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Why I’ll Be the Mom Handing out Condoms

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

My sex life has always been an off-limits conversation topic. I grew up in a household where any mentioning of myself and the word “sex” in the same sentence led to an abrupt “shhh…” and a stern finger over a disapproving mouth. There were no ifs, ands, or buts about it, I was never to discuss sex in my family home. As my far as my parents were concerned, I was still a virgin (though they knew better). Sex was a “don’t ask, don’t tell” sort of situation, and perhaps this was the relationship I should have expected between child and parent. However, part of me still craved a sexual guide—someone to tell me what to do, what not to do, someone to tell me the who, what, where, when, and why. Most of my friends and my classmates were as clueless as I was, asking them for the answers to my questions would simply be a blind-leading-the-blind scenario.

So, in turn, I remained sexually oblivious for longer than I ever wanted to be, for longer than I ever wanted to admit. And no matter how many years passed, I truly did not understand my parents’ resistance to sexually educating me. Both my mom and dad were sexually active prior to marriage, but I suppose their belief in God, and their religious standards overpowered their urge to be a part of my sexual education. I never got the “talk” most pre-teens dread. No one ever told me how or when to use a condom, what birth control methods I had access to, nor did they tell me about the success rates of these contraceptives. I was left in the sexual dark.

Despite my ignorance being relieved in recent years, with much trial and error, and a few pregnancy scares, I still failed in my attempts to bring my parents into the conversation of important sexual topics. To this day, as a twenty-year-old woman, I cannot mention my birth control pills in front of my father. I cannot discuss experiences in a sexual context. I cannot consult the two people closest to me with the questions they left unanswered. I, instead, am forced to attempt to thrive in an environment where my long-term boyfriend and I are not allowed to be in rooms with closed doors. I must face the disapproving looks each and every time I write an article about sex, use the words “condom” or “masturbation” in casual conversation, or make a sexually-crude joke.

While I cannot blame my parents entirely for their resistance to my sexuality, as they are my parents and grew up in a much different time, I still believe it is an issue we must address. If children do not comfortable asking their parents about birth control, sexual health, and the intimacies of sex, where will they get this information? Google? Porn? Their sexually misguided peers? Won’t this only continue a vicious cycle of sexually unaware teenagers in the US, getting knocked up at sixteen because no ever taught them how to put on a condom, or where to get birth control? Are we willing to put our children at risk for teen pregnancy and STIs simply because we cannot imagine our children in a sexual light? Because we’re too uncomfortable to do what needs to be done, what needs to be said?

Luckily, I have dodged the bullet of teen motherhood, only because I took the initiative to educate myself as extensively as I could, on all possible sexual matters. However, many people like me will not be as lucky as I was. Their sexual ignorance might lead to lifelong STD’s, unwanted children, trauma from abortion, and many other irreversible psychological and physical effects. With that in mind, I can say with a great amount confidence, that if I am to have children, I will be that mom that gives her teenagers condoms when they start high school. I will be the mom that uses the term “blow-job” and lets her kids’ boyfriends and girlfriends sleep over. Hell, I might even be the mom who buys their daughter a vibrator, so that she knows her sexuality belongs to HER, and not to a man. This is not because I will be a bad parent, but simply because I don’t want my children growing up to be ashamed of their sexuality, like I was raised to be.

Call me crazy, call me a slut, call me over-sexual, call me stupid, I don’t care. I know that our prevalent abstinence-only sex education here in the U.S. is far from successful, and I am willing to do anything to change it. If our schools won’t give my future children comprehensive sexual education, then I will. And I won’t be ashamed of it. I want my kids to know that sex is a beautiful thing. Sex is not something that defines them. Sex is not something that corrupts them. Though sex is a very big responsibility, sex is not something to be avoided, to be slandered, simply because it’s a risk. Skydiving is a risk. Taking on a new job is a risk. Life itself is a risk, doesn’t mean we stop living it—we just learn how to protect ourselves to the best of our ability. Sex should be treated no differently. 

Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor