Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sluts, STIs and Other Myths That Harm Our Children

I just saw a trailer on fb for a movie in production to spread awareness about the possible side-effects of Gardasil vaccine. I thought it was a great idea and I scrolled down to see the comments. There was one idea shared in particular that always seems to get my sensible yet sexy cotton knickers in a knot. "Lets teach our children to stop acting like animals and having sex with everyone who comes along and be responsible for these types of life altering decisions" Though I do agree with this commenter that we need to teach our children to be responsible for their decisions. One must ask what sort of impression does one leave on their child about the spread of STIs. If that talk begins with the idea that STIs are spread by acting like animals and having sex with everyone who comes along. Then they may think: "Well, I'm not having sex with everyone, I'm having sex with my boyfriend who I've been with for a year and he's only been with one other person once, so I know he's clean. I'm getting on the pill, so I won't get pregnant" It only takes 1 time for an STI to spread. It's not like you get 1/10th of an STI per sexual partner. Then say this child starts having symptoms of an STI, is she going to go to her mother and talk about it? Or is she going to be too full of shame knowing that her mother thinks that only people who have sex with everyone contract STIs?
Also people WE ARE ANIMALS. Though society currently frowns upon teenage sex, evolution has not yet caught up to our social sensibilities and still floods our bodies with hormones that make us want to pro-create in our teen years. We cannot suppress our children's hormones.
We can guilt them into not having sex...nope that hasn't worked. We can threaten them with eternal damnation...still not working. We can lock them up in their rooms until they are 20...illegal. Like it or not your child is highly likely to have sex as a teenager, even have more than one partner. Accept it and prepare now. Prepare by treating your child's body with respect, so that s/he will learn it is worthy of respect. Have open conversations about sexual attraction, that it is normal not shameful to want sex as a teenager. Talk about repercussions and I don't mean that "bad reputation" thing (many a virgin in my high school was labelled a slut after dating the guy every other girl wanted). The whole "other people will think badly of you" is just another guilt tactic and gives permission for your child to judge and thus feel judged by his/her peers. The most important thing you can do to protect your child from STIs, and unwanted pregnancy is to talk openly about sex, pregnancy, STIs and precautions as well as raise them in an environment that promotes confidence and individual thought.