Monday, June 02, 2008

Mothers and Daughters Sex Talk 101

How many times have you wished you could broach the topic of sex with your teenaged daughter, only to shy away at the last minute, or have her give you the yucky face and walk out of the room if you bring it up.

Here are some salient points from Mother-Daughter Wisdom by Dr. Christiane Northrup, (chapter on Love and sex, Aphrodite Rising) which may make it easier.

The good news is that whenever a mother has the courage to heal the unhealthy patterns in her own life, her daughter is likely to benefit as well. What it may have taken a mother half a lifetime to become conscious of, her daughter may learn in a much shorter period of time.” all quotes from Mother Daughter Wisdom

“Good self-esteem sets the stage for healthy relationships with boys --and everyone else!”

Good advice: “If a guy tells you he needs you and can’t live without you, run the other way!”

Wisdom Challenge: Make sure your daughter is protected from STDs or pregnancy; if you are not ready to talk about it openly yourself, make sure she is given the necessary information and protection (whenever she asks for it) by her doctor.

Knowledge is Power: Teens need to know about their own fertility cycle, not just about condoms and birth control. i.e. when pregnancy is most likely to occur.

“A good first step in helping your daughter understand the way in which her sexual being is ultimately an expression of the divine life force is through a discussion of her menstrual cycle. By the age of fourteen most girls will be quite familiar with the mechanics of the cycle- though it’s always good to review it with them, for example when in the cycle they ovulate, for how long do they remain fertile, and so forth. But beyond the mechanics, you need to make sure they know something about the meaning of the menstrual cycle.

“The life force that governs the menstrual cycle is the same life force that governs the waxing and the waning of the moon and the ebb and flow of the tides.” Our bodies are part of this miracle.

Northrup says, the menstrual cycle governs the flow not only of bodily fluids but also of mood and creativity. One thing a conscious mom can do is to encourage her daughter to observe how she feels at different times during her cycle, emotionally and spiritually as well as physically. For example, she may notice that her energy, creativity and libido are full speed ahead at ovulation. And she may notice that she becomes far more inward and introspective just before her period is due.

This mirrors the creative process – at times we have high energy versus down times to incubate a project. Following her cycle will help her develop trust and respect for her body by paying attention to inner processes.

Feeling Safe: Let her know that her body is her own and that oral sex is sex.

“A girl needs to understand that her self-worth cannot be enhanced in any sustainable way by engaging in sexual activity with a partner who has only a physical connection with her.”

Tell her not to let herself be pressured to have sex just to gain status. “Girls may think they’re proving themselves the equals of boys by emulating them in their sexual behavior, ….[but] this culture values males more highly than females”. Our culture still treats females with loose sexual behaviour as ‘ho’s.

Oral sex is degrading for girls, since it is not usually reciprocal. Instead, it’s seen as a service girls provide for boys – what are they getting in return? Fleeting attention of a boy and an increased risk of STD’s. (The recent rise in STD’s among teens is due in part to increase in oral sex practices). The double standard is alive and well.

On the positive side, girls need to know healthy ways of dealing with sexual impulses.
They should not be taught to feel guilty about their sexual desires. Self-pleasuring is a safe and effective way for girls to deal with sexual energy, until a loving committed sexual relationship comes along. Orgasm is good for her bodily health and vitality. This same life force can also express itself in art, music, literature, scientific breakthroughs and doing good works.

Overview: What all Adolescent Girls need to know about Sex:

How to value themselves and their bodies, including their capacity for pleasure
The sexuality-spirituality connection of the feminine cycle
The facts about both male and female sexual anatomy
The facts about how to prevent pregnancy and protect oneself against sexually transmitted disease.

Some interesting statistics from a study in New Zealand:

The average age for first sexual intercourse was sixteen
54 % of women wish they had waited longer.
Curiosity was the main reason for virginity loss in 27 % of women and 35% of men.
7 % of women felt forced into their first experience.
15% of women were in love at the time.
10% of women and men admitted to being a little drunk at the time.
30% of women said the act was ‘on the spur of the moment’.

This certainly reflects my own teen-aged experience : lots of peer pressure, curiosity, fuelled by wanting to not be 'square', and a little too much alcohol. I highly recommend this book for every mother wanting to understand her relationship with her daughter.

Help your daughter be prepared. Arm her with knowledge, and if it's appropriate share your own stories with her.


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