I never talked much with my friends about sex (Catholic high school). And I didn't talk with my sisters about it either. They are both younger than me, and both began dating at a much younger age than I did; asking them for advice about sex, or inquiring about their own sexual experiences, felt awkward, even prurient, and was more than this shy, introverted geek could ever bring herself to do.
And I certainly didn't talk with my parents about sex. I didn't tell them anything about my sexual experiences with my first boyfriend (during freshman year in college), or about the first boyfriend with whom I engaged in sexual acts that required the use of birth control, not at the time nor in the years since. I wonder, now, though, how much they knew, or picked up from my behavior at the time? Or were they not at all interested in knowing?
|Not something parents are likely to hear from their teens...|
Given my own teenage reticence on the topic, I've been thinking a lot (and reading a lot) about how best, and how much, to talk with my daughter about her own sexual explorations. Would I have appreciated it if my parents had tried to talk with me more about sex in the abstract/general? About my relationships and experiences in particular? Or would I have simply melted into the floor in a puddle of agonized adolescent embarrassment? (Both, most likely).
Given that in our culture, sex is most often regarded as a private act, is it an invasion of teens' privacy to try and talk with them about it? How can a parent balance these rights to privacy with the need to ensure that their teens are taking proper care to protect themselves and their partners against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases? (Just came across this fascinating book—Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex—which compares the ways parents in the United States and in the Netherlands treat teen sexuality; am looking forward to reading it!)
Did you talk with/tell your parents when you became sexually active? If not, did they know (or inadvertently find out) anyways? Did they engage you in conversation about it?
And are there any good romance novels out there that feature heroes and/or heroines who not only have to negotiate a new romantic and sexual relationship of their own, but who are also faced with the transformation of their own children from asexual to sexual beings? (The only one that's coming to mind is Pamela Morsi's The Lovesick Cure, which I reviewed here back in November of 2012, although it spends more time talking about why the teens shouldn't have sex than talking about it after they already have...).
First time sex: Kathleen Hassen