Instead, he taught me to think about my relationship and look for certain character traits in my boyfriend, and use those as my guiding points. Of course, condoms and safe sex were big parts of our conversations. But based on conversations around my company, news articles
, and my friends’ experiences, it seems those components are generally the sole focus of "the talk," and discussions about trusting someone, consent, shame-free sexual health services, and feeling respected seem to get left out. In my experience, there are emotional, as well as physical, aspects of having sex, and I’m so thankful to my father (and my mother) for teaching me their importance at a young age.
In fact, I have my mother to thank for a particularly impactful conversation she had with me about birth control when I was 18. She didn’t use fear-mongering to jar me into abstaining from sex — rather, she told me how important it was to make sure that whatever form of birth control I used was right for my
body. Based on what I’ve seen, it’s become natural for women to assume that once they get into a monogamous relationship, they should go on the pill or get an IUD. But those methods, while extremely effective, aren’t necessarily the best solution for everyone. For me, I soon realized that hormonal pills didn’t work with my body. And even though my boyfriends haven’t been thrilled about my insistence on using condoms, I’ve been able to stand up for what works for me — thanks to my mom teaching me that this was my choice, because it affected my
Fast-forward to the present, and my candidness with my parents about my sexual health, particular with my father, really confuses people. They somehow think that, because we’re selling condoms and personal lubricant together, we’re constantly having free-for-all sharing sessions about the intimate details of our sex lives. Yes, I did tell my dad when I decided to get an IUD (and what a terrible experience that was), because the procedure affected my mood and well-being. But no, I don't talk to him about the details of my sex life. There’s a difference between a comfortable dialogue with your parents around sex and discussing your favorite sex positions or vibrator of choice. I’m not talking about those kind of intimate details with my parents. Sure, there’s some overlap, but the nuance between the two categories is crucial.