And no, it isn’t about porn spam! I’m trying to talk about this without embarrassing shadowkatt.
I had something of a meltdown recently upon realizing that:
1) shadowkatt’s beau is local now
2) He has a driver’s license.
I had, in all honesty, been avoiding any real thoughts about, “She’s 13. I was in 9th grade and learning all about band camp and so on at that age. She’s WAY more beautiful than I have ever been or ever hope to be. OHMYGOD!”
Okay—in all fairness, the girl has a damned good head on her shoulders. We have a pretty good relationship (at least I think so), and I know our communication is far better than what I had with my parents. I’ve been talking to her about sex just like any other topic throughout her life, giving her as much information as she wanted at different stages and trying to share what I’ve learned (within the bounds of good taste) in hopes that she can avoid first-hand experience with some of the harder lessons.
The sum total of the sex ed I got from my parents was:
Mom: I asked what “fuck” meant when I was 7, after having heard it on a school bus. I got a major spanking and my mouth was washed out with soap. I STILL wanted to know what it meant. Mother said, “It’s when a man hurts a girl’s bottom.”
Dad: In high school, I had to find rides to band practice, as it happened several nights a week during marching season and we lived 16 miles from the school. There were two other band members in our neighborhood who had their driver’s licenses and were willing to carpool in exchange for gas money. I had absolutely no control over whether band practice ran late (as frequently happened), or whether the driver wanted to hang out afterward rather than heading straight home. If I arrived more than 5 minutes after Daddy thought I should be home, and Daddy had been drinking, I got knocked around while Daddy yelled at me about what a whore I was. I once tried saying, “We were just 5 minutes late!” and he said, “It only TAKES 5 minutes!”
Was I going to talk to my parents about sex? HELL NO! Much less let them know when I did become sexually active. Nope!
Otherwise, they just made it clear that sex was bad and not to be thought about, much less engaged in. Ever. Period. After that first incident, I’d headed to the library and read everything I could get my hands on, which made me one of the best-educated 7‑year-olds on earth as far as sex went. I continued to keep an eye on the topic as I got older. (Note: This was before the advent of the stupid “parental permission only” shelves in the library for books on such “controversial subjects.”
I tried to tell my parents about the sexual abuse—I CLEARLY remember trying to talk to my mother about the second abuser when I was 7 (before the research period). I didn’t have the right words (all things covered by panties were just referred to as “down there”), and she steadfastly didn’t hear me.
I’ve always been sure that a lack of vocabulary and other good information makes children more vulnerable to abuse.
As a result, I’ve really tried to be sure my daughter has access to good information and feels free to talk to me and other trusted adults about sex or anything else. I’d rather know than not know. As hard as it is, it is her body and she has a right to make decisions about her sexuality. I just want her to make informed, conscious, responsible choices. I want her to be safe. If that means taking her to the doctor and getting an implant or BC pills or whatever, we’ll do so. Sam and I agreed long ago that as a general household policy we’ll have barrier contraceptives available discreetly, no questions asked.
So why am I posting about this? I’m getting to it. Really.
This was in one of today’s newsletters:
Emergency Contraception at Home OK for Teens
Emergency Contraceptives Don’t Increase Unprotected Sex Among Teens
Interesting. I hadn’t thought about having emergency contraceptives available at home, but it seems a damned good idea for anyone who is sexually active and isn’t trying to conceive.
And that triggered a search on WebMD about teen sexuality.
What Should I Tell my Kids?
First of all, focus on the facts. Consider using the following list of topics as an outline:
* Explanation of anatomy and reproduction in males and females
* Sexual intercourse and pregnancy
* Fertility and birth control
* Other forms of sexual behavior, including oral sex, masturbation, and petting
* Sexual orientation, including heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality
* The physical and emotional aspects of sex, including the differences between males and females
* Self-image and peer pressure
* Sexually transmitted diseases
* Rape and date rape, including how being intoxicated (drunk or high), or accepting rides/going to private places with strangers or acquaintances puts you at risk
* How choice of clothing and the way you present yourself sends messages to others about your interest in sexual behavior
Teen Sexual Rights
When talking with your teen, consider the following teen sexual rights, which were developed by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS):
* The right to accurate information about sexuality and HIV/AIDS
* The right to stop being physical or sexual with a partner at any point
* The right to say no to an unwanted touch of any kind
* The right to make decisions about sexuality, in your own time
* The right to express your sexuality safely, without risk of pregnancy, or STDs including HIV/AIDS
* The right not to be pressured into being physical or sexual
* The right not to express your sexuality unless you want to
Heteroflexible — or Fauxmosexual?
Parents and teens alike are exploring sexual identity issues
Talking to Your Kids About Sex
I spent some time browsing at Scarleteen today. It’s been a while since I visited. They rock!
1. Be your own your first partner, before anyone else.
2. Learn to talk openly about sex.
3. Be honest. For real.
4. Ditch the drama.
5. Use your best judgment.
6. Respect your body and yourself.
7. Honor your feelings, even when it sucks.
8. Be your whole self, not just your sexual self.
9. Further your sexual education.
10. Enjoy yourself and your sexuality.
Good reads for all ages:
Safer Sex…For Your Heart
A few links for teens:
It’s Your Sex Life sponsored by MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation
I Wanna Know is sponsored by the American Social Health Association
For parents: TeenWire, from Planned Parenthood, is “meant to help parents initiate the sex talk in creative ways. For instance, parents can find common ground by first learning the language teens are currently using to talk about sex.”
And some books I intend to investigate:
A Family Book About Sexuality by M.S. Calderone
I wasn’t going to post about this, but then I decided that some of the material might be of use to others.