How To Talk Sex With Your Teenage Son
Teenage boys spend a lot of time trying to impress their friends. If they don't have a girlfriend, then they are quietly surveying the field to find one. Communicating with your son about girls is difficult. Not only because they will tell you that they don't need your advice, they don't want it either.
My son was no different. Instead of trying to pull information out of him, I decided that I would give him information and leave the door to communication open.
As my son grew up, I would beg my husband to have the "guy talk" with him every once in a while. He was dead set against it. I don't think it was because he didn't want to, but because he didn't know what to tell him. So I decided to take things into my own hands.
One day, when he was about 14 years old, I went to our local bookstore. I purchased a number of books on sexuality. One was about the male body, another was about the female body. There was a few on the joy of sex, karma sutra, how to be a good lover (for men and women), there was a good mix of information, etc. You get the idea. I took the books home and put them on the shelves. When my son had some free time, I called him into the room.
"Look," I began, "I know you may be a little uncomfortable talking to me about sex, but I wanted you to see something. I bought these books for our family. I wanted you to have access to information and not just wild stories and what you see on television. These are good books. Some have stories in them, others have information, but the bottom line is that ignorance isn't bliss. Read them at your leisure. Learn from them and then live it. Sex isn't always about you. You need to be considerate of your partner. I'm not going to get upset if I see these in your room. I want you to be educated in this subject. Sometime in the future, you and I will have an opportunity to sit and talk about stuff, but I wanted you to be able to ask any questions you may have."
I also had gone to the store and bought numerous packages of condoms. I emptied out a drawer in his bathroom and called him in there. "I'm going to keep this drawer full of condoms. I don't think you are ready for sex and the responsibilities associated with it however, if you choose to ignore my requests of you waiting to have sex until you're older, at least be smart and use protection."
A few weeks later, my son and I were taking a trip. At one point, I told him that I wanted to talk to him about sex. He started with the "Oh Mom!" I responded, "Look, it won't be so hard. I will focus on the road ahead of us and you can look out the window. We'll talk, but pretend we're talking to someone else." I told him about the stories I had heard in school - how to keep girls from getting pregnant, all that kind of stuff. He shared with me some of the stories he had heard and as time passed, we would laugh at the silliness of some of them. We talked about abortion, birth control, relationships...the topics were almost endless. I expressed my feelings about teenagers having sex, sex before marriage, unwed mothers...nothing was "off limits". Over the next few years, we would continue our road trip talks, getting to the point where we were comfortable discussing any topic with each other.
I had a few requests for him. One was that if he had sex with a girl, he needed to continue to call her and go out with her for at least 2 weeks after their last sexual encounter. When he asked why, I explained that no-one likes to be used. How would he feel if someone treated his mother or sister or cousin like that? He agreed.
I requested that he always use birth control. "What if the girl says she is on the Pill?", he asked. "Assume she's lying to you. Cover your stick before you dip." I asked him to think about the pregnant girls at his school. Did he think they were on the pill? Did they tell their boyfriends they were? If you think I'm wrong on this one, ask someone whose girlfriend is now pregnant.
When my son was sixteen, he said that his girlfriend wanted to have lunch with me. At one point during our lunch, I asked her what was up. She said that my son had told her about our conversations regarding sex and the different birth control methods. She wanted to know if I would talk to her about them. So we discussed them. I suggested she go home and think about it, do more research on the internet and get back with me. Another week or so later, she came back and asked if I would go with her to the doctor so she could get on birth control. I asked if she had discussed this with her parents and she said no, her parents would not be very helpful about this particular subject. I suggested she try first and if it was unsuccessful, I would help her. In the end, I did take her to an OB/GYN. I know some people would have a huge problem with this, but I looked at it this way...She came to me for help. She wanted to take responsibility for her own body and to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. I wasn't condoning the behavior, I was helping someone who looked up to me for guidance and help. We talked about all the options beforehand. After the initial visit, she was comfortable enough with the process that she (and my son) went to Planned Parenthood for further birth control methods.
UPDATE: Years have passed since this happened. My son and the young lady stayed together for a number of years. Eventually, they both went their separate ways, married other people and have had a good life. I'm very proud of both of them.