If you’re uncomfortable talking about things like sex and masturbation – don’t. Like really, go. Don’t read out of curiosity and then gossip about it with your friends. I don’t want to see annoying comments like “This information should be kept confidential” or “That was TMI” in the comments, because now your warning is to click the X button and move straight on.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about sex. Specifically, how we talk about sex with teenagers and how it’s affecting your sex life now. AND trauma built up about how sexual things were handled growing up. (And can I also tell you how long I thought about it: “Do I add photos to this post? What photo should I add for the cover photo?” I settled on a cactus pic, lol.)
Let’s start with masturbation. Also let me start by saying that maybe this is immature of me but I really don’t like that word for some reason and I wish we had a better one but unfortunately we’re going now. I can’t remember a time growing up when I was ever taught about masturbation – ever. Not at school or church or at home. What I find so interesting is that girls are generally never approached when it comes to masturbation. It seems like usually only boys in church talk about it or preach about it. I don’t blame that because I think times were different and we as a society have learned a lot about healthy approaches to difficult issues since then. (And hey, maybe we also learned that we women/girls have sexual desires too! Imagine that!) But back to being younger – I didn’t even know that masturbation was a possibility until I was maybe 14 or 15 and my girlfriend she showed me vibrator. My mind was really blowwwn. I remember doing it in high school and feeling like a terrible person. I mean really such a bad, dirty person. To the point where even stepping into my childhood room as an adult (my parents have since moved) would literally trigger me because I remember thinking I’d just done something REALLY bad and being back in that room , triggered all these feelings. But how was I supposed to know if it was good or bad? No one spoke to me about it and I certainly wouldn’t tell a soul.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since then that my kids want me to know is that the desire to masturbate is NORMAL. And if you do, that’s normal! It’s not like we always have to be open about it with our kids – I mean, it’s a very personal issue and one that I don’t think is ideal to have with your parents, but I’d like that my children will understand when the time comes that they need not be ashamed of it. I honestly still don’t know how best to approach this with teenagers. I mean, my kids are younger and I have an idea of how I’d like to go about it, but who knows. I’d love to hear input from people who feel their parents got this right and people who are currently having healthy discussions about this with their kids, and I’m sure other people will appreciate it too!
Now move on to sex and do sexual things too (remember 2nd and 3rd base lol). I had very low self esteem growing up which I mentioned earlier. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I grew up. But it was bad. I sought a lot of validation from boys growing up and although now I don’t think of anything I’ve done as bad.. because the standards were so high in the community I lived in, I felt terrible. I remember I was in 9th grade and my mom told me that she had heard a rumor that I had given two college boys a head. I honest to god didn’t even know what “head” was? Let alone do you know any college guys? I mean, this is pre-social media, you guys, where the hell was a meeting with a college guy? I was amazed. And SO young. This is a difficult situation as a mother and I still don’t know if she believed me or not but I was absolutely devastated when I heard that. My thoughts went in a million directions.. “Who told her that? Who still believes that? Where did that come from?” just absolute confusion and this terribly sick feeling. That would be the start of a lot of rumors for me. I know they say all rumors come from one truth, but I can say with full honesty that so a lot of the rumors i experienced came out of nowhere and then some of them had truths and were just exaggerated and some of them were just true to be honest.. but a lot of the really bad ones were completely wrong but still got me labeled a slut I’ve been called a slut more times than I can count and hearing that word still makes me cringe.
Many people consider sex for their child to be one of the worst things they could do (at least in our conservative church community). When it comes to being a teenager or even a young adult – I think the worst thing isn’t that they have sex or give a hand job or whatever – it would be that they do that and don’t do it with anyone to talk to . No one to tell them they’re still that special. No one to help them navigate the nasty world of teenage gossip and bullying. I’ve been through it all on my own and I’m not even sure I’ve ever told my closest friends some of my secrets because I really felt like a bitch, I WAS bad, I WAS dirty and it felt impossible to do it to say out loud. Going to therapy as an adult made me realize how alone and terrible I felt growing up. It makes me so sad to think of others who feel this way and feel like they have no worth because they are not living up to the standards set for them.
I want my children to know that sexual feelings are normal. I want to talk about it openly, more than once out of a How Babies Are Made book. sex (I mean even just making out as a teenager or whatever) and which isn’t okay. I want to talk about consent and what that looks like. How to avoid putting yourself in situations where you could be exploited. And how to approach these things, big and small, in a healthy way that is free from such extreme guilt that is honestly so avoidable and so unnecessary. I want to teach them how to deal with people who find out their “secrets” and how to admit who they are and be proud of who they are. To be brave and proud and that it’s okay if someone else’s path looks different than yours. How to give up toxic friendships and set boundaries. How to stand up for yourself. Sex is so special and I hope they’re waiting for the right person to share that with, but ultimately my biggest goal is just to be there for them whatever happens, even if it’s not the way that I imagine for her.
So if you happen to be a teenager reading this, no matter WHAT you have done and no matter what your religion is or what is expected of you, you are worth it…you are special…and nothing you have done, makes you less of anything. je. Period. End of the story. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
That’s basically all, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!!! I’m also dying to do part two and talk about adult sex – not in a weird way but I don’t know, I think we’ll see soon ha.