Dear Dr. G.,
Sometimes I wish that my kids wouldn't tell me so much. On the other hand,I guess I'm lucky that my kids talk to me. I am the proud mother of 3 girls. They are 13, 9 and 6.
Well, hear me out about my latest problem which totally took me by surprise. My 13 year old middle schooler came to me to tell me that some of her friends were having sex. When I questioned her about the definition of sex she said that this primarily refers to oral sex.
I didn't ask her if she was involved in this sort of sex because I just couldn't bring myself to talk about that. I want to know what you think about this type of behavior. Is it really happening in other areas of the country? I live in California. Also, do you think I should ask my daughter if she has been involved in such activity. If I do talk to her what on earth should I say?
A Tongue-Tied Mother
First, let me say that you should pat yourself on the back for creating a relationship with your daughter that makes her feel comfortable opening up to you about sensitive topics. I'm sure that just as it wasn't easy for you to hear what your daughter was discussing it was probably not totally comfortable for her either. Nonetheless, it appears that she felt safe that you would not criticize or judge her. Good work!
Now, regarding your questions. Yes, oral sex is not uncommon between and among middle schoolers across the country. It is certainly not limited to your neck of the woods. You see, in my experience, the middle schoolers see oral sex as not really counting as sex. From their perspective it is sexual intercourse that they consider real sex.
I also believe that you should absolutely ask your daughter if she has been involved in this behavior. Talk to her about sexually transmitted diseases. Many middle and high schoolers are not aware that STDs can be transmitted via oral sex. I also suggest that you talk to her about whether or not she is feeling pressured to engage in sexual behaviors. If she is, which wouldn't surprise me, then talk to her about how she can resist peer pressure. She can disengage from situations that are uncomfortable for her. Let her know that you are always available to pick her up from social situations that she would like to leave earlier rather than later.
Finally, talk to your daughter about the emotional aspects of physical intimacy. Physical and sexual contact do not occur in a vacuum as emotions get involved. Too often we forget to teach our kids about Team Body, Heart and Mind when it comes to physical relationships. Good luck and let me know how things go.
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