Chapter five of Chimamanda Adichie’s “Americanah” deals with young love and the desire to express it. It took me by surprise when Obinze’s mother called Ifemelu into her room to discuss sexual relations between her son and Ifemelu. How awkward can that be, right? What made it even more cringeworthy was the fact that his mother wanted to know when they planned on having sex. A bit odd, but her culture also differs from mine.
I’ll admit, it is a bit refreshing to read about a mother who wants to know when her child in a seriously involved relationship plans on having sex. It’s important to be safe and understand what you’re getting into. Although it differs between households, many parents in Western culture–specifically under the influence of religious doctrine–prefer that their children wait until marriage before “losing their virginity” (quotes because no one can actually lose a virginity, it was never a physical object to begin with).
There’s something comforting in knowing that an adult who has more often than not been a teenager who wanted to experiment with sex themselves cares about younger generations not making mistakes without hindering them from making their own decisions–despite the fact that some of these said adults only preach abstinence (PSA this is not helping anyone, teenagers ARE having sex).
What’s almost as bad as having adults just tell children to stay abstinent is that parents in 35 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have the ability to pull their children out of sexual education classes. This is especially hurtful to the younger generations who want to learn. Not every child wants to be sexually active, but it’s important that everyone knows so as not to have unwanted pregnancies or STDs. It also sucks that sex ed is being taught in middle school while kids are still not mature enough to understand how the birds and the bees work, but I guess it’s better sooner rather than later.
In short, parents, please discuss sex with your kids despite how awkward it is for us to hear. It’s better to know about contraceptives and the risks of getting pregnant even without physically having sex (yes, girls can get pregnant if sperm gets inside their vagina), especially during the times of the Alt-Reich.
Fake Communist’s Note: For those of you who don’t know, the Alt-Reich is America’s government for the next four years. These politicians want to defund Planned Parenthood, a major tool in giving proper instruction on and access to contraceptives for low-income persons.