When I was in my twenties, not married, and without any kids, I had the opportunity to travel and talk to teenage girls about sex. As I’ve gotten older, (and married, and had kids) not a lot has changed on my views of sex. But there are a few things that I’ve learned along the way. Yes, my daughter is only three years old and no, I’m not starting to talk to her about sex yet. However, I think it’s never to early to be preparing the way for that conversation to take place when she is older.
The number one thing I was asked when traveling and speaking to girls came from the parents and not from the girls. Parents would always ask “isn’t my (name any age here) year old girl a little too young to talk about sex?” As shocking as it is, and as much as you want your precious little girl to stay that same little two year old that showed you an owie on her middle finger and had no idea what that meant, they’re not young for long. Kids are finding out about sex super early (thanks to the TV shows that are on these days – but that’s another topic for another day).
And the big thing is, if you don’t put your big girl pants on and have “The Talk” with them, they will find out about it another way. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather that information come from me. Hence, the importance of having an open line of communication with your child so you will know when they are ready to have that conversation.
Having an open line of communication from day one is essential. No, you’re not going to talk about sex when they’re 2 years old, but you want to start introducing the concept of them having control over their own body. Help instill in them a positive body image (this might include things like talking positive about your own body). As they get older, keep telling them how beautiful they are inside and out. Don’t just tell them when they are all dressed up and going somewhere, but when they’ve played hard and are covered in mud and sweat. Let them know that they are worth something and loved by someone (this is a great place for dads to get involved and let their little girls know that a man – a good man – thinks they hung the moon).
As they enter their preteen years, let them take the lead in conversations about sex. But never make them feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask questions. Talk about things you see on TV together or magazines you see in the store. If you open your eyes, sex is everywhere and your kids are being bombarded by it.
I also have to say that I am a Christian, God is number one in our family and conversations about life choices don’t happen without talking about God.
So here are some things that I want my daughter to know about sex…
1. Sex is a big deal.
The media would have us to believe that sex is no big deal; that people have it casually and it doesn’t affect anyone. But, it is a big deal. It’s intimate. It’s something that makes your relationship different than any other relationship you have and it’s a big deal.
2. You, as a female, set the tone for the sexual relationship.
No, this isn’t true for every relationship, and no it’s not fair. But it’s true for most of the time. Most boys will go as far as you let them. You don’t owe them anything. Have a plan and know what you want before you get in the moment.
3. Your dad and I are going to tell you a lot of stuff about sex.
And boys are going to tell you a lot of things about sex. The difference is we (your parents) are not trying to get anything out of you.
4. People do wait until marriage to have sex.
Real people – not just weirdos that have no dates and never have the opportunity. But real people wait. It is possible, and (although movies and TV would have you doubting it) you’re not the only virgin in the whole world.
5. Having sex before marriage can have a negative effect on your marriage.
A recent study in the Journal of Family Psychology found that in a study of 2,035 people, couples who had waited until marriage had better sex and more stable relationships.
6. Sex is a big deal – but having sex before marriage is not the end of the world.
If you have had sex, it doesn’t mean that you are “damaged goods” or that no one will “buy the cow”. Those are ridiculous analogies that people make up as scare tactics. Mainly those things are offensive to women and promote a double standard when it comes to sex. You deserve someone that is nice and respectful of you, no matter what your past holds.
7. Sex is great and I hope you have a great experience.
Mostly I want you to know that sex is great. That’s why so many people are talking about it all the time and obsessed with it. The things that I want you to know is hopefully to prevent you from having a terrible experience that is hard to recover from. I want your first time to be amazing and uninhibited and wonderful. I want you to respect yourself enough to know how precious you are. Your value is not wrapped up in your sexuality. It is a privilege to know you and be around you and I hope that is something you’ll always know.
I hope that sex will be a fulfilling and amazing experience for you. I hope most of all that you know that you can talk to me no matter what you have to say. No matter how silly or how serious the subject is, I just want to hear from you and know about your life…and I might have some good advice now and then.