When I was 10, my mother and I had “the talk.” As I concentrated on not exploding with embarrassment, my mother told me about penises, testicles, eggs, and just how kissing could get your pregnant (oh, you didn’t know?).

As I got older, the talks continued. Whenever something about teens and sex would come on TV, she’d launch into another of her lectures about waiting until marriage because a husband doesn’t want a pair of used shoes (her metaphor game was better than most rappers).

Although I was completely mortified, and to this day try to melt into oblivion if a sex scene comes on in a movie we’re watching, I appreciate her commitment to keeping her little lady safe. Because of her talks and advice, I waited until I was way, way grown to have sex and avoided many of the traps some of my peers feel victim to.

Growing up, I thought all kids got “the talk.” It happened on TV shows, so I figured it went on in actual households, but I was wrong. When I became a teacher, I realized that many parents were leaving the sex talk up to TV shows and rappers (bad combo), which left a few of my students pregnant before they made it to 8th grade.

Knowing that many teens are missing out on proper “talks,” Planned Parenthood dubbed October “Let’s Talk” month and are encouraging parents (or caregivers) to talk to their kids about sex. Many parents feel uncomfortable talking to their children about sex, so the talk is either very confusing or never happens at all.

Luckily, my mother made sure we had man (many, many) talks, but there were still things I wished I would have known or had the courage to ask.


But how about you? What do you wish your parents would have told you about sex? 

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  • My parents were open to talk about it but it couldn’t have been easy for them. They did the best they could what the experience they had. Bearing in mind my parents didn’t really have ‘childhoods’ they were forced to grow up early as most traditional african adolescents are. I’ve made a vow to myself to make sex a non-taboo issue in my household with my future children and not make it something we only talk about till its too late.

  • Tameko P

    Looking back, I’m glad my mother didn’t tell me anything about sex. She had her own hangups about men and sex and she didn’t get to pass them on to me. I feel badly for her because she went through so much crap when she was younger. That’s why I am much more open with my sons; they need to grow up knowing things instead of blindly stumbling through life as I did.

  • Mandy

    my parents never ever gave me the talk, im nineteen year old virgin its just in our culture we never talked about “the talk” lol but I thought it was common sense I never knew about it until like eigth grade,my parents took me out of sex ed, and im actually grateful I dont know how it is for others but not having the talk made me less likely to do it, and telling my parents about what “my friends” at school said. They did tell me about how other kids were doing bad things and told me to be careful who I made friends with. My parents made sure we didnt have bad influences in our life and we made sure if anything bad came on the channel we changed it.lol its just crazy,im obviously big enough to know now but thank God my parents were conscious about raising us and not telling me how to use a condom, so i dont agree with people saying oh lets teach 11 year olds about sex they are going to do it anyways. I mean come on what does an eleven year old know about sex,they shouldnt! they should be still playing in the playground. I think parents need to be more conscious about where there children are most of the time and what they watch on television, and be more involved in their lives and get them occupied in other actitivities. I think parents are a mirror to their children,because of my parents morals I followed in their footsteps, but dayum am I learning more and more everyday lke how I have to be on my own and go to university and work, I feel like they dont care anymore lol like they have four other kids to raise.oh well.

    • Kit

      Yes, I can completely understand your view point. It was the same in my household too. The only talk I got was the menstruation talk, which I got when I was about 8, after that nothing else was needed because I was raised in an environment where I wasn’t exposed to lots of sexual influences at home or outside of the home and if I ever was my parents were there to explain that it wasn’t something taboo, which is why if I am watching a sex scene in a film with my parents I have never felt uncomfortable about it.

      At home, we never had television channels exposing us to highly sexual music videos or images of sex that were disturbing or unhealthy. Also my dad was even strict about us wearing earrings because he thought it was too grown up for us, even at age 15! Anything that accentuated our femininity was not promoted in out household. So for example: nail varnish, make up, women’s magazines, etc all those kinds of things were absent in the home, which is probably thanks to my mum who is a very practical woman and wouldn’t be caught dead reading a woman’s mag telling her how she should be dressing/ looking/ behaving as a woman!

