By Caron C. Andrews
There are conflicting messages about sex everywhere we look: that it’s good, that it’s bad, that everyone is doing it, that it’s important to save it for marriage. There are countless ways pop culture reduces it to unemotional, un-relational entertainment. There’s also plenty of information about how amazing and life-enhancing it can be. As a teenage girl navigating her way through the muddle, there are specific things I want my daughter to know about love and sex.
1. It’s not about how your body looks. Sexual desire and pleasure are more deeply rooted in our emotions than in the “sexiness” of your body or your partner’s.
2. You can’t do it “wrong.” If you and your partner share honestly and in ways that are pleasurable to each of you, your technique (or lack thereof!) can’t be wrong.
3. For as good as it can be, it can be that bad under the wrong circumstances or with the wrong person. It can be devastating emotionally and physically. Choose wisely.
4. It’s not a game or a bargaining chip. In a caring relationship, sex is not something to hold ransom until you get your way, nor is it something to treat casually as a game. It’s deeply emotional and connecting.
5. It’s intensely personal and private. Your unique sex life with your partner is an amazing part of who you are as a couple and shouldn’t be shared in depth with anyone else. Keeping it private keeps it special and personal.
6. It’s okay to say no, even after you have established a sexual relationship. There will be times when one or the other of you doesn’t want to have sex for any number of reasons. You never have to have sex if you don’t want to, no matter how many times you have previously. And you don’t have to have it even if you are in a committed relationship.
7. You can tell your partner what you want … and what you don’t want. Your partner can’t read your mind, so you need to let him know.
8. It can tap into your deepest emotions. Having sex is by its very nature the unification of not only bodies, but souls. It can touch your deepest feelings of joy and love.
9. Keep a sense of humor. Sex can be funny and awkward—and fun. You may fumble at it. Being able to laugh together can ease the tension and make it fun.
10. Enjoying and desiring sex does not make you a “whore” or a “slut.” Women’s sex drives can be very high. Sex is meant to feel good and be shared, and loving it is a perfectly natural part of being a woman.
11. Sex does not always equal love. My hope for you is that you will only experience sex with love, but don’t make the mistake of assuming that because a guy wants to have sex with you, he loves you. Many people, especially males, are able to separate physical pleasure from emotional connection.
12. One of the most unifying and bonding things about sex is mutual giving. When you are having sex out of love for each other, it is as satisfying to give as to receive pleasure in the ways that each of you likes.
13. You don’t have to have sex until you are completely ready and sure that you want to, no matter what age that may be. You may feel pressure to have sex by a certain age, but much more important is to have it under the right circumstances for you.
14. Your sexual choices may be among the most important and influential of your life. Emotional, health, and life-changing consequences can remain with your for the rest of your life, whether it be regret and shame, a sexually transmitted disease, or an unplanned pregnancy.
15. Your worth as a person is not tied up in your sexuality. Regardless of your sex drive, sexual interests, or sexual ability, you are a valuable person, worthy of dignity, respect, and love.
I hope that when the time is right, sex will be an amazing and fulfilling part of my daughter’s life. I hope that she will take these things to heart and understand that sex is an incredible gift.
Coming Soon: 15 Things I Want My Son to Know About Love and Sex