If talking about things like sex and masturbation makes you uncomfortable – then leave. Like really, leave. Don’t read out of curiosity and then go gossip to your friends about it. I don’t want to see any annoying comments like “this info should be kept private” or “this was TMI” in the comments because now is your warning to click that X button and move right along.
Okay now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about sex. Specifically how we talk to teens about sex and how that affects your sex life now. AND trauma formed surrounding how sexual things were dealt with growing up. (And also can I just tell you how long I contemplated, “do I add photos to this post? What photo am I supposed to add for the cover photo?” Settled on a cactus picture lol.)
Let’s start with masturbation. Also let me start by saying this may be immature of me but I really don’t like that word for some reason and I wish we had a better one, but alas here we go. I don’t remember a time growing up when I was ever taught about masturbation – ever. Not in school or church or at home. Which I think is so interesting how across the board girls seem to never be talked to when talking about masturbation. It seems like it is typically only boys who get the talk or are preached to about it in church. I don’t resent that because I think times were different and we as a society have since learned a lot about healthy ways to approach difficult topics. (and hey maybe we have also learned that us women/girls have sexual desires too! Imagine that!) But back to being younger – I never even knew that masturbation was a possibility until I was maybe 14 or 15 and my friend showed me her vibrator. My mind was truly blowwwn. I remember doing it in high school and legit feeling like a horrible person. I mean, really such a bad, dirty person. To the point where even going in my childhood room as an adult (my parents have since moved) would literally trigger me because I remember thinking I had just done something REALLY bad and being back in that room triggered all those feelings. But how was I to know if it was good or bad? No one talked to me about it and I sure as hell was not going to tell a soul.
If there was one thing I have since learned and want my kids to know is that the desire to masturbate is NORMAL. And if you do it, THAT IS NORMAL! It is not like we have to talk to our kids about this openly always – I mean it is a very personal topic and one that I am guessing isn’t ideal to have with your parents but I do want my kids to understand, when the time comes, that they do not need to feel any shame surrounding that. I still honestly don’t know what the best way is to approach this with teens.. I mean my kids are still younger and I have this idea of how I would love to go about this but who knows. I would love to hear any input from people who feel their parents did this right and from people who have healthy discussions about this currently with their kids now and I am sure other people will appreciate that too!
Now moving on to sex and also doing sexual things (think 2nd and 3rd base lol). I had very low self esteem growing up which I have mentioned on here before. I didn’t realize just how bad it was until I became an adult. But it was bad. I sought a lot of validation from boys growing up and while now I don’t look at anything I did as being bad.. because the standards were SO high in the community I lived in, I felt like I was terrible. I remember being in 9th grade and my mom telling me she had heard a rumor that I had given two college guys head. I honest to God did not even know what “head” was? Let alone know any college guys? I mean this is pre social media you guys like where the heck was a I meeting a college guy? I was BAFFLED. And SO young. That is a difficult situation to be in as a mom and I still don’t know whether she believed me or not but I was absolutely crushed to hear this. My mind was spinning in a million directions.. “Who told her this? Who else believes this? Where did this come from?” just absolute confusion and this horrible sick feeling. This would be the beginning of a lot of rumors for me. I know they say all rumors stem from some truth but I can say with full honesty that so many of the rumors I experienced came from nowhere. And then some of them had bits of truth and were just exaggerated and some were just true to be honest.. But a lot of the really nasty ones were completely false but got me labeled as a slut nonetheless. I was called a slut more times than I can count and hearing that word still makes me cringe.
A lot of people think of their child having sex as one of the worst things that they could do (at least in our conservative church community). When it comes to being a teen or even young adult – I think the worst thing is not that they have sex or give a hand job or whatever – it would be that they do that and do it with no one to talk to. No one to tell them they are still so special. No one to help them navigate the evil world of teen rumors and bullying. I dealt with all of that alone and am not even sure if I ever even told my very closest friends some of my secrets because I truly felt like I WAS a slut, I WAS bad, I WAS dirty and saying it out loud felt impossible. Going to therapy as an adult has made me realize how alone and just how awful I felt about myself growing up, it makes me so sad to think about anyone else feeling like that and feeling like they have no worth because they aren’t living up to the standards set for them.
I want my kids to know that sexual feelings are normal. I want to openly talk about it more than just “here is how babies are made” from a book once.. I mean make it a truly safe place for my kids to talk about what is okay for being intimate (again not just referring to sex – I even mean just making out as a teen or whatever) and what is not okay. I want to talk about consent and what that looks like. How to avoid putting themselves in situations where they could be taken advantage of. And how to go about these things both big and small in a healthy way that is free of feeling such extreme guilt that quite honestly is just so avoidable and so not necessary. I want to teach them how to deal with people finding out their “secrets” and how to own who they are and be proud of who they are. To be brave and proud and that it is okay if someone else’s path looks different than theirs. How to ditch toxic friendships and set boundaries. How to stick up for themselves. Sex is so special and I hope they wait for the right person to share that with but ultimately my biggest goal is just to be there for them through whatever happens even if it isn’t the path that I picture for them.
So if you happen to be a teen reading this, no matter WHAT you have done and no matter what your religion is or what expectations are set out for you, you are worthy… you are special… and nothing you have done makes you any less of anything. Ever. Period. End of story. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
That is all basically buuuut I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!!! I also really want to do part two and talk about sex as an adult – not in a weird way but I don’t know I guess we will see soon ha.