*** That seems like an innocuous enough title not to attract a lot of pervs.
So, the daughter is 16 and suddenly all her friends are sexually active. We’ve been having extra many discussions about this topic lately, as you can imagine. Of course, 16-year-olds having sex isn’t anything new, but kids my child’s age having sex is definitely something new for me.
I won’t get into any specifics regarding my daughter because I don’t think she’d be too happy about having something this personal bandied about in the bloggy world. However, I do think the topic in general is worthy of some bloganalysis.
Despite the threat of deadly and not-so-deadly, but still rather unpleasant STDs, kids just barely into their teens are having sex. A few of them do it because they’re in a “long-term” (more than a month) relationship and reckon it’s expected. All their friends are doing it. Or because it’s cool. Or the do it to get some guy to like them. Or because they’re drunk and don’t know how to avoid it. All of these, while the same reasons many of us started having sex, are really bad reasons.
At 16, the daughter has already waved off one school-mate who left school to go have her baby. She has had huddled discussions with friends about another school-mate who got knocked up and was desperately trying to find a way to have an abortion without her parents finding out. And, she has had one school-mate get date-raped at a party. And, my daughter goes to what is generally considered to be a “good” school.
From what I’ve heard, seen and remember from my own teenhood, I don’t think most young teens are ready for sex, not to mention all the flotsom and jetsom that goes with it. Most of them aren’t even clear on the physiological aspects of sex, nor are they equipped to deal with the emotional aspects of it. Hell, most adults aren’t equipped to deal with intimate relationships.
Some teenage girls deal with not being ready for sex by providing oral service to boys. This, apparently is not considered to be sex among the younger set. It’s just a way to get boys to like you and/or a way to keep your boyfriend from breaking up with you and dating someone else who will have sex with them.
I find this horrifying. Sure, I’m all for young people finding creative ways of enjoying each other sexually if they’re not ready to commit to intercourse, but what’s going on here isn’t at all mutual. The girls are not enjoying this – they get nothing out of it but a stained t-shirt and a pat on the head. “It’s no big deal,” the girls say shrugging, while watching wistfully as the guy they’ve just serviced saunters off with his arm around the “real” girlfriend (Who, I understand, often watches and laughs).
Sooner or later most teenagers will fall in love and then things get really tricky. Because, odds are that after a while the couple are going to get to the point of wanting to have sex the old fashioned way — the way their parents and grandparents did it! (And are still doing it) (Ha! That should freak them out).
I don’t think there is anything, that can be considered healthy, that a parent, or anyone else, can do to stop teenagers having sex if they feel ready to do it. We adults can make sure they know what they’re doing; that they know how to protect themselves physically. And with a lot of dialogue we may even help them to prepare a bit emotionally and make sure they don’t do anything they don’t feel ready for. But that’s it.
All that’s left is for us is to hope that our daughter’s (and son’s) first time[i] and every other time after that is a positive experience and that the relationship is strong and that if, or when, it ends they are not too heartbroken.
And to be there to pick up the pieces if they are.
It’s all so different and yet so much the same as when I was young. Parents weren’t involved at all in our sex lives at all, except to threaten us with death if we came home pregnant and/or got some girl pregnant.
For instance, did you and your parents ever discuss whether or not it would be okay if your girlfriend/boyfriend slept over? It seems to be a normal thing these days. I guess if my daughter is going to be intimate with a boy, I’d rather she do it somewhere where she feels comfortable and safe. Other parents say there’s no way they could allow that and say that only encourages something I should be trying to discourage.
Could anybody give me some sort of timeframe as to when this parenting gig starts to get easy?
[i] Say, YA! all those whose first time was romantically wonderful. Say, ARG! all those whose first time was really bad. Say, MEH! all those whose first time would have been pretty much forgettable if it weren’t for the fact that it was the first time.