My Teen Is Having Sex — And I’m Totally Okay With It

Ronnie Kaufman/Getty

My son has had a girlfriend for about a year now. It’s been nice to watch this relationship unfold and see how it’s changing him. He’s become more thoughtful, compassionate, and seems to be settling into who he is.

Part of this is him growing up and maturing. I’d also like to think his mother has played a part in it. However, I also know that having a healthy relationship with someone he cares about, and considers his best friend, is allowing him to feel and see what it’s like to be treated in a way he deserves — and it makes him unbelievably happy.

The other day, he came home wearing Christmas socks she’d given him. He carved pumpkins with her last fall — something he hasn’t wanted to do with me for years. He’s also been keeping his room and bathroom a lot cleaner so, that’s a plus.

There are times it pulls at my heartstrings, though. It’s a reminder that this is probably his last year under my roof and it won’t be long until he’s out on his own. It won’t be long before he will pull away from me and the rest of his family and start creating more of a life of his own because that’s just what happens.

Will he still want to come home for the holidays, or will he go to his partner’s house?

How often will I see him?

How long will it be before he’s too busy for me?

Will he move away?

I try to stay focused on the present, though — he’s still living at home and I’ll always be his mother and it’s my job to give him room and adjust to the different stages in his life.

I’m aware he’s having sex with is girlfriend, and I’m totally okay with it.

While I don’t allow sleepovers of any kind since they are both still in high school and I’m not that relaxed about it, I know they are having intercourse and they will, in fact, find ways to do so whether I am okay with it or not. And the best way to deal with the fact my teenagers are going to have sex regardless of what I think is to completely support them.

I remember how I felt when I first had sex. I was going to do it whether it was in the back of the car, the locker room after school, or in the woods outside on a “walk” while my boyfriend was over. Even if my parents had forbidden it or shamed me for it (which they didn’t because they didn’t know), I would have done it anyway.

I know my son is using protection because I’ve been open about sex since he and his siblings were small, so they know they can come to me. I want them to do so without feeling judged or like they are doing something bad; they are not. Sex is a normal and natural urge our teenagers have. It feels good and they enjoy it (for the most part).

I can either put my head in the sand and not talk about the fact he’s having sex with a girl he’s been with for a year and hope nothing bad happens, or I can continue to talk to him about protection, how to treat a woman he is sexually active with, and give him a safe place to come to if he has any questions.

Let’s face it, all teenagers have questions about sex. And if they aren’t coming to you to ask, they are going to their friends (who probably don’t have the right answers) or looking things up online. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have my children come to me and always know, no matter what happens, they can count on me to get them through anything big or small.

I don’t want my 17-year-old son thinking he has to hide something that is concerning him or he’s not sure of. Of course, he doesn’t come to me with very much — it feels awkward for him, naturally — he knows I’m here, I can be a voice of reason, and he’s not going to get in trouble for having sex.

I can respect his privacy, decision, and autonomy without pretending nothing is happening and hoping he knows what he needs to know.

I can also do it without allowing them to spend the night with each other, or leave them home for some alone time.

If you think your teens aren’t being sexual in some way, I guarantee you are wrong. It could be they are sending sexy texts or pictures online without actually having sex, or they could be doing everything else that leads up to having intercourse.

Like a lot of things, I feel like our sex life is a journey. We are always learning and discovering. I happen to believe our teens need our guidance and support during this time in their life as they are experimenting sexually. I will do it for my son, and I will do it for my daughter. Lord knows I, as a middle-aged woman, still need support from others about how to handle all the feelings and emotions that come along with sex.

There are classes and guidelines for so many things in their lives, and sex gets lost in the shuffle. Like it or not, parents, it’s up to us to help our kids out with this.