Sexy Time: Maybe They’re Onto Something?

I realize that most of us don’t live at home anymore; that most of us are no longer in high school or living with parents. But I stumbled upon this study recently and can’t stop thinking about it. In a nutshell (because I know the last thing you came here to do was peruse some scientific study), Dutch parents support their teenagers’ sexuality – even letting them have sleepovers – and it results in lower STI and lower teen pregnancy rates. Some of the lowest in the world!

Perhaps the Dutch are onto something – something we need to think about as a generation who will, most likely, have children of our own someday.

Having survived high school, it’s interesting to look back and see how different my friends’ parents were from each other and from mine. Some friends had absolutely no communication with their parents about sex or sexuality, some were taught it was wrong and immoral, others that it was natural and acceptable – so long as you’re smart about it.

I’m grateful that my parents were of the “have sex but be smart” belief system. As mentioned in a previous post, my mom allowed my high school boyfriend to stay over at our house, and was well aware that we were having sex. That said, she was also on top of making sure we were being responsible – by reminding us of the importance of condoms and ensuring I was on birth control.

While I realize that this system isn’t something that would work for all teenagers, I do think that I’m a better and more sexually healthy person because I was able to experiment with sex in my own home, with my long-term boyfriend, and not be made to feel shameful about it.

When I read this article, it made sense to me. I’m sure it’s not a shock that I’m a pretty firm believer that abstinence-only education is bullsh*t; knowledge is power, and sexual knowledge is no exception. Having it ingrained in teens that sex is a normal, natural thing will lead them to make sexual choices that they’re proud of, instead of having sex without a condom (because condoms don’t work anyways, right?) and then feeling terrible about it.

I’m all about healthy sex positivity, wherever it comes from. Do you think that North American families should maybe take a page out of Holland’s handbook and give this sexual-liberation-for-teens thing a try?



    1. L says:

      I think I'm in the middle on this one. Sex isn't evil and teenagers are going to have sex, but ok-ing sleepovers seems to me that parents are inviting sexual activity. I have an aunt who put her daughters on birth control when they went to college, but didn't sit down and talk about it first. To me that puts an expectation on her daughters to be having sex in an unhealthy way, rather than discussing the issue beforehand. Sex is really a complicated issue haha

    2. Anonyme says:

      My mom and I have a really open and healthy relationship. So much so that I felt comfortable going to her when I decided it was time for birth control, and having her help me out. She okays sleepovers between me and my boyfriend of three years–mostly, they only happen when she is out of town, but that's been our choice, not her enforcement. I feel like a degree of openness–genuine support, not just sticking a pill in your mouth and shoving you out the door, or even just letting you run wild–has mostly to do with communication and respect. I respect my mother's sexuality, and she respects mine. We educate and support each other. I honestly feel like this has taken a large part in my attitudes towards sex, relationships, and just health and happiness in general.

    3. Lauren - University says:

      I do think that our culture's tendency to turn sex into something forbidden makes more kids want to do it. And then not properly educating them leads to shows like Teen Mom. If we were open and honest with kids about sex, like they are in the netherlands, I'm sure we'd have a very different situation right now.

    4. Summer says:

      My parents were of the "it's part of growing up, so just be smart about it" school of thought for both drinking and sex. Neither were some big forbidden thing for me, and neither happened until college. Now I feel like I have a healthy relationship with both

    5. Nikita says:

      My parents were of the "no dating until you're 18" belief system which then changed into "no dating until you're out of school" <–as in, COLLEGE. But seeing as I still live in their house with their rules, I kinda just go along with it. My parents are psycho when it comes to even the thought of me dating. Asian family FTW! My entire family is like, "study study study study study study study." And my stepdad who is pretty young, has a tendency to act/say/do inappropriate things to/around me so I'd rather not have to deal with him and having a bf around let alone, having sex with a bf in my house. My parents would have a heart attack. So…pretty much anything sexual that happens to/with me, they don't know about it. And I'd like to keep it that way.

      But I've also had the "talk" plenty of times so it's not I'm just going to go out there and do it. I know about birth control…all that good stuff. I know where to go, who to talk to.

    6. Leia says:

      I think the more of a big deal a parent makes sex out to be, the more kids are going to want to do it. Part of it is due to the natural rebellion that most teenagers have: if our parent's say no, we hear "Hell yeah!" Our parents say that something is bad, and kids hate having restrictions.

      My mom remembers what it was like to be at this point in our lives. And she's always been very cool with things. When it came to sex, she was very fair and easy to listen to. She told me if I felt I was ready to go for it, to come to her first. She'd put me on the pill and get me condoms, no questions asked. And when I finally went to her asking for "help" she stuck to her word. It wasn't awkward at all, and it didn't feel like that much of a big deal. She's not exactly inviting him into our home so that we can do it, but she's helping.

      I agree that knowledge is power. Our high teen pregnancy rate can't be blamed on teens having sex: the problem is that they're having unprotected sex. They don't get the information they need, and they end having sex without knowing how to prevent pregnancy and disease. And the Dutch obviously have proven that some compromise can do a lot to prevent such things, so why not?

    7. bri says:

      i completely agree with this. teenagers are going to have sex whether or not they're family/teachers tell them immoral or wrong because its a natural thing. so providing someone who the teen can talk to about it and a safe and healthy environment for it is an excellent thing. otherwise if kids have to hide it they might not have an opportunity to pay/be able to get birth control or condoms or the proper facts about std's. so they will still have sex but in unsafe situations because theres no one to ask for info or advice. ive seen this in real life many a time.

    8. Star says:

      I agree, and I feel like sex education can even help those who want to wait until marriage or a different time in their lives. First, they may change their mind and need to know this information. Second, talking and being comfortable about a subject makes you more prepared to deal with natural feelings and stand by your beliefs if you do want to wait until marriage. It also takes some of the nervousness out of your first time and it ensures you're prepared to do it with someone you are comfortable with and who respects you. Along with sex education, we need classes in telling the difference between "This person adores you and wants to be intimate" and "This person is just looking for a good time before moving on to the next attractive chick/dude that walks by."

    9. […] • A study showed that the kids of Dutch parents who let their offspring have unsupervised smush sessions for some allotted amount of time actually ended up with lower STI and pregnancy rates. Which makes sense, because if mom is telling us to go have sex then we totally won’t do it. You’re not the boss of me! (CollegeCandy) […]

    10. Jen says:

      My boyfriend's father is Dutch and he's been letting us have sleepovers since we were seventeen or so. He was always very open with us about being safe. We're now both 21 and have never had any scares or anything. Most likely if teens want to have sex they're going to find a way to do it whether their parents like it or not.

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