      So growing up in this kind of household it was never my intention to engage in anything sexual while i was still at school, college or even university. I just always had the belief that sexual relationships were for adults who were emotioanlly, physically, psychologically ready for all that stuff and that was it. So I feel like I didn’t need the talk either. I can see how some children who have that curiosity or might be influenced by peers or sexualised images on tv without parental explanation might need guidance. But I like the idea of letting children just be children (as long as they have the same kind of upbringing i did).

      I think being taught the value of being an individual and not being afraid to say no or go against what your peers are doing, respecting your body and being responsible enough to ask questions if you want to are possibly more important lessons than the sex talk at such a young age. Maybe it was okay for me because I didn’t have that natural curiosity about sex and my head was always in the books?? I don’t know.

  • Beautiful Mic

    I just wish my parent was more honest in stating that as an adult they really were clueless about sex. Yes, they had children, but it became apparent to me as an adult that no one had ‘the talk’ with my parent, and that they still had not figured things out.

    I learned about sex through other people, and luckily they were the right people. I had some peers, so called friends, who picked up on my cluelessness, try to steer me in the wrong direction. I’m so glad some others got to me before that point. If they had not, I am most certain I would have been a promiscuous teen.

    Furthermore, I was threatened by my parent not to have sex. I was discouraged from and ridiculed for dating, befriending guys which was a very ignorant thing for a parent to do. Kids and teens still need to develop socially and have friendships with both guys and girls. What they did screams, “I have no clue about relationships”. You can allow your teens/kids to befriend and date while steering them in the right direction. The key is to start the talks early, that’s if you even have a clue.

    And there was plenty example around me as to ‘where I would end up’. And that’s not just for having sex, too early, but for other reasons.

    Along with sex needs to come an education about ‘relationships’, personal finances, feminism, exploitation, trafficking, and a few other things.

    If I had gotten pregnant as a teen, the long-term end of that would have been more negatively impacting for me, considering my background and family disposition vs if a peer of mine, coming from a two-parent home, of parents both having high education, from a big extended family network of people who actually cared about and helped each other – people who were informed. I have come across several examples of teenage mothers who still achieved education, high education, a great career, marriage as well as personal and financial stability as adults.

    I wouldn’t have been taught, that despite my situation, I still had the capability to rise above it – that I deserved to rise of above it. My parent would have damned me, “Well, you made the choice, you have to pay.” Which meant gaining no type of moral, financial, support from them (Even if they had the means or capacity). Whereas my peers parents and relatives, for example, wouldn’t have damned them and written the off so quickly.

    The talk should include that ‘If’ the teen becomes pregnant, gets an std, etc.. they still deserve the best in life. If they make the wrong choices, they still deserve the best and can still be the best, and most importantly, they still deserve your love as a parent.

    It’s the prospect of being ‘damned’ that drives teens to try to hide their poor decisions, their mistakes. Thus, they end up making a bunch of bad decisions and end up in some bad situations.

    Certainly, abstaining until adulthood can spare you, and your parents, turmoil as a teen. But, if you abstain until adulthood, and still haven’t been educated on certain things, you can still make decisions regarding sex and relationships that will negatively impact you and your child’s, sometimes your family’s, lives. There are still grown women giving birth out of wedlock, raising children without fathers, becoming infected with stds/HIV, choosing men who really don’t love them and/or have deceived them about who they really are, etc…both among the educated, non educated, poor and rich, alike.

    The mi-s, or non-, education of youth about sex carries over into adulthood and there are, seemingly, a lot of people who still don’t get it and pass the same ignorance on to their offspring. It’s being asked that parents talk to their kids, but they still might not be telling them the right things. But what adult will admit to their kid that they haven’t a clue about sex?

    But, I guess, there are far more examples of life-long devastation as the results of pre-teen and teen sex than not.

    • lala

      I share your sentiments especially the feeling that somehow other peers of you can get away with certain types of behaviour but somehow you cant. If you would have induldges in the same behaviour for you the effects would be distarious.

