One Reason Why I Talk to My Girls About Sex
They did it in the back seat of a ’57 Chevy. It was her first time. It didn’t take long for them to learn that yes, you can get pregnant your first time. Virginity was not a virtue in the world I grew up in. By the time I was a teenager I knew my parents married because the barrel of a shotgun stared them down. I did the math – my sister was born 9 months after my mom’s 18th birthday and while they told everyone they got married in July, they really eloped in October. By the time I was 16, not only did I know that I was a product of the rhythm method of birth control, I knew that many of my friends were no longer virgins. I heard sex was a lot of fun, but, more than anything, I thought if a guy wanted to have sex with me that I was somehow special, valuable, worthy of love – if only for a moment. Even in the midst of multiple casual relationships, sex still had some sense of making love attached to it. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that sex and love do not always go hand in hand. When we separate sex from love we lose something. We lose some of our humanity. We become like all the other animals on the planet, driven by passions and instinct – responding to physical stimuli without thinking, without feeling, without loving. That’s not what I wanted for my daughters, but neither do I want to ask them to make a promise to NOT do something that statistically they have little chance at succeeding at.
While I may have some anecdotal evidence from a few young people around me, the statistics show that (almost) everyone is doing it before they get married (Relevant Magazine September/October 2011, pg. 65) – even Christians. Yet, I remind myself that statistics are a description of past behavior, not a prediction of the future. While some are speculating about why young Christians aren’t waiting anymore, I’m looking for the reasons why some people ARE waiting – and I talk about it often with my girls because I hope my girls will make better choices than I did. Isn’t that what most parents want?
“If I could just spare her that pain – the pain of feeling dirty and unlovable after having casual sex,” I thought. “If I could just make sure she knows she is special, valuable and worthy of love.” I had no idea whether a purity talk and signing a purity pledge would do the trick and protect her from the pain I had experienced or help her feel special, but I hoped it would make some kind of difference. I searched the local Christian bookstores and looked online and finally found a program called Passport2Purity. I invited my daughter’s best friend and her mom to do a Passport2Purity weekend together, hoping our daughters might be a little more receptive to our instruction if we had someone else to back us up.
Glue, construction paper, puzzles, balloons, … We gathered the supplies listed in the parent manual and embarked on my first purity talk weekend getaway. The Passport2Purity curriculum is good, though I’m using The Purity Code Book and CD now – it’s a little more up to date. But the curriculum is not the most important thing. The most important thing is continuing the conversation and making things that are often un-discussable between parents and children discussable. While sex and intimacy are private matters meant to be special moments between two people, keeping things secret and hidden promotes a sense of shame and fear. Using a curriculum helped me organize my thinking and talking as well as touched on subjects I may not have thought to talk about. I have been exposed to a variety of views on purity and sexuality – from the free love and sex mentality of growing up in Woodstock, NY to the conservative Christian view of “kissing dating goodbye” and waiting until marriage to even kiss. I wasn’t exactly sure where I would land on the spectrum with my girls, but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be on the same end of the spectrum I came from.