Sex Talk And The Babies: Time To Get Real

by Zettler Clay

Mother and Daughter

That talk with your daughter about how she got here? Yeah, not the most anticipated of discussions.

But the chat must happen, and it generally does, through three prisms.

One is the abstinence-only approach. Discourage any sexual behavior short of marriage and espouse the virtue of patience for that “right one.” There would be noble if it wasn’t hammered home with steady doses of fear tactics and sex demonization.

Then there’s the other approach, one of full disclosure. Lay out the real deal, the natural urge, benefits and consequences. Provide prophylactics. Be free. This would be a commendable route, but it is too yielding and tends to marginalize self-control and sexual discipline.

The third school synthesizes the best of the two prior approaches. It should be too obvious that there is little synthesis and the dual arguments run rampant. The major unintended consequence of this ideological clash is the message it sends to our youngest: People place a high value on what women do with their private parts.

Boys and girls tend to be indoctrinated to sex differently. In my neighborhood growing up, boys were encouraged to exercise moderation. Women were encouraged to lock it up and wait. From the gate, cognitive dissonance was established (a mental disharmony I’m still shedding).

The implications of “virginity culture” among young women is harmful because it reinforces that the most important thing about them is their vagina. It commodifies their existence. A woman can be intelligent, hard-working and a hardcore empath, but if she gets loose in the bedroom with “too many” people, then she has lost a great part of her worth.

The virginity as sine qua non mystique is a relic from historical customs that equates a woman’s character with her chastity. For a man (or woman), getting with untouched women was a status symbol. “I was the first to have her” is akin to conquering uncharted territory. It’s undoubtedly vain and undoubtedly common.

Since the beginning of the age, men have used “gender superiority” to control women’s choices, namely of the sexual nature. But times are changing. While the practice of male chauvinism is still pervasive, the number of voices speaking against it are louder.

This brings us to the critical point in our human discourse about a topic that has been improperly conveyed to many growing minds, present company included. The challenge of separating morality from dogma lies at the root of basic miscommunication of sexual matters.

In a Judeo-Christian society, morality and religion are like a double helix. The coils are linked thick and sex is at the intersection. The sexual metaphor is ubiquitous because of its ease of connectivity. We all come from sex. Sex is what spurs the population. It’s inherent in every human culture.

Full-scale candor on sex education may not happen, but at the very least, the point of emphasis in curriculum and our discussions can be on instilling respect for the sexual process and its consequences. Present it as it is: a necessity of life. Just like anything, there is a time and place for it. Respect that time and place. Then allow them to choose.

Bad choices about copulation has led many teens — and adults — down a path of confusion and pain. It can derail careers, development and irrevocably alter any chance of being able to freely enjoy sexual liberties (hello STD’s).

When harnessed within a loving relationship, sex is a pathway to holistic fulfillment. While it can be thrilling without the attachment, certain repercussions come from haphazard engagement. The ultimate aim is to encourage decision-making steered toward long-term benefits over short-term indulgence.

The way we rear our youth is a mirror of how we treat each other. It’s impossible to have frank chats with your children if you approach sex talk like a cop, which is oddly how many people approach one another on the same topic.

  • Simone L

    All I was told was to keep my legs closed. That wonderful advice led to 2 teenage pregnancies, because I was somewhat left to find out by myself. I think my parents felt that because they didn’t have the talk with my sister and she turned out fine, they could avoid it with me.

    I have had the talk with my girls since they were 6 and 7. We’ve had the menstruation talk, complete with illustration. My 5 year old has seen a video of childbirth. I’m not saying that this is for everybody, but we can’t leave our children to fend for themselves regarding a topic as serious as this.I’d rather tell my children everything, we can’t let them see if from our eyes only.

  • The Comment

    If I ever have a surprise of life baby and she is a girl I’ll follow the advice of @ Simone L.

  • P

    I think a lot of talking takes place, the problem is how and what is being communicated. Depending on our parent’s conversation with their parents that cycle of limited conversation will continue with our children. As a result, the same results will occur. It seem as though from a lot of our parents, they came from a space of fear. At one time a fear existed of having a daughter b/c you knew she was the one to bring the baby home. This fear produced too much control or either the only way is through God’s way which is abstinence. In between, the more vital message of sex was missed.

    I’m not knocking abstinence. Just merely stating the entire conversation pertaining to sex is more beneficial. To value our parts (young men & women), wait for someone special and/or marriage, the beauty of sex, as well as the repercussions of bad sexual decisions, STDs — there is a call for a new type of discussion due to the times changing so much. It’s more to it than just “please don’t get pregnant”. By a lot of our parents coming from this perspective, some of still don’t know how to have that conversation. The best we can do is keep trying and discover new ways to make the “sex talk” more beneficial.

    I’ve talked to my nieces—some listened and some didn’t. That cycle was hard to break due to different parenting styles of my siblings/in-laws. However, the conversation with our son started from the age of 8. Even as a young man, we explained you still don’t sleep around, wait for marriage, and made the point clear a man is just as responsible as the mother (you don’t get a pass just like she doesn’t), STDs. In addition, you value a woman’s body as well. So you don’t pressure them into having sex. We are still talking. It is clearly a continual conversation because one “bad decision” equals a “forever lifetime” change, and unfortunate, death in some instances.

  • Starla

    Many parents simply would prefer not to address the issue. Some just leave it up to the sex-ed class at school to deal with it. One of the most impactful thing any parent can do with regards to their child’s sexual education is to discuss the issue openly and frankly and answer every question. Especially in the age that we live in where many children will be exposed to digital pornography before they are 10 yrs old. Not to mention urban music artists who are waiting to teach them the things you couldn’t be bothered to deal with. You better do it before you get a call from school saying your child has been doing what not in the back of the school bus.

