The Unspoken Thing: Sex

Updated: Mar 7, 2019

I'm sure when your children were younger you had "the talk" with them. My boys knew the medical terminology for the male and female body parts at a young age, we discussed sex during puberty, and again during their teen years. Some days they were utterly disgusted by my real life Trauma in the ED (emergency department) sex edition stories, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do as a mama. We also discussed the emotional and mental aspects of having sex coupled with why you should wait until marriage. These were conversations I could control and handle. Once they became adults, oh me oh my! A few conversations had me blushing and wanting to cover my ears.


I love knowing my children feel safe enough to talk to me about the hard stuff. One of my children felt safe enough to call me at work to say they think they may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (STI). In my calm mommy voice I said ok, we'll talk when you get here. We talked, and I made sure it was one memorable experience. I wasn't prepared to hear about anyone's loss of virginity because they are my sweet babies. Heaven knows I wasn't ready to be anybody's Nana, but here we are.


Talking about sex with your adult children goes deeper than the act itself. You delve into the financial, emotional, physical, and mental health aspects of engaging intimately with someone you believe you love. Sharing parts of your story (not the gory details unless you deem necessary and your children can handle it) makes you human, you become more than just their "mom."

On this side of adulthood, we know having sex changes the dynamics of a relationship, conveying this concept to our children is no small feat. In their minds, they are fully prepared to make these decisions as well as handle the consequences of said decisions. Many young adults equate pregnancy as the ultimate consequence of sex, however it is not.


For example, unprotected sex can be deadly. Each act without protection is playing Russian roulette with one's life. HIV, HPV, and Herpes are life long diseases. The financial burden, the emotional weight, the physical damage, and the psychological distress of living with one of these illnesses would devastate anyone, let alone your child. These are the conversations I have with my children. Becoming a parent before you're ready, also wreaks havoc on finances, emotions, your body, and your psyche. Two of my children are coming to grips with this reality of parenting before your time.


You may not be happy with any of your children's sex decisions and that's perfectly fine. I must admit I was livid over some of my offspring's decisions. Angrily I wondered how could they do that! We taught them, showed them, talked with them, they"knew better", we gave them the tools to make better decisions, and yet they chose to do otherwise. This is when they really need our love, support, and our understanding (even if you don't understand, act like you do). Also, remember the foolish mistakes you made as you were finding your way through young adulthood. Use the feelings you experienced in your youth as a guide in showing your children grace. Your love and open arms should remain the safe space for your children no matter what.


Allison

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© Allison R. Bethune