Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

Tag: teen sex

Where should teen sex take place?

Last night we talked about teen sex at dinner. It was awkward and my son turned to me and asked, “Can we please stop talking about this?” But we couldn’t. At least, I couldn’t. I had a disturbing conversation with a friend earlier in the day and I wanted to talk about it with my kids.

A friend told me about a 16-year-old who has been having sex with his girlfriend on a park bench almost every day.  She asked me what I thought about it.  I told her I thought it happens A LOT — especially during summer. But I also told my friend I think there is a case to be made for letting your teen have sex with his girlfriend or boyfriend in their bedroom.

Many years ago, I overheard a mother telling her friend that her daughter and her boyfriend had sex often in her daughter’s bedroom. Her friend seemed shocked. To be honest, I was kind of shocked, too. Maybe it was because my kids were young at the thought of  teen sex hadn’t really been something I had given much thought.

Now, I am thinking a lot about where teens should have sex.

Should teen sex happen the park, in a car, or at some other public venue?

If you haven’t heard the latest news story about teen sex, here’s what has the Internet  buzzing:  Four teenagers are facing charges of disorderly conduct by after they were accused of having sex on a Cape Cod beach on the Fourth of July as crowds looked on and shouted USA, according to news reports.

Oddly enough, I read about this situation right after a friend asked me whether she should buy condoms for her 16-year-old son.  She wasn’t sure if he was sexually active, but she thought he was at the age where she should have them available. Now, I know there are mixed feelings about providing protection and encouraging your teen to have sex, but personally I don’t want my teens to put themselves in a risky situation.

A few years ago, I walked into my neighborhood clubhouse and found a teen couple having sex on the couch. At the time, I thought: “At least they are inside where they are somewhat safe!”

I hate the idea of my kids having sex at random public places like beaches or parks, but I am realistic that this kind of teen behavior happens frequently.

Online comments on news sites about the two teen couples having sex on the Cape Cod beach are mixed. Some people believe the teens were just having fun and should have been left alone by the police. Others are horrified that the teens would be having sex on a public beach with families nearby.

While the teens didn’t exactly use good judgment, I don’t think they should have been arrested for disorderly conduct. A warning would have been enough.

So  the question I have for my fellow parents is this: What if you know your teen is sexually active? Should you make it easy and safe for them to have sex by allowing them privacy at your home? If not, are you taking a chance that your kid will be the one causing an incident on the beach on the Fourth of July?

Your teen is having sex. Do you accept it or deny it?

 

Talking to your teen about sex is never an easy conversation.  But here’s why it’s worth doing.  A 2016 review of more than three decades of research found that teenagers who communicated with their parents about sex used safer sexual practices.

So, does that mean parents should accept their teens want to have sex, and talk to them about engaging in it safely?  In today’s post, Cindy and Raquel answer the questions you may encounter as parents of teens.

Do we really need to accept our teens are having sex?

Cindy: While in high school, my teenager daughter told me her friend was having sex with her boyfriend. Her friend’s mother refused to take the girl to get birth control and told her daughter she didn’t think having sex in high school was appropriate. But the girl was having sex anyway. Behind her mother’s back. My daughter was concerned because her friend had told her the condom had broken during sex several times. My daughter’s friend asked her to go with to buy a pregnancy test.  When my daughter told me this story, my first reaction was “That’s just scary.”  It made me realize that if you don’t accept your teen is having sex with a boyfriend or girlfriend, you are fooling yourself.

Raquel: I agree that you need to accept it.  You may not like it.  But you can not be everywhere your teen is and you don’t want your teen to get pregnant . I would rather have the sex conversation than the pregnant conversation.  I think the best way to be parent is to  make sure your teen – girl or boy- is protected. If they have a boyfriend or girlfriend, chances are they are going to have  sex with or without your approval.

Do you just need to worry if you have a teen girl?

Raquel: I have a girl and a boy but being the mother of a boy scares me the most. You have no control over the teenage girl’s decision to keep a baby if she gets pregnant. Your son may not be ready or want to be a dad and the girl will make that decision for him whether he likes it or not. That’s what you need to tell him.

If you find out your teen is sexually active, do you let him or her have sex in your house? Would you rather they do it in the car, or at a park, or somewhere else?

Raquel: Of course you don’t want them to do that, but you also want them to be safe.  If they do have sex in my house, I would rather not know.

