The "sex talk" was nonexistent between us.

Anonymous, Sophomore

Dec 15, 2021

Most importantly we learned that consent, healthy sexual communication and mutual pleasure are essential to healthy sexual experiences.

Dear Mom,
Our relationship as a mother and daughter was always unique, I always felt like we had open communication, but we also kept certain stuff to ourselves. As an only child you raised me to the best of your ability. However, there is one conversation I wish we had shared. Do you remember, in middle school, my class had “that unit”, the unit about sex and puberty where you had to sign the consent form that allowed me to participate? It was so awkward handing you that letter since you probably thought I had no idea what sex was and that I was about to learn “the basics”. In reality mom, I already knew almost everything. However, looking back, in a way that was probably not healthy.

In school, we learned about the body parts and women's periods and briefly about sexual intercourse. After that unit, until this day I have learned about sex on my own. It may be surprising to you, but the sex young people learn about from porn and often experience today is dangerous and scary. I wish you had warned me about this stuff. The “sex talk” was nonexistent between us. And as I grew up, I chose to not open up to you about it because it felt like forbidden topic. When I had that "unit" if we had worked through the awkwardness, I could have shared all of this with you. I think having you to come to, through my sexual experiences would have been really helpful to me. I really wish we fostered that part of our relationship.

In my communications class, we focused on today's porn and how it has affected teens' perceptions and expectations of sexual intercourse. It was eye opening to finally understand why it is common and “normal” to denigrating women in sexual encounters today. I wish I had told you about my experiences. I wish we talked about how saying “No” to certain men was harder than expected, and giving consent is way more important than we were ever taught. I now understand porn is not how I should perceive or expect sex. People my age see violent sex as normal. In other words, if a guy doesn't perform any type of sexual harsh or aggressive behavior, the guy would be seen as “too innocent” or “vanilla”. Teenagers have normalized violent sex as a direct result of what they learn in porn.

Because of my communications class I was able to better understand how sexual encounters have changed through the years and what is influencing the uptick in violence. Most importantly we learned that consent, healthy sexual communication and mutual pleasure are essential to healthy sexual experiences. I’m glad my communications class gave me deeper insight on this, with facts, statistics and even real personal experiences. I wish I had known this stuff earlier, so that I could’ve avoided violence and non-consensual sex.

I know as a single mom raising your only child it was really hard. You were trying to protect me from all the “bad” stuff in this world. But I think conversations about these topics are essential for children, so they know what healthy relationships look like, and the red flags to look out for. I'm happy to say I'm very responsible now when it comes to this stuff, saying “No” and giving consent is not an issue for me. This is because of what I learned and was reminded about in the sexual citizenship module in our class. I want to make sure my kids have the proper conversation with me as their mother, so I can teach them about sex and porn, and how their sexuality is a good thing, as well as the bad stuff to look out for.