Today I followed a link on Twitter that led to an article on this site, which is all about sexual education for teenagers – answering questions that they need answered when they aren’t comfortable turning to anything else.
It was an interesting article, but I was more interested in exploring the website itself. In fact, I have bookmarked it for future use with my own daughter, since I want her to be as informed as possible when it comes to something so important.
Sexual education is something that I know my own mother did very well. She explained the basics to my sister and me when we were quite young – in fact, I think, unfortunately, some people would have been shocked that she sat us down that early – but she knew it was important for us to know the differences between men and women and how babies are made. We also had at least one good book in the house that laid everything out for me.
I had sex ed in school starting with the differences between men and women when I was in Grade 1. I remember learning all about menstruation in Grade 3 or 4 – when they separated the boys and girls and we got to go into the coat room and watch a woman with a plastic model of the uterus and vulva. Throughout elementary and high school I learned all about sexual health and STIs. I took the time to listen and learn. Actually, I think my awareness of sexual health was what made me so very careful about my own choices, waiting until I was ready and had met the man that I eventually married, which I am still proud of, thank you very much.
I used to be fascinated reading Seventeen Magazine and seeing letters from girls my age and older who thought using a tampon meant they were no longer a virgin, or girls who had to write in and ask if French kissing their boyfriend meant they could be pregnant or if they could get pregnant the first time they had sex (I had known that was a myth for most of my life – it happened to Spike on Degrassi), or that they couldn’t get pregnant . How could these girls not know the answers to these questions?
But reading through this website I see even scarier questions, questions that cause me to do a double-take in some cases – like the girl who wrote in and asked whether she could be pregnant because she shook a man’s hand and then went to the bathroom and touched her underwear, or the guy who wrote in to ask if his girlfriend was telling the truth when she said that she had an abortion two years ago, but the pregnancy came back.
Reading through this website and seeing questions like this I am very happy to know the answers and I am determined that my own daughter will know, or at the very least won’t be afraid to ask me.
Sex is something that can lead to very uncomfortable discussions, especially between a parent and child, but it is also something that can have a major impact on your life. If I can make sure that my daughter is educated, and comfortable with the subject, that’s just another way to ensure that she will be as safe as she can be. I don’t want her to ever worry about being judged, and I don’t ever want her to put anything at risk because she doesn’t know the right answer. I want her to understand that sometimes there are no right answers, but that she has a safe place to come and talk it out if that’s what she needs to do. I want her to know what’s normal and that sometimes there aren’t any normals.
I certainly don’t intend to be her confidante and I don’t want to know anything and everything, but I also want to know that she’s not scared to come to me when she needs answers – even if all I can do is drop hints and try to point her in the right direction (like bookmarking that website for her or putting a couple of good books on her shelf).
It’s going to be something that takes some figuring out, but I think we’ll get there eventually.
I believe that knowledge is strength – something I believe I inherited from my mother – and I will do my best to give my daughter as much strength as I can before she has the opportunity to make life-changing decisions.
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