Many of us tend to think about sex in one of two ways:
(1) as a shameful act our kids should avoid at all costs, so we try desperately to avoid openly discussing it with them; or
(2) as a shameful act we have no choice but to discuss because the kids know about eggplant emojis, so we awkwardly have “the talk” that for the most part focuses on abstinence or protection, and absolutely nothing else.
Yes, the latter is required, positive parenting – it’s extremely important to talk about safe sex and contraceptives as any parent would and always has – but framing it as something shameful? Surely that’s something we can let go of?
Also read: Trying to talk to your teen about sex? This is why you’re getting it wrong
NBC News anchor and mom of four, Maria Shriver, recently shared her views on the topic and revealed how she spoke to her 20-year-old daughters about sex, and honestly, it’s quite refreshing and liberating to hear.
“I said, 'Enjoy sex, enjoy your femininity… It’s a sacred act, but have fun with it, and enjoy your body. Enjoy being a woman.’"
She explained that back in the day, if you went to Catholic school, you were “guilted and shamed about sex” and you tried to never ever talk about it, and definitely not with your parents. “You thought you were going to hell if you had it,” she said.
Maria says it made sex look really negative and bad, obviously, even though it’s not. In fact, “it’s a beautiful thing,” she says.
Also read: ‘My daughter is empowered by the knowledge'
So here’s the advice she gave her daughters, and 3 refreshing points we could probably all add to the safety speech:
“It’s something to enjoy,
it’s something to do with somebody that you love and care about,
and don’t have any shame about it.”
How did you approach the talk with your teen? Is it different to the way your parents spoke to you growing up? Tell us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we may publish your comments.