Cindy: I’m with you on that one Raquel.

Do you take your daughter to get birth control?

Raquel: Yes.  You need to build that trust. Some of the choices and decisions your daughter makes might not be one you would have made as a teenager, but it’s not about you. It’s about your teen and what’s best for her. If she asks you to take her to the doctor to get birth control, not bringing her does NOT mean your teen will not have sex. It just means she will have it without birth control.  You have to make a decision.

Cindy: I feel like teen girls should go on birth control their senior year of high school. They may not have sex until college or even after college, but at least you, the parent, can take her to get it and have a discussion about the responsibility that’s involved in being on the pill or some other form of birth control. It could also be a good time for the conversation about self respect.

Do you buy your son condoms?

Cindy: Yes. I bought a box and put it in the bathroom. I let my son know it was there. By the end of high school, all of his friends had used them. At least I knew they were all having safe sex.

If you learn your son or daughter is having sex on a regular basis with a love interest, do you let the parent of the other teen know ?

Raquel: No. It’s so personal. If the teen doesn’t want to share with his or her parent that’s his or her business. It’s that unspoken truth and you just don’t go there.  You don’t advertise it.

Cindy: Of course, that answer is much easier if you don’t have a relationship with the parent of the other teen. If it’s the son or daughter of a close friend, you will need to prod a little to find out what her or she has revealed.

You see a pregnancy test in the garbage. Do you ask your teen about it, or leave it alone?

Raquel:  I was in that situation and I did ask my daughter. It turned out it was a friend’s who didn’t want to do the test at her own home.  Whether or not that was true, I took that opportunity to tell my daughter to please make sure she doesn’t skip a day of her pill and I explained that being a teen mom wasn’t just a fun reality show.

When you have a conversation about the risks of sexual activity  — pregnancy, infection, the potential for heartbreak – do you also have a conversation about the rewards such as intimacy and love?

Cindy:  It’s easy to talk to teens about the risks. It’s much harder to talk to have a  conversation about why we are sexual beings, or how we express love. I once read that it’s better to have short meaningful conversations about sex and relationships over time than one big conversation they will brush off. I have tried to follow that advice. I think the most important thing is let your teen know they can talk about sex with you rather than being sneaky or hiding it.

Okay parents, we tackled some pretty awkward questions in this post. If you disagree with our answers or have your own take on these scenarios  please share, or send questions our way and we will do a follow up post.

Should a Teen Sleep Over a Boyfriend’s or Girlfriend’s House?

Nearly two years ago I (Raquel) wrote a blog that surprised me as it resulted in the largest response I had ever had. The topic? Should teens that are dating be allowed to sleep at each other’s house and have a boyfriend/girlfriend teen sleepover? This blog post resulted in almost 150 comments, from parents and teens!

I honestly can say I did not expect such a huge response. But I was so happy to touch upon a subject that clearly needed to be talked about. I sure hope I helped some parents and teens with this difficult conversation. Given the high level of interest in this, I thought it was worthy of sharing a Top 10 list from the interesting feedback I received from teens and parents.

Original post from March 2014

Is it okay for boyfriend/girlfriend to sleep over at each other’s house?

My daughter recently went over to her boyfriend’s house last Saturday night to hang out like she has done in the past. I fell asleep and realized she wasn’t home and it was past her curfew. I looked on my phone and found messages from her saying she is sleeping over at her girlfriend’s house.  I am a bit upset over the fact she didn’t ask permission and I know she is lying!

I asked her why she didn’t ask me prior to now and she said she fell asleep. More lies. I decided I would let her stay over her “girlfriend’s” house knowing very well she is probably at her boyfriend’s. I knew arguing at this time of night wasn’t going to get me anywhere so I said we would talk about this in the morning when she comes home.

Next morning comes around and like I suspected she stayed at her boyfriend’s house! I was extremely upset because we had this discussion before and I am totally against it, as is her father. She tells me that she doesn’t understand what the big deal is? “Lots of parents let their kids stay at their boyfriend’s house.”

I said, “Well, it’s not okay with this parent.” She said my reasoning did not help her understand why it was wrong or inappropriate because she found nothing wrong with it. They weren’t doing anything and they are 17.

How do I talk to a teen rationally about this? I am spitting nails and fuming. My daughter would not let go of the fact that there is nothing wrong with the sleepover and that it’s not wrong.

