As a sexuality educator, I spend most of my time helping parents understand how to talk with their children and teenagers about sex, sexuality, gender, and all of the myriad issues that go along with those things. One question that parents often ask me is how to make sure their teenagers are ready to have sex. Putting aside issues of whether parents should have substantial input and control over their teenager's sexual activities, I found that parents were relying on goals that were far too vague.She seems to doubt whether parents should have substantial input or control over their childrens' sexual activities. Is there doubt that parents should have "substantial input" into their 14 year olds sexual activities? I guess she doesn't think so.
And so, my list of ten concrete things that teenagers need to do before they have sex was born.Remember, this list is for teens...
1. Have an orgasm.Interesting choice for number one. I don't think showing another teenager what feels good to you is one of the main problem teens deal with in regards to sexuality.
Yes, before you start having sex, you should give yourself an orgasm. It's important to know what feels good to you before you can show another person what feels good to you.
2. Know the other person's sexual history.
And I don't mean just vaginal intercourse for this one!
3. Know the other person's STD status, as well as your own.This is good. If you have never had sex before, you should still submit yourself for STD testing just to get used to the procedure. Since you're relegating yourself to a young life of frequent STD testing, you might as well get the first one over with. Nothing says romance as good as a mutual appointment at the health department to see if there are any pathogens growing within your nether regions.
The only way to know this for sure is to be tested! And if you're both virgins, well, you're not going to be for long. You might as well get that scary first STD testing out of the way so you'll know what to expect next time around.
I'm sure many 15 year olds take the time to discuss whether they will raise their theoretical child together or apart. And they say sexual purity is unrealistic.
4. Talk about exactly what STD protection and birth control you will be using.
These two issues go hand-in-hand (for heterosexual couples), and it is the domain of both parties to be intimately involved.
5. If you are part of a heterosexual couple, talk about what happens if the woman gets pregnant.
Here are a few options to talk about, in alphabetical order: abortion, adoption, raising the kid alone, raising the kid together. With the understanding that reality is different than the theoretical, make sure you're both on the same theoretical page.
6. Have your best friend's blessing.Not a word about having your parent's blessing, but it would be a good thing to get the heart-felt wisdom from your 15 year old best friend. Of course, the waiting part is good advise. A "good relationship" will be able to withstand a large number of months before having sex.
We can rarely see someone we're in love with clearly. It is often our best friends who can see our lovers and our potential lovers for who they really are. Listen to what your best friend has to say, and take it to heart. If it's not what you wanted to hear, give it some time. Wait a month. A good relationship will be able to withstand another month before having sex. Then ask a different friend, and see what they have to say.
7. Meet your partner's parents.
At the very least, make sure you know why you haven't met your them. The best sex comes out of knowing someone well, and knowing someone's family is an important part of knowing them. (Even if they're really, really different from their family.)
8. Be comfortable being naked in front of each other.Because that "uncomfortable when naked" problem is plaguing the nation's sexually active teen.
You don't actually have to strip down in broad daylight to make sure you've reached this milestone, but it sure helps!
9. Have condoms on hand.Evidence of a respectful sexual relationship: Condoms. My wife will be so surprised.
Make sure they fit right, that they're within the expiration date, and that they haven't been exposed to extreme conditions (like the inside of a really hot car). Condoms should be part of any respectful sexual relationship. There need be no assumption of hook ups outside of the relationship, just an assumption of good sexual habits being made and kept.
10. Make sure that your partner has done all of these things too.I suppose the best things that can be said about this list is it seems a very good case for sexual purity. It certainly shows the chasm between what the average parent wants for their teen and what the sexual educators believe is best. The advocates of comprehensive sex education often claim that they wish to increase the communication between teens and parents, but nothing on this list even mentions that.
Part of a happy, healthy sexual encounter is taking care of everyone's emotional needs and physical health. Both people need to pay attention to themselves and to their partner. That way each person has two people looking out for them. It's just the best way to do things.