dream he screamed for his mother. She wanted nothing to do with that, and I can definitely see where she was coming from, but it wasn't as if he could control it, it wasn't as if it was his fault. Every time I imagine him crying and upset because he doesn't understand what's happening with his body, and his mother treating it as if it was a wrongdoing on his part...I just want to hug him. It would be horribly awkward, but if I had a son I would want to have an open line of communication with him.
I think, and I could be very wrong, but we tend to forget about the guys and focus on girls and women more, but the guys shouldn't be forced to learn everything from their peers. That's a hostile world out there, it'd be better if we all were able, in that ideal world, to get a gentle introduction to sex and sexuality from our families. Of course, that would be the ideal world.
Posts: 48 | From: North of Hell South of Paradise | Registered: Mar 2007
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Well, it occurs to me that sexual repression is all relative. For example, OnceOnABlueMoon, your parents sound sort of repressive to me (not relative to my parents, but rather relative to my ideal). I think parents should be open with their kids -and also willing to share their life experience and give advice based upon that, only not as ultimatums.
I also think parents should be willing to accept their child as sexual beings, and realize that as teenagers/young adults wanting to engage in sex is natural, the best you can do is be well-informed about how to not have pain and stay protected.
Posts: 207 | From: Bay Area, CA | Registered: Sep 2007
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I hate it when adults talk so seriuos about it or when they whisper really consernd looking.. It makes -me- feel very uncomfortable! It is seroius but also a "fact" of life. Just give them facts, don't make it a really big deal, or talk about it while someone walks by (if it's intended to be one on one). I think when you get in the details that should only be done before marrige daughter to moms & father and son talk about details before marrage. BUT NO PERSONAL EXPERIENCES PLEASE! well i'm very picky about that stuff but hope it helped..?
-------------------- Puppy smoocher Posts: 8 | From: Mac area Oregon | Registered: Nov 2007
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My mum told me about periods and sex AFTER i started my periods. An earlier talk would have prepared me better. When i was at primary school i actually thought the blood came out of your hip(!!) when you had a period. I think the discussion should be brought up in a casual way by the parent and it should be ongoing rather than one-off.
Mum's description was so clinical- it was literally "a period is when blood comes out of your vagina. sex is when a mans penis goes into a womans vagina. you know what a penis is dont you? they must show you pictures in school". And that was it. That was reasonable but parents need to talk about feelings and thoughts too. They need to tell kids that sexuality is really normal and everyday and not something to be ashamed of. It took me so long to figure that out for myself.
They need to talk about their values in relation to sex. It may be that they really think their kids should wait until marriage or until a in a stable relationship. But they need to explain why in a non-blaming way. And if they expect you to follow their advice they need to understand the pressures that teenagers face and maybe teach you how to deal with it. They need to see that we make mistakes sometimes just as they did once. They need to give us credit when we do turn out ok as adults ;-p
Parents need to understand how sexualised our culture really is. If they want to influence us positively the least they can do is be prepared to talk openly about sex (ditto about alcohol, drugs, smoking). As I have entered my 20s and started studying about peoples health I've become more comfortable talking about sex myself and I bring it up with my parents. They're improving i think- the other day we laughed together about chocolate flavoured condoms. We talked about the gay people celebrating on TV when civil unions were legalised and I actually argued with my dad when he said homosexuality was unnatural. Of course we dont have the same ideas about these things but at least we're talking. Its a start.
Posts: 1326 | Registered: Nov 2007
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Now that I think back on it, I don't really remember a point in my life when I was confused about sex or any of that [of course, only in the time span that I was old enough to WANT to know about it.] My mom was a single parent and always did a beautiful job teaching me what I needed to know. She always made it clear to me that I could approach her with any problem and that she would always love me no matter what, whether it be about sex or periods, people in general, whatever. If I ever did approach her with a "How does this work?" question, she was always patient and explained it to me with honesty and of course, her signature humor. I think if more parents broached the subject of sex and body image and all this with a light but sincere tone, not so many people would find themselves confused or scared at the mere prospect of sexuality and all it's little twists and turns.
Posts: 755 | From: United States | Registered: Nov 2007
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I think it depends on how close you are with your kids, in general. If you have a great relationship and talk with your kids about everything, you can talk more about sexuality. But if you tend to be a less central part of your kids' lives, you won't be abl e to talk about it as much. But there are, I think, a few rules for everyone.
