This week, we started examining some issues that we wish that our parents had told us about sex. On Wednesday, Kevin shared how he wished that his parents had told him about how awesome sex is and how great it is to share that type of intimacy with some you’ve promised to spend the rest of your life with.
For today’s blog, I thought I would share a bit from a conversation I had with one of the teenage girls that I work with when I asked her what she would wished her parents had told her about sex.
CCL: So, what do you wish your parents had told you about sex?
Katy (17)*: As weird as it might sound, I wish my parents had spent a little more time scaring me about the bad side of sex—the crappy and messy side effects of sex.
CCL: What side effects are you referring to specifically?
Katy: Well, for me, the main issues I’ve been dealing with are STDs. My parents talked to me about sex—about the mechanisms of it—and they told me to wait until I was really in love with someone—ideally to wait until I got married. But we only really talked about it that one time, and after that, I wasn’t really sure about why I should wait until marriage, except that church and my parents had told me to once. When I got into a pretty serious relationship with one of the guys in my class, I felt as though I was in love, and I think I really was. I could definitely picture a future with him. It just seemed natural to move to the next step and have sex since we had dated for several months. I did feel a little guilty, and even confused, but I loved him, so I told myself it was right. Shortly after, we broke up, and I ended up dating one of his friends. Things moved much more quickly this time, even though I wasn’t in love. We had sex, and then broke up a few months later. At some point later, I started having pain when I went to the bathroom and some other issues. I was embarrassed and unsure of what was going on, but when I looked it up online, I realized I might have gotten an STD from one of the guys. Later, my doctor told me I had an irregular pap smear and then later told me I had Chlamydia. I still don’t know what that means for me in the future, but I just thought that since I had only had sex with two guys, and I used condoms with both, that I would be safe. What I know now, is that even when you use a condom, you aren’t always safe.
Additionally, I think that my parents and church downplayed why I should wait until marriage. They just made it feel old-fashioned. I think, now, I wish I would have given that more thought or heard more about what it really means to wait for the right person, or even the person you are most in love with before having sex, because now I feel a bit dirty and as though I am carrying something messy into the next relationship. I think I might have paused more if I would have realized how easy it is to get an STD. So I think I wish my parents had told me something about the bad side and how it might feel to deal with that.
Parents: I hope that Katy’s story helps to show you that a “just say no” approach isn’t enough. We need to paint a compelling picture for why it’s important, and wonderful, to wait until marriage to have sex. I don’t advocate a fear-based approach (all STDs and no other substance), but I do think we need to have reality-based approach. For more helpful information on having an ongoing dialogue with your son or daughter, check our resource, The Talk.
*Name has been changed.