The Talk

4 Jun

By way of introduction: I am a mid-40s married mother of two, active in the church, with a calling and a temple recommend. I remember having sexual feelings in my late single-digits and tweens, not feeling particularly unhappy about them, and don’t carry all that much baggage about the way the church teaches sexuality. I got an early grounding in the extremes of human sexuality thanks to a long-forgotten book in my parents’ sparse library and a serendipitous find in a bookshop. Thank you, Dr. Reuben and Ms. Friday.

My daughter is 8 and has been inching toward trying to figure out how babies get in their mommies’ tummies for a while now. A couple of months ago I tried to explain the most basic of basics because, well, she’s not going to understand what I want to tell her. She really just wanted to know how it was accomplished and I tried to describe it in words she could understand. I still don’t think her brain has the parts correctly situated yet.

What I want to tell her is:

For women, sex is a minefield of emotion. Good and bad and ambivalent feelings will sneak up on you and wrap you up in a cocoon and punch you in the face faster than you can say, “Oh, God, yes!” For a teenager, chastity is simply pragmatic. So is masturbation. If you get married young, you don’t have to worry about it very long, if at all.

But if you don’t…

1. Don’t be stupid.

2. Go to a doctor and get on birth control.

3. Men use love to get sex, and women use sex to get love. Don’t do that.

4. Be very discriminating about with whom, where, and when you have sex, especially the first time.

Corollary 4a: Don’t be under any chemical influences (including infatuation or anger) when you do.

Corollary 4b: Cultivate the relationship first. Attraction plus like, respect, and love should all be present when you have sex with someone.

Corollary 4c: Carry and use condoms.

5. It’ll probably hurt the first time. If it doesn’t, yay.

Corollary 5a: Sex can be wonderful, but don’t think it’ll be that every time. It can be meh-to-bad, but don’t give up if it is. It can everything in between, but don’t construct any expectations. Simply be in the moment.

6. Pee after sex.

7. Be discreet, but don’t be ashamed.

8. You are not immune to sexually transmitted diseases just because you’re being discriminate. Go to the doctor and be tested regularly.

9. Don’t be afraid to say no. Ever. Promiscuity is hard on the soul.

10. Don’t be stupid.

I am not trying to protect your hymen, my girl. I’m not trying to bring you guilt or shame. I’m not trying to give you fodder for your bishop to have an aneurysm or for your milieu to believe you are indiscriminate.

I’m simply trying to protect your soul.

Did I miss anything?

Advertisements

25 Responses to “The Talk”

  1. mfranti June 5, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    This is a fantastic post, Lucy. I made my 17 year old daughter read it last night. I’ve told her the same things over the years, but I think it’s helpful for her to see it online and written by a stranger.

    Thank you for the wonderful words.

    p.s. This blog is a great read. I’m looking forward to more posts.

  2. Lucy W June 5, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Thank you. I was mostly ambivalent about sex-before-marriage, but erred on the side of caution. BUT when I did slip up (just a little), my guilt and regret was borne of the WHY and the WHERE and the WHO, not the fact that I did.

    This sort of talk might have made a difference in my decisions at those times, but then again, it might not have. But it doesn’t hurt to pass it along.

  3. Ziff June 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    Wow, Lucy, this is excellent! I love your conclusion in particular:

    I am not trying to protect your hymen, my girl. . .

    I’m simply trying to protect your soul.

  4. Lucy W June 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    Thanks, Ziff!

  5. elizaR June 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    on every possible level, thank you for this, Lucy.

  6. hmmm June 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    “I’m simply trying to protect your soul”

    Not really. You’re trying to push your values about sex onto your child. That’s what’ parents do all the time, intentional or unintentional. Since you portray yourself as a true Latter-day Saint the appropriate question to ask is whether you are exposing your child to your own values or God’s values. You get one or the other. The only way it gets to be “both” is if you have already aligned your values with the Lord’s.

  7. sylvialyon June 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    @hmmm, you seem angry about something?

    @LucyW–wonderful, incredible, amazing post. I so wish my own mother would have given me this talk. I just got the “abstinence only” talk…which we all know doesn’t really ever do what it’s supposed to!

