This morning I was listening to the funniest segment on the radio while I was driving to catch my train. The hosts hold this “group therapy” session each week, in which they discuss a topic sent in by a listener. Today the situation was the friend of someone who just learned that their friend allows the girlfriend of the 16-year-old son stay overnight once each week.
Hmm…I can only imagine the trouble I would have gotten into had that been allowed by my parents!
During the conversation, the subject turned to birth control and, given that the parents pretty much endorse sexually activity under their roof, if they ensure the boy and girl are practicing safe sex. Because the reality is when you put a 16-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl in the same room together, overnight once a week, someone is getting it.
The defense of the situation was that the parents, knowing all too well that the teens were going to be doing it anyway, were more in control over the act.
When I was 16 I went on the birth control pill. I chose to get the prescription myself because I was sexually active and getting into a very serious relationship. For me, it was a no-brainer. The last thing I wanted was to get pregnant, but most weekends the first thing I wanted was to get laid.
On the other hand, my father - with two of his own teenage daughters and two adopted teenage nieces in the house - chose the somewhat stereotypical approach to birth control. He put the couch in the TV room directly under his collection of shotguns and hunting rifles; along with a taxidermed deer hide on the wall. Some of it worked … we rarely had intercourse on the couch.
But his work benefits still paid for the prescription.
Many of my girlfriends, around that age, also started taking the pill because their parents knew enough to recognize that in a small town, there was not a lot of amusement for 16-year-old girls other than horny 16-year-old boys. And I guess when you have a daughter, regardless of whether or not you want to admit it, ensuring she doesn’t get knocked up in an important part of her teenage years.
Today, however, I found it funny how the radio jocks were ripping into parents who purchase condoms for their sons. The attitude was that this is something the teenage boy needed to discover on his own, and suffer the embarrassment of having to go down to the drugstore and buy them.
As the mother of two Little Men - and not liking the idea that my Little Men are all-too-quickly shedding the “Little” - I have to say that I think this is a dangerous precedent to set with boys; and I don’t mean the buying part. It seems to reinforce the idea that birth control in the teenage years still falls on the shoulders of the young woman. And to be honest, I was hoping that we were past this mentality now.
Men, in my personal experience, tend to make judgments regarding sex when they have the erection, not on Thursday when they know they have a date on Saturday. And it’s why some of the guys I dated went home Saturday night unfulfilled …
To add, these days for me are different. Now that I’m enjoying my sexual prime, I love it when guys make decisions when they have the erection.
But that said, as much as I like to believe there are still many years of innocence left for my Little Men, the reality is that everything will eventually come to an end and they will learn far too much too soon. Most of us do. But when the day arrives I also want to believe that during their moment of “right of passage” they will be responsible enough to protect themselves from some gold-digging little trollop and protect the right girl from making a life-altering mistake.
Will I be the kind of parent who will actually buy condoms for my sons - I’m not sure I can say I will be 100 per cent. But I might be the kind of parent who conveniently leaves some in the bathroom drawer.