Let’s get this out of the way first, I do not want my kids telling me they are having sex. OK, I take that back. I want to know if they are sexually active, I want to have all the important talks with them about responsibility and consent and staying healthy and birth control and how to handle their own sexual lives as responsible, decent, kind humans. But other than that, I do not wanna know. Their sex lives are not my business. As long as they are being responsible and consensual and healthy. And more than that I would never tell them I want them to enter into a chaste courtship, just like I wouldn’t tell them they should go bone a mess of people before marriage. But I’d be lying if I said that the whole idea of a chaste courtship really creeps me out. I would (secretly) prefer that they have a whole lot of (healthy, safe, happy, consensual) sex before marriage. If they even decide to get married.
Here’s how I feel about it. Sex is a beautiful, lovely, wondrous thing. It’s fun, and it’s great as long as you are being healthy, safe, happy and consensual about it. I don’t believe in saving yourself for marriage, because in my opinion that is just not necessary. It’s far more important that my kids are happy in their careers before marriage. Or that they have traveled a lot. Or that they know how to cook a decent meal and wash their laundry and write a heartfelt thank you note. My own value system dictates that I don’t judge people on how much sex they have had in their lives and who with. As long as no one got hurt, I don’t care, and why would I treat my kids any differently?
In a culture where the experimental rowdiness of Girls seems like the norm, this chaste courtship business sounds like something from the dark ages. But it’s not.
I had a chaste courtship. Well, maybe there was a bit more hugging and kissing than Jessa and Ben have decided to pursue, but it was chaste. And I expect this of my kids. I’m not repressing them. I’m freeing them. I have sons who need to learn restraint and respect. I have daughters who will be empowered by abstinence because they can simply sidestep the issues, pressures, problems, and pitfalls of promiscuity.
You can teach your boys restraint and respect in ways other than telling them not to have sex with people. You can teach your daughter to be empowered by things other than abstinence. I can’t even wrap my heads around these concepts because to me they just sound like good old fashioned slut shaming done up in the guise of GOOD PARENTING. There is nothing wrong with sex. There is nothing wrong with having sex, good sex, bad sex, long term relationship sex and fleeting, one night stand sex. Ideally, I want my kids to love or at least care deeply about the people they are boning, but if they don’t? Then as long as they are happy, safe and consensual I just don’t care. It’s not my business. It won’t make them less in my eyes, as long as no one gets hurt.
I want my kids to become sexually active when they are mature enough to be, when they can handle the chance of unwanted pregnancies, and when they can navigate the emotional territory that comes with having sex. But I never want them to feel like they are less than worthy humans if they aren’t chaste. I would never dictate to them how they should live their sexual lives, because I am not them, I am not their heart, their mind, their soul or their bodies.
I can give them advice. I can educate them. I can tell them how I feel about sex, and how to be responsible about sex, and how I see nothing wrong with having sex before marriage and how if they want to save themselves before marriage I am fine with that too. But to me there are far bigger things to worry about accomplishing before you get married than remaining chaste. I would rather my kids know how to pay their heating bills.