Last night, my 16-year-old son told me he had sex in the back of my minivan.
We’re a very open family, and have always talked about sex with our kids. Recently, my son joked with us about not being a virgin any longer, but I didn’t take him seriously. Last night, he told me the truth. That he’s really done it.
“For real, real?” I asked him.
“For real,” he said.
“With who?” I asked.
He told me. It wasn’t someone he had been in love with. I took a breath. It was dark in his room, and I was glad for the cover of darkness because I didn’t want him to see my reaction, and I didn’t want to look him in the eye. He told me he wasn’t stupid and he used condoms. That, of course, was one of my main concerns.
I kept breathing. I wanted to do the right thing. I wanted to say the right things.
“You have condoms?”
We continued the conversation, openly and honestly. He answered all the questions I asked him, and I asked him a lot of questions. It was a great conversation and I’m proud that he took the initiative to be able to talk with me. I was still kind of disappointed that he didn’t wait for the first time to be with someone he really, really cared about, and I’m concerned that if he can do this, what else could he do? But then I thought, hey, he told me. Do other 16-year-old kids tell their moms?
I told him how his dad and I both dealt with HPV after we graduated from college but back then we didn’t really know what it was all about. I had a weird Pap smear, and then had to get cryosurgery. No one explained it well enough to me. I need to make sure he knows everything, all the dangers of teen sex, including pregnancy and STDs. Also the emotional ties that come with being in a sexual relationship.
I realize my kids are not going to have sex with only people they love. I didn’t. I don’t expect them to. I really want them to know how dangerous it can be though. All my children need to know the importance of safe sex.
There are so many things to worry about while being a parent, and I really thought I had a year or two before I had to add sexual activity to the list. I know this is not the end of this conversation, and despite it all, I’m glad my son knows he can come to me if he needs to talk about anything.
How open are you with sexual conversations with your teens? How would you have handled it if your teenager admitted to you that he or she had had sex?
More on teens and sex
Abstinence only sex education is a joke
Teen sexting: What parents can do
Morning-after pill: Should teens carry one?