Sex…and the Reluctant Parent
If you read this title and thought this post was created to taunt you, I assure you it wasn’t. I actually want to do quite the opposite: to encourage you in an area where you may have been reluctant, and as a result have become silent. I write this to parents, but if you are not in that category, this is for you too.
On the day that I stood on the altar to say ‘I do’ to my husband, I was a virgin. I had never explored anyone sexually, and no one had explored me. I had never even been kissed. So the first kiss that my husband and I shared on the altar opened the door to a whole new world of exploration. It’s a beautiful story; but this story also has its scars, and this is why I write.
My first raw experience with sex was at a high school party – 10th grade. And no, I wasn’t a partaker; but at the end of the day, the rumor mail rang about how a young lady I knew had gone into a room with two young men, and everything that happened after that was rated R for raunchy.
The incident and surrounding rumors were my introduction to sex; and it taught me that sex was anything but sacred. Instead, it was cheap, quick, and dirty; the equivalent of two dogs that have a romp in the park and walk away from each other like nothing happened. For animals, that’s ok. But for human beings, for your teens, it’s close to a death sentence.
Dear parent, I write this because I want you to see the influence you can have on how your children exercise their sexuality. Don’t gasp like the statement surprises you. We were born innocent and unaware, but innately sexual; and sexuality, like all other precious things in life, comes with a responsibility to steward.
I’m sure you’d agree that responsibility and stewardship are things that a child doesn’t automatically understand; and you’ve been very good at making up for that weakness. As children, we couldn’t fathom the need for education of our own accord, so you stepped up and enrolled us in school. We couldn’t conjure up healthy habits on our own, so you cooked healthy foods, enforced bed time, and took us to regular doctor visits. And for those of us who grew up in Christian homes, we certainly didn’t understand the need to care for our spirits, so you stepped in and dragged our butts to church. You’ve been amazing at covering for us in the areas where we lacked.
But sex…This is something that you often avoided in the years that we spent with you. The truth is, it is too big a subject to leave uncovered. As children, we didn’t have the means to protect our own sexuality. We were naturally curious about it; yet we had no idea of the enormous sense of pain we’d feel if we treated sex poorly.
We didn’t know the value of our bodies, or the strong ties we’d build when we shared them with others. We didn’t know the vicious cycle of wrong decisions we’d begin to make if we opened the doors to sex prematurely. But you do; which is why we need you to speak up.
You may cultivate a certain type of standard in your home. A standard that keeps curse words and steamy entertainment locked out. But the moment we walked out the door, most everything in our world brought sex to the top of our minds. The raunchy music videos our friends shared on their phones at school; or the two love birds that always tongued each other right in front of our lockers, hands leaving nothing untouched; or the health teacher who preached the virtues of condoms to us. We entered a jungle where the basest instincts were left wild and untamed. And you had no control over it.
As scary as all this sounds, the truth is we almost always gave you an opportunity to speak; and it was often early on in the game. It could have been in the moment when we asked you an unexpected question about sex. Or the moment we came home gushing about our crushes. Or the moment you found something we tried to hide our bedrooms. I personally believe that’s a blessing God gives you as a parent – an early opportunity to partner with us and help us steward our sexuality…before Google, Nicki Minaj, and whatever else have a say on the matter. The question is, will you see those moments, however scary they may be, as opportunities?
Here’s a sincere plea to you. Don’t lie when we ask a pointed question about sex. Don’t put the judgement cap on either. Because there’s always Google, and once Google begins to speak, we may just stop asking you.
Please, don’t stay silent anymore. Rip the invisible tape on your lips…and speak.