      Also what I agree on with you is the fact that many of are parents havent been told certain things. That eventhough they are adults they are still ignorant on mayor subject and there passing this type of non-knowledge down to there children.

      When you think about it: How is going to educate your children rightfully on such a subject of sex. The church ?? The School ??? Friends??? Family ??? The Media???

      No its your responsibility as a parent to step it up but sadly a lot of them dont (unintentionally) which in return creates problems.

    • Cree

      To quote:

      “I wouldn’t have been taught, that despite my situation, I still had the capability to rise above it – that I deserved to rise of above it. My parent would have damned me, “Well, you made the choice, you have to pay.” Which meant gaining no type of moral, financial, support from them (Even if they had the means or capacity). Whereas my peers parents and relatives, for example, wouldn’t have damned them and written the off so quickly.”

      This is especially something I agree with, having seen my older sisters kicked out of the house for having gotten pregnant and choosing to keep the babies. Our family dynamics could have been a lot different, but my ill-informed and fearful parents did not see any other choice. Wow. I defnitely grew up in this climate, my father telling me I will pretty much be non-existant and cut-off from the family if I made the wrong decision. I didn’t, but my older sisters “did.” Also, we weren’t rich but lived in a house where my parents could have tried to support them.

      I totally agree with your post that along with sex talks come other issues which basically come down to being a wise and aware person who makes decisions based on knowledge and with foresight.

  • Cree

    I too am squeamish when sex scenes come on with my parents in the room. I LOL’d at that.

    My experience may be different than most so I thought I’d share:

    My mother had three daughters from her first marriage, which was a result of her being a teenage mom. My three older half sisters had kids when they were 16, 14, and 20. (*please, look past this for a moment).

    When I was 8, I was an aunt for the first time. The best (and only) advice I got from my mother was that there should never be a rush to fall in love with a man, or let him claim you. She always told me men (in the hood? lowlifes? not sure which “men,” she just said men) have a habit of telling you everything you want to hear and being nice to you until they get what they want-your utter and total dependence. Once you are pregnant or stop working thinking they will take care of you, they turn on you. You rush to get an apartment and lease with them, because you think you’re so in love, and they realize you have nowhere to go-that’s when the beating, cheating, lowlife tendencies kick in.

    She told me to have my own before I got involved with a man, and never depend on his money. It fell on deaf ears to my sisters-although I was raised with my father which I also believe made a big impact on my love-life. I am married at 23 after dating my husband for five years, and we have no children, and are relatively normal and healthy. A little young, yes, but that’s my story.

    My parents didn’t talk to me about sex. My mother talked to me about relationships. She would never shy away from telling me that my sisters could have benefitted from birth control, waiting to move in with the first man that promised them anything, etc.

    Our family is far from perfect and I could write a novel on our dynamcis. But I will always appreciate that my mother was upfront about birth control, services offered at planned parenthood, and how sex can leave you tied down with a baby and a man you wish you had nothing to do with. I also had examples right in front of my face, and my mom did not shield me from the sex lives of my sisters. She never went into great detail about it, but I learned early on that my oldest sister had to apply for WIC, couldn’t get a place on her own due to bad credit she let a man f*ck up for her, had to raise a baby on her…all because of unprotected, and unplanned sex.

    This may sound crazy, but I appreciate that my mom’s advice was not “NO SEX UNTIL MARRIAGE!!.” Her advice was be smart about the sex you have, don’t rush, know the LONG TERM consequences that come from casual sex and unplanned parenthood, and stand on your own two feet always.

    My father’s advice was no boyfriends until after college. I met the love of my life at 16. Thanks, dad, but that advice went out the window. I’ll take real world advice over ideals anyday.

    Seeing my sisters had a big impact on me, but my mother could have easily swept their lives under the rug to shield me. She could have chose to be even more right-wing as a result of their behaviors and lock me in the house, and throw the book at me, and make me live in fear of disappointing her. She could have had more of a handle on my sisters lives, absolutely. I still don’t know what went wrong, and to thid day we all are struggling as a family…Nobody is perfect.

    At least she helped me make connections between their lives and the other lives of young women in our town that stemmed from-when it all boiled down to it-sex.