When I heard I was having a girl, I was over the moon. After enduring hyperemesis gravidarum, I wasn't sure I would try for another pregnancy. In my experience as the youngest of four girls, I know "girls" and always saw that women never left their families. A daughter would surely stick by my side through life! I had hidden my gender excitement from my husband (ex-husband now) but was in ecstatic tears when the ultrasound tech gave us the news. A few weeks later, though, it sunk in.
I was having a girl.
Would my girl experience the same things I did as a girl? I won't expound on these things, but let's just say rape and other traumatic experiences. My mind mentally replayed scenarios from well over 15 years ago. Perhaps had it been a boy, maybe my mind wouldn't have gone through fearful scenario after fearful scenario. To have those things happen to my daughter like it happened to me? Oh no.
Eventually, this fear subsided, and I was back to celebrating "team pink," but with all of that said, my mind is already preparing for how I will talk to my daughter about sex. It won't just be one talk. Sure, I'll do the introductory "By the way, now it's time for us to talk woman-to-woman about sex" thing in my formally informal way, but discussing sex isn't a one-time thing. It's a lifelong conversation. It's setting an example in my own romantic life. It's being that "living proof" that as a woman, I own my own sexuality and choices and am never someone's object to use at will. If I model my life as such, she will learn by my example and how I carry myself. But here are a few bullet points I want to address in project: Teach My Daughter to Love and Respect Herself.
There Is No Such Thing as Blue Balls
I don't care what a boy or grown man tells you. He won't die from blue balls if you tell him "No, we're not having sex tonight." No one has died from not having an orgasm. Trust me, honey, I was with quite a few men who didn't seal the deal with me, and guess what? Here I am still standing in front of you. Those words a boy or man might use are scare tactics to get what he wants, which is not you or your love but your body. Fear and intimidation do not equal love. Walk away. Fast.
You Are in Charge
You are in charge of what you do with another person sexually. You have the right to say no, and if you are uncomfortable, say no. Sex is supposed to be fun; it's not an awkward space in which one person pressures another or shames the other person unless the person enjoys and asks to be shamed (oh boy — let's just leave S&M for another chat on another day, OK? Mom is not ready just yet for that!). If it's not fun for you, don't do it. Set the boundaries and do not let any partner walk all over them. Those boundaries are there for a reason.
Do You Have to Love the Person?
Some mothers will cringe at this, but I am not going to be the mom who says you better love the person you have sex with. Would I prefer this? Yes, absolutely, especially for your very first experience, but we all know that from time to time — even if it only happened once — a lady may have sex with someone strictly for fun and not for "happily ever after." This is OK, Daughter. However, whether it's for the night or for your life, make sure you respect this person and that this person respects you.
Abstinence is nice, but teaching abstinence won't necessarily prevent pregnancies and STDs. Use protection. And yes, I will talk to you about those options, and if you can't ask me, Daughter, tell me, and we will have you talk to an ob–gyn, which brings me to . . .
Yes. Wait, Daughter. Wait to have sex. The first time I had sex I was pressured, way too young, and not ready. Your body may feel ready thanks to hormones, but mentally, are you ready, Daughter? Are you ready for the deep emotional investment that goes into a sexual relationship? Are you ready for the consequences of sex like possible pregnancy or an STD? My guess is no. My guess is the first time you will be tempted to have sex, the only thing that will be "ready" is your physical body. Make sure all of you is ready for sex, not just the parts that tingle when someone kisses you.
This is important, Daughter. Your vagina and clitoris and the whole shebang are not a dirty thing but simply another part of your body. Know how it works. If you don't know how it works, sex won't be very fun, and like I said before, sex should be a fun and safe experience between two respectful consenting adults. For me as a young woman, my sexual experiences were chock-full of guys getting what they wanted and me getting zilch. Know what you like, and ask for it. If your partner is selfish or rude, get rid of that sucker!
Man or Woman?
Maybe it's that liberal arts degree in me speaking out, but I never assume outright that you will be heterosexual or love men. You sure like to flirt with males at the tender age of 3, but perhaps you may end up identifying as a lesbian. That's not my choice. I want you to know that whoever you love and sleep with is fine by me as long as that person loves and respects you back. You will always be honored in my home as long as you honor yourself and your spirit.
Your Party, Your Favors
You may want to experiment sexually and try different things. This is normal and fine. All that matters is that whoever you are with respects your choices and you respect their choices . . . and that you are safe. Safe from STDs, safe from a pregnancy you are not ready for, and safe physically.
Women are often made to feel shame about sex, Daughter. We are either too prude or too "slutty." Too restricted. Too free. Ignore this. Ignore men who may be threatened by your sexual empowerment. Ignore women who may be jealous and want to hold you back. Sex is a pleasurable and amazing experience if you're with the right partner. Don't be ashamed. That's just other people projecting their issues onto you. Be proud of who you are and own your own choices.
Daughter, if there ever comes a time in which someone has violated your boundaries, body, or spirit, know that you can turn to me for help in any shape or form. Know that this person is the problem. A wolf preying on sheep. You are not the problem. You did not wear the wrong outfit, say the wrong tempting thing, or egg the person on to commit such a crime. Yes, a crime! This person has problems. Come to me, Daughter, and I will stand by your side, no matter how awful the story or situation. I am your mother, and nothing will prevent me from helping or loving you as long as I am here.
Daughter, I hope you trust me to share your experiences and come to me with questions both as a mother and as a woman. I promise there is no question too stupid and that I will always be here to listen.