Sex was a dirty word in my house growing up. Not anymore.
By: Suzanne Jannese for YourTango.com
When I was growing up, I couldn’t talk to my mother about sex. Not that she wouldn’t have been honest with me – my mum was an open book – it was more that I was an angsty tween who wanted privacy and the thought of talking about that was horrifying to me. Not to mention, my mum claimed she had been a virgin on her wedding night and expected the same for me. (Typical Irish woman.)
But at 17 and so in love with my first boyfriend (and yes, a virgin), I started taking birth control … secretly. I hid the tiny packet in a hippo money box so my mother would never find it. Yes, I felt oddly guilty but I also felt a little sad that I couldn’t tell her about something so momentous in my life.
Now that I’m a mum myself, I hope that my relationship with both my kids will be different. I want us to discuss sex. Not the nitty gritty, of course – some things are private – but I want them to come to me with their worries, to discuss whether or not they feel ready, to talk about buying condoms. Sex shouldn’t be taboo.
Here's what I want them to know when they're ready:
1. It's okay if you're not virgins on your wedding night.
...or even if you never get married. I don't even expect anything at all from you except that you make educated decisions about when to have sex and who to have it with. I trust your judgement and I trust you to trust your own judgement. Sure, we all make mistakes - and I fully expect you will to - but that's just part of growing up.
2. Respect yourselves and other people, too.
3. Always carry condoms.
To add to that, it's just as important, son, to make sure you're aware of your responsibilities when you have sex; don't leave it up to the woman or assume she's taken care of it. Sex is a two-way street; the same goes for protection. Likewise, dear daughter, I want you to carry condoms too because as we all know, the pill may protect against pregnancy but it doesn't protect against all kinds of sexual transmitted diseases. It's old-fashioned but the phrase, 'no glove - no love' should apply. It isn't forward or slutty for women to carry condoms; it's sensible.