Hello! And welcome to Part 3 in a 3-part series on:
What I Think About Parents and Sex Education!
On Tuesday I introduced the series, and today I’m talking about my third point:
Sex is not all bad. Even for teenagers. In order to maintain credibility, parents have to acknowledge that fact.
This is a scary point for lots of parents. But the fact is that all adolescent sex does not end with rape, pregnancy, and AIDS.
Being sexually active does not increase the likelihood that a teenager is going to be raped.
Most sexually active teenager girls do not get pregnant. Most sexually active teenage boys do not get someone pregnant.
Lots and lots of teenagers are sexually active without ever getting or giving an STI. (There’s no good information out there on many teenagers have ever had an STI, though, so it’s hard to say if it’s most or not.) And most common STIs are treated pretty easily these days, so it’s not such a big deal even if they do get one!
Now, can all these bad things happen? Of course. Should we be diligent as parents to help our teenagers avoid them? Absolutely. Part of being diligent is making sure our children know that we know that every single time they do something potentially dangerous something horrible might not happen to them.
Otherwise, something like this happens:
Lucy’s mother has told her to never, ever have sex without a condom. Ever. Lucy understands from her mother’s warning that if she ever – EVER! – has sex without a condom she’ll get pregnant and get and STI.
Lucy’s best friend Marisol and her boyfriend Johnny have sex without a condom. A lot. Marisol does not get pregnant and does not contract an STI (that she knows about).
Lucy’s understanding of her mother’s warnings are now in direct contradiction with Marisol’s proven reality.
So good sex education needs to acknowledge that you don’t get pregnant every time you have sex without a condom – but then ask the question of whether the teenager is willing for this time to be the one when she does get pregnant.