(Written by guest blogger JustAnotherTeen.)
My father is a minister and has been since he was 17. I will not name the denomination but it is obviously a Christian one and saying my parents are conservative is like saying the galaxy is big. Therefore, you can probably guess about the extent of sex ed I got from my parents: not much. My family could never openly talk about sex. Ever.
My older brothers are 5 and 7 years older than me so they were almost out of the house before I was a teen, but I did realize they had sex before marriage, in fact my oldest brother has three children from two different mothers, but that is a side story. My parents decided it would be a good idea to use the “True Love Waits” program with my brothers. I am not sure if anyone else remembers it or is familiar with it, but basically it is a card that teens sign that is basically a “contract between them and God.” They then took my brothers out to a really expensive dinner when they turned 16 and gave them a TLW ring. This was their visual sign that they were set apart, blah blah, blah. Well, as I have already told you, they both broke these vows within two years.
As for my personal experiences with talking about sex and my parents, they were fairly non-existent. Their idea of a puberty talk was giving me a book. I was to young at that point to care so I chunked it in my closet. A year or two later I found it and read it all in one night because I was intensely curious about those matters finally. I had started masturbating but thought I was the only one on the planet who did such a thing. The book said nothing about it and I did not even know the term for it until I stumbled across a website called jackinworld.com. It let me know that what I was doing was perfectly normal and gave me tips to help along with a plethora of other articles. Unfortunately my parents found out I had been surfing on this website and put very strict parental filters on the computer. They had a talk with me about masturbation and said it was OK but they didn’t agree with a lot of stuff on that website. They didn’t offer to get me tissues or lotion or anything of the sort, they just said it was OK as long as my “mind was clean while doing it.”
After this incident, it was awhile before the subject of sex came up again. I was a bit of a late bloomer as I have previously discussed and did not get my first girlfriend until I was 17. Since I lived at school and with my brother a good bit of the year, and because I didn’t want to be lectured about the virtues of waiting for marriage, I neglected to tell my parents I had a girlfriend for 7 months. They still do not realize how serious we are and that we have been having sex for over a year and a half now. I find it sad that I cannot openly talk to my parents about things of this sort. If I did, there would be lots of crying and screaming involved. I already do not live with them so they cannot kick me out, but I imagine they may try if I was.
Please try to have a more open and accepting relationship with your children. Regardless of whether or not you agree with their decisions, they are not yours to make and your teenager will generally listen more if you don’t shove your morals down their throat.
P.S. I have only gotten one question for my post on Friday. I would really like to respond to more than one question with an entire post! If you have anything to ask about teen sexuality e-mail me at email@example.com.
My parents aren’t even conservative, but I can’t imagine that I could have had sex as a teenager without getting kicked out of the house. Actually, I can’t imagine having sex as a teenager AT ALL.
I’m glad you posted this. It was a good post.
My parents are conservative-ish and my mom made a big point about teaching me the facts of life. My experience has been that secular parents do as crappy a job of addressing human sexuality with their kids as conservatives do. Where I think both groups fall off (other than simply saying nothing to their kids) is in treating sexuality is something completely divorced from the rest of existence. With that in mind, I recently started a blog aimed at helping parents teach their kids about reproduction, puberty, etc. within a general context of character formation. I’m writing for religious parents but I hope it’s decent advice for secular parents too!
i think thats really sad that your parents were that way and had that sort of view while you were growing up. And i think that is a prime example of why things are the way things are in America with teen pregnancies, this huge STD epidemic, and all these things going on sexually in our community. I feel that if parents would step up and be more open and give allow us to have more knowledge about every and anything sexual, reproductive and hormonal i think things would be a lot better. When i was a teenager and growing up i was not very cautious as i should have been, while i thankfully didn’t act on many of the things i could have due to pure shyness; i think my ignorance on the topic would have got me in some trouble. Now as an adult i love learning everything i can about my sexual health and am more cautious and aware of the risks both good and bad about having sexual relations with people.
So i very well agree, and hope hope hope, that religion is taken out of things like this and set aside for the safety of the children growing up.
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