  8. Karla Wixom Butt June 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Thanks you for your comment I agree that you need to be aligned with the Lord to represent Him and His church. By the way do you mention this blog or your views to your bishop or stake president when you go for your temple recommend interview? It would come under is their anything that is not in harmony with the teaching of the church. I’m not angry, I’m just concerned for YOUR soul.

  9. Lucy W June 6, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    I’m just concerned for YOUR soul.

    Why? Is an opinion going to disqualify me from going to the temple?

  10. M. June 6, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    I wish wish wish someone had shared this with me as a teenager – it would have saved me so much guilt and confusion. This kind of straightforward compassionate information about the female sexual experience is sorely needed. Thank you for posting.

    And I’m absolutely bewildered that anyone would think there is something ‘wrong’ with this post. Please point out what God would disagree with (mechanics aside – does God care if you pee after sex? I wouldn’t know… ;-).

  11. Lucy W June 6, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    I believe the thinking is that by saying it out loud, by sharing information, I have endorsed something contrary to the law of chastity.

    In my most pragmatic opinion, the importance of the law of chastity is to protect an un-ready girl from getting her heart broken. It’s not about virginity, not about physiology, not about sin.

    It’s about what happens when a (young) woman thinks she’s in love and yeah, she’s physically unprepared for the realities, but emotionally unprepared, too.

    You tell a young woman, “Hey, look… This is how it is. Think long and hard about this before you make any decisions, because there’s no going back,” and I believe they’ll make the choice you really want them to make.

    What you don’t know can hurt you.

    ETA: You wrap up a broken heart with guilt and shame, and you have a recipe for disaster.

  12. merkin4 June 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Karla:

    Right before Item #1, you’ll find four very important little words.

    “But if you don’t….”

    That tells me that the Sunday School answers have already been covered. Young Women values have been instilled, the chastity lessons have been covered, and there have been plenty of lessons along the way using chewed gum, fists of cake, and other object lessons to get the message across. Those lessons and teachings have been around for years, and I don’t see anything in this post that contradicts any of these teachings.

    For me, it was lessons like this (mainly from a non-LDS Home Economics teacher in high school) that got the point across that sex IS a big deal, and therefore it should be taken seriously. Lessons like this didn’t encourage me to go out and get some, they instead made me consider very carefully what the ramifications and results of that activity might be. And hearing those sorts of things from someone other than family or Church lessons drove the point home even more.

    There’s nothing offered in this OP that isn’t “in harmony”, any more than offering an opinion on politics or nuclear engineering wouldn’t be “in harmony”.

    My #11, courtesy of a wise Home Economics teacher:
    “If they will casually jump into bed with you, they will casually jump into bed with anybody.”

  13. Lucy W June 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    @merkin4

    That tells me that the Sunday School answers have already been covered. Young Women values have been instilled, the chastity lessons have been covered…

    Yes, indeed, and thank you.

    This post is for young women who don’t get married in their late teens, early 20s, to carry with them as they grow each year older and still without that unique intimacy. It’s also meant as a reinforcement of those lessons to get them through their teens with something other than the shame of becoming a piece of chewed gum stuck on the underside of a formica table in a seedy Harlem diner.

    The in-between step, of course, is to date and marry outside the church with a man who will respect their sexual boundaries in accordance with the law of chastity. That is frowned upon as well.

  14. Lucy W June 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    @merkin4

    My #11, courtesy of a wise Home Economics teacher: “If they will casually jump into bed with you, they will casually jump into bed with anybody.”

    Excellent.

  15. R June 7, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    Please forgive my denseness, but I still don’t quite understand if you are advocating (or permitting or accepting or discouraging or something else) premarital sex. I appreciate the need to not push young women away and to educate them about sex, but I’m confused about the ultimate goal of the advice. What is “the choice you really want them to make?” (This is an honest, not accusatory, question.)

    In my mind, #s 4 and 8 imply premarital sex (am I missing something?). Do you interpret the law of chastity such that a young woman who has sex outside marriage does not break it as long as she is physically and emotionally prepared?

    If the choice we want young people to make is abstinence before marriage, then teenagers (some of whom are even denser than I) may not get the message if we don’t tell them so in a clear manner, right?

  16. Lucy W June 7, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    @R

    I still don’t quite understand if you are advocating (or permitting or accepting or discouraging or something else) premarital sex

    I’m not advocating premarital sex.

    I’m confused about the ultimate goal of the advice.

