Thursday, October 25, 2012

The White Flag

One of the recurring themes in this blog and in my lifetime of reading advice columns has been the urging of teens not to have sex. I'm not sure at what point it becomes "go for it"--18? Freshman in college? Dr. Wallace of Tween Twelve and Twenty (who often gives fairly good dating and parent-handling advice) perennially posts a column that goes something like this:

LW1: I had/am having/plan to have teen sex and the sky has not fallen. What's the big deal?

DR. WALLACE: A lot of girls disagree with you! Read on...

LWS 2-8: I had teen sex and from that moment on, my boyfriend stopped wanting to go out to drive-in or the soda shoppe, he just wanted to stay in and have more sex! Later, he dumped me! Girls, do NOT have sex! Obviously that is the moral and not that I was dating a jerk or that teen relationships end.

I've gotten used to ignoring this because it will never go away, but October 2's Ask Amy couldn't be ignored for sheer (1) needless badgering (Amy lists several panic-emergency procedures to mitigate the inevitable STD/baby damage of the teen sex even though the LW stated that both participants were virgins and used protection) and (2) acceptance of an entirely foolhardy premise.
DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for a little over a year. We are both teenagers and above the age of consent in our state (I am 16). We are in love. We had a couple of serious conversations about sex, and we decided to go ahead.

It was the first time for both of us and was special. We were safe and responsible, and neither of us has any regrets. However, my parents do not know that we are sexually active, and they do not seem to trust me to be safe and responsible about my decisions.

I worry that if they found out the degree to which we are intimate, they would force us to break up. I would like to be able to talk to them about this, but I have no idea how to broach the subject. Please tell me how I can talk to them.
Amy's response:
DEAR ANONYMOUS: You should go to your physician or to Planned Parenthood for a checkup and STD and birth control counseling. If you and your guy are unable to face this task together, then you should not be in a sexual relationship. Check or call 800-230-PLAN (7526) for a local clinic.

The reason your parents might not trust you is because they were your age once and they know how momentous this choice is -- and how physically and emotionally vulnerable you both are. Your parents have the utmost stake in your emotional and physical health.

Your desire to talk to your folks about this tells me that you have a good relationship and simply want to be honest with them. Share this first with the parent you are closer to, but remember this: Your honesty will also inspire their honest reaction.

They may be upset. But if they are thoughtful, they will appreciate the opportunity to talk it through with you. (Your boyfriend should also talk to his parents.) The Planned Parenthood website also has resources for parents.

Lulu: Wrong! Correct answer: DON'T. Why, why, why, why, why, why would you tell them? Do you want them to tell you about their sex life?? If you cannot speak to your parents without omitting the personal, none-of-their-business details of your life, then you shouldn't be in a sexual relationship. Check for advice on how to lie.

Ashley: I have actually decided to wave the white flag of stupidity. If you WANT to talk to your parents about sex, then you can accept the consequences.

Lulu: It's like asking, How can I safely lop my own head off?

Ashley: If you are asking you are already beyond saving.