…and I want to make sure my daughters know it. I’ve discussed the sex talk in previous posts, but I feel the need to elaborate on one important aspect of young women and sex. He will tell you anything to get you into bed. It bears repeating. I’m not saying that all men are scum, or that all men intend to hurt women. Let me be clear; that is not what I’m saying. What I am saying is young men have a high sex drive, and they want to get some. It doesn’t mean they’re bad guys. It’s very natural. But this means that young women need to exert control over their bodies and make decisions that keep them out of harm’s way.
Would you like an example? Sure you would. I warn you, the content may be uncomfortable at times. But these are things that need to be said. In the style of my favorite TV show, The Golden Girls, I’ll tell a story.
Picture it – Oklahoma in the late 1990′s. A girl of only 15, with poor self-esteem and a desire to be broken and humble before her god, is introduced to a handsome older (18-ish) young man. The young man takes her by surprise, showing her attention she’s never gotten before. They begin to date with the permission of the girl’s parents because her parents believe he is an upstanding, church-going young man. Each date they have gets progressively more physical. The young girl, never having been told that a boy might grab her hand and stick it in his pants, doesn’t know what to do. He says he loves her, that it’s ok to touch him. She doesn’t resist because she is afraid the boy won’t love her anymore. In the end, the girl feels incredible guilt and shame from the (very minor) sexual sins she has committed against her god. She shies away from her boyfriend to avoid any sexual contact again. This hurts both the girl and her boyfriend (so she thinks). She begins to cry every night because she is so confused by her physical and emotional conflicts.
One day, another “upstanding,” church-going boy enters her life. This one is about 19 years old, the son of a preacher. She confides in him as a friend, tells him what she’s been through with her boyfriend. He tells her that it’s ok, that she might as well touch him there since she already sinned when she touched her boyfriend there. The girl touches him because her feelings are already in a turmoil and she’s terrified of hurting anyone else at this point.
The preacher’s son takes it upon himself to start feeling guilty and tells his father, the preacher. The preacher calls the girl’s parents to explain what transpired. The preacher’s son can’t keep his mouth shut and soon the gossip has spread through their group of mutual friends. This humiliates the girl, causing her to write things in her diary to the tune of, “I’m so alone in the world. I can’t understand what’s going on. Why is this happening to me when I’ve tried to be a good person and follow god’s plan for my life?” The girl becomes depressed, but doesn’t tell her parents because, well, they’re dealing with their own problems. The youth leader starts preaching about abstinence and sin and defiling the body and all the other evils of teenage life. It becomes unbearable, and the girl sinks deeper into her Bible studies and prayer, almost never missing a journal entry at night. The girl is miserable, and she hides it from everyone, pressing the feels deep, down inside and hoping for the second coming of Christ to rescue her from the big, bad world. Yeah, that’s healthy.
The girl’s parents never did talk to her about sex, but they sent the preacher’s daughter to talk to her, embarrassing her further and making her feel like a slut for not even having intercourse! The girl grew up thinking sex was a dirty, sinful act, but an act that is hard to escape. The girl felt shame and guilt for every sexual encounter thereafter, until she grew up and came to her senses about religion.
The moral of the story? He’ll tell you anything to get you into bed. I wish my parents had told me that. I wish they’d told me how to keep myself out of a bad situation. I wish they’d talked to me about sex, period. I may not have listened, but what if I did? What if they planted the seed that kept me from making a bad choice? I’ll talk to my girls about sex. I’ll make sure they understand that, while many men are wonderful, caring humans who will treat them perfectly, there are others who will take advantage of any and all situations in order to get some sexual contact. It doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means they’re horny teenagers. Teaching abstinence isn’t the answer; sex education is. Respect and self worth are the answers, too. And just talking. Talking about sex is the answer. But ignoring it? That leads to disaster.
Also, religion sucks. That was difficult to type out, but maybe it will help someone out there understand how important it is to talk to kids and teens about sex. Do it. Don’t wait.