So, I am asking… Am I wrong? Do you allow your teen to sleep over at their boyfriend/girlfriend’s homes? Have times changed THAT much? I need someone to please help me understand this or at least help me make my daughter understand.

I did explain to her that sometimes in life, just because we don’t think it’s not inappropriate or wrong, doesn’t mean it isn’t. There isn’t always a logical reason.

That same day my husband called my daughter’s boyfriend’s dad and told him that she was not allowed to sleep over and unless he hears it from us, don’t believe it is okay with us.

I mean, really? These teens nowadays have found a way to basically make everything a battle. Sleepover with boyfriends? Yay or Nay?

Top 10 Things I Learned After Reading Feedback on My Original Post:

  1. Talk with your child not TO your child. Sometimes simple conversations can go a long way with building a relationship with your teen.
  2. Listen to your child. You may not agree with what they say but give them a chance to talk to you if you want the same courtesy back.
  3. Be realistic. Teens of today are not the same from when we were teens so because you did not do it does not mean they should not. Don’t have expectations that your teen may not live up to.
  4. Do not judge.  You are not a bad person and you will not be punished if you allow your son or daughter to sleep over at their boyfriend/girlfriend’s house.
  5. Teens are not sleeping over their boyfriend/girlfriend’s house for sex. They can have sex anytime. They just want to be able to relax the way they cannot at home.
  6. Teens need to respect and trust parents first! Parents want what is best for their teen and that may be not letting them “play house” at 17 or 18. So, until you are an adult and get your own place, parent’s house…parents rules.
  7. Communicate  and compromise. Consider compromising with your teens so they do not have to lie and go behind your back. Better to know where your teens are and that they are safe than to not know.
  8. Do not try to control your teen. Teens hate to feel controlled. They just want to be able to have some freedom.
  9. Trust your teen. If you have taught them about right from wrong and good from bad, then trust that your teen will make smart choices and will be honest with you on not about just sleeping over at their boyfriend/girlfriend’s house, but on bigger issues.
  10. Teach your kids values and respect. That is more important than controlling them or allowing them to be a part of a sleep over.

Talking to Your Son About Teen Sex

I have been talking to my youngest son, Garret, about wearing condoms when he has sex since he was in third grade. I know it sounds crazy to start so young, but when he came home from the Transformer movie talking more about Megan Fox than the plot of the movie, I knew I had to have the teen sex talk early. Because I have an older son, I gave them both the “always wear condoms”  sex talk at the same time. I explained that even if the girl says she has protection, unless they want to be a dad or contract a disease, they better not be silly and always wrap their willy to be safe.  They laughed and called me a crazy mom.

Now that Garret is in high school, I am having a different conversation with him about teen sex. It’s a conversation about emotions, actions and consequences.   I want him to know that sex can be a healthy way of expressing love in a good relationship. I also want him to know sex is more than a heat-of-the-moment action. Although he’s only 15, Garret tells me he has friends who are having sex, sometimes in their own homes, and usually without their parents knowing.

Even as I repeat my “wrap your willy” talk with him, there’s something I have to worry about in addition to diseases or pregnancy as a result of unsafe sex.  As soon as my son turns 18, sex can become a crime if there is an female involved who is under 18.  Let’s say Garret  turns 18 and has sex with a girl who is a year younger than him. In Florida, it’s considered illegal, even if the sex is consensual. The age of consent can vary among states, and some states differentiate between consensual sex between minors who are close in age (for example, two teenagers of the same age), as opposed to sex between a minor and a much older adult. But states some don’t.

It’s a scary thought that my son could run into legal issues for having sex with another teen who he might think legitimately wants to “hook up.”  If the girl’s parents find out she had sex, and she decides to say my son forced her into it, the penalties for him include prison.  So, already I’m giving Garret the lecture about how things change when he turns 18 and how he needs to know the risks. I’m also thinking about the advantages of legal insurance. ARAG  (a partner of RaisingTeens) offers legal insurance that works a lot like health insurance (but way more affordable). You can use it if your teen falls victim to identity theft, pulls a dumb prank that gets him into legal trouble, gets a traffic ticket, or needs legal help of any sort like in the situation I described involving sex. When your teen turns 18, a lot changes in the eyes of the law, and legal insurance gives you peace of mind because a lawyer is always available to help you navigate through any issues that arise with any family member.   I completely understand why 90 percent of people with ARAG legal insurance feel it reduces their stress.

