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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Do I tell my parents?

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Author Topic: Do I tell my parents?
teenagegirlwithquestions
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I am 16 years old and my boyfriend is 18. We are both very mature for our age and have been working very hard to make our relationship the best it possibly can be for the past 2 years. Although we have been together a very long time and have done a lot sexually, we haven't been able to actually "go all the way". Not because we don't want to (trust me, we both really really want to) but because of money and trying to be responsible and what not like that.

But actually there is one thing that kind of bothers me about the situation. I have always grown up extreeeeemely close to my mother. I have always told her everything and the times that I didn't and she found out, she was very hurt and I felt very very bad. Recently, I have also gotten really close to my dad and we are developing a more adult relationship because I am going to college next year and he is trying to respect me as a woman. But my boyfriend doesn't have that relationship with his parents. His relationship is a lot more superficial and they put all their children on a very strict high pedestal. One mistake from their kids and they really never let it go.

My parents have always been pretty liberal about sex and life in general (infact my father actually coached my brother-in-law how to please a woman in bed when my sister was in college and complained to him about it) and they have been very open with me about it from a very young age. My boyfriends parents are more on the side of ignore-it and condemn-it. They have many ridiculous rules at their house about what is and isn't appropriate for us to do (he is not allowed to wear pajama pants when I come over...).

All this goes to say that basically I really want to be open with my parents and share this amazing milestone in my relationship and in my life with them. I feel like it will make me closer to them and them respect my boyfriend more because of his honesty and that he's not sneaking around and thinking what we are doing is shameful. But my boyfriend doesn't want to tell anyone because he feels like there is a chance my parents will tell his parents or something and it will cause an awful situation in his household. While he doesn't want to stop me and has told me to do it if it makes me feel more comfortable, I see his point and don't want to cause a rift between his family and myself either because I do plan on marrying him one day.

How do I stay honest and free with my own parents and keep the peace for my boyfriend? What should we do? What should I do? Sorry this is so long but please help, this question has been in my head for 2 years now!!!

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-The girl with the questions

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Robin Lee
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Hi teenagegirlwithquestions and welcome to Scarleteen,

So, if I'm understanding this correctly:

You really want to be able to share with your parents that you and your boyfriend have a sexual relationship.

Is there something specific you want to be able to tell them about this?

Your boyfriend is worried that your parents will tell his parents.

have your parents been in the habit of sharing things with his parents in the past? What do you think would happen if you asked your parents to keep this private between you and them?

It sounds like the lines of communication between you and your parents about sex and sexuality are pretty open. Have you had general discussions with them recently about these things? If so, what were they like?

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Robin

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teenagegirlwithquestions
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There is nothing really specific I want to tell them about our sex life other than just kind of letting them know that we have one. I would appreciate it being an open conversation just to not be keeping secrets, to get advice, to gain their respect, and to open up my relationship with them.

My parents don't ever really share things like this with anyone, his fear is not really so much related to my specific parents as much of his general distrust of people and the fact that he doesn't have much of a relationship with my parents yet. My father didn't like that I was so serious with my boyfriend for about a year and a half of our relationship but with the growth of my relationship with him and my maturity growing, he has become more open to actually involving himself with my boyfriend.

We have had many conversations about sex and they are pretty open about it. I state on a regular basis that it's my decision when I decide to do it and whether I tell them, and while they don't necessarily like that, they agree. But all of our conversations have been hypothetical. Like they know I want to have sex with my boyfriend eventually... but they don't know that eventually means soon, they think its more like when I go to college.

Plus, both my parents had bad experiences with sex when they were my age and they also have a lot of preconceived notions about it which they are actively trying to change but are not fully successful. My mom was raped by her boyfriend at 14 and when her mom found out she told my mom she had to marry the boy because she gave up her virginity. My dad was in a relationship like mine and they thought they were destined to be together forever but had two children at 19 and 20 and my dad had to drop out of college and take care of them, then the relationship turned for the worst and it took them about 15 years to even be cordial to each other again. Both of them associate young sex and love and what not with bad things happening on a subconscious level and are trying to get past that but it is hard for them.

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-The girl with the questions

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Robin Lee
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Hi There,

First off, I want to address something you've said here.

You've been referring to wanting to have sex with your boyfriend. If I understand correctly, you've done various sexual activities with him. If this is the case, you're already having sex with your boyfriend. All sexual activities are sex, not just intercourse.


To get an idea of what I mean, you can take a look at this article.

What's Sex?

What has your boyfriend said to you as far as telling your parents? That is, has he asked you not to tell them, just expressed his discomfort with you telling them, or something else?

What do you think would change if you talked to your parents about the fact that you are sexually involved with your boyfriend? How do you think they'd react? it sounds like you're expecting it to be a positive conversation where they gain more respect for you. What if their reaction is negative instead?

I'm not sure about this, but I'm wondering if your boyfriend feels like your sex life is private between the two of you. Do you think he might be thinking that and feeling uncomfortable with having it discussed with other people?

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Robin

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teenagegirlwithquestions
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Hi [Smile]
So, I have heard a lot of people say that what we do in some part is sex but basically it's kind of complicated but I guess because we feel like its not full connection, we don't consider it the kind of sex we want.

