4 Things I wish my Mother taught me about sex, porn and relationships.

​My Mum loves me. She always has.  She’s a generous and impressive woman. I wasn’t always able to see this, though. During my adolescence we had a poor relationship.

I take responsibility for my lousy decisions and actions during that time, but truth be told, I believe she also made some mistakes. These relate to not preparing me for a life of sexuality and technology.

This is a difficult post to publish. On the other side of therapy, with age, experience and healing in our relationship, I truly want to protect my Mother from painful criticism. I love her, and I know she did the absolute best she could, however I desperately desire to provide insight to other mothers who are raising daughters in a sex saturated world. I hope the negative experiences I had growing up can become positive teaching lessons.

The following are four things I wish my Mother taught me about sex, porn, and relationships.

1. You can ask questions, and they will be honestly and appropriately answered.

Growing up in a ‘Christian home’, our answers came from the Bible. The answer to everything was ‘Because The Bible Says So’, and apparently the Bible said we shouldn’t know about sex until we’re married, and before that everything was a big ‘NO’.

As an adolescent, I craved discussion and a safe place to think through my worldview and current reality. This was simply part of natural growth and development. I was robbed of this experience every time my Mum whipped out the old ‘Because The Bible Says So’ answer. It squashed any chance of open dialogue or exploring alternate views.

There’s nothing more frustrating to a curious and intelligent young person than to be given two dimensional answers to legitimate and complex questions.

Unsatisfying answers, or an inability to create a safe learning environment at home will cause young people to seek answers elsewhere. This is exactly what I did. Instead of exploring the world with the protection of a parental safety net, I sought to explore my questions through the internet, pornography, friends and the media. As you can guess, this didn’t lead to the greatest understanding of the world.

I do remember one positive exchange, however. All the kids at primary school were using the term ‘horny’ as an insult. None of us really knew what it meant, but we knew it was something we didn’t want to be!

‘You’re horny!’
‘No! You’re horny!!’.

In hindsight, I think we were all very correct in accusing each other of this.

One day, as we were driving in the car with my Grandma, I popped my little ten year old head through the front seats and asked ‘what does horny mean?’. To her credit, my Mum answered with poise and clarity.‘It means you’re ready to have sex. Where did you hear that word?’. 

I am thankful for this conversation, but this type of interaction seemed to become engulfed with ‘BTBSS’ answers as I became a teenager. Perhaps she was afraid of exposing me to adult topics. Nevertheless, as I grew older, I believe my Mother lost valuable teaching opportunities by cutting explanations short with answers which weren’t really answers, which only quelled my growth, heightened my curiosity and made me bristle with rebellion.

I believe the premise of the BTBSS answer is true. When I raise children, I will teach and lead them from the Scriptures. However, there must be a deeper discussion and openness to holistic answers which include both Biblical wisdom and practical understanding of reality. Children need to know the Bible is capable of standing up to robust investigation, that they can ask ‘why?’ when someone claims ‘The Bible Says So’, and find satisfying answers within that book. This statement cannot be used to quieten young people.

If I had known I could always ask anything of my parents as a teenager, especially my Mum, and receive an honest, appropriate answer, I may have felt able to communicate about matters of sex, porn and growing up.

2. There’s more to the story than what you see  

I clearly remember hearing my parents discussing the things they saw around them. The most memorable topics were the drunks and the women in skimpy outfits who wandered around town.

‘How could you drink so much like that!?’

‘She may as well wear nothing at all!’

‘Her skirt is so short, it’s basically a headband!’

Their comments weren’t particularly harsh or judgemental, they just weren’t empathetic.

Having these conversations within my young earshot brought new realities to my developing mind, and sparked curiosity.

I investigated this new way of living by replicating the skimpy outfits I heard about from my parents. When I was a little older, I drank, like the party-goers discussed. I wanted to understand why people lived like this, what effect it had and what it was like to escape the ‘BTBSS’ world.

I wish, instead of simply commenting on people’s lifestyle choices, my Mum used these experiences as teaching moments. Ideally, she would have realised I was curious and prone to rebellion, taking a moment to be serious and discuss these matters with me.

If she couldn’t explain why people choose to act in the ways they do, she could have talked to me about potential positives and negatives associated with the behaviour in question. More importantly, I wish she used these moments to directly teach and encourage me, or at least gently discuss the actions I began to take as I grew older.

3. The internet can be a dangerous place for young women

I grew up without internet. I was twelve when pre-paid internet became available. Twenty dollars would buy you month-long internet access. It worked at the speed of a thousand legless turtles, which in the nineties was pretty great.

My parents probably never even fathomed such a thing could exist. I don’t blame them for not understanding the dangers of the internet. How could they know?

My wishlist expands…I wish they did know.

Perhaps then, they could have taught me what the word ‘porn’ meant, or that sometimes I would see pictures of naked people online. They could have told me these images might make me feel curious or confused.  If we had these discussions, Perhaps I could have told them what I saw when I was twelve, rather than getting hooked on this new feeling. They could have intervened.

I wish they taught me that you can’t trust everyone online. Even cute boys who want to chat aren’t always what they seem.

I wish the computer was in a shared space. I wish I wasn’t given hours of free reign in my Grandad’s study. I wish I wasn’t allowed to sit in a closed room alone for hours. I wish my Mum noticed the erotic novels I was reading and explained why they’re not for kids.

I wish my Mum taught me that the internet can be a dangerous place for young women.

4. Your body will change and you will experience new desires and feelings

Puberty hit me like an orgasmic bus full of…bricks.

I got my period in grade five. I started growing hair, getting pimples, feeling moody and I was horny as hell.

School sex education taught us about biology and pads. They didn’t tell us about the overwhelming sexual frustration that would come in adolescence, nor the strange and pleasant desires that would arise out of nowhere. They didn’t teach us about masturbation, or what to do with any of these feelings.

My parents didn’t teach me any of this stuff either. I don’t blame them. They probably had too much faith in the school system.

I was left to figure it out on my own, my only guide being the internet and the world around me. Neither of these guides seemed to have any issues with my chronic masturbation, pornography surfing or imitating what I saw online.

I had no point of reference for healthy sexuality during puberty. When I was growing up, great resources for teenagers weren’t available. I had no safe place to ask those burning questions, and nothing wholesome to imitate.

Today’s parents have access to some great resources on this particular topic. They have the chance to provide more guidance than their parents probably did. Patricia Weerekoon is a Christian sexologist and author who has created a series of incredible resources for toddlers right up to married couples. She covers topics of sex, puberty, pornography, relationships, gender identity and sexuality in a Godly and bold way. This is not your classic Christian sex ed. She delves deep into the realities today’s youth are facing and writes with clarity and poise.

What now?

You’ve heard a lot of longing in this post, it’s a fifteen hundred word wishlist. Not even Santa on Amphetamines could fulfil this one.

I held onto a lot of resentment over these things for a long time. However, I’ve come full circle.

God is enough’. 

That’s right, now I’m the one spewing out oversimplified Christian phrases when I’m talking about complex struggles!

But seriously, I have learned that while many people, including my parents in some areas, have failed me, my God did not. He has brought restoration to my soul. He has guided and protected me. I have come to learn many of the things my parents didn’t teach me, plus a great deal more, only because of my wandering. He has given me the opportunity to minister to others through this painful experience.

So, Mothers who feel they’ve failed their daughters, have confidence that God holds her in his hands, and is more able than you ever could be. He also holds you. Mothers who are raising young girls, please use this information as a guide and pray for her experience growing up into our new world.

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