As a mother of a teen girl, I’m glad the law protects minors who are forced into sex. But as a parent of boys, I worry about the gray area around teen sex, consent and the law.  Parents, what are you saying to your teen boys about sex?  Do you think it’s unrealistic to tell boys to stay away from younger girls once they turn 18?

 

 

Lose your virginity to a friend or boyfriend?

Recently my daughter Olivia and I had a conversation about sex and she happened to mention to me  that “it is better to lose your virginity to a friend than someone you care about and get your heart-broken.” She went on to tell me, “I know girls who lost their virginity to someone they care about or their boyfriend and they ended up getting their heart crushed. It’s not worth it. If you lose it to a friend you won’t get hurt.”  WHAT????

How do I even comprehend or answer that? I was speechless. I could NOT relate to that. I told her that it seemed very impersonal and cold when you are giving the most valuable thing you have to someone.

She responded: “Mom, are you kidding? This isn’t when you went to school and you had to be in love. No girl wants to do that and get hurt.” I told her,  “It seems like you are just having sex and not being intimate. I hope you are not just having sex all the time with friends.

She explained that teens are being cautious with their feelings and their body and they would rather give themselves to someone who won’t use or hurt them. I guess I have to respect the fact that they care enough about themselves not to just give  the sex away like a hug.

I am old-fashioned I know.  I told Olivia no matter what, never sacrifice your morals or the one thing she controls .. her self-respect!

This is  such a touchy subject to many parents, and you may choose not talk about it with your teen. But know that they are doing it, so being in denial does you no good.  Knowledge is power. I need my daughter to be able to talk to me about anything so she won’t turn to someone else when she needs someone to talk to about things.

I didn’t like talking about this subject with my daughter. It was awkward and uncomfortable, but  at least I now know how she thinks about sex and that she does care about her self respect — even if it’s not in the fashion my generation would have done it.

So parents, I am interested in your thoughts on this. I am curious if your teen has shared the same views.  Have you talked with your teen about his or her thoughts on first time sexual experiences?

 

How do you know if your teen is having sex?

I have often wondered with the way teenage girls are now a days- trying to be cool, trying to impress the boys, trying to be popular and older than they really are. They are  dressing provocatively and of course they think they know  more than anybody else. Then, there’s the issue of what age they having sex.

I know girls in my generation, Generation X , were having sex much later. But, I get a feeling  this Generation Y girls are having sex in middle school? I say that because my daughter told me that girls she knew were having sex in middle school. I was shocked and yet not surprised. I was also saddened by the fact that these young girls have allowed their virginity to be given to a boy like it was nothing. There are no filters any more whether it is TV, the internet, magazines etc. It’s as if sex is expected at a young age. What has happened to Generation Y? Sex in middle school really?

I know my Generation, Generation X, wasnt so casual with sex or taking pictures or videos and posting them as teens today are because we didn’t have all this technology. By why do we allow technology  to dictate morals and self-respect?

Does Generation X realize what their children in Generation Y are doing? Is it just easier to look the other way and chalk it up to being a teen? When do we step in and say ENOUGH? When do we take back technology’s way of taking away our privacy, our morals and self-respect and start raising our kids and teaching values?

I know its easy to blame technology but on the other hand, being a parent is also A LOT HARDER today than our parents had it. I know my mother says she could never raise a teenager now — too hard, she says. She sees how I struggle with my teen daughter. But,  I have to come to terms that I have to accept how Generation Y and soon  Generation Z  teen culture has become when it comes to sex.

I may not like it or approve but, by God, I will be involved in my children’s lives every step of the way. If that means having to get birth control pills or condoms, so be it. I may not condone it but I also am not stupid and have to realize safety first. Teens will go behind your back, so why not make sure they are prepared? Sticking your head in the sand and pretending it’s not happening doesn’t mean it isn’t. It SUCKS being a parent of a teen at times! It’s hard, frustrating and mentally draining but I know the reward at the end will be worth all the struggle.

So, how do we know if our teen is having sex? We don’t unless we get involved in his or her life. Again, I am appalled at the fact that teens are having sex in middle school, but I do know the only thing I can do is talk to my  daughter and soon-to-be teen son and educate them. I can try to help them understand that sex in middle school is just too young and not appropriate.

Will they listen? Maybe, Maybe not but,the key is to build that relationship with them and to be involved in their lives.

 

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