Question for the Mamas…

Recently, my going-to-be-fourteen-in-a-few-weeks daughter asked me “When did you lose your virginity?” 

Imagine my life as a sitcom; this would be the perfect opportunity for a spit take.  But, since we were sitting in the car outside the liquor store (the seediest one in town, no less) waiting for her dad, I did my usual—-stall.  With 9-year-old daughter also in the car, I said, “can we talk about this later?”

So, more than a week later, I’m still waiting for her to raise the issue again.  But I’m still not sure how—or if—I will answer.  I’m all for open communication with my daughters, but I’m not sure that open communication means I have to share everything I’ve done and when.  Is there a way to tell her this answer is currently off limits without keeping her from asking other questions? 

(As I’m writing this, I’m listening to “I can hear the bells” from the new Hairspray soundtrack where Tracy sings “Won’t go all the way, but I’ll go pretty far.”  Since I bought this for the girls last weekend, they’ve been listening to it nonstop, in the car, on the stereo, and downloaded on all three (ooops, 4 now)  iPods.  So, I’m allowing them to watch, listen to, and read material that is saturated in teen sex–so why am I suddenly squeamish?)

Am I being hopelessly old fashioned and retro with my unwillingness to answer this question? Or am I needlessly turning myself inside out considering what is “right” to do when I should just go ahead and follow my instincts?

I don’t know why I never even considered being asked this question before.  I suppose I could have told her “my wedding night” or “about nine months before you were born” and made a joke of it.  I want all my girls to be prepared for all that may come their way.  I just don’t know that means I have to be honest to the point of discomfort.  I guess I envision a day when we can talk about these issues as peers—as women—and I’m just not sure how to be in this conversation with her right now.  I just know that if she’s asking, I need to be in SOME conversation with her, right?

Oh, help me mamas.  Help me!

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About TinaLBPorter

I write poetry and blog at www.tinalbporter.com. And I'm thrilled to be writing with you.
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10 Responses to Question for the Mamas…

  1. Pingback: Update for the Mamas « uuMomma

  2. Pingback: Thank You, Mamas! « uuMomma

  3. Oh – I thought of this, later. My young adult children are horrified by the idea that their dad & I might still be “doing it” at our advanced ages. They really don’t want to think about whether we had sex more than the few times required to achieve my pregnancies. There’s a high “ick” factor involved with actually learning that one’s parents have a sex life.

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  4. Jan says:

    All really good ideas. I would suggest an honest response about her question really being a surprise, i.e., “Wow, that came from no where and I am not comfortable answering it right now, why do you think that it?” Then, “Tell me why you are interested in this right now?”

    Oh, yes, and thank you for not asking me that when you were 14 (or 40).

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  5. karen says:

    Okay, so my daughter’s only 1-1/2 and I have a really long time to go before I have to think about this for myself. Maybe that’s why I disagree with the concensus here – just a little. I could see myself reacting just as you did initially, and when I built up the courage to re-initiate the conversation, say something like “I was 17 and he was a long-time boyfriend and I’m not sure I’d do it the same way if I had another chance and why do you ask?” You know, share just enough that it’s actually a 2-way conversation, and then get to asking her to share.

    Of course, when my time comes I can also see myself totally changing my mind on this and going with all the other mamas…

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  6. I mostly agree with LE. You can say “that’s private.” There is nothing in the unwritten rules of parenthood that requires us to open OUR whole lives up to our children. I do like the “why do you ask” response. Basically, I’ve refused to discuss personal details about sexual experience with my daughters (or my son).

    On the other hand, we have had general conversations, especially about specific issues which come up in the TV shows they’ve watched. For example: Once, while watching “That ’70s Show,” I commented that there was a lot more high school sex happening on the show than I remember observing when I was in high school in the ’70s. This led to a fairly general conversation about expectations and I did a lot of assuring them that they were perfectly normal at 13 and 15 having NOT had sex. The prime time dramas aimed at teens were also good for starting conversations (Everwood, The OC, One Tree Hill, even The Gilmore Girls).

    Of course they’re now 21, 19 and 17, the girls are OWL graduates, and I’m in that space of just having to trust they know what they need to know. Good luck! 🙂

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  7. radical mama says:

    I concur with the previous mamas. It’s really not her business. I would tell her that such things are very personal and everyone’s experiences are different. She’s probably asking you because you are the woman she respects most in life, and she is trying to understand when the “right” time is. At 14, she’s probably hearing older girls (or younger, these days) who are “doing it” or doing other sexual things and she’s confused. Like Kaleigh said, find out why she’s asking and then have a honest conversation about sex, without revealing personal details. But definitely have the talk before she learns it from her friends. Good luck. 🙂

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  8. Kaleigh says:

    I tend to think similarly to LE. It’s really not her business. My mom never told me (although I’m 99% sure in her case it was on her wedding night). And I also like Jess’s approach, if that’s applicable (for me, yes, and I would probably say something similar).

    I’d also think that asking, “Why do you ask?” would be a very appropriate response. The ensuing conversation might just get you off the hook.

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  9. Lizard Eater says:

    My opinion, since you asked … 🙂

    It is not her business. Putting it into another context — would you answer if she asked, “So, what’s your and Dad’s favorite position?” (Please say ‘no.’)

    We are each entitled to our own privacy. Kids included. My father always said, “Here’s the deal. I will never ask you a question I don’t NEED the answer to. In exchange, you be honest.” It’s been a good deal.

    I would definitely be probing as to why she is asking. Is it something she is considering, is she trying to figure out what’s “normal,” is she trying to make you choke, what?

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  10. Jess says:

    Tough one!

    When my 11-years-younger little sister asked me this question, I said, “Too young. Don’t be like me.”

    I think she waited a year more than I did, and had a better experience of it at least, with a long-time boyfriend.

    I don’t know what I’ll say when my daughter, almost 7, will ask. Probably, “Too young. Don’t be like me.” 😉

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