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Monday, December 22, 2014

Five Reasons I Don't Want My Son to have Sex

There are so many blogs out there about why we don't want our daughters having sex. Many of the lists contain similar themes, many of which also apply to our sons: Because they're not ready. Because there are emotional connections that come with physical intimacy, that can really screw you up later. Because disease. And babies. And because they're not ready.

Can we stop this madness? Please?
What's wrong with our teens being allowed to be kids? 

We don't have as many conversations about, or with, our boys. And those moms who do say they don't want their boys having sex too young are often seen as women-hating slut shamers, who are trying to raise Mama's boys, forever tied to the apron strings.

In fact, anyone who calls for balance in this discussion with our teens about having sex is likely to be attacked by one of two sides: Those who believe teens should have lots of wild, crazy sex as soon as possible, with no regrets, because YOLO!, or those who think you shouldn't ever have sex until you're married, preferably in your 40s, with the lights off and as many clothes as possible still on. And don't enjoy it. It's for procreation, not for pleasure, you sick pervert.

You Only Live Once.
So... do it right the first time. 

What ever happened to middle ground? What ever happened to personal responsibility? What has happened to make our sons believe that they are less of a man if their belts aren't notched by the time they escape the confines of high school? Why do we make teenage sexuality so damn complicated?

I've been thinking about this since before my son decided that girls don't have cooties. I've been through this stage with Babygirl. My reasons, with both my kids, are pretty much the same. This isn't a gender thing. This isn't about slut shaming, or about not raising a rapist. This is not about trying to control my kids. This is about empowering them to make good and healthy decisions for their own lives.

My reasons for not wanting my son (or, for that matter, my daughter) to engage too early in the mattress mamba:

1) Babies are expensive. Duh. Yes, birth control is cheaper. A LOT cheaper. But. The failure rate for a male condom? 18%. EIGHTEEN PERCENT. That's very close to 1 in 5. Yikes.

Let's break this down, shall we?
There are somewhere around 400 teens in my son's high school. According to the CDC, about 35% of those kids are having sex at any given time. So, if the math plays out, that's about 140 kids. 18% of 140? Twenty-five. Mathematically, about 4 of those kids will be gay. (3.6% of the population identifies as something other than "straight".)

Assuming that the rest are boy/girl couples, that's an average of 10.5 girls. Let's round down to 10- that's ten girls per year having babies. That's about right, from my personal knowledge of my kids' friends and what's going on in the school in general.

I'd rather my son was not one of those ten baby-daddies who find themselves, at fifteen, in sudden need of a job to keep their new offspring in diapers.

He can't even drive a car yet.
Can you imagine this kid with a baby?? 

2) Romance and relationships. I love my son. I think he's just about the peachiest little dimpled bundle of giggles to ever have graced the world with a goofy grin. He's a great kid. A seriously great kid. I get compliments from other parents about how polite and kind-hearted my kids are. But. He can also be a bit of a douchebag. Hey, he's almost 15. His social skills, along with his brain, are not fully developed. His emotional stability is on-par with a lemur on crack.

So, entering into a relationship that includes the emotional fall out that comes with sex? Not the best thing for my handsome little bundle of hormones. He's still learning to navigate friendships. Romance is far more complicated, and that's an arena he's not ready for. The kid can barely keep a lizard alive. He's so not ready to make a serious emotional investment into a relationship with a girlfriend.

3)  Disease. Ok, so only 35% of kids are having sex. Chances of my teen catching a STD from his first partner might seem slim, but... 1 in 4 sexually active teens have an STD. Those aren't odds I want him to chance. If that makes me an over protective mom, so be it.

Incidentally, 1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys, will be a victim of a sexual predator before they are 18. A whole other conversation, but important for parents to know, so that they can take steps to protect their children.

4)  Brain development. I won't pretend that I begin to understand the complicated processes that happen behind my kids' skulls. I can't even tell you why they don't pick up after themselves or why they can't retain instructions I've given them for more than 3.4 seconds, but can recite the entire list of their favorite video game stars. And their birthdays.

