I recently wrote an article about fathers threatening to shoot all potential suitors. What sort of society will we create if emerging adults live in the threat of shootings because of their burgeoning sexuality? Yes, we all have that inconvenient, insistent and tiresome being called sexuality living in us, that could, oh, give such joy if properly nurtured.
This is a follow-on and deeper article on the topic.
What is this about virginity?
In olden days, a bridegroom’s family would demand proof of the bride’s virginity before the marriage was a sealed deal. The proof was blood on the sheets on the wedding night, to be presented for inspection the following morning (the blood originating from the tear of the hymen when the vagina is penetrated by the first time). Note: no such proof was asked of the bridegroom.
But all sorts of things could deprive your daughter of her precious, meaningless proof: horse riding being the main culprit (tampons are also blamed). I know a creative young lady from a strict Malaysian Chinese family (a friend of my children) who did everything with boys …. except penetration. She was very proud of her oral sex prowess and her number of conquests she had, whilst maintaining her virgin status. I often wondered if her strict parents knew what she got up to.
What’s the price of your daughter’s
For me, a young woman’s virginity is not the big prize reserved for the highest bidder (I find it rather distasteful when a woman’s worth is based on her hymen). Rather, the giving of ourselves as women should be about love, trust, respect and hope.
For a young girl, it is about learning, too. Not only about sex but the web of emotions and social implications that come from sleeping with someone. “Why do you want to go all the way?”, “Why is holding hands and spending time together no longer enough?”
Giving your virginity will not change your worth as a human being, but the person you give it to and your reasons will have an impact on you.
The problem with not talking about it
I grew up in a time that parents don’t talk to their children about sex. And so, I gave myself far too early for all the wrong reasons. He was arrogant, much older (26) and owned a stable of magnificent horses. I did it for a dare and also his promise that I could ride the 17-hands tall Arab stallion he recently acquired…..I don’t think there’s a worst reason. Droit du seigneur, he had laughed at me afterwards and I felt awful. But there was no way I could tell my daddy……
I still bump into him socially now and then, and to be honest, I feel like disembowelling him for exploiting the young girl that I was the spring he took advantage of me.
How to open the discussion on this important topic
So (because someone asked me), this is how I would talk to my daughters about their virginity (and I did):
It doesn’t define your worth as a woman. If man you meet later on doesn’t want you because of your history, then he’s not worthy of you.
Because dear young woman, your worth is defined by your self-respect, the person you are, your gifts, your resourcefulness and oh, so much more! In the innocent words of my 18-year-old daughter’s 19-year-old Boyfriend (they have been dating for 4 years): “She’s an amazing footballer, best penalty taker ever, and she can also beat guys in online computer games!” Yes, he’s madly in love with her for the quicksilver-fast brain, her brawniness (she’s always ready to brawl in the football pitch or basketball court) and her fearlessness. He worships the ground she walks on and despite her physicality, he is very protective of her. She had indeed chosen well, I think to myself each time I see him kiss her hand deferentially, the same way that he kisses his mother’s and the priest’s hands.
When religion comes into the consideration
Our religion forbids premarital sex, but it also gives us the freedom of choice to make our own mistakes. Who is to say that sex within a deeply committed, long term relationship is wrong in the absence of a marriage certificate?
Moreover, religion is about our personal relationship with God, and should not be subjected to judgement by other mortals.
I would say this: “Your body is your home on earth. Choose who you let in wisely”.
Each person you let in leaves something in you (pardon the pun). Hence, giving up one’s virginity should be about being matured enough to decide who we let in.
The indisputable fact
Parents also fail to acknowledge that sexuality is an integral part of human psyche and it awakens in full force during teenage years. It is natural, rather than to be feared and controlled.
Refusing to acknowledge burgeoning sexuality, refusing to talk about it and threatening to shoot, maim or punish is a terrible way to deal with a young woman’s burgeoning sexuality. No, it will not go away. It becomes twisted and stunted.
A friend of mine is a clinical psychologist and he has clients in their 30s, 40s and even 50s who are seeking to own their sexuality finally.
Sex can give us such joy in our lives. It can bring two people closer in a relationship. But like a plant, it needs nurturing – especially in the early stages of its growth. Yes, we have to do this as parents, in the same way we teach our children values and other important aspects of their lives.
Start by being heart-led, and see where the conversation goes. And please stop that silly empty threats about shooting boys.
Related article: Daddy, don’t shoot – stop that bullsh*t