What I Learned About Sex By Walking in on My Parents

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One time, when I was around 6 or 7 years old, I woke up in the middle of the night because I heard some strange sounds. Creeping out of my bedroom and going in search of where they were coming from, I discovered their location to be behind my parent's bedroom door. I quietly turned the knob and cracked the door open. My parents were in a tangle under the sheets. The sounds were coming from them.

"What are you doing?" I demanded.

My mom whipped her head around and pulled the comforter up higher. My dad began to try and hide beneath my mom's smaller frame.

"Zara," my mom softly chided. "Mommy and Daddy are having their private time right now. You should be in bed. Go back to sleep, baby."

I stood in the doorway for a minute more, staring at my mother's silently pleading eyes. I shrugged my shoulders and returned to my room, not sure exactly what they were doing but not really all that interested in it anymore.

My mother, even through her uptight Virgo ways, probably graced me with one of the most important lessons that I could possibly learn. She managed to keep her cool while her small child interrupted her in the middle of having sex. In that moment, I learned that sex was private but nothing to be embarrassed about. I wouldn't fully understand this until I was much older.

My mom had always been very open with me about sex. When I was old enough to start asking questions (I remember this to be around when I was 8) she answered all of them without flinching. I never even saw the discomfort in her expression as she carefully outlined her opinions while leaving me open to figuring out things on my own.

When I was about 12, she gave me her copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves, a book about female sexuality which told of all aspects in a clinical and yet personalized fashion. I read up about masturbation, intercourse, pregnancy, childbirth and even abortion. Knowing the physical facts about how my body operated allowed me to distance myself from the emotional aspect.

My mom filled in those other parts. She talked to me about the first time that she had sex and some of the reservations that she had at the time and then afterwards. She explained that sex was always more enjoyable to her when it occurred on a meaningful level. That when she felt like she was in love with someone, it meant much more to her.

When I was 14, I lost my virginity. I had been advised by my mom that if I was thinking about having sex for the first time, she would like to know about it so that she could help to talk to me about my feelings. Because that first time was somewhat sudden, and mainly because I wasn't even sure that it was going to occur, I didn't go to her first. But I did come to her immediately afterward.

I almost choked on the words as I spilled the beans about what had happened. Her first reaction was to be upset. Her main complaint that she lodged with me as she began her lecture was that I was too young. She herself had lost her virginity at 16 and thought that she had gotten across the point that she later realized that that was too young of an age. So listening to me must have been murder for her.

After her initial reaction, she calmed down and then asked me more detailed questions. How did I feel about it? Was it something that I thought I wanted to do on a regular basis? And please, oh please, tell her that I used protection. I answered everything without feeling as if I was being judged but that she was concerned about me.

While the person that I lost my virginity to was not someone that I was to have sex with again, my second boyfriend was a more permanent fixture. My mom knew him from when he attended the Jr High School that she worked at and was fond of him. Knowing that we were more serious, she took me to get put on the pill and occasionally allowed him to spend the night.

I was so proud to have such a loving and understanding mother that when my friends would bitch about not having a place to have sex, I would proudly explain that I was given permission to do so at home. My friends, surprisingly, did not think this was cool.

"Shouldn't she be trying to stop you from having sex?" they'd ask.

My mom's reasoning was simple. She feared that if we tried to find locations to have sex, they wouldn't be safe. There had been a story in our town about a teenaged couple who decided to have sex in the Jr College sports field and were discovered by a group of men who beat up the guy and raped the girl. This was something that she never wanted to see happen to me.

The interesting part about my mom giving us permission is that it DID take some of the thrill away. Teen sex is more fun when it's illicit. After knowing that we were allowed, my boyfriend and I actually had less sex and just hung out more. My mother was brilliant indeed.

She did caution me against telling my friends about this permission and after the first few negative responses, I learned the that most valuable lesson that I mentioned in the beginning. While I write about sex on a regular basis, I rarely mention names. I talk about sex in a broad manner, much like I was taught by my mom, because sex is nothing to be ashamed of. But for it to be special, it needs to be private.

I grew to hate the invasive questions that girls would ask and avoided the conversations when they would drone on about how their boyfriends (usually male friends of mine) did or didn't do certain things. I can handle the: "Do you like oral? No? Why not?" But when I hear the "Do you like it when (fill in the name) goes down on you?" I clam up.

Because yes, I like sex. And yes, I talk and write about sex. But until you've actually fucked me, you're not going to fuck me. Keeping it private is what keeps it special. Keeping it personal is what makes it Awesome.

Discussion of the Day:

What lessons did your parents teach you about sex? Do you ever feel that you have a more positive or negative outlook on sex based on how they handled it with you? If you have kids, have you had to experience discussing sex with your children and if so, what effect do you think you had on them by how you handled it?

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