DO: -Wait for your kids to bring it up themselves, because you don't want to have a sex talk too early, when they aren't even thinking about it, and they'll just be bored and forget it all. -Give your kids good resources and information. Buy them a book or two, so they have a reliable, non-threatening way to get correct information (not through their friends or older siblings). -Be honest about how you feel about sexuality and your moral standards, because kids will listen to your opinions, even if they don't agree with them. -Trust your kids. Accept that they may be sexually active, but don't pry into their lives. Just make sure that they are practicing safer sex and have you as resources as much as they need.
DON'T: -Have just ONE really awkward conversation with them about it. Kids will just try and forget it as soon as they can, and won't take in much information. -Try and bluff your way through their questions you don't know. You NEVER want to give them misinformation. -Try and enforce a moral standard on your kids. If they choose to stay abstinent, it's most likely going to be because of their judgments, not because of your pushing. Also, be very careful if you are going to try and use religion as a reason to make them stay abstinent. It has a bad track record. -Try to be more cool and off-hand about sexuality than you really are. If you try and act more comfortable with the subject than you are, it's really easy to tell, and it gives kids mixed signals.
My personal experience: I don't think my dad has said the word sex to me... like ever. My mom gave me a bunch of books about puberty and stuff when I was younger, and I really liked them I think it's the reason I'm still very informed about sexuality today. She also tends to make awkward jokes about periods and me and my boyfriend. NOT fun. She needs to know her boundaries. Also, after my boyfriend and I had been going out for about four months, she told me to come to her for birth control, but it definitely wasn't a natural thing for her, and she trapped me in the car when she said it and it was really awkward. She made references to her and my dad having sex, and how she talked to her older sisters about it, and since I didn't have an older sister, I should come to her. That might have worked for someone else, but for her... just wasn't natural.
Posts: 27 | From: Suburbia | Registered: May 2007
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In terms of the kids' standpoint, I always wished my mom was more of a friend than a yelling and disciplining machine. It starts in the roots, and the ability to talk to with parents about sexuality comes from a deep-rooted trust and comfort with your parents. If this kind of relationship is built, then the kids can go to the parents and bring up the subject themselves, and feel comfortable doing so. The parents can't go, "sooo, you know sex?" and expect the conversation to be enlightening and the teens to open up in an awkward situation like that.
Posts: 56 | From: UK | Registered: Nov 2007
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As with anything, it depends on the relationship the parent and child already have. If that is lacking generally, and there is not a lot of communication or openness, then talking about sex is not suddenly going to be easy.
I would've liked my parents and I to have been able to discuss sex, but this is something which is just impossible really, because we don't have a great relationship (my dad, for example, can hardly talk about most 'emotion-related' things, so sex would be impossible for him to do anything but awkwardly joke about now and then).
Yes, you need the facts, you need to know what actually happens (let's face it, there are so many myths surrounding sex!) but you also need to know about relationships, about trust, about, above all, how you should feel comfortable with yourself, your own body, before any sort of sexual activity with other people.
It's too idealistic to just hope that parents can easily talk to their kids about sex: so many people themselves find it difficult to discuss sex, or to accept that yes, they want to masturbate; yes, it feels good; and yes, that's perfectly fine... As a society, we need to become more open about talking about sex, all round.
Like other people have suggested, I think a book is quite a good idea. I had one (passed down from my older sister!) with cartoon pictures of all different body shapes (I bet they feared using real pictures), which made me sort of get the idea: 'hmm, okay, actually we all are going to look kind of different, but there are similarities...' Plus, if it's in a sex ed. book, it's should be factual and might even also deal with the emotional side of things, it might hopefully beyond the idea, 'sex is to primarily to create babies'.
What do I feel would be good? To talk about more than merely penetrative sex; where is the info on oral, manual, or just masturbation? It's strange; almost like penetrative sex is most openly accepted, and the others sort of sidelined, or not mentioned (I found this when talking to my doctor too!). Very frustrating, because obviously they do exist, quite a lot of teenagers are going to be interested in them, and yes, we also need information and discussion about sex beyond penetrative sex.
Posts: 79 | From: England | Registered: Dec 2007
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I need some help on how to tell my mum that me and my boyfriend are in a sexual relationship. Thing is, we have talked about condoms and the pill before but when it comes down to me having to tell her, i find it really difficult and back out.
