Mother and Daughter

That talk with your daughter about how she got here? Yeah, not the most anticipated of discussions.

But the chat must happen, and it generally does, through three prisms.

One is the abstinence-only approach. Discourage any sexual behavior short of marriage and espouse the virtue of patience for that “right one.” There would be noble if it wasn’t hammered home with steady doses of fear tactics and sex demonization.

Then there’s the other approach, one of full disclosure. Lay out the real deal, the natural urge, benefits and consequences. Provide prophylactics. Be free. This would be a commendable route, but it is too yielding and tends to marginalize self-control and sexual discipline.

The third school synthesizes the best of the two prior approaches. It should be too obvious that there is little synthesis and the dual arguments run rampant. The major unintended consequence of this ideological clash is the message it sends to our youngest: People place a high value on what women do with their private parts.

Boys and girls tend to be indoctrinated to sex differently. In my neighborhood growing up, boys were encouraged to exercise moderation. Women were encouraged to lock it up and wait. From the gate, cognitive dissonance was established (a mental disharmony I’m still shedding).

The implications of “virginity culture” among young women is harmful because it reinforces that the most important thing about them is their vagina. It commodifies their existence. A woman can be intelligent, hard-working and a hardcore empath, but if she gets loose in the bedroom with “too many” people, then she has lost a great part of her worth.

The virginity as sine qua non mystique is a relic from historical customs that equates a woman’s character with her chastity. For a man (or woman), getting with untouched women was a status symbol. “I was the first to have her” is akin to conquering uncharted territory. It’s undoubtedly vain and undoubtedly common.

Since the beginning of the age, men have used “gender superiority” to control women’s choices, namely of the sexual nature. But times are changing. While the practice of male chauvinism is still pervasive, the number of voices speaking against it are louder.

This brings us to the critical point in our human discourse about a topic that has been improperly conveyed to many growing minds, present company included. The challenge of separating morality from dogma lies at the root of basic miscommunication of sexual matters.

In a Judeo-Christian society, morality and religion are like a double helix. The coils are linked thick and sex is at the intersection. The sexual metaphor is ubiquitous because of its ease of connectivity. We all come from sex. Sex is what spurs the population. It’s inherent in every human culture.

Full-scale candor on sex education may not happen, but at the very least, the point of emphasis in curriculum and our discussions can be on instilling respect for the sexual process and its consequences. Present it as it is: a necessity of life. Just like anything, there is a time and place for it. Respect that time and place. Then allow them to choose.

Bad choices about copulation has led many teens — and adults — down a path of confusion and pain. It can derail careers, development and irrevocably alter any chance of being able to freely enjoy sexual liberties (hello STD’s).

When harnessed within a loving relationship, sex is a pathway to holistic fulfillment. While it can be thrilling without the attachment, certain repercussions come from haphazard engagement. The ultimate aim is to encourage decision-making steered toward long-term benefits over short-term indulgence.

The way we rear our youth is a mirror of how we treat each other. It’s impossible to have frank chats with your children if you approach sex talk like a cop, which is oddly how many people approach one another on the same topic.

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  • mEE

    my mother sat me down at like 7yrs old and told me in a very clinical way where babies come from. like straight, “the man puts his penis in the woman’s vagina…”. looking back on it now I’m mortified, but at the time, she was so matter-of-fact I just said, “oh ok”.
    but my parents never actually had the talk with me about their expectations. I guess they figured that we went to church every week so I should know the deal. so because of that they never talked to me about protection or anything like that. luckily, I went to good schools that had pretty in depth sex-ed classes/workshops starting in middle school.

    when I started having sex as senior in highschool I was actually the last one out of all my friends. I wanted to be safe so I made an appointment to go to the gynecologist (under the pretense of having something else wrong) and got a prescription for the pill. some way or another my mother found out and she LOST IT and called me a whore. …and my mother isn’t even the name calling, out of control parent type. I remember thinking, how are you gonna be so mad about something you never even bothered to talk to me about? smh live and you learn. I intend to do things very different with my children when I have them. but I’m sure I’ll make some mistakes as well

    • When my mother found out I was having sex, I was a sophmore in college. She called to tell me how much of a whore I was as well; it was the most hurt I’d ever been. Needless to say, I got over it (and her verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse)

  • Lisss

    @ P

    This is by far the best comment i have ever seen about sex/abstinence on an article on Clutch! I was going to comment myself but you just said everything i wanted to say. Thank you!

  • talaktochoba

    and what is wrong with abstinence/virginity?

    told the daughter she’s like a bank–too many deposits and early withdrawals will eventually make her value unmarketable to the right investor;

    told the son if she’s not worth dying for she’s not worth crawling on top of…and if he has to use a prophylactic, maybe she’s not the right one in the first place;

    even more important, however angry their mom and dad ever got with one another, NEVER did the children see us trying to adopt any two-legged stray cats;

    also told them drugs were basically white men’s conspiracies, much like firearms (& before you laugh, name one distillery or firearms factory owned by a black man) cigarettes and harder drugs…that smokers and drinkers are just as much drug addicts as coke heads, all of which is designed to make people forget/lose/surrender their common sense..and once that happens, a hard head inevitably earns a pound of cold steel or an ounce of hot lead…and nothing consumes common sense like frivolous sex;

    while others surely caught her eye, the only boy daughter ever brought home was her HS prom date, and the son has openly declared none are worthy to meet his mom at home (though he has introduced a few to his mom outside our home);

    you really cannot ask for more than that;

  • RenJennM

    I feel bad for those who had an awkward or lack of a “sex talk” with their parents or guardians. My sex talk with my mom was cool, but it came later, pretty much after I was already sexually active. But luckily, my uncle (who’s like a father figure to me) had a straight-forward conversation with me about it when I was like 12 or 13. Plus, my school taught a little bit of sex-ed in 5th grade, and again, more formally, in 12th grade. I stayed a virgin all the way through the temptations of middle school and high school. I could’ve stayed a virgin longer, but no one really gave me the pep talk about snake-ass dudes, so… a guy crept into life, seduced me, and I gave him my V-card at 19-years-old. Oh well. What’s done is done. But at least I held onto mine for that long.