Teen sex: It's normal not naughty

Last updated 05:01 15/03/2013
TEEN SEX: Genevieve Dickson says discussions should be open on it.

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As a former teenager, with roughly equal years between my first sexual experiences and popping out future teenagers of my own, I can honestly say that I have no regrets about cherry-popping at 16, under my boyfriend's parents' roof, and would be entirely happy with my daughter to do it in a similar fashion.

All too often, the narrative of teen sex focuses on horny, heartless boys plundering innocent, lovestruck, emotionally needy girls for the prize of sex. Or girls who see gyrating bikini-clad dancers in music videos, hear a few choice suggestive lyrics, and suddenly decide sex is their key to being grown-up, sophisticated and sexy.

Although I don't doubt that this is the case for an unfortunate few, for myself and almost all those I've touched on the topic with, this was far from the truth. In fact it's a pretty degrading and damaging frame for talking about teen sex.

Although my parents never discussed the matter of not having it with me before I had it, I'm sure I would have listened to their thoughts on abstaining, had a think about it, and consequently dismissed them. At 16 I believed (and still believe) I was equipped for what I was doing. I was fastidious about being safe, I was secure in my relationship, and I was happy with my values and decision (whilst aware that other people had their own views, and that's fine too).

I believe teens, especially girls, should be empowered about their sexuality, rather than made to feel dirty, shameful, or guilty about sex, at any age or stage. If my daughter feels completely ready to have sex, is informed about the consequences and is using protection, then all power to her.

I would be much happier knowing that this was happening under my roof/her boyfriend's parents' roof, than at a drunken party, or in a public space, or some other situation where safe decisions could be compromised. I hope she will be able to discuss her decision with me, but again, I can only hope. At the end of the day, it is her decision, not mine; all I can do is instill in her a strong sense of self-worth and confidence to make her own choices.

At some stage, parents have to accept the fact their teenagers are not young children, they are morphing into adults, and as such, it's natural for them to be curious about, and explore adult activity. I'm not saying they should throw contraception at their teenagers and tell them to explore the sexual world to their heart's content, but surely providing a environment where sex is up for discussion, and being realistic about the fact that teenagers are unlikely to abstain purely to please their parents, is a starting point to empower teens to make good decisions.

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