Me and my boyfriend are so close, and have been in a steady relationship for a year and 2 months now. Firstly my boyfriend's parents found out that we were in a sexual relationship. Then about 9 months later we were trusted to stay in the same house over night but different beds (still without my parents knowing that we were at it, but them allowing me to stay in the same house) As if it wasn't embarrasing enough that his parents then sussed out that we were sleeping in the same bed. They are fine with that as they belive we are both adult enough not to make mistakes, but they don't like that fact that my parents dont know and think we are sleeping in seperate beds.
I understand my boyfriend's parents thoughts on this, but it's just the temptation of being in the same house at night. I really need some help on how to tell her or ask her permission!! Please help, thanks!
-------------------- Abbi x Posts: 2 | From: UK | Registered: Jan 2008
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Talking to a parent about being in a sexual relationship can be difficult. Because you’ve said that you and your mom have talked about condoms and birth control … I am somewhat lead to wonder who brought up the conversation initially. If you brought it up your mother is probably not completely in the dark about the fact that you may have had sex or are at least thinking about the possibility of doing so. If your mom brought it up, and this was recently – perhaps she knows that at this point in your life you may be heading into such a relationship. The thing is, mom’s are not always as in the dark about these things as we may like to think.
Because talking about this can be a delicate subject, make sure that there’s enough time and that you can talk somewhere that you won’t be disturbed. This will set an air of privacy that should ease you some. You can start by simply approaching her and asking “Can we talk?” or “Do you have a minute?” Once you’re alone, let her know that you’d like to confide something in her, and that it’s something you feel is important that she know. The words in which you tell her should be your own, but by allowing her to know that you chose to confide in her can smooth the way for the conversation. –Hope this helps. S
-------------------- "Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon Posts: 3428 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Jan 2008
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From what I've read here so far, it seems I'm the first guy to comment on this topic. I suppose the stars must be in alignment this week, because my Mom just told me a few days ago that it was time we had a talk about sex. I came on here looking for advice on how to tell her I already understand about sex. Imagine my suprise when this is the first topic listed! First off, I must say that I empathize with OnceOnABlueMoon's boyfriend. I myself currently live in a religious household, and my father was an Air Force kid. Needless to say, family discussions about everyone's problems just don't happen. It took me a few months to figure out why I woke up with wet underwear in the morning (I was around 12). Unlike your BF, however, I knew enough about sex that I thought it best to not mention anything to my parents. I assumed that once I hit 13 or 14 my parents would pull me aside and explain how babies were made and all that. Imagine my suprise when that day didn't arrive. Since then, I've figured out the rest, with thanks going to sites like this one. With the help of places like Scarlet Teen and those dreadfully boring medical texts that parents seem to keep around incase of injury I've learned a lot about sex. Unfourtunatly, my little quest for sexual knowledge also led me to a four-year addiction to pornography and countless images and words that my mind will never let me forget. With the help of my best friend, a devout Christian, I have managed to get back on the path to pure thinking. My wish, however, is that I could have told my family of my struggles these past 5 years (I'm 17 now). I have considered what my mom's reaction would be to me admitting my addiction, but having heard her vehment opinion on the subject before, I know thats not a good idea. So for all those parents reading this, please tell your kids about sex before they are old enough to drive! I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't avoid the topic like my parents did, and I'm glad too see so many like-minded individuals here as well. I suppose that was a little long for my first post, but thank you to whoever takes time to read this.
I think that sex should be discussed matter of factly from an early age--and that kids should be given age-appropriate information. That said, I think that parents should try and deal with their own awkwardness about sex so that they can explain it in as relaxed a manner as possible.
I know one thing that was always scary for me was the way my mom would talk about sex. She really tried to explain things well, but I picked up on her discomfort and received the impression that sex was a bad and frightening thing. But I know she did the best that she could.
She also tried to give me a heads-up on periods, because she herself didn't know about them until she got hers. When I was young, we'd shower together. One time she told me she was having her period and that I probably didn't want to shower with her. I had no idea what that meant, so I said I still wanted to take a shower. I was absolutely shocked and terrified to see blood coming out of her. I think that experience really damaged our future communications about sex. From then on I dreaded getting my period. I feared it for years. I also was terrified of sex in general. I loved to read but I would stop reading books if they even mentioned sex. At one point I half-convinced myself that I my parents wouldn't love me once I got my period. When I finally got my period I cried and cried. However, my mom did give me the What's Happening to My Body Book, which was a good (and my only) source during those years.
For those reasons, I strongly emphasize age-appropriate communications on sex. I think it would also be good if parents had a game plan of how to discuss sex before the issue comes up. That way they won't accidently do impetuous things like let their pre-pubescent daughters see their periods.
