Parental talks prove awkward but crucial
Iâm going to go out on a limb and say that most children donât feel comfortable talking to their parents about sex. Sure, there are those lucky few who have a liberal relationship with their cool, hip parents. But most of the time you either keep details about your sex life to yourself or only tell your closest friends. Usually, the sex topic is taboo in the average household.
This is a shame, considering the fact that the topic of sex is one of utmost importance. Such a lack of action taken by parents and their children is just a recipe for disaster.
I personally was lucky enough to have a film buff for a mother, so instead of getting the stringent, awkward birds-and-the-bees talk, I simply watched Titanic at age seven â things became pretty clear to me early on.
But for some, unfortunately, sexual knowledge is relegated to whatever is taught in a fifth grade health class. And though itâs extremely imperative to learn the geography of a vagina or penis (sarcasm â as long as your penis works, I donât need to know about your vas deferens), it seems as if the most important aspects of sex were always kept off limits â almost as if our teachers and parents were just scratching at the surface, even though we needed to know the emotional side effects of sex as well.
And now here we are: College students at one of the finest universities in the world. If you came to school still harboring questions about the mythical world of sex, chances are they were bluntly addressed within the first few weeks of school.
Yet any confusion could have been avoided if only for a simple talk with your parents pre-departure.
Iâm not going to glamorize this armageddon of a discussion: Itâs probably going to be awkward. Itâs probably going to be one of the most cringe/vomit/cry-inducing episodes you will ever experience. No one, and I mean no one, wants to hear their parentsâ thoughts on sex. Parents are supposed to be our teddy bears â completely and totally asexual.
And though it might be difficult to believe, parents usually donât want to have this conversation with their children. Parents like to think of their children as perennial eight-year-olds: sassy enough to have a funny conversation with, but too young to actually know anything about the world outside of Nickelodeon.
But these attitudes are detrimental to a personâs development. Sex is no small thing and just brushing it under the rug might backfire in the future. Ever heard of the saying âgive your child wine at dinner and they wonât grow up to be alcoholicsâ?
Well, this situation is oddly similar. By discussing â and I mean, actually sitting down to try and attempt a non-awkward discussion â parents can make sure their child is fully educated on all facets of sex.
If families are into abstinence, thatâs fine. But talking about things like birth control, condoms and your familyâs stance on abortion remain imperative. A lack of education on these topics can cause many problems.
At this point in our lives, asking your parents about sex is probably uncomfortable â mostly because, chances are, youâre actually having sex. But this is an important bandage to rip off. We might enjoy gabbing with our friends about our sex lives, but even the funniest anecdote from them canât match the wisdom of parental figures â the ones who always have our backs.
This weekend, parents will be flooding campus from across the world, and thereâs a high chance that you wonât be getting any. Use this bonding time to gain some knowledge about a topic that you can pretend to know everything about, when in reality, you probably know nothing.
Though itâs uncool to admit it, parents are our biggest resource throughout life. Theyâve walked the walk, talked the talk and can offer great advice.
If youâre a male student looking for advice on how to pick up girls or how to bring up sex with someone youâve just started dating, try talking to a father or another male figure who can relate to you better.
If you need relationship advice, however, you ought to bring your mother in on this one. Iâll be the first to admit that the brain and heart of a girl are complex mazes, and itâs likely woman can help you out of it.
Girls, unfortunately, are still suffering from an extreme case of double standards. Weâre supposed to be the docile creatures who wear white on our wedding day, and then magically turn into nymphomaniacs at night.
Many girls probably worry about protection. Though males do a decent job of carrying around condoms, itâs never too much to ask your parents for approval to go on birth control. If you know that they will be extremely hurt, you can always try and take the âI get really bad crampsâ route.
And for those who donât want to have sex, even asking your parents about certain aspects can only help. Questioning if youâre ready or not to take the leap? Unsure of how to tell people that you want to stay a virgin? You canât ever really know too much: Sex is a constantly evolving part of human existence.
Knowing where everyone in your family stands on the topic of sense will help form your opinions and decisions in the future. So while you might be dreading this conversation, just put it in perspective: Itâs much easier to ask for birth control now, rather than to tell your parents that youâre pregnant later.
Sheridan Watson is a junior majoring in critical studies. Her column âLovegameâ runs Thursdays.