The way we talk to our sons about sex has to change.
In the latest study on teens and sex, it stated that teens were more curious about sex, not because of peer pressure, but because our teens feel pressure to keep up with what they think their peers are doing. Don't teens realize that keeping up with the Joneses when it comes to sex is only an illusion since 67% of their friends aren't having sex? Of course not, their entire culture is built on the keeping up the principle. Think about all the toys we bought because Jenny and Johnny next door had them.
One of the most glaring parenting problems is that when we talk to boys and girls about sex, we communicate with them the same way. As soon as we hear the negative studies on TV or on the Internet it's the opportunity to ask our children, A. "Are you having sex?" If no, great, dodged that bullet until the next time we decide to ask the question. If they finally get around to saying yes, then we ask, "You're using protection, right?" And of course, our results-oriented males are going to say, "No doubt!" Our girls are going to say, "Yes, you bought it, remember." Or, we will lean to the other side of the spectrum where we as parents, consider male teen sex as a rite of passage. They are going to have sex anyway, so let's just buy their condoms in order to minimize their risk of being a father, or our girls becoming teen moms.
Do we ever stop to think that maybe we should use a different tactic when talking to our young men about teenage sexuality and the art of developing healthy relationships? According to the CDC 9% of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend and they cite early sexual activity and multiple sexual partners as one of the risks of teen dating violence. Domestic Violence only increases as teens enter into adulthood.
When it comes to boys, they learn at an early age their growth is related to passing certain tests, and those tests are usually based on some sort of competition. In a PBS Special on Understanding and Raising Boys:
- Boys believe that their road to manhood requires passing a series of psychological and physical tests.
- Boys compete daily to win these tests.
- Boys act out to prove they've passed the test.
Since this is the case, we have to use their desire to win and passing the manhood test to our advantage by posing these 6 questions when it comes to sexuality.
- Do you want to have a losing record? By having all of these sexual encounters, it will ultimately mean that you had more relationship encounters that you can count. Then it also means you have lost all of these relationships too. Do you really want to be considered a loser?
- Do you want to be known for playing on that many teams? Why are Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter so respected? Not only because they won championships, but they all did it for one team. They went through good times and bad times, but they were loyal. If you begin to have sex at an early age, each sexual encounter becomes less and less meaningful. Sex becomes so devalued, and in the end your relationships become devalued as well.
- Would you rather save up your allowance for a car or a carseat? According to a 2010 USDA report, the average middle-income family will spend roughly $12,000 on child-related expenses in their baby's first year of life and it goes up by age 2. While 12,000 can get you a nice used Honda or Ford Focus which allows you the freedom choose when and where I as your parent will allow you to go.
- Do you want to be just a one-dimensional player? Most super stars are usually are given the name because they are multi-talented. LeBron James is not great, just because he can score, but he can play defense, he can pass the ball and he makes the rest of the team better. If your son only develops the ability to just score with a female it will diminish the other aspects of healthy relationship development like communication, trust, dealing with conflict and respect.
- Do you want your reputation to precede you? Even before the onslaught of social media, girls have always talked about the guys in their lives. Whether it was in the bathroom, on the phone, or in the locker room it didn't take long for a guy to get a certain reputation. In the short run, it may work for a guy is to be known for being a great lover, but when he decides he wants to be taken more seriously about relationships, it will be harder to convince a woman based on your past. Do you really want that sort of reputation?
- Do you want to be a champion? If your son's personal development is about competing and winning, ask them, "Wouldn't you rather be a champion for being the best boyfriend." It would be great to win the prize for having the ability have girls like you for your mind and your character not just by your physical attributes and how you make them feel.
Our sons will forever be curious about sex and be willing to explore their curiosities as long as they have a willing participant. It's our job to ask them if it's worth it.
Keith Dent is a premiere life coach when it comes to empowering teens and couples to have better relationships. If you are interested in a free 45 minute consultation or your interested in signing up for a free newsletter, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org