As far as my boyfriend is concerned basically I came to him about it to discuss it, he said that he is uncomfortable with it but he can see the benefits of it. At this point we are waiting because I do want the conversation to happen together, like with both of us coming to my parents and all four of us talking about it. I think they probably will react kind of negatively at first but I since we are trying to gain a more trustworthy relationship so hopefully they will digest it and be rational about it.

And last, yeah, you have a point. My boyfriend is very private and it is possible that is why he doesn't want to discuss it. But I feel like if that's the only case, I don't want to actually tell them about the details or anything, I just want to let them know it is happening and ask for advice health wise and like emotional wise from them.

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-The girl with the questions

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Robin Lee
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Hi There,

The reason I mentioned that all sexual activities are sex is that there are emotional and health considerations with many different sexual activities, not just intercourse.

I'm also wondering what your expectations of intercourse are. What do you think it will give you that you don't already have with what you and your boyfriend do together?


In terms of how your parents will react, there is something else to consider. Because your boyfriend is 18, and you are 16, you may not legally be able to consent to sex with him, depending on the laws where you live. If your parents are unhappy about what they learn from you, they could make this an issue.

What sorts of health and emotion information are you looking to get from your parents?

It sounds like you're really uncomfortable with the idea of having secrets from your parents, or even with having things that you are involved in that they don't know about. Am I hearing that correctly?

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Robin

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teenagegirlwithquestions
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Okay, I think I need to be a bit more specific. The health and emotional issues I want to talk with my boyfriend and parents about aren't your typical STI or STD discussions. My mother and my grandmother had a very difficult time in pregnancy due to birth control and stuff I don't fully know about and I would like to hear about those things from them. Also, my mom is allergic to latex and I know latex condoms are the most common so I have a strong possibility to be allergic too. Those are the things I want to talk about, to see if my mom has the allergy to condoms or just other latex products. To see how it affects her. For my boyfriend to hear about the risks in the future. Those kind of things.

The question you asked about my expectations of intercourse is really interesting... I guess it's kind of like, I think that having that type of sex is kind of the ultimate intimate thing you can do and I really just want there to be nothing between us that we don't do or have.

Also, the state I live in it is legal for my boyfriend and I to be together, we have looked very extensively into that. There is no way that would become an issue.

And finally, no I am not really uncomfortable of having secrets from my parents. I have a lot of things they don't know about that I really just feel like is none of their business. It's more like I've had a lot of secrets in the past and it really hurt them when they did find out, so I know how that turns out. Plus I am trying to really get a open relationship with them and it just feels like that is the ultimate thing to trust them with. Plus they have voiced so many times that they really want me to tell them.

I hope this is a bit more descriptive for you to understand! Lol sorry I'm so vague!

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-The girl with the questions

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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Hi there,

I had some thoughts about what you've asked here and some things come to mind.

Firstly, I think it's worth questioning this idea that penis in vagina intercourse is the most intimate thing ever. It really is simply a kinda mechanical thing that poses some potential health risks but can feel good. Intimacy and the emotions surrounding sex are, however, things you and your partner bring to the act. Not part of the act itself. As a result some of the most intimate events I've experienced have been long distance phone calls and some of the least intimate have been sexual... there are a whole number more factors at play.

Secondly, you have said that this is your decision, and said so to your parents. So I guess what you're talking about here is helping your parents feel more comfortable with a decision you're making.

My first thought is that the event you imagine with the four of you sitting together could be a bit confrontational... I can imagine that everyone would feel under pressure to react to eachother's feelings as well as their own feelings without much chance of preparation. They may even resent being put on the spot... So I might suggest that it'd be a good idea, if you're parents have asked to be told about when you start having (what they call) sex, to ask them how exactly they would prefer to be told... that way you can see if that's something you can do. It may be that they'd prefer you to talk about it individually, or without your boyfriend.

I really hope your parents will be supportive, but the possibility exists that their reaction will be worse than you expect. So minimizing the magnitude of that risk by trying to communicate this the way that suits them the best sounds like a good idea to me.

The final thing is that your boyfriend said he wouldn't feel comfortable with this. I feel that with that information, the decision is up to you and a question of priorities it may be a reason in itself to delay things, or you may ask him to face some discomfort for the benefit of the conversation you want to have with your parents.

I am hearing that you feel ready and mature and supported, but what has often helped me and might help you too is understanding that at times we're all novices. Situations arise that we never expected and we have to reinvent the wheel or go back to the drawing board.

With all of this, the expectations of sex and the support of your parents... taking a pinch of salt with your hopes could really aid you in avoiding some potential disappointments and perhaps may even help move things forward as well as you're hoping they will.

[ 08-21-2013, 11:19 AM: Message edited by: Jacob at Scarleteen ]

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teenagegirlwithquestions
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So I've been thinking a lot about your reply and I don't really know what it is about that kind of sex that makes me feel like it will bring us so much closer. I don't know if it's just societal norms or what. I plan to talk further about it with my boyfriend when I get a chance.

Secondly about my parents, I took this advice in mind and told my mom that I wanted to talk with them about it and she has told me to just wait a while and let her bring it to my father first.

Finally, I think my boyfriend has finally opened up to the idea of talking to my parents and we will probably end up doing that eventually.

Thank you so much for your help!

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-The girl with the questions

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Robin Lee
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You're very welcome.

If there's anything else you'd like to talk through here as you figure this out, either now or in the future, know that we're always here.

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Robin

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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I'm so glad my advice was helpful! I hope things go well!
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