    The ultimate goal is:

    …to not push young women away and to educate them about sex.

    In my mind, #s 4 and 8 imply premarital sex (am I missing something?).

    No. It’s ALL ABOUT premarital sex.

    I don’t understand why this is confusing. We teach the law of chastity. We ask them to make a commitment to be chaste until marriage. We don’t explain any of those terms. We don’t tell them what is and is not a line they can and cannot cross because we don’t want to talk about it.

    And then they go out on their own. Things happen. I’d rather my daughter be prepared for what COULD happen, the circumstances under WHICH they happen, and be halfway emotionally and mentally prepared for them to happen beyond “I can’t have sex before marriage.”

    Do you interpret the law of chastity such that a young woman who has sex outside marriage does not break it as long as she is physically and emotionally prepared?

    I have absolutely no idea how you got that out of what I said.

    If the choice we want young people to make is abstinence before marriage, then teenagers (some of whom are even denser than I) may not get the message if we don’t tell them so in a clear manner, right?

    We do that. We do it all the time. See For the Strength of Youth. We’re past those lessons. It’s done, over with, kaput. NOT telling a young woman about what real life is like and what they may be facing and how to deal with it if they choose to is irresponsible.

    Here’s the thing: After they’re out of my house, I can’t control anything they do. They have choices. I would prefer they wait until marriage, but, again, they have choices. I want my daughter to understand some of what her choices may mean and, if she chooses to make that choice anyway, how to go about it in a non-stupid way.

    Does anybody really think that by talking about it, I’m endorsing it?

  17. R June 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    Thanks for the reply.

  18. Lucy W June 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Please forgive me for being sharp.

  19. Anonymous June 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    Love love LOVE this post. My mother taught me early about the anatomy/physiology of sex and what she left out I figured out. You are right: “don’t have sex before marriage” doesn’t cover all the bases. YW lessons of smashed cake, chewed gum, and any other “destroyed” metaphor is damaging and insulting–it leaves no room for the Atonement and heaps on WAAAAAAYYY too much shame and guilt. Having personally had my own “experiences” outside of marriage (my hymen was still intact, for all you Judging Judys), I can say that I am glad that I had a rather frank understanding of sex and what was ok and what was not before I got married. My husband and I were able to discuss openly and honestly, before we got married, how we felt about certain things and what we needed to know about each other. That way, when the somewhat-glorious-a-little-awkward-awesome-ouch moment happened (about an hour after our temple sealing because we were excited to finally be “allowed” :)) it was great. I have a daughter and I can’t wait to be able to give her these life lessons and teach her that sexuality is natural, and there are consequences (some good, some bad) to EVERY action.

  20. Amelia July 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    Lucy W, this post is *amazing*. I feel so strongly that we do our young people an enormous wrong by giving only the “abstinence only” message without also adequately preparing them for the realities of sexual experience both in- and out-side marriage. No matter how much we prefer people wait until marriage for sexual activity, the reality is that some people will not do so. And we will serve them better with this kind of frank, honest advice that will indeed protect their souls than to withhold all advice other than “abstain! ABSTAIN!!!!” because offering real advice may encourage sex outside of marriage.

    Bravo.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. pubic hair freedom and sexual consent (more info and entertainment) « Missionary Position - June 5, 2011

    […] off of Lucy’s brilliant post The Talk, I really wanted to share with this absolutely delightful comic, Sex Talk, about the kind of […]

  2. Know Your Body « Missionary Position - June 7, 2011

    […] covered hole called the urethra. It’s where you pee from. In a comment on a recent post (The Talk) someone said she didn’t understand why peeing after sex was important. If you know your […]

  3. Another new blog! « excelling at mediocrity - June 7, 2011

    […] of a 17 year old daughter who has, on many occasions had “the Talk” with the kid, this post was perfect for my soon to be HS grad. I read it to Belle that […]

  4. Celestial Kingdom or Bust « Missionary Position - July 26, 2012

    […] wit: In my post The Talk, I enumerated a way of dealing with the subject of premarital sex that is both pragmatic and […]

  5. Celestial Kingdom or Bust « Missionary Position - July 26, 2012

    […] the subject of premarital sex that is both pragmatic and discouraging of the practice. However, this comment: You’re trying to push your values about sex onto your child. That’s what’ parents do all the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: