i, sandwich

by cathyjwilson
DECEMBER 28, 2011 12:49AM

Teen Mom: Maturity = talking about sex, not just having it

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New Year's resolution: Start blogging again! It's not January yet, but I did just watch an episode of Teen Mom 2 that caught my attention. Nothing like getting a head-start on my resolution!

So, this week Kailyn decided to get an IUD, an intrauterine device, which is T-shaped and can stay in the uterus for as long as five years. It works to prevent egg fertilization, and it's something Kailyn decided to try because she had trouble remembering to take her pill every day. Though she is using protection when having sex with her boyfriend, Jordan, she makes the decision to further prevent any possibility of pregnancy with the Mirena IUD.

What gets me is that Jordan was extremely squeamish when Kailyn told him about the IUD. She admitted beforehand that they never really talk about sex -- they just have sex -- and her prediction that Jordan would be awkward was right. She wanted to let him know about her decision, and he looked uncomfortable, remarked that it was embarrassing, and later apologized for his awkward reaction.

My theory is that if you're mature enough to have sex, then you need to be mature enough to talk about it. Talking about sex can be awkward, especially when you haven't brought up the topic with a partner before. But this lack of communication has a significant affect on the lack of contraceptive use, whether it's people feeling awkward about mentioning using protection during the act or one partner assuming the other has the birth control covered without any verbal confirmation.

So you have to weigh -- is this awkward moment more difficult to deal with than an unplanned pregnancy? And if you're afraid of what your partner will say, is that a red flag regarding your relationship? If you take contraception seriously but you're afraid your partner won't agree to use any, is that really something to compromise about? But all these questions assume a certain outcome -- you won't actually know your partner's response until you talk about it.

According to one study, kids whose parents talked to them about sex as a teenager were more likely to delay sex and practice safe sex than kids whose parents did not talk to them about sex. And it's important to start those conversations early, for the air of shame and humiliation to be taken away from sex -- because yeah, it's awkward as a parent to talk to your kid about sex. But if you set the example that talking about sex is taboo, then an unhealthy cycle of silence begins -- then young people think it's unacceptable to talk about sex, and they feel uneasy about voicing concerns and asking questions.

It's obvious I haven't blogged in a while, as I'm just being long-winded here for the sake of hearing myself type. Anyway, it was an interesting scene -- two adults who have no qualms about having sex with each other, having difficulty actually talking about something they do regularly. This communication problem is something adults of all ages experience, and addressing it begins with removing the stigma about admitting out loud that, yes, you're having sex and there's nothing to be ashamed about.

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Hi Cathy. Great post! My sister-in-law just told me that her neighbor found condoms in her (neighbor's) teenage son's bedroom. She yelled at him, told him he shouldn't be having sex, so STOP, and then she threw his condoms away. My sister-in-law, also mom to a teenage son and a medical professional, read her the riot act. Makes me sad that she missed a great opportunity to talk to her child and PRAISE him for being responsible instead of making him ashamed.
that whole teen mom show is pretty controversial but here in this case at least it does sound like it might be having a positive effect. although putting this stuff on tv can have counterintuitive & reverse effects. for example Im sure theres some girls who secretly admire the teen moms.....