Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My probable advice to my children about sex

"Please at least wait until you are in college (and there's no need to rush when you get there) and always use a condom."

Any real gems out there? I mean for real advice that is actually likely to be taken as opposed to the pointless holier-than-thou moralizing that many parents (and others) do to children that is more of the variety of "do as I say not as I do (or did)".

I don't recall getting any specific advice on the subject from my parents, though I do recall my older sister telling me, after I graduated high school (and perhaps before that) to "use a condom" and she even gave me a box of them, which then sat unused for years (and not because I was having unprotected sex). I guess that, at least, worked, because when I did become sexually active, I did use condoms. And so there were no unplanned pregnancies and no STDs, either. (Which I found out for sure after, in a bout of paranoia, I got tested for basically everything - in fact, I think that's what I told the doctor - "just test me for everything." The only bad part was they had to take a good bit of blood for that, and I nearly passed out.) Soon after, I got married, though I did not know I was going to soon be married at that time.

So, what are the gems of advice to give? I'm tempted to throw in also, with my own kids, the notion that one can have sex without having intercourse, and to do that safely as well. As in hands (yours or a partners) that can satisfy the urge without having to do the act. But then I probably wouldn't want anything that detailed from my parents, so I don't think I'll inflict that on my own kids.

I am now reminded of that commercial where the (pre-teen) kid comes into the house and sees his dad there with a huge table and chart set up all about sex, reproduction, and everything else, and he tells his son that he's all ready to have a conversation with him about sex and then you see the kid with wide eyes, ready to run for cover, until the dad says "... or we could talk about drugs" and the kid says, relieved, "yeah, let's talk about drugs." I don't know the relative merits of that sort of tactic, but I found the commercial hilarious every time I saw it. (For drugs, I'll tell my kids that it is stupid that they are illegal, but that it can ruin your life to get caught doing them or to test positive for them, so stupid though it may be, that's what we are stuck with, so best not to mess with them - and then also point out that some probably do have some rather bad side effects, but that even those that don't still can ruin your life because of the stupid stigma, so just go have sex instead (but with a condom!))

Oh boy.

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