I also saw something at the house of one of my bosses that I liked. In her bathroom she kept a basket of feminine products in full view. I think that this is an excellent way to introduce children to the idea of periods. If they ask what they are, they can get an answer, and keeping pads in the open makes them everyday and the whole issue unthreatening.
But most importantly, every family and every parent-child relationship is different. I think that each parent will have to play the whole sex-talk by ear. But I would suggest parents start early and that they take careful note of their tone of voice, body language, etc. to make sure that they aren't communicating negative messages about sex. Talking in a comfortable, conversational tone would be ideal. Kids will follow the lead of their parents. If the parentals feel awkward, so will the kids.
Posts: 83 | From: Northeast | Registered: Jul 2005
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Well my mom hasn't really brought up a big convorsation on sex yet, after I started getting my period it was like a "the pads are in the bottom drawer of the blue thing in the bathroom, if you start feeling bad tell me and I can get you something for it"
my friend on the other hand, her parents bring up the "drugs, sex and rock and roll" lecture like every other night.
I would rather have my parents come more slowly..like not sit me down on the couch or sit me in a dark room with a light shining on my face...maybe giving me like a book or something and then tell me if I have any more questions to ask her
i was home schooled so the first sex talk i had was sex ed after talking about the male body and the female body for what felt at the time ages my mom feed me and my sister cookies and pretty much said "okay guys the thing is sex isn't itsn't a huge life changing thing for most people. mostly you get stick and sweatly and will most likely need a shower afterwards. in other words its not a amazing thing it doesn't make the world more interesting its not something you should rush in to or some thing that will make people like you or boyfriends, girl friends, or what evers love you more. really in the end its not weird or ecky or some thing you should feel pushed in to or ashamed of..... and when you want birth control ask......... but i am going to make you buy your own condomes ect. cause if you don't have the resolve to make it out of the store then you really aren't ready to have sex." and at the time i was grossed out at the idea of sex but as i grew up i found out that most of my friends didn't know the first thing about sex at all. i also never really had a hard time talking to my mom when it can to sex it just never seemed like a huge deal... in the end i am really glad that my mom talked to me about sex, that she took the time to be honest with me to tell me how she felt about it. that she gave me the benefit of her experince. i have a friend who never talks to her family about sex at all in fact the first time she told her mom that she was bi her mother told her that it would pass. and now that she is thinking about having sex with her boyfriend she is not comtable talking to her mom about it she fears that she will just freak out about the every idea. i am very glad that i have always been comtable talk to my mother about sex that she has taken the time to talk to me about any questions i have had on the topic that we even joke about it some times. when i figured out that i was Bi i talked to my sister about it and my mother only to find out that they are both Bi as well. my close family is very gay/lez/bi friendly my brother and sister were told same as me to be who we are whatever that maybe even my dad told my this even though he was brought up homophobic and still sort of is.....
and i got the same talk about my period only at a younger age cause the woman in my family mature young so when i was 8 and got my first one i wasn't freaked out i knew what to do and never felt the need to tell my mom because it wasn't a big thing. i guess i am lucky like that
--------------- aaaaack! i live in fear that one day my cats will get tried of me and will finish me off in my sleep!
-------------------- happy is orange juice Posts: 9 | From: surrey bc | Registered: Apr 2007
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Well, before eighth grade (Im in ninth now), I could talk to my mom about ANYTHING, but at that time, I wasnt sexually active. Now though, I am, and I cant tell her, my stepfather, my biological dad, my boyfriends parents, anyone else in my family, or even my friends about any of it. THE ONLY PERSON WHO KNOWS IS MY BOYFRIEND, who is the only person Ive ever done anything sexual with, although he lost his virginity before we even started talking.
The reason I cant talk with my mom is that we cant talk about anything anymore. She either doesnt listen, she argues, or she starts screaming and/or grounds me for no reason. She's all ready threatening to make my boyfriend and I break up.. for just telling her I wouldnt tell her if we had sex!
My Stepfather would kill both my boyfriend and myself if he found out we had sex! That's just who he is, and we dont talk much anyway. He's married to my mother and Im forced to live with him, if I want to stay with my mother, end of story; we dont communicate.
My biological dad lives approxiamately 11 hours away, in a different state. I see him on holidays (Christmas, Spring Break, & Summer) and occassionally he will come down on a weekend and visit us. We've never really had a good relationship, plus he doesnt like the fact that Im dating. Talking to him would be like talking to a blank wall.. and then the wall would fall down and crush me!
