For most people, the first time they have sex is awkward, clumsy, incredibly not-pleasurable and, in the event that the deflowering takes place outside, potentially results in a nasty case of poison ivy.
But just because most first-time sex stories are pretty uncomfortable and terrible doesn't mean they have to be, especially if you have the proper guidance and sex ed beforehand. Case in point: this awesome dad, who recently posted on Reddit about his surprisingly refreshing (not to mention progressive) sex advice for his 13-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter.
In a post on /r/sex, the dad (known only as t-away-man) said he gave his kids four pieces of advice for knowing whether they were "ready."
You're ready for sex, he wrote, if and only if you are:
1) mature enough to be open about it.. no sneaking around ... if they're not mature enough to talk to me or their Mom about it, they're not ready.
2) mature enough to wait until they develop full trust in their partners... start slow and work your way from holding hands and talking to kissing, touching etc. That gives you time to really know your partner, develop trust and a measure of real affection not just infatuation and lust (don't get me wrong.. I'm not putting down lust... it's just not the best emotion for life decisions).
3) mature enough to understand the need for and to use condoms.
The fourth and perhaps most practical piece of advice? He told his kids "not to have sