You are at an age where your father and I have little control over the choices you make when you aren’t with us.
We know, from our own experiences, that if you really want to do something, whether beneficial or detrimental, you’ll find a way to do it.
Even if we lock you in a closet or force you to wear a padlocked chastity belt while reading the Old Testament.
But I want you to know that it’s our hope you will abstain from sex until you graduate from high school. And even more ideally, until you meet someone who loves and cherishes you some time after that.
These are our reasons:
1. If You Have Sex In High School, Everyone Will Know. It doesn’t matter if you and the boy both say you won’t tell anyone. Eventually you will tell someone. And that person will tell someone else and then someone else and pretty soon even Mr. Fowler, the school janitor, will know you’re having sex because he overheard the P.E. teacher, Mr. Wenrick, telling Miss Shannon, the slightly bearded Home Ec teacher (who hasn’t had sex ever) about your passionate infamy in the break room.
2. The Boy Will Be Congratulated, You’ll Be Considered A Slut. Nothing has changed since the beginning of polite society. The Feminist Movement hasn’t put a dent in how sexually active girls are judged in high school.
Other girls will be catty and mean behind your back and boys will pump your lover for all the information they can get about your sexual gambits.
Even if your lover is in love with you, even if he’s gentle and kind, even if he never breathes a detailed word of what you do in bed (or more likely in the back of his parents’ car), other boys will perceive you differently once they know you’re sexually active.
3. Despite What Television Shows, Movies, Advertisements and Music Videos Would Have You Believe Everybody Isn’t Having Sex In High School. In 2013 Child Trends Data Report says that only 35% of teens are sexually active in high school. That leaves a whopping 65% of kids who are not having sex. It will be easier for you to abstain if you develop friendships with the 65% who aren’t sexually active. Peer pressure shmeer pressure.
4. Your Brain Isn’t Ready For The Emotional Responsibility Of Sexual Activity. In a recent Frontline article about a study determining how the teenage brain is different from the adult brain, researchers discovered that teenagers and adults used different parts to process what they were feeling.
“The teens mostly used the amygdala, a small almond shaped region that guides instinctual or ‘gut’ reactions, while the adults relied on the frontal cortex, often called the executive or CEO of the brain.”
“Reactions, rather than rational thought, come more from the amygdala, deep in the brain, which led Yurgelun-Todd and other neuroscientists to suggest that an immature brain leads to impulsivity, or what researchers dub ‘risk-taking behavior.’
“The study goes partway to understanding why the teenage years seem so emotionally turbulent.”
So if you’re anything like your mother and your First Love is inconsistent and/or unfaithful, your brain will have a more difficult time making rational choices than when you’re older.
Of course, there’s no escaping heartbreak in life. But delaying it seems like a great idea.
5. You Don’t Want Tickets To The Ever Popular Buddy Movie. Because this time it’s not Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill I’m talking about. It’s “Unwanted Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.” And they’re not starring in a comedy.
Both girls and boys are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases in high school, but only girls can get pregnant.
It’s hard enough not to get pregnant when you’re 39-years old woman with two toddlers and you miss your period and think you’re going to have three children under the age of four and that your husband had damn well better get that vasectomy already (which your father did, once we realized I wasn’t pregnant with a third child after all), but not getting pregnant when you’re at the peak of your reproductive cycle in high school is nigh impossible!
Sex contraceptives fail. The Center For Young Women’s Health reports the rate of failure when these contraceptives are used perfectly:
Male Condoms: 3 out of 100 women get pregnant
Withdrawal: 4 out of 100 women get pregnant
Birth Control Pill: 1 out of 100 women get pregnant
Spermicides: 15 out of 100 women get pregnant
Diaphragm: 6 out of 100 women get pregnant
Cervical Cap: 4 out of 100 women get pregnant
Female Condoms: 5 out of 100 women get pregnant
No contraceptive: 85 out of 100 women get pregnant
The most effective birth control device seems to be the varying hormone patches and implants, which report less than 1 out of 100 women getting pregnant. But do we really want to be adding more hormones to your teenage bodies that are already in hormonal overdrive?
The Office of Adolescent Health had this to say about teenagers with sexually transmitted diseases (sweet mother of God!): “Adolescents ages 15-24 account for nearly half of the 20 million new cases of STD’s each year. Today, four in 10 sexually active teen girls have had an STD that can cause infertility and even death.” (Ack)
6. Early Sex Can Impact Your Body Image. As a teenager you are naturally more self-conscious than you will be as an adult. It’s a pubescent rite-of-passage. Introducing a sexual partner during this time of extreme self-criticism can be a dangerous thing. Because you will be handing another person the keys to your body-image.
Unfortunately for me my first lover was extremely critical of my body, leading to years of self-consciousness. Had he had that influence on me during my high school years I think the repercussions would’ve been far greater and harder to overcome.
Now, after all of this depressing news:
7. Sex is Awesome When the Timing and the Partner are Right. We are made for sex. Nature is especially interested that we procreate. It’s a biological imperative that kicks in around thirteen years of age.
There’s no need to feel ashamed of yearning for sex. Your body is programmed to do that. And if we lived in the Middle Ages you would need to start giving birth around 15 since most of us would be dead by 35 (I hadn’t even had you two by then!)
But unlike the rest of Nature, humans can think rationally and can attempt to quell biology long enough to make mature choices.
8. Like Jerry Maguire, Help Us, Help You! When I snuck out of my bedroom window past curfew to spend a few hours in a jacuzzi with Todd Johnson on prom night my junior year I began to realize just why my parents only wanted me dating in groups and home by 11 p.m.
Because as soon as Todd kissed me in that jacuzzi, and some of his body parts came near some of my body parts pretty much all of the 567 hours of Sunday school I’d had went right out the window and I was ready to have his name tattooed on my lily white ass right after I gave birth to his love child at 16.
So don’t hate us too much when we set a midnight curfew for prom. (or follow you on your date in an unmarked car with taser guns)
Nothing good for teenagers happens after midnight.
Don’t hate your father when he answers the door to potential dates cleaning his gun and tells them he’s not afraid to go to prison. Because we really are looking after your best interests.
9. Because I said so. That’s about it on that one. Number 10 is not so much a reason as it is a caveat.
10. You Won’t be Perfect, I Certainly Wasn’t. I managed to get out of high school without the emotional and physical turbulence early sexual activity can bring, but made up for lost time in college.
I contracted two fortunately curable STDs from my first love (yes, the one critical of my body, thank you very much) and had a pregnancy scare at 25 that turned out to be a false positive.
The bottom line is that sex is many things; messy, magical, yummy, worrisome, risky and transcendent.
But most of all it’s a huge responsibility and one that deserves our respect.
Be patient, young padawans. Because, based on my married sex life with your dad (and yes, I can hear you quietly vomiting), “patience is bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”
And most importantly, we will love you no matter what choices you make and hope you feel that you can always talk to us about anything, including sex.
xo Your Mom.
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