Updated: Jun 11
I’ve written a good bit making it clear that I believe parents and other adults should view recreational teen sex as normal and should take the position that it can be healthy for the participants.
However, I say "can be", because there are pitfalls that can be deadly serious. As sex-positive parents and adults it is imperative that we do not abandon our expected mentoring role in the area of sexuality. So, I am offering these guidelines for teens (but most of it applies to adults as well).
Since I am obligated to say my blog isn’t targeting underage people, I put this out as a professional for parents and other adults to pass on.
However, the truth is that everything I write is with the awareness that teenagers, even very young teenagers, are searching the web for truth about sexuality. This site is exactly the kind of place they should be looking. Nothing, and I mean nothing here is bad for teens and, if I could, I would have a million teenagers reading it. Certainly, better this site than 99% of what teens will find on the web as they look for help in negotiating their lives.
So here goes Dr. T’s “rules” for teens regarding sex.
Your Body is Yours!
No one has a right to use it sexually but you. You may share it with whom you wish, but remember, it remains yours. The inverse is also true, your friend’s body is his/hers, and you do not have a right, no matter what your relationship, to use their body. That friend has his/her right to share that body with you, but it is never yours to use as you wish.
I may not always agree with the laws of sexual consent, but they are enforced. In most of the US, it is a crime to have sex when you are under 16. For parents, in many places, it can be interpreted as child abuse to allow your child that is under 16 to have sex with your consent. You (your child) may be ready to have sex before your localities age of consent, but the cost of such behavior outweighs any benefit. When our daughter first told us that she was sexually active at 15, we explained the law in our state to her. We asked her to promise she would not do it again until her 16th birthday. We let her know we did not condemn her for underage sex, but we were legally bound in this issue and we didn’t have the money to fly her and her boyfriend to France to have sex. If your boyfriend/girlfriend is under 18 remember the “Two Year Rule”; in most states sex between minors (over the age of consent) is legal as long as the older partner is no more than two years older than the younger. And finally, beware of sending nude photos (unless you’re on a public nude beach) until you are 18. Some states have worked out the decriminalization of this, but I would not take the chance. We had to take our daughter’s web-cam for chatting topless, again not because we believed it wrong, but because of fear of the law. Parents should do their homework to know their local laws before they think their child needs to know.
I have long advocated the “2 Methods Rule” to teenagers I’ve counseled; a condom, plus a second method such as the pill. No birth control method is 100% fool proof, and teens can be fools. Nearly all contraceptive failure is due to user error. Ask your teen to talk candidly to adults they know and ask if all their pregnancies were fully planned. In most cases they will find that the adults have had unplanned “surprises”. My wife and I had two in our first 8 years of marriage. How many teens want to have an unintended pregnancy every four years? Not many I would guess. A commitment to the two-methods rule will bring that chance down to an acceptable level of risk. Of course, by using a condom and another method, the chance of STD’s are also brought down to acceptable levels. Teens need to be told, sex is an adult activity and adult responsibly goes with it.
Be respectful of yourself and of your partner. For years I have given this one piece of advice. Before you have sex, ask yourself will I be proud of what I’ve done tomorrow and a year from now? If you can say yes, then do it. If you cannot say yes, then stop. I tell guys this but also say they should ask themselves “From what I know of this girl I am with, will she regret doing this tomorrow?” If the answer is yes, then hold up till she’s ready. Beyond that, sex is not something to do to keep a score or to prove your manhood/womanhood. It is immoral to fuck a person under false pretense. No, you don’t have to have some deep relationship; sometimes Paula and I have sex with friends just for fun. That’s OK. But, don’t fuck to get a relationship, or because the other person thinks you’re promising a relationship. That’s not OK. Don’t fuck because you feel expected to, or to keep a guy’s/girl’s attention. That’s not OK. Having sex is something you do because it makes you and your partner feel good physically and emotionally. If it doesn’t do this for you both, then don’t do it.
Yes this is a pretty short list of rules, but long lists are rarely followed, and these rules are for the benefit of everyone.
I Know I have a few supporters out there and if you have ever linked anything those in your circle of influence, I would ask you to forward this short list so that together we can help todays teenagers.