When I was growing up, my parents never sat me down and talked to me about “the birds and the bees”, how babies are made, or even safe sex. I was never lectured about “preserving my virtue” or about being careful. To be honest, I don’t ever remember a time when my parents even mentioned the possibility of me engaging in any sexual activity.
Part of this, I’m sure, was because I never had an official boyfriend so my parents didn’t think it was a necessity… however, we eventually had a blush- and cringe-worthy incident when, after upgrading my phone, my father’s and my Apple ID’s synced together. He began receiving my texts about a night of kinky sex with my FWB… while we were in the car together. It made the hour we had left in my ride back to college painfully awkward.
The next day, both of my parents gave me the courtesy phone call to give me advice. Of course, it was awkward. Of course, I wanted to leave the conversation. And to be honest, I might not have agreed with everything they said to me about sex. But, despite this, there’s a lot one can draw from this experience… mainly, how to respond to “the talk” when you’re a college-aged, full-grown adult.
You might not agree with their opinions. You might feel like they don’t have a positive view of your current sexual situation, or that they’re judging something they know nothing about. But they are also your parents, and they’re probably having this talk with you because they care. You might be upset and heavily disagree with the advice they’re giving you, but they don’t mean to offend you. They just want to protect you. My mother told me, “don’t be so slutty if you want to attract a nice boy” and my father said, “start keeping your personal life to yourself and expecting more from boys so they expect more from you.” Yeah, I definitely felt like my parents were trying to pass a judgment on me, and the fact that I was having sex with a FWB instead of a boyfriend. But I didn’t become angry and start protesting the merits of my lifestyle. Instead, I thanked them for the advice and moved on, knowing that I am confident in my own lifestyle and choices – and that I am keeping myself safe and respected to my personal standards.
Probably not the best response to your parents…
Whether you are 6 or 36, you are always going to be your mom and dad’s little girl. Sure, you might’ve grown up, moved out, and be financially independent – but they still feel like they have to take care you. Especially if you are still a young, single, college-aged woman, your parents are going to want to keep you safe (in their minds). Understand where they’re coming from, and you’ll get so much more out of “the talk”. It’s not going to be easy. I felt massive outrage when my father told me to “respect myself” and my mother told me to “find nicer guys”. But I also understood that they didn’t want to see their little baby hurt, and that they’re just trying to do the best they can to impart their wisdom onto me.
Yeah, it’s awkward. No one really wants to talk about sex with their parents. Everyone (myself included) wants to pretend that they’re the product of the immaculate conception. Odds are, by the time you’re in college, you’ve probably accidentally found your mom’s lingerie or sex toys, heard or even walked in on your parents, or maybe even heard about how your dad actually suffered his heart attack while having sex… yeah, that was an awkward day. But you’re an adult and they’re adults and the sooner you come to accept that, the less awkward it is.
We all want our parents to respect and understand our choice to have sex and the maturity behind that choice. So, if you’re giggling and going “OMG Dad stop this is soOoOoOooo awkward STAHHHHP!”, your parents probably aren’t going to think you’re mature and can make your own choices about sex. So, the lecture’s going to go longer. But if you’re calm and collected, even as you’re dying inside, your maturity level in your parents’ eyes goes up exponentially.
So, what if the talk doesn’t go so well? What if your parents go into a rage about how you’re disrespecting them and how you’re not mature enough to have sex even though you consider yourself a grown ass woman? The above rules still apply. Be respectful, understand their point of view, and don’t be immature and crazy awkward. But don’t be afraid to disagree. Don’t be afraid to say, “Mom, Dad, I understand your point of view and where you’re coming from, and I appreciate that you’re trying to help me make safe choices. But I am in control of my choices and I am being safe.” The calmer you are, the more maturely you react, the more likely they may be to calm down. And they might not. They might still be very upset or disappointed or even angry. They might threaten to take away whatever you still rely on them for, be it money, college tuition, or housing. But I can assure you of this, the calmer you react, the sooner the incident will be forgotten.
My only disclaimer is that everyone’s parents are incredibly different. For this article, I drew from my own talk with my own parents as well as my friends’ recent sex talks with their parents. This article was based on a combination of our parent, their reactions, what we expected compared to what occurred, and how we responded. There are going to be outliers. There are going to be parents who completely lose their minds and will never speak to you. There are going to be parents who just want to discuss your favorite positions and offer you juicy sex tips. But, this is a general guide to calm the storm of the situation and help to maintain a healthy relationship with their parents even as you become a grown and sexually active girl. Good luck!