Throughout my entire life, my parents have always been soooo uncomfortable around having “the talk.” I don’t know who dreaded it more. Me or my parents. To this day, if we are watching a movie together as a family and a kissing scene comes on, my parents will be scrambling to find the remote to fast forward it. Mind you, I am 20 years old, I don’t know what they are trying to protect me from at this point. I guess in their minds I will always be a little girl. It is also a cultural thing too. My parents are immigrants and we are also pretty religious. My parents never dated, they had an arranged marriage. They of course love each other but I swear I have never seen them kiss each other on the lips, ever. All in all, they are pretty uncomfortable around the topic of sex.
When I was in middle school, my parents never really gave me “the talk.” Instead my mother took me for a seminar at the local university where another woman gave “the talk” to moms and their daughters who also did not want to have “the talk.” This talk gave me zero information by the way. Everything I have learned regarding sexual health education has actually been from friends who learn from their parents or their older siblings. I think my parents also assumed that the public school system would teach me everything that I needed to know, but boy were they wrong. The truth is, there are very few adults who are actually comfortable with having these discussions with their kids. I think it’s because of the Puritanical society we live in today that shames sex but also makes sex omnipresent. Sex, romance, and alluding to sex are ubiquitious in all types of media. While we never actually have healthy discussions about it with adolescents, they learn about it from the wrong sources. When adolescents learn about sex from the wrong sources, such as other uneducated friends, porn, media, etc., this affects their future relationships and interactions with others. When they don’t learn about consent, then thats what leads to sexual assault. We teach our daughters to dress modestly and be careful so that they don’t get preyed upon but we don’t teach our sons to respect women and to value consent.
To this day, I just wish my parents were the one to initiate a conversation about this topic. Perhaps then when I became sexually active it wouldn’t have been so difficult for me to figure out how to get birth control. In school they tell you which forms of birth control to use but they don’t exactly tell you how to access it. One of my friends has been secretly getting birth control from Planned Parenthood for 4 years. Why must we dance around this topic? It’s a topic that affects literally everyone on this planet. Anyway, everytime I tried to bring up the conversation about birth control with my mom she would literally say “ahhhh lets not talk about this…” I had to actually say “do you want me to get pregnant?” in order for her to actually think logically and have this discussion with me. Parents want the best for us, I truly believe that. But I also think that sometimes awkwardness and a desire for us to never grow up prevents them from seeing and thinking clearly about the fact that their children are one day going to grow up and they need to be treated like adults so that they may lead independent and healthy lives.