Thursday, May 28, 2015

Feedback Request re: Sex

When I became sexually active - by which I mean when I lost my virginity to the man I eventually married - I asked my older, married sister for a referral to her gynecologist. I made an appointment, had an exam and a Pap smear, and got a prescription for the Pill.

I did all this without telling my mother. Because even though I was an adult, I still lived at home, and my parents were paying for my education, and I possessed massive Catholic guilt about having sex outside of marriage.

Then the gynecologist's office sent me the results of my Pap smear. On a post card. That my mom brought in with the daily mail.

When she showed it to me, she said, "Just remember how upset you were when you broke up with [my previous boyfriend], and you weren't even having sex with him." And that's the closest we ever came to having The Talk.

So I took birth control, and I ended up marrying my boyfriend, and I stayed on the Pill until we decided to have a baby. And when that baby turned out to be a girl, I made a few promises to myself.

One was that I would talk to her about sex - openly, honestly, and without shame.

Another was that she would always feel able and willing to talk to me about sex.

And finally, that I would make sure she understood and had access to birth control if and when she decided she needed it.

My Precocious Daughter is growing into a beautiful young woman who is confident, inquisitive, and knows her own mind. If I hadn't been there in the maternity ward, I might not be 100% sure she was mine.

But she is. And I'm trying my damnedest to avoid raising her without the hangups and complexes that my mom, God love her, raised me with. With which my mom, God love her, raised me. Whatever.

PDaughter has a boyfriend. They've been together for seven months, which is pretty remarkable for a first romance. He's a nice young man, and he comes from a strong, loving family that keeps him on the straight and narrow. I don't think I could have asked for more from a first boyfriend.

When it started to look as if their relationship was more than a fleeting romance, I talked to PDaughter and made her promise that she would come to me if things turned physical so that we could get her on birth control. I let her know that I thought she was too young for sex, and that she shouldn't necessarily have sex with the first boy she ever went out with, and that just talking about this kind of freaked me out. But that I wanted her to be open with me nonetheless, because I wanted her to be safe and happy, no matter what.

And yesterday she let me know that having a sexual relationship is something she and her boyfriend have been talking about.

As if I couldn't tell by her half of the Facetime conversations they've been having lately.

Part of me wanted to yell "NO! Absolutely not! If you have sex outside of marriage at your age, you might as well email the Devil that you're ready and willing to deal."

To my credit, I managed to suppress that reaction.

Instead I told her calmly that I expected her to wait until she could be seen by a doctor and obtain a prescription for birth control. To which she agreed. Because she's a good kid.

Will she wait? God, I hope so. But there are no guarantees.

On the other hand, I think - I hope - that she knows and trusts in her mom's experience enough to realize that losing her virginity can have a big impact on her life, and that she is willing to wait until she has control over at least some of the variables.

I don't want her to give into pressure or fear or guilt when she has sex for the first time.

And I don't want to create guilt about something that should be a joyful and loving event when she decides the time is right.

It would be so much fucking easier if I just told her NO ONLY SLUTS HAVE SEX AT YOUR AGE. But I can't. I won't.

I just want her to be safe, and happy, and secure. More so than I was at age 15, certainly.

Am I wrong?


  1. Not at all. Always encourage that line of communication because even if it's something small now, it'll let her know you will be there for her even when it's a big problem. She's so lucky to have you for her mother.

  2. Don't freak out. Fifteen is a perfectly normal age. She has come to you and trusts you. Honor that by getting her set up with birth control, but encourage condoms. It puts the boyfriend in a position of responsibility. Plus, belt and suspenders.

    She is considering having sex for the right reasons: she's in a relationship that has some time on it, and she cares about and trusts her partner.

    I had sex at age 17 so that my boyfriend of six weeks would stick around. Spoiler alert: it was a fuck and run.

    So. I'm sure this is outside your comfort zone. Trust that you have raised a good kid. And she's going to grow up without hang ups! How great is that??

  3. You are doing all the right things. Trust your instincts. I didn't have that talk with my daughter, and when I found out that she had had sex at fifteen (by reading her diary, because I had suspicions), I immediately took her to see a gynecologist and got her on the pill, but it was bass ackwards, you know? Hopefully, she will stick with the good guys who will be respectful and know when no means no, and only be intimate when in a loving, committed relationship. My daughter didn't make very wise choices in that area.

  4. From the way you describe PD you're doing everything right as a parent. You're the sort of parent some people wish they had.

    If I may offer an XY perspective: I hope PD's boyfriend is getting the same advice from his parents. He sounds like a good guy, and if he is he's also afraid because he knows he doesn't have to be ruled by his hormones, but they're putting a lot of pressure on him. And he's afraid because he doesn't want to pressure someone he loves into doing something they're not ready to do regardless of what his hormones are telling him.

    And here's advice I'd have mixed feelings about if I were a parent: you only get one shot at a first time, but don't have high expectations. It can, and likely will, get better. At this point in your life you barely know your body, but experience is the only way to get to know it.

    I'd have mixed feelings about that because on the one hand I'd want to take some of the pressure off of the first time. On the other hand if it were my child I'd be terrified of encouraging them. I'd be terrified that it wasn't their first time that was the problem, but me.

  5. Wow..this is a tough one. My mom was open with me and put me on the pill before I even needed it. Did it work? Well, I didn't get pregnant. Was I open with her? No. But we had a complicated relationship. Did I plan to be open and honest with my daughter, if I ever had one, yes. But I didn't. I had a boy.

    But, I think having that open line of communication (which I do have with that boy) is important. Yes, you don't want them to do certain things (they are your BABIES, for God's sake!!) - but you know they will do what they will do.

    In sum, you are doing the right thing. And, obviously, doing it well since the line of communication between the two of you seems to be wide open.

  6. Excuse me while my head explodes.... but seriously, a few years ago, we lost someone that we loved very much due to HIV/AIDS. She told me once that she sat in a room one time listening to women complain about their kids and the possibility of them getting pregnant w/o one time mentioning the potential for disease. She said she told them, you know, there are worse things in the world than babies. She said this to me with such sadness that her face and voice still haunt me today. I mention this because yes, get her on the pill (love the belt and suspenders comment above!!!!)...yes, teach her about love and respect and all of that, but PLEASE PLEASE teach her to be SAFE. Pregnancy and babies are life changing but a disease can be life ending. *very after school special of me, I know...but I love this kid*


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