Telling your kids how you lost your virginity should not be part of sex ed

Dec 26, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. ET
Image: Tetra Images/Brand X Pictures/Getty

I would bet my firstborn child that your kids don't want to ever hear how you lost your virginity. Ever, ever, ever. But some moms think that TMI is the way to go to promote sex positivity and open communication. Parent oversharing of sordid sexcapades has one predictable outcome: Promoting abstinence through reverse psychology.

Having the sex talk with your kids is intimidating for a reason. There are so, so many ways that you can do it wrong. You can approach your kids with the same religious attitude that cloaked my upbringing: Never, ever have sex. Ever. (Did I say ever?) Sex is shameful and bad outside of marriage. It is a sin, and you will always feel guilty for giving away your precious virginity flower.

Spoiler alert: This is a terrible way to raise your kids. I know that both of my parents probably didn't know any better — they shared the same beliefs spread within our fundamental Christian community. I did remain a virgin for a very, very long time, until I moved in with my now-husband at the age of 24.

This shame and taboo surrounding sex was incredibly detrimental to me. It took a long time to get rid of the sex guilt, even in a committed relationship. Now I have flip-flopped my views completely, though I am still a Christian. I think that sex is positive and healthy. It should be celebrated among responsible adults. I'm not excited to think about my toddlers turning into hormone-crazed teenagers, but I would rather them have a positive sex experience than associate it with guilt.

There are other parents who feel this way and try to raise their kids with a sex-positive message. But as the old saying goes, you can have too much of a good thing. One post was written by a woman with an upbringing similar to my own. She says that her parents never talked to her about sex. She vows to tell her children every last detail about her sex life, including how she lost her virginity, when they are old enough to handle it.

Gulp. I think this woman's heart is in the right place, but her execution sounds terrible. Many of the commenters agree that taking a TMI approach to sex is totally ass-backward and will do nothing but scare your kids away from it altogether. In translation, extreme TMI sex-positive parenting could turn your kids into prudes.

To bring it full circle, there is a silver lining. While I personally will not be pushing the abstinence agenda, there is one way to keep your teens from getting busy: Tell them way too much about your sex life and ruin sexy time forever.

More on parenting

Is childbirth painful for newborns?
Ways to help your child move past a poor test score
Terrible Teens: My daughter has an unusual eating disorder