Teens and Sex, A Reality Based Approach

Teens and sex are always a tough topic, but even more so nowadays. Kids are mostly all either having sex, or they are exposed to sexual content constantly through electronic media and many of us just want to avoid the issue because we feel torn between being “open” and unsure how to teach our kid’s boundaries in this day and age.

Teaching Teens the Reality of Sex

Most parents feel they have done their duty in parenting kids around sex by explaining the birds and the bees, and giving them a copy of “Our Bodies, Our Selves” or passing them a box of condoms. But how we parent our kids with regards to all things intimate matters more than most of us want to acknowledge. “Sex Ed” in school is focused on risk avoidance rather than teaching about the positive aspects of being sexual.  Our goal is to keep our kids from bad things like STIs or unwanted pregnancy.  But we don’t teach young people how to decide when to have sex or really much about what to expect when they are having it. What’s normal, what’s not and when should you talk to someone like a parent or mentor. So instead they learn from the media where women are similar to cats in heat and men use porn perfect women like blow up dolls. This lack of teaching the reality of sex can lead young people to feel inadequate before they even start their adult lives. Many girls don’t really understand and aren’t taught basic anatomy of the clitoris, how their body lubricates for sex and why unaroused sex or over stimulation of the clit (by a clumsy partner or super tight jeans) causes pain rather than pleasure. Boys can develop a self narrative of “poor libido” if they don’t want to have sex multiples times every night or can’t stay erect for half an hour.

I guess because of my profession, a lot of kids have felt pretty open talking to me about this aspect of their lives, and what I hear repeatedly is “pressure."

Pressure to put out, get it up, and get it on. Too often parents are a non-presence in these kids' lives with regards to how they make decisions about sex. I understand the dilemma, you don’t want to encourage your kids to have sex, but not talking about your experiences and how you navigated peer pressure around sex isn’t the right way to handle things…be sure even if you aren’t talking about it, their world is – constantly. And many of you who assume your kids aren’t having sex are wrong… I know because I hear a lot “My parents don’t have a clue, but...”

What Kids Are Up To

To start an honest conversation, let’s be honest and open about what kids are up to. In 1994, Jocelyn Elders the American Surgeon General was forced to resign because of her support for a public discussion of masturbation in Sex Ed classes as a means to prevent STIs, HIV and unwanted pregnancies. I am thinking she probably had the right approach.

Most boys begin masturbating between the ages of 12 and 15.

Therefore, boys know what an orgasm feels like as young teenagers. They have explored their own bodies, and know what gives them pleasure and how to orgasm as a natural progression following arousal. They know how much pressure to apply when, and what rhythm feels right far before they engage in intercourse with another person. It is not healthy when parents, and it is usually Moms, make a fuss, or joke/complain about “spuggies” on the sheets, headboard, pillows etc..  Really, you can’t wash up a little cum without embarrassing your son? If it is really troublesome, buy him a box of tissue and a small trash can for near his bed, or keep some washcloths stocked consistently in his bedside table drawer, he’ll figure out what they are for. It ain’t no thing, and making him feel self conscious or shamed so he won’t talk to you about sex is not where you want to go.

In contrast to boys who teach themselves what turns them on, many “girls learn about their sexuality through boys.”

Most girls experience strong arousal for the first time in a heterosexual dating experience. Because many women do not readily orgasm during penile-vaginal intercourse, girls are therefore much less likely to have had an early sexual experience in which orgasm occurs easily following arousal.

Benefits of Teen Self Exploration

In general, girls go through much less self exploration in their teens and have less of a sense of who they are sexually by the time they begin partnered intimacy. I remember one of our sons sharing how girls in his Sophomore English class were trying to decide if they had ever orgasmed before, and asking the boys how they knew that they had. “Girl, if you are asking you have not,“ the guys all thought in embarrassed silence. Lessons learned during teen female masturbation can carry forward into adulthood. Women with a history of masturbation and orgasmic response, in activities other than penile-vaginal intercourse, feel significantly more entitled (in a healthy way) and better able to achieve sexual pleasure during their adult years. They understand their bodies better in contrast to many girls who are not taught how to pursue their sexual autonomy.

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