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?