A dad shared on Reddit this week the way he’s handling the sex talk with his children and it’s receiving tons of well-deserved praise. It’s pretty widely accepted now that only preaching abstinence without giving kids any practical information about sex is an outdated concept, but this father went above and beyond with the sex-positive advice he gave his two teenage children.
Reddit user t-away-man is giving his kids some very real talk about sex and what he expects of them if they decide to become sexually active. He started by telling them that it was alright for them to be sexually active once they’re ready. He goes on to define ready as meeting these criteria:
1) Mature enough to be open about it.. no sneaking around.. if they’re not mature enough to talk to me or their Mom about it, they’re not ready.
2) Mature enough to wait until they develop full trust in their partners… start slow and work your way from holding hands and talking to kissing, touching etc. That gives you time to really know your partner, develop trust and a measure of real affection not just infatuation and lust (don’t get me wrong.. I’m not putting down lust… it’s just not the best emotion for life decisions).
3) Mature enough to understand the need for and to use condoms.
4) I also told them not to have sex in creepy places like school stairwells or behind the gym. They have perfectly good bedrooms with doors that lock and their friends will be welcome to stay for breakfast.
Pretty incredible, right? I consider myself to be very sex-positive and have plans in mind for similar advice once my kids are older (this dad’s teens are 13 and 15) but some of this, I hadn’t thought of. At first, the idea of his kids having sex in their own bedrooms at home was a bit shocking, but the more I considered it, why not? We are naive as parents to think they won’t do it at all, and would we really want our kids having sex in the kinds of “creepy” places he describes? Above all, we want our children safe. It makes perfect sense to give them the comfort of their own bedroom and not some random alley to have sex with someone they love and trust.
He later updated the post clarifying a few things fellow Redditors questioned, such as whether his 13-year-old was too young to be having sex. His response was perfect:
Children are people. They have rights. One of the most important is the right to be treated fairly as an individual. I can’t just draw a line and say “You’re too young.” Justice requires that important life decisions need to be made based on the individual’s maturity and circumstances. Also, to be fair I have to tell my kids what the guidelines are way before they actually need to act on them. They need to be completely at ease with the framework so that when the day comes… It’s a no-brainer.
This guy should to write a book to help the rest of us have the sex talk with our kids. He is right that the conversation needs to begin years before you think your child will actually have sex and that kids deserve to make the choice for themselves to become sexually active. If you’ve laid the groundwork by teaching them to be safe and how to recognize that they’re not only ready for sex, but that they’re in a relationship with someone worthy of their trust, it would stand to reason that they’ll handle it properly when the time comes.
As a few teen Redditors said in response to this post, I also wish I’d had advice like this as a kid. I don’t fault them looking back as I know they did what they thought was right, but my parents weren’t nearly so frank and honest with me about how I would know when I was ready to have sex. This has caused me to approach the sex talk in an entirely different way with my own children, hoping they feel better equipped than I did when they decide to become sexually active. The approach this father is taking only serves to inspire me further as I start to put together my own plan for preparing my kids to make the right choices.