Your daughters deserve to know the truth.
My sexual awakening was defined by Brat Pack '80s movies like St. Elmo's Fire and Sixteen Candles, where the dorky girl got the popular guy (or vice versa) and everything was sealed with a long, luxurious kiss.
So it doesn't surprise me that my sexual encounters came up confusing once I became active.
Another thing that doesn't surprise me is the conflicting schizophrenic arguments in my head over whether I was a slut or pristine, whether I was entitled to have sexual awareness, urges, and desires, and do something about them ... or whether I was supposed to be a chaste waits-for-marriage kind of gal.
I grew up in the post-sexual revolution of girls thinking they could do and be anything, except boys didn't quite catch up with that thinking. It made for a lot of unbalanced relationships, and colored our images of ourselves.
Which is why I hope I'm teaching my daughters to be realistic about sex.
My girls are too young yet to have really in-depth talks about how to navigate their sexuality. But what I've said all along is that it's best when sex is in a long-term, loving, committed relationship. And it's even better when it's a lifetime-guarantee kind of thing like marriage.
It surprised me to say this, given my own adolescent activities, but looking back from my 40-something perch, I wish I hadn't played around nearly as much. It's much better now with the one partner I love the most, and have the most fun with.
So here are the top 10 lies we must stop telling girls about sex:
1. You have to do it in high school.
Really, what's the rush? When I look at my tweens and teens, I see really young kids still. Even though bodies are changing, they're more innocent than we think.
The other day, I saw a kid at a restaurant with a F*ck Everyone cap on and several piercings; he ordered a chocolate milk and drank it through a straw. There's no rush to become an adult and take on all the complications that come with it.
2. It only matters who else is doing it, whether you're too soon, too late, or too anything.
I know I cared what people thought when I was their age, but this much? It doesn't matter what other people are doing, and even when they say they're doing it, they're often not. Stop listening. Look within. You'll know when you're ready. And if you don't know, you're not ready.
3. You have to do it, period.
It's a funny thing to say, but I've come to realize that there are many types of sexualities out there. Some people are really into sex, which is OK; most of us didn't get that message growing up. There are people who just aren't into sex, and that's OK, too.
While I was thrilled to meet my second husband and finally fulfill my dreams of frequent, meaningful, satisfying intimacy, I know someone who's truly content with once a week. It's OK if you just don't want it. And maybe when you find the right person, the sexual compatibility will change your perspective.
4. You should only do it when you're married.
Sex is a physical act that has nothing to do with marriage. We've created that notion in our society and put it into a neat little box (no pun intended), which affects our perspectives.
The reality is that physical and emotional are two different things. Sure, sometimes we combine them, but let's see it for what it is. Sometimes a raw night is all you want, no strings attached.
5. You should only do it when you're in love.
The thing is, sex really is special when you're in love, and it's best in a long-term committed relationship when you know you're not going to be left high-and-dry the next morning.
So when you're having sex with someone who's never going to leave, and who loves you as much as you love him, it's a really different thing. Why waste it on just-someone who doesn't mean much to you and whose name you're likely not to remember in 10 years?
6. It's only OK to say, "No."
We teach girls to say no, but do we teach them to say yes? This is the game we play in the bedroom: guy makes the move, guy orchestrates the setting, guy initiates all the foreplay, guy comes equipped with birth control, girl lies there and receives.
Sorry, you're going to have to be a better partner than that. Sex is so much better when you're an active participant. Say no when you're not interested, but say a very vocal yes when you are. And don't feel bad about it.
7. You should value yourself by the quality of your sexual encounters.
Sometimes when you hype it up and anticipate it, it's a let-down. That's true for any long-anticipated act. When it comes to sex, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's OK, sometimes it sucks.
So be it. There are a lot of factors that go into making sex good. The quality of your character or hot-ness has nothing to do with it.
8. You have to know anything at all about the bedroom.
Never done it? No worries. Some of the greatest sex comes out of exploration. Let go and let loose. See what happens.
9. You should know everything and not expect the guy to know it for you.
When you're dependent on a guy for your own pleasure, you're at a serious disadvantage. Girls need to figure out what turns them on and turns them off on their own so when they finally come together with the right person, they're architects of their own satisfaction.
Just like we teach girls that they must rely on no one else to get them through life, so it goes in the bedroom. Be the mistress of your own destiny.
10. You have to figure out how to not be emotional.
Girls are, by nature, emotional and attached when there's sex involved. That's just the way it is. So, if sex is going to mess with your mind and distort your vision of a situation or relationship, don't do it. There's plenty of time to get it right; don't waste your time getting it wrong.