We all know that’s it’s my favorite time of year–
Solstice sex talk week. Every teen girls group I run, no matter the focus, at least one week is devoted to this topic. Self-esteem, communication, body image, basket weaving, I don’t care. I’ll find a way to work it in.
It’s important. I hear more and more about the Obama administration ushering in an era in which pre-schoolers are putting condoms on anatomically correct dolls, but I feel like my girls are less informed with each passing year.
This isn’t true for all of them. Some are at least savvy in some matters. Just recently I was walking to the office with one of the twelve year olds I work with who started informing me of the girls she has crushes on. After a minute, she looked at me and asked, “Do you know what bi means?”
Um, yeah. I was watching My So-Called Life before you were born. I remember Danielle rolling her eyes and telling her mom “it means bisexual.” Not to mention I’m fifteen years older than you, come on.
My teens, though, they’re confused. They’re not sure what they think or who to believe. We’re battling the media, you know. It’s not always giving them the best information.
14 y/o: “Can’t the baby claw its way out of you?”
SJ: “Not outside of Twilight.”
15 y/o: “Oh, I know this one girl…”
SJ: “Do you know this girl, or is this another ‘I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant’ story?”
15 y/o: “It’s ‘I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.'”
14 y/o: “But one girl on Maury said she didn’t have sex with the guy the DNA test said was the father, she just…”
SJ: “Maury is not an acceptable source. For anything. Ever. Except for funny ‘not the father’ dances.”
I’m glad they at least feel comfortable asking questions.
“If a boy masturbates and then shakes your hand, can you get pregnant?”
Wow. Why would that even happen? No you won’t get pregnant, but maybe invest in some Purel if that’s really a concern. Bonus points for use of correct language, though.
SJ: “You can get STDs from oral sex, but you can’t get pregnant.”
15 y/o: “Even if you swallow?”
And now I’m nauseated.
There’s always the one who thinks she really knows what she’s talking about. Rather often, that’s the one with the greatest number of “facts.”
“Well, there’s always the risk of STIs. And those can turn into STDs!”
You’re a little misinformed. But I think your heart is in the right place.
“Two guys together is nasty to girls, and two girls together is nasty to guys.” Now you’re just grossly misinformed. Not to mention the fact that we’re respectful and non-judgmental in this space. (But seriously, have you heard of the internet? Silly.)
15 y/o: “The fetus is what the baby grows in.”
SJ: “Well that’s actually the uterus. The fetus is what we call the baby when it’s developing, before it’s born.”
15 y/o: “No, but like, it grows in the fetus.”
OK, you’re saying it a little differently, but still no.
“If you go off the pill, and then have sex with a bunch of different guys, you can get pregnant with like, four different guys’ babies at once.”
That’s it, you’re staying after for a remedial session.
Some girls are just uncomfortable, and need a little baptism by fire.
SJ: “Some people only consider it sex if it’s penis in vagina.”
13 y/o: “Ew!”
SJ: “What, vagina?”
13 y/o: “Ew!”
14 y/o: “Or penis?”
13 y/o: “Ew!”
15 y/o: “We all have a vagina in here.”
13 y/o: “Ew!”
SJ: “OK this is silly. Penis vagina penis vagina penis vagina.” (To the tune of “La Cucaracha.”)
And sometimes, they’re just hilarious.
“Pfft. Her booty isn’t a virgin.”
Did you steal that from a book of proverbs?
“I don’t want to have sex ever! Well, I mean, I guess before I die. I don’t want to be a nun. I heard you can die if you don’t have sex.”
Yeah, I don’t know either.
“I would like to see you all wait until you’re 21.”
My group coleader. Isn’t that cute? She’s new at this.
SJ: “Is it ok for someone to have sex because they want to have a baby?”
SJ: “OK, at your age, I agree. But what if the person is older, and they’re married or in a relationship, and they want to have kids?”
13 y/o: “I just don’t feel like that’s a good choice in this economy.”
Occasionally, there are moments of awesome.
13 y/o: “Is it good if you tell a guy you’re not ready, and he’s ok with it, and he still wants to date you?”
SJ: “Yeah, I think that’s great.”
13 y/o: “Oh yeah, that’s my man!”
14 y/o: “Can we clap for Liz’s man?”
You know we clapped. Also, Liz’s man is in fact fourteen.
For all of the laughs, and the moments of wanting to slap myself or others in the face (YOU CAN GET PREGNANT YOUR FIRST TIME AND BIRTH CONTROL PILLS ARE EFFECTIVE WHEN TAKEN CORRECTLY) I love these sessions. Somewhere along the lines, we’re really failing our kids in terms of sex ed. It’s a very concrete way we can shape kids lives, and help them to make good, informed decisions.
Or at least teach them to say “vagina” without cringing.