How to Keep Your Kid a Virgin Until College

virginitySex and virginity are hot topics among the parents of teens. In theory, we all would love it if our teens would wait until they are responsible enough to handle all the many repercussions that can come from sex. But some parents feel it more strongly than others.

Among other things, religion has allowed us to form a nearly cult-like adoration of female virginity. From creepy “purity balls” where fathers take their daughters out to pledge that they will wait until marriage to young women selling their virginity to the highest bidder, writer and noted feminist Jessica Valenti addresses this weirdness in the US around girls' virginity in her book The Purity Myth. While I completely agree with the premise (I have yet to read the book), I also know, as a parent of both a boy and a girl (with another girl on the way), I would love it if both of my children would wait until at least college before they have sex.

I thought this was a common feeling, but more and more, I have heard parents say that they actually WANT their children to have sex younger, specifically that they wouldn't want them to be the one virgin headed off to college. Sex is an amazing thing. But it also comes with responsibilities that are too grave for a young teen to handle and I plan to encourage my kids to wait, though it’s not just for my daughters. Here are 5 ways I plan to encourage my kids to wait until college:

1.) Be honest: When I was younger, both my mother and stepmother sat me down and explained sex. It wasn't a “precious gift” or any other kind of religious metaphor. Rather, it was a huge power struggle and something that would quickly turn against me if I had sex too soon. I waited a long time because of this advice and watched as friend after friend fell prey to this.

2.) Explain the emotions: Sex should be an emotional act for both boys AND girls. I will explain to my daughters and my son that part of what is beautiful about sex is lost if it's done casually or just to do it.

3.) Not condone it: I will provide birth control if I realize I have lost the battle, but I will NOT provide a place to have sex or a means to make it easy. If I think my children are thinking about sex, they will have to have it outside my home. We will have curfews and no opposite sex in the bedrooms rules in our house.

4.) Cultivate openness: I will foster a sense of openness in our house. Even though I will make it clear where I stand on the issue, I plan on being open to listening to my children and letting them make their own choices if it comes to that. If they are in a serious, loving relationship and I think they are responsible, I am open to helping them make good decisions and decide for themselves even when I clearly don’t think it’s a great idea.

5.) Get to know all boyfriends/girlfriends: I will be open to my children dating when they seem mature enough to do so (I can’t put a hard and fast rule on this now when they are so young), BUT I will also want to know people they go out with. If they go on a date, I expect to meet the boy or girl they are going out with beforehand if I don’t know them already. This way I feel like I can keep better tabs.

I know these aren't foolproof and I know I may be blessed/stuck with a teen who does what he or she wants regardless of what I think. As parents the best thing we can do is encourage our kids to make wise choices, let them know where we stand, and hope for the best.

I never want to be a strict mom or one who is abnormally judgmental about sex and sexuality. I want them to have good sex lives at some point, but I have also seen in so many friends the striking ways their first time experiences affect them the rest of their lives. If I can protect my kids from having a bad first experience, whether it happens in college (preferably) or before, I will be happy.

How do you plan to help your teens make decisions about sex?


Image via Maja Dumat/Flickr

behavior, sex


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lulou lulou

I just plan for them to have opportunities and career goals, goals that would be a lot harder for them to reach with a baby.

worki... workingmama86

I totally agree. I plan to be the exact same way. I think open communication and maintaining a good relationship is key. I hope i never make my children feel like they can't talk to me.

peanu... peanutsmommy1

my parents followed all of those and I chose to wait until I was 23 and 6 mos into a committed relationship with now DH.

my sister waited to 15.

Every kid is different, even in the same household

Coles... Coles_mom

I waited until I was married, but I have a strange reason. The guy I dated all through high school and into college knew he was called to be a minister/preacher. He was a genuinely good guy. He would never have compromised himself like that and always kept things "g" rated. We broke up in college, but he's still a family friend. He marries a fantastic woman, has 4 kids, and is the senior pastor of an Assembly of God church. I'll be honest- I can't swear I'd have been that well behaved if I'd been dating someone else. I'd like to think so.

MrsRo... MrsRoberts413

I think all 5 tips are excellent advice, and the other thing I will add to parents: don't ever think for a moment "Oh, not my precious angel, he/she would never do that!!!"  I was a straight-A honors student, competitive athlete and choir member, had a part-time job all through school, and I still fooled around more than I'd care to admit.  Granted, I waited until I was 23 and engaged to my now-husband before I actually engaged in full-on intercourse, but definitely emphasize to your kids the impact of other activities that they may not see as "real sex."  It still carries most of the same ramifications as intercourse! 

Polina Oakley

This is idiotic. Sexuality happens WAY earlier than college (I mean WAY). If your child waits, on their own, then good for them, maybe they just were not interested/ready/willing/whatever. In most cases, children/teens/youth are ready/ want (you like all my slashes? I am trying to cover my bases! :P) to have sex earlier. So what if they do? I certainly did, with someone I thought I loved, it was amazing, so what? Some of my friends, who lost their virginity in university had mass guilt, mommy and daddy issues, genophobia and all sorts of arguably unhealthy views on sexuality and sex (which may I remind you- IS NORMAL!!). I wouldn't wish that on my child any day. When he (or she, even though I only have a he) discovers he is ready for sex, I want him to know all about it all(contraception, stds, emotions). I want him to be able to come to me if he needs to. There is absolutely NO way a "child" (because lets face it they really aren't children by the time they are teens) will come to a parent who actively, or worse, subversively disapproves of sex. 

Gonneke Van Veldhuizen-Staas

What is this fascination with sex? O, wait, it is the forbidden fruit. When you take that off of it, it just is a normal bodily function like all other bodily functions. A pleasurable one for sure, as are other functions. When kids get into puberty, their hormones start working and they start being curious about these new feelings. They ant and need to explore, just like they did when other normal functions arose: talking, walking, running, dancing, learning. The ones that go wrong are the ones that are restricted. What kids need is good and complete information about their bodies and how they function, about safety from pregnancy and STD's and about having sex because you want it, not because others urge you to have it, or about saying No, because you don't want it.

Barbara Argyropoulos

I totally agree with the author here. Yes sex is natural and should never be seen as a bad thing.Humans are complicated animals though, and becoming more so all the time.   Our children mature physically far more quickly than they mature emotionally and therefore it isn't so simple as "it's natural so what's all the fuss about"        Communication and education are so important. Before the hormones really kick in we must explain how they will feel and the choices they have. Yes it is their choice to make with loving advice and information given without judgement and the only expectation should be to take good care of themselves physically and emotionally. I have three adult children and tried to do this for them. Four Grandchildren now and I totally trust my Daughter and Sil to do the same.

jeane... jeanellensmommy

I have planned out to explain that sex is a physical expression of the love between two people. I want my children to understand that all of their actions of consequences. I will tell my children that I hope they are in a committed relationship, and that both parties involved understand and are prepared for the possible outcome of their choices.
I do not expect or want my children to wait until they are married to have sex. I think sexual compatibility is just as important to a long term committed relationship, as emotional compatibility.

regull09 regull09

Truth is, you can educate, inform, and be open until you're blue in the face, or purple, or green.. In the end, it's your child's decision.

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