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?