The bottom line is that, though I don't understand much about the teenage brain, the experts at the American College of Pediatricians say that engaging in behaviors like sex before the brain is fully developed can change the way the neural hookups get established, creating addictive behaviors and tricking the brain into needing more stimulation to achieve an appropriate response to the release of dopamine and other "feel good" hormones.

Seriously. His brain is amazing, but... yeah. Not developed. 

5)  I want him to have a fulfilling sex life. A recent study showed that there are long-term consequences in marriage associated with behaviors that go along with teenage sex:

"Rhoades and Stanley hypothesize in the report that "more experience may increase one’s awareness of alternative partners." In other words, people who have a number of prior relationships may become dissatisfied more easily."

Yes, I admit it, this one has a selfish component.  I want my son to get married, 
and, hopefully, give me grand-babies someday.
He might not. I accept that too, and I'll love him, no matter what his choices are.
Bottom line? I want him to be happy. 

Does that mean that having sex as a teenager will mean that my son is more likely to be unhappy in his marriage? Not necessarily. And having partners before marriage isn't always a negative or traumatic experience, for men or women. For some, it's a learning experience. 

But... you never forget your first. Sometimes relationships, especially when teens and their emotions are involved, are complicated. Throw in some typical teenage lack of judgement, and there's a pretty good chance things could go south in a drastic way.  

Why would I want him to risk that, while he's young and impressionable and his hormones are raging like an off-shore storm? Why would I want him to dive head-first into such a momentous first, when the benefits of waiting are so well documented? 

I don't, of course. And, I say that with a caveat- I recognize that he's not my little toddler any longer, and I can't redirect or distract him, or simply tell him "No!" and put him in time out. This is not a choice I can make for him. This will be his decision, and, ultimately, he will make it without my input, and perhaps hopefully(!) without my knowledge. All I can do is talk to him, give him the information, assurance of support, and guidance he needs, and hope he makes the right choice for himself when the time comes. 

How about you? Have you talked to your son about sex?


  1. I hear you 100%! I'm a mom of girls, but I feel like moms of boys just brush this subject off because "Boys will be boys". (As I've heard a million times.) However, I feel that it's important that moms push this subject with their sons as well! The consequences can be just as great for them as for girls. I was a teenage mom (at 19) and as much as I love my oldest daughter, I wasn't ready at all. My ex fiance (at the time) and I wanted to have a baby so we did...and we weren't ready at all. Major thumbs up for your post!

  2. Aw ((hugs))

    For some reason I didn't get a notification of a comment! Silly site. :-/

    Having babies young is HARD. I was 23 and married and had a really rough time... I think all new parents struggle but when you're young it's harder because you haven't had the life experiences yet to gain confidence.

    The "boys will be boys" thing is the worst cop-out on the planet. I think that part of the problem is that (some) dads tend to push their boys in this arena, or at least encourage them.

    I don't believe sex should be a shameful topic, at all. Boys or girls should NEVER be shamed about their curiosity, desire, or interest in sex. Ever. But, with that said, I think that it's completely appropriate to talk to our kids about making healthy choices, both physically and emotionally.

    When they get their permit, we don't just hand over the keys and say "Ok, now it's time for you to learn to drive! Good luck! Why the heck would we do the equivalent with sex?

    Obviously, the metaphor is limited- I'm sure not gonna be there to show my son how to handle his stick shift!!! (Ew) But that doesn't mean I'm not going to be sure he understands the physical mechanics of applying a condom (a banana makes a good model), and the ethical and moral considerations of entering into a relationship with a girl his age.

  3. I just saw this post and I wanted to say I completely agree with the fact that having sex too young caused me to have addictive behaviors. I was 16 and I learned that guys only wanted me for one thing. I hated myself for a long time and even though I am married now and I love my husband I still sometimes hate myself. Tell your son to have friends who are girls and to stand up for and support those girls.


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