My boyfriends parents are strict Catholics. Everything is religion based.. end of story. So, either one of us talking to them about sex is a definite negative.
I think adults these days forget about their own past and what it was like.. or maybe they dont and they just dont want us to do what they did. What they do forget is that we a sexual beings, too!
-------------------- Young and Dumb. "Life is a balance of holding on and letting go." - Keith Urban Posts: 243 | From: USA | Registered: Mar 2008
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Beyond the very basic "this is male genitalia and this is female genitalia, and when they go inside each other it's called sex," (which isn't even very accurate), my parents never really talked to me about sex. Even when I got on birth control when I was 16, I never got any kind of talk. Granted, my main reason at the time for getting on BC was to help make my periods easier to deal with, an my mother has been on BC since she was about 12 for the same reason (and she's always going on about how things having to do with periods is genetic, so she wasn't surprised that I had some of the same problems she had), but I was still expecting some kind of talk relating to sex at that point. But it never came. Even now that I'm 18 and moved out, I've only had one very brief "sex talk" with both my parents. Actually, it wasn't even a talk. It was just them letting me know that they knew I was sexually active. My dad found some used condoms in my trash when I was visiting home, I guess, and he just sort of blurted out one day "I know you and *insert my boyfriend's name* are having sex. Keep being safe, okay?" And one day with my mom, I mentioned that my boyfriend and I had talked about moving in together at some point in the future if our relationship keeps going as well as it has been, and she just kind of looked at me and said "Just make sure you keep picking up your prescription. But if an accident happens, I'll help you out." And that's the extent of any sex-related conversations I've had with my parents.
Honestly, I sort of wish that I just kind of grew up with sex being okay to talk about. Never with any kind of dramatic "talk," but just with it being a topic that's always open for discussion. I sort of wish that I'd had one of those relationships with my parents where I could talk to them about anything, but I just never did. I've just never talked to my parents about the more personal aspects of my life. It's not so much that I feel like I couldn't if I wanted to, because I probably could, but my parents have always just had this attitude of being almost ridiculously respectful of my privacy, and figured that if I was really in a bind and needed them, I'd come to them for help, but otherwise, they've just always let me handle my own sh*t. Which has its own benefits, and I don't think it was a bad thing and it made me very independent and very capable of handling situations without needing mummy and daddy, but I've also just always felt very awkward about anything sex/boyfriend related with my parents. I introduced my boyfriend to my parents just as my friend, and only admitted to him being my boyfriend when I was specifically asked if he was.
-------------------- "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." -Oscar Wilde Posts: 115 | From: San Francisco, CA | Registered: Nov 2007
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well i have always known about sex. pretty much since 2nd grade when i heard about male and female plugs, watching porn for 10 minutes or os at a friends house in 2-3rd grade before we knew what the hell it was. and then i have had sex ed every year since 5th grade.
and with my parents....i dont think i want a sex talk. my dad used to be a stressed out monster and my mom went do anything to appease him. and then one freshmen/8thgrade my dad took a year off work, my family (mom dad and sister) decided they were psychics, and went all new age religion...thingy. and about that time they decided sex was great, started sharing details about it i REALLY didnt want to know. and once they figured out i really didnt want to hear how great their sex was, it only comes up when my mom is drunk, wants attention, and a shock factor. or when they see a girl at the house then next time it is me and them at dinner there best to make it as akward, and poke fun of it as much as possible.
my sister who got there version of sex ed before going hippy was being told on a daily basis or whenever applicable "men are pigs" and they will do whatever it takes to get into your pants since probably grade3 for pigs then grade 5 for the pants part. and for the "real" talk my dad had her watch american pie.....but they told her from day one "when a man loves a women he gives her something, she puts in in her stomache and then 9 months later babies are made" but i never heard anything but what i posted for me.
Posts: 4 | From: US | Registered: May 2008
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Wow, my parents seem really open compared to most of the people's here.
Over the years we've chatted about most things, either in a 'this is what it is' type discussion, or in the car/living room if its come up in the news. The only time I've ever felt really uncomfortable was when we were in the car and my mother just out-of-the-blue asked me (at age 13!!!) whether I wanted to buy my own condoms or if she would buy them for me. Although I assured her I wasn't sexually active, and didn't plan to be for some time (I hadn't even kissed a boy at that time) she was adament I was prepared - which was good. I've always felt open with my parents about relationships, and have had friend-only guys stay over night, and boyfriends as well.
