Just a little thought directed to those of you who also watched the Gilmore Girls, let’s see if we agree. If you haven’t, go watch it after this blog post. It’s a good TV series.
In episode 14 of the show’s season 3, I’ve noticed something that unfortunately bugged me off quite a lot.
You see, Lorelai Gilmore is really afraid about the perspective of leaving Rory – her daughter – alone for the week-end. And that’s because Rory has got a boyfriend. A « bad boy » boyfriend. And she’s seventeen, she’s starting to think about having sex and all…
Although Lorelai’s freak out is completely human, I was a little disappointed. Lorelai got pregnant at sixteen with Rory, and had a very unhealthy relationship with her parents. She was drifting, extremely rebel and mostly lost. So I guess it’s completely normal to have second thoughts about leaving your daughter in an empty house with her boyfriend. Naughty people those teenagers.
However, having sex is a natural thing. And slowly discovering your sexuality, having your first experiences also is. Let’s not be hypocrites and thy to hide the truth : teenagers do have sex. If they do not, it’s fine too. But they might want to.
I know things have been changing and that Gilmore Girls’ season 3 is getting older by the day – but I think it’s really important to acknowledge that it is a major mistake to try to delay the moment your teenager kid is going to have sex. Mostly because there is nothing wrong with it. What is wrong, though, in my opinion, is pretending it will never happen, or that it shouldn’t – like Lorelai is doing – instead of informing your kid about it and teaching the basics.
What ? Am I implying sitting down with the child and actually talk to him about important stuff ? Yes I am. Trust me, there is plenty of people to tell your teenager that he should feel ashamed of his decisions.
But no one will tell your child the most important thing about having sex is actually wanting to, feeling ready to do it. No one’s going to explain him or her about protection – condoms, etc. And the consequences if it is forgotten – like HIV. No one is going to make your child understand that a no, a really not-that-enthusiastic response or an absence of yes means you should not go ahead in the make-out.
My point being that if Lorelai accepted the fact that Rory was going to have sex someday instead of trying to talk her out of it – by her disappointed faces and her constant worrying – she could spend some time explaining to her some of those basics I was talking about.
Because to me, this is the only way to avoid accidents such as the one Lorelai had at 16 years old. That probably happened because she was not well informed, as her parents could not bear the idea of sitting down to talk about such crude things.
But after all, it is by communicating that you can avert those awful things that tend to happen with uninformed sex. Making love without enlightenment is the path to an unfulfilled and problematic sex life. I cannot count the number of people who have been suffering from a lack of transparency on those matters. Friends who did it just because they felt like they should, pressured by their partner. People who didn’t protect themselves. People who despised their own body and had no idea how it worked. But also people like Paris, Rory’s friend, two episodes later, torn between « I’m a slut » and « I don’t know how I feel about it », when she’s obviously feeling guilty about it (she basically convinces herself she did not get a positive answer from Harvard because she slept with her boyfriend). Friends who felt ashamed to have desires (mostly girls oddly enough, but I’ll shut up before I dive too deep into my feminist convictions).
Now, I understand that it can be terrifying as a parent to accept the fact that your child is growing up and that you must have an extremely awkward conversation with him/her. I know it must feel weird to imagine your pure creature as a grown-up having sex.
But sex is a natural thing. If you feel like having sex – and it does not matter if it is with your one-year-boyfriend or a random guy for a one-night-stand, as long as you are both willing and really want to go ahead with it as well as being aware that the use of protection is non negotiable – it goes without saying. If you don’t want to have sex, than please, don’t. It is just as important not to force oneself. If it means breaking up or being lame, so be it. If you want to wait for marriage, or never have sex, it’s fine too. Don’t let anyone tell you what your sexuality should be like (well, besides me when I tell you it has to feel and be safe).
Here is a quick recap : parents, remember not to freak out and to talk about those things. Yes, it will probably be one of the most inconvenient talk you will ever have to handle, but it will be worth it, I promise. Young or old people out there : sex should always be safe and agreed to. Explicitly. If you are ready, do not feel bad about it. If you are not, do not feel bad about it either.