  • P

    “Many parents simply would prefer not to address the issue.” — you are so right. Some parents will place their kids on birth control/or provide the condoms without any explanation. They feel as if they are going to have sex anyway. Protection is provided, but with no knowledge of what sex is.

  • Simone L

    You’re right. After my first abortion at 15, I got pills, my mom even helped me fill the prescription but talk. Like….uh…when do you think is a good time to have the talk?!

  • BeanBean

    All my mom told me was never let a man touch you at all. If one does, tell me or call the police. I didn’t really understand what she meant. I was scared to death of men, still am lol. I will teach my daughter pure science! I will let her know what sex is, how babies are made and birthed. I will also teach her about sexual abuse.

  • ….

    I think that “Kids” have a good idea of what sex is.even if ur parents don’t explain anything to u ever in life they can still use the Internet or school to educate themselves and prevent pregnancy.its just common sense.

  • mEE

    my mother sat me down at like 7yrs old and told me in a very clinical way where babies come from. like straight, “the man puts his penis in the woman’s vagina…”. looking back on it now I’m mortified, but at the time, she was so matter-of-fact I just said, “oh ok”.
    but my parents never actually had the talk with me about their expectations. I guess they figured that we went to church every week so I should know the deal. so because of that they never talked to me about protection or anything like that. luckily, I went to good schools that had pretty in depth sex-ed classes/workshops starting in middle school.

    when I started having sex as senior in highschool I was actually the last one out of all my friends. I wanted to be safe so I made an appointment to go to the gynecologist (under the pretense of having something else wrong) and got a prescription for the pill. some way or another my mother found out and she LOST IT and called me a whore. …and my mother isn’t even the name calling, out of control parent type. I remember thinking, how are you gonna be so mad about something you never even bothered to talk to me about? smh live and you learn. I intend to do things very different with my children when I have them. but I’m sure I’ll make some mistakes as well

  • MZB

    Telling a girl to keep her legs closed is good advice. Are you suggesting that you were unaware of where babies come from prior to getting pregnant as a TEENAGER?! If so, how do you explain the second child? No one else to blame here.

  • Lisss

    @ P

    This is by far the best comment i have ever seen about sex/abstinence on an article on Clutch! I was going to comment myself but you just said everything i wanted to say. Thank you!

  • talaktochoba

    and what is wrong with abstinence/virginity?

    told the daughter she’s like a bank–too many deposits and early withdrawals will eventually make her value unmarketable to the right investor;

    told the son if she’s not worth dying for she’s not worth crawling on top of…and if he has to use a prophylactic, maybe she’s not the right one in the first place;

    even more important, however angry their mom and dad ever got with one another, NEVER did the children see us trying to adopt any two-legged stray cats;

    also told them drugs were basically white men’s conspiracies, much like firearms (& before you laugh, name one distillery or firearms factory owned by a black man) cigarettes and harder drugs…that smokers and drinkers are just as much drug addicts as coke heads, all of which is designed to make people forget/lose/surrender their common sense..and once that happens, a hard head inevitably earns a pound of cold steel or an ounce of hot lead…and nothing consumes common sense like frivolous sex;

    while others surely caught her eye, the only boy daughter ever brought home was her HS prom date, and the son has openly declared none are worthy to meet his mom at home (though he has introduced a few to his mom outside our home);

    you really cannot ask for more than that;

  • Lillian Mae

    My mother at about 7 explained that sex is when a man sticks his penis in a woman’s vagina…from there she said a man will tell you anything to get in your pants; it’s all a lie. He will snatch you up, rape you, kill you, chop your body up, and throw it in the river!
    I’m secretly still expecting him to jump out at me at any moment now!

  • Lillian Mae

    When my mother found out I was having sex, I was a sophmore in college. She called to tell me how much of a whore I was as well; it was the most hurt I’d ever been. Needless to say, I got over it (and her verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse)

  • Fantastico

    @ Simone L Thank you for sharing your story so honestly. That was brave, inevitably you’ll get some foolish comments from small people, but forget them and continue to be open and honest about sexual health education with your children.

    If more people were like you less teen and unplanned pregnancies would occur. It’s amazing how many people I come into contact with who know nothing about reproductive health/science and instead rely on myths and gender based double standards.

    Thank you again!

  • Fantastico

    Love this!

    Even as a young man, we explained you still don’t sleep around, wait for marriage, and made the point clear a man is just as responsible as the mother (you don’t get a pass just like she doesn’t), STDs. In addition, you value a woman’s body as well. So you don’t pressure them into having sex. We are still talking.

  • MZB

    Am I missing something here? She clearly stated that her parents told her not to do something and she did it anyway…..TWICE (at least)!!! I don’t see anything here but someone who failed to obey her parent/parents. Most children by the age of 13 know where babies come from especially if they’ve already had a child! So none of you had sex education in elementary/middle school? Why is accountability so hard for people nowadays? Instead of giving her the real you praise her. I see adjectives such as brave and honest. What was so honest about her story? From what I read she’s suggesting her parents are to blame. Disobedient and irresponsible seems more fitting.

  • RenJennM

    I feel bad for those who had an awkward or lack of a “sex talk” with their parents or guardians. My sex talk with my mom was cool, but it came later, pretty much after I was already sexually active. But luckily, my uncle (who’s like a father figure to me) had a straight-forward conversation with me about it when I was like 12 or 13. Plus, my school taught a little bit of sex-ed in 5th grade, and again, more formally, in 12th grade. I stayed a virgin all the way through the temptations of middle school and high school. I could’ve stayed a virgin longer, but no one really gave me the pep talk about snake-ass dudes, so… a guy crept into life, seduced me, and I gave him my V-card at 19-years-old. Oh well. What’s done is done. But at least I held onto mine for that long.

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