I have a very open relationship with my children. We talk about everything and anything; nothing is off limits. And suddenly they are going through puberty at the same time, and our conversations are more about friends, schoolwork, drugs, boyfriends and girlfriends, and less about SpongeBob and the best way to make things explode.
I refuse to let my kids feel shameful about sex, so I keep that conversation going. It isn’t a one-shot deal where I get a book with illustrations, tell them about the birds and the bees, and pray they never ask me anything again.
I never want them to think they can’t come to me with a question, issue, or unsettling experience. My mother was always very open with me on the subject, and in no way did it dilute the seriousness of sex. It made me feel like I could go to her with anything regarding the subject — and I did.
So when the time comes, there are certain things I want my daughter to know about sex:
Having sex is not a favor.
The only reason you should be having sex is because you want to. Not because you feel obligated or think you owe someone something. If someone is making you feel like you owe them sex, they don’t deserve your time.
You can, and should, ask for what you want.
You are putting your hands on someone else’s body, and they are putting their hands on yours, so there is no reason it should be uncomfortable to speak up if something doesn’t feel good or right. Communication between two people who are sharing something intimate shouldn’t stop once the touching begins. It is the closest you can get to a person, yet so many are are afraid to speak up. Don’t be afraid.
Your sexual partner is a guest.
If someone is telling you what you should or shouldn’t do with your body, then they do not deserve you. It belongs to you, and what you decide to do with it is your choice and your choice only. I am not just talking about when they touch you, I am also talking about if they suggest you need to gain or lose weight, shave more often, or alter your appearance in some way. There are times when suggestions are genuine and kind, but ultimately your body is your home, and they are a guest, just as you are a guest to their body and should act accordingly.
Your body should feel open to the person you are sharing it with.
Sex is wonderful. Our bodies are very responsive to what is going on in our head and in our soul. You are supposed to feel comfortable and open with the person you are sharing the experience with. If you feel like shutting down, or have any negative feelings associated with being intimate with someone, that is a huge red flag. Don’t think because things got started, you have to continue if something feels off. There is a reason for those feelings. Acknowledge them, and know you are allowed to stop whenever you want.
Don’t leave protection up to your partner.
While it is nice if you both discuss and agree upon protection before hand, sometimes you get wrapped up in the heat of the moment. Be a woman who takes charge of every aspect of her life, including this one. Don’t ever be ashamed to buy condoms or seek out birth control. And make sure you are getting STD testing and protecting yourself, no matter what your partner tells you about their sexual health and history.
If you don’t feel good about something, don’t do it.
Maybe you will change your mind after getting to know them and developing more trust, but there is no need to rush things. Trust your instincts.
Sex can make things complicated.
Sometimes we feel we are capable of having a no-strings-attached relationship. If it’s something you want, it can be a mutually beneficial arrangement. Just make sure you are in agreement with your partner and are very clear with them about where you stand.
The biggest thing I want you to know is that sex is supposed to feel good — before it happens, when it is happening, and especially after it happens. And if it doesn’t feel that way, pay attention to the reasons it didn’t serve you, and don’t repeat those mistakes with the same person or a different one. The results will probably always be the same, and you are worthy of only the best. Don’t lower your standards because you are afraid to speak up. It’s your body, your choice.