My boyfriends parents are even more open though - they outright ask him if he's having sex, and what he's doing for protection. Both of us feel that open relationships with our parents are needed, and although neither of us plan on telling them when we start having sex, if they asked us outright neither of us would lie.
I think that the type of relationship I've got with my parents in regards to talking through things like this has helped to make me the person I am today, and having such a good relationship with my mum is really cool.
-------------------- Chin up darling - knock yourself out! Posts: 26 | From: London, UK | Registered: May 2008
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My parents have never really had the "Sex" talk with me...Im 14. I got the sex talk in School in 5th grade.."Sex Ed" My dad will once in a while say "dont have Sex" but that is it..My mom hasnt said anything...but i can Talk to her about my period..and other things. But other then that...i have never really ben talked to by my parents about sex...
Posts: 5 | From: - | Registered: Jul 2008
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They don't say anything about sex, per se. but I was holding hands with my boyfriend and my mum was all, "and he was holding her hand!!!" to my dad. I'm sixteen, while I am under no illusion that I am a fully fledged adult, I deserve more than that!
Posts: 6 | From: England | Registered: Jul 2008
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I wish my parents would be more open. I have no desire for them to suddenly be ok with me having sex, that would be rather strange, and too out of the blue. I just wish sometimes that they knew I probably wasn't only kissing his cheek when i stay over at his house. His parents are so much better about it. The only reason they wouldnt be ok with it right now is that he (well, not now, since a few days ago) was only fifteen when we did that for the first time. So was I, but I'm a few months older than him. I wish my parents would have a discussion in the form of, if you are, i want you to be safe.
They openly state that if I get pregnant i <b> am </b> having an abortion and then being shipped off to a convent. I don't think they are kidding.
Posts: 6 | From: England | Registered: Jul 2008
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I never had anything resembeling a sex talk.
When I got my period, I was like, "Uh, Mom, will you wash my underwear? I think I got my period."
And all she was was, "You need a pad, they are in this box, you understand about all that right ok."
That's it. I learned everything from reading books, watching TV, and now Scarleteen.
I wish my Mom would have been a little more open about it. I'm an only child, so I can't talk to a sibling. My Dad is a drunk with a girlfriend under half his age who could give a crap about me. And my stepdad, that would just be awkward. My drugs and smoking talk was, "DON'T SMOKE AND DON'T DUE DRUGS! Now I'm going to the store." from my stepdad.
Posts: 27 | From: United States | Registered: Jun 2008
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The first thing is to remember that your parents have had sex, and likely still do, so they do get the fact that people like to do this. Sex is a pretty private thing, and not something that most of us want to discuss with our parents, but it is good that you don't want to be skulking around about this. If your parents aren't abstinence-only people who have asked you to take a virginity pledge, they will not kick you out because you are thinking about sexual activity.
[Edited: your link was removed. We do not allow commercial solicitations here, and I'd hope you can also appreciate that suggesting out teen and young adult readership spend $37 so you can "let you in on everything you need to know on how to find, approach, attract and date the RIGHT man... and make him fall in love with YOU!" is seriously inappropriate, as was much of the content included in that solicitation, particularly at a site which provides inclusive as well as feminist sex education. - HC]
I don't think there is one universal way that is perfect. Sex has always been taboo with me and my parents and we never really discussed it. When I was 16 my father found a used condom in my room and just told me to be careful and that I didn't need any little kids running around.
He never told my mother as she would be devastated and he's never mentioned it again.
This worked out fantastically because I honestly learned everything about sex ahead of when I would have felt comfortable talking about it to any parental figure. He's a very fold fashioned parent and for him to allow me to have sex as long as I was careful about it was huge. Honestly, there's no real way a parent is going to stop their offspring from having sex once they've decided that they're ready for it.
At the same time though, my sister Amy is a mother of three and has made sure that all of her children are very well informed on sexuality. They learn everything through her, and it's obvious that they are going to make healthy decisions growing up.
With the way information travels faster nowadays I think it's impossible to shield children forever. People grow up much faster than they used to(sadly) and parents just have to adjust themselves to fit that.
