Many moms these days are choosing to be a sex-positive parent, and who can blame them? Considering that 16% of teens have had sex by age 15 (with the odds increasing exponentially with every passing year after that), 1 in 4 sexually active teen girls have an STD, and that half of all STDs are acquired between the ages of 15-24, it’s pretty absurd not to be realistic about your kids’ inevitable sex lives. To ignore that teens are having sex is to have your head in the sand, and is so detrimental to everyone involved.
There are tons of pros to being a sex-positive parent, too: The risk that your child will have sex before they’re ready diminishes; The risk that they end up not using protection (because, hello, you probably bought it for them, or at least made sure they bought it) is also diminished. And the chances that your kid grows up to have a healthy and wonderful sex life increases exponentially! I mean, do you really think that the sex ed your kids learned in school is enough? If you’re not sure whether you’re parenting in the most sex-positive ways possible, go through this list and see if these all apply to you. If they do, you just might be a sex-positive mama.
You often find yourself saying things like, “Please put away your penis,” and “Wipe your vulva gently after peeing!” because you aren’t afraid of using proper terms for all body parts.
I'm not saying sex positivity means sitting down for a nice night of family togetherness time with a bucket of popcorn and a DVD of Eyes Wide Shut. But some moms can only speak of the deed in hushed tones. Sex-positive moms, however, aren’t afraid to say or talk about sex. Sure, your kids might get embarrassed now and again. Or they might not, in which case you’re definitely doing something right.
When your kid asks where their new baby cousin came from, you don’t bring up tall tales about storks coming in for a visit. Instead, you briefly, age-appropriately explain how babies are made when sperm and egg meet, and how then the baby grows in a mama’s belly. You’ll also likely explain that a mommy and daddy making a baby is just one of many ways to make a family (same-sex parents, adoption, IVF, surrogacy, etc.), which might seem overly complicated to explain to a kid, but seriously, it's not objectively that hard to comprehend. You'd be amazed how readily and effortlessly a child can understand that there's more than one way to make a family...
If you sit down to talk to your kids about sex, and not just reproduction, you just might be a sex-positive mom. If you give them books and other informative materials to help them understand that sex is just a part of life, that it should be done responsibly, that it should always be consensual and enjoyable for all parties, you are most likely a sex-positive mom. If you’re able to eventually have these talks in a completely candid way with your teen or young adult once they are finally having sex, then yeah, you are definitely a sex-positive mom.
Your daughter wants to wear a mini skirt and a spaghetti-strap tank top to a party? Go for it. Your son has already had more than one partner by the time he’s 18? Who cares? These are reasons so many are slut-shamed, and it’s absolutely ridiculous and antiquated as hell. You’ll know you’re a sex-positive mom when you not only refuse to tear another person down do to however much (or little) sex they have or clothes they wear, but you also encourage your kids to do the same. If your child comes home talking about how some girl in their class is getting a reputation for sleeping with lots of guys, you say, “So what?” And you discuss that because you can’t just tell kids it’s wrong to do something without explaining why.
At some point, you’re going to walk in on your kid pleasuring themselves in some way. Or you’re at least going to encounter evidence that they’ve been up to something like this. (Has anyone else seen that Key & Peele sketch about crispy socks? It’s a real thing, mamas. Brace yourselves.) You might tease your kid about knowing what they’re up to behind closed doors, but more importantly, you’ll let them know that it’s perfectly healthy and normal so long as they continue to do it in a private manner.
You support your child in all their romantic endeavors because you know it’s way more dangerous to ignore or forbid it. And because you love and respect your kid and want them to be happy, even if you know it probably won’t work out, they’ll probably get their heart broken or break hearts. You recognize it’s all a part of life and growing up.
You’ll decide what age seems appropriate, but no doubt if you’re a sex-positive mom you’ll find a way to at least get some condoms or dental dams in your kids hands by the time they’re teenagers.
Going to a gynecologist is incredibly important once your child becomes sexually active (and before that even). Many parents ignore the fact that their kids are becoming sexually active (or at least thinking about it) because it makes them uncomfortable, so they ignore it, don't get proactive about making sure their kids' health is tended to in light of these new activities they might be/are engaging in, thus leaving them exposed to horrible things like STIs and pregnancy.
This, obviously, is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous for your child’s health. If your kid tells you they’re having sex, or if you suspect that they do, find them a great doctor and make them the appointment. Encourage them to learn more about birth control and figure out what is right for them. Let them know they should probably go to make sure they are and stay healthy. Bonus points if you go with your kid to their appointment so they feel more at ease.
If your kid comes to you suspecting that they (or their partner) is pregnant, you’ll have no qualms about helping them obtain a pregnancy test if it’s requested. Maybe you’ll even be there for the results, or you’ll give your child and their partner space if that’s what they prefer. And if it’s your kid that might be pregnant, you’re also going to be the one to take them to the doctor and discuss all their options (because yes, sex-positive parents are absolutely positive that there are options). And either way, when the moment of crisis has passed, someone is getting a serious "THOSE CONDOMS I BOUGHT YOU WERE NOT FOR MAKING BALLOON ANIMALS" lecture.
The end result of sex is sometimes a baby, and any sex-positive parent would be there for their child no matter what they choose to do once pregnant. You’re the parent who would support their kid, no matter what age, in their personal decision to continue a pregnancy. You’re the parent who drives their kid to appointments, who throws them a baby shower, who shields them from anyone who might judge them, who prepares them for the difficulties and beauty of parenthood.
Should your teen end up with an unwanted pregnancy, you’re the parent who seeks out an abortion clinic for them to visit. You’re the parent who drives them to their appointment, and is with them every step of the way, as much as your child wants you there. You’re the parent who writes a note to their school so they can miss as much school as they need to recover. You’re the parent who holds them in your lap if they need to cry. You’re the parent who lets them know it’s all going to be OK, because it is.
If you’ve been sex-positive throughout their entire life, this will inevitably be your relationship with your kid. And that’s pretty damn rad.