-------------------- "There are 10 kinds of people - those who understand binary and those who don't." Posts: 10 | From: Maryland | Registered: Sep 2008
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lolz. i don't think i need the basic penis-in-vagina talk....(i'm 14) i don't want one either. my step-dad is paranoid about sex, but my mom is cool. she knows that I probaly know about sex (and hints that I probaly know more than she does),and heck, she even makes dirty jokes. when she had my sister two years ago, i was "scoldong" her on how the heck did she get a baby??and i know she used condoms(but she doesn't know i knowx3)... hell she once jokingly offered to buy me a vibrater...(i don't know why? but i sort of want one.....><)XD
-------------------- what is reality? it can be a dream, right? Posts: 13 | From: bed | Registered: Oct 2008
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My mother was always fairly open with me. When I was younger her attitude tended to be, "If she asks answer her honestly, otherwise don't force information on her." Anyway, since I was a very curious child, I knew the all the basics about sex at a fairly young age, though I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I had never asked... Once we started sex ed in school my told me "If you ever have any questions or concerns or if they explain anything properly feel free to come talk to me."
As for periods, at some point she came in to my room and said, "When you get your period do want to use pads or tampons and would you like me to get any of these things for you?" I said "No, I'm pretty sure I can manage on my own" and then she was like "Okay. If you ever need anything let me know." While it is true that she didn't tell me about other options at the time, she did tell me about things such the "cup" etc. at other times.
I've always been fairly comfortable talking to her and we'll joke about stuff together, like the time someone brought home these extremely phallic pears. That said I don't really discuss my sexuality with my parents, not because I don't think I could; It's just something I'd rather keep private.However if something ever did go wrong, I sure I could talk to my mom about it.I think that the main reason that I feel comfortable with her is that she is clearly very comfortable with her own sexuality.
My dad on the other hand is a whole other story. In fact I don't think he's ever mentioned sex to me. But honestly, I'm perfectly fine with this, since I think I would be just about as mortified as he would. Studying the reproduction unit for my grade nine science exam with him was awkward enough.
One of the things that I am most grateful to my parents for doing was never sitting me down and having the big "Now I'm going to tell you everything I'd like to pretend you don't already know about sex." chat. I don't think these talks are at all productive since both parties are so embarrassed about the whole thing that they simply try to suppress the memory as soon as possible.
Finally, although having an open relationship with one's parents is great, I feel that things such as bringing "personal life experience" into the picture just makes thing really awkward. I'm not naïve, I know that my parents have sex. That's fine, good for them, I'm glad they have a positive relationship.I just don't need and/or want to hear about it.
My parents are older (mom is 54, dad is 73, I'm 19)..my dad is European (in the stuffy, old-fashioned way, not the porn-mags-sold-at-newsstands way), and my mom almost became a nun. So even though we're all really close and they've always been really cool about 99% of things (profanity, religious questions, independence issues), sex has always been The Thing that we can't talk about. I discovered the Internet at a young age, and it taught me everything I know, especially about sex. It was a great resource, because I eventually learned that I have some pretty interesting fetishes, and I never would have articulated that had I not seen it on the Internet, haha. Maybe other people think that's weird/tragic, but I think it's awesome.
Anyway, thankfully my parents realized they did have to educate me about sex to some degree, but their method was interesting...on one of our usual outings to the local museum, there was a Miracle of Life exhibit going, and they basically plopped me down in front of a video that was playing and said "Watch this." I remember being totally stoked at how much sex made sense--THAT was why guys had a pokey thing and girls had a holey thing. My little engineering mind loved it (Dad had already taught me to call plugs/jacks "male" or "female" based on their pokey/holey identity, and I was like...oh, it's just like hooking up a TV).
But I really have no memory of my parents actually talking to me about anything, except Mom's pregnancy with me (every parent loves talking about that, I think). I think there were fights in my school district about sex ed, so I think when we had it in 6th grade, they talked a little about STDs, and when we had it in 8th, it was abstinence only (which was sooo lame. The teacher started out by saying: "This is sex ed. But we're not going to talk about condoms, we're not going to talk about orgasms, we're not going to talk about STDs, and we're not going to talk about pregnancy. So DON'T ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THEM." and we just spent the whole time talking about sexuality in the media or some crap like that). In 10th, we had to take a health class which finally taught all about STDs, pregnancy, and condoms, but by then, of course, the Internet had given me a complete education on the subject.
There were a couple times when my parents found out I'd been messing with a boy (just making out or whatever), and I'd get in SO MUCH TROUBLE...they'd always say it wasn't because of what I was doing, but because I'd told other people about it and my reputation was at stake...but I'm pretty sure they were just uncomfortable with what I was doing. In one of these conversations, I remember my dad sitting looking dumbstruck and pale, saying "I know it's natural, I just...I like to think of you as a little perfect geisha."
Mom has generally been more open to that kind of stuff than Dad, and I tend to underestimate her tolerance. Now that I've been in a relationship for 3.5 years and I'm 19, I think my parents are pretty ok with the idea of me having sex, even though Dad will never be 100% ok with it. Mom has said "I don't care what you do, but you should tell me once you start having sex," and I don't really know how to tell her, lol...I'm not sure whether it's my responsibility to bring it up or if I can just wait for her to ask. And since I'm close to my parents and have always told them everything, I'm really bad at determining whether something is their business or not, so maybe I'm not really obliged to tell them either way. But as of now, I think I'm just waiting for her to ask, and if she does, I'll say "yes" but if she presses for details (which she will), I think I'm going to say those are private and I'm not comfortable sharing. She knows I'm on birth control, and that I'm much more sex-savvy than she is (thanks, again, to the Internet!), so there isn't a lot of worry there.
Anyway, long post, but I've been thinking a lot about this lately and I've got it on the brain.
Posts: 96 | From: West Coast USA | Registered: May 2008
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My mother gave me a book that covered puberty, sex, and birth control. She told me to ask any questions she might have. She's only sporadically brought anything up, but when something else has urged the topic. Otherwise I have looked for information on my own or watched Discovery Channel specials on the very scientific aspects of sex. I prefer it this way. I think it has worked marvellously.
However, my mother is also very liberal about sex, so I've spent my childhood seeing art, both ancient and modern, that is sexually themed and oftentimes explicit, so while she didn't talk to me about sex directly she made it clear that it was an okay, natural thing. It wasn't hidden or an untouchable topic at all.
Posts: 19 | From: Philadelphia, PA | Registered: Nov 2008
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With my parents a big problem is that they're simply not that educated about sexuality...which continually surprises me. They're liberal and educated, and they have kind of tantra-ish/recovery sexuality books around the house, but in areas that were relevant to their teenage daughter they didn't seem to know jack.
Like a few weeks ago, I said something to my mom about being surprised that an adult we both know didn't know that abstinence only education doesn't decrease the rate of sexual activity among teenagers, and my mom was like, "Oh, I didn't know that."
My parents never talked to me about sex (except in inappropriate ways--they're both psychotherapists and they'd reference things about their clients or how their own parents had given them terrible sex educations etc.). They gave me sexuality books at various stages but never displayed any interest in talking to me about sexuality.
Because I came out when I was 12 and have always been interested in sexuality, my parents basically decided early on that I was a sexpert and since I didn't have to worry about pregnancy they had nothing to offer....which was not helpful.
I wish they'd educated themselves more about issues that faced their queer daughter. I don't think that would have been much of a stretch for them. I think that they and our relationship would have grown. I just think they were uncomfortable and didn't know what resources were available.
If my parents had acknowledged they were uncomfortable talking about sex that would have helped. Instead we had this weird relationship where there was kind of an illusion that it was comfortable to talk about sex, and yet we never did. In high school they knew I was having sex with girls but it was never discussed.
A picture just came to me of my mother giving me dental dams or talking to me about them. Had she, I would have felt so supported, like she was taking my identity seriously and supporting me. I wasn't a sexpert and their seeing me that way was destructive--I then didn't feel like I could ask questions.
My parents never told me anything about sex or puberty. I think my mom assumed that my school's sex ed would teach me everything I needed to know.
I wish she would have taken a more liberal approach; she wouldn't even answer my questions. One time, when I was probably around 6, I asked her what the 'real' name for boobs was. I knew there was another name for them, I just didn't know what it was. And she wouldn't answer me, she just kept saying, 'YOU know what they're called. Stop asking.'
I also used to ask what the pads in the cupboard were for, and she replied that some day, she'd get me a book about it. That reply just really confused me, haha.
I finally found out about sex when I was over at my best friend's house, and she showed me a book about it. I was probably 10 at the time.
So when I got to grade four, the first year of sex ed in school, I knew only what I knew from my friend's book (which I had only looked at for 5 minutes, max). I felt like the only girl in the room who didn't know what a period was.
I wish that she would have at least answered my questions, because now I feel like I can't ask her about anything. If I ever want birth control pills, I feel like I would have to hide it. I don't feel like I could tell her if I had to go to the gynecologist for whatever reason. I think it's very important that kids and teens feel comfortable talking to their parents about this stuff, because hiding problems with your health just because it's something 'down there' is actually dangerous.
I am 18 now, and my mom still hasn't given me any kind of sex talk.
Posts: 23 | From: San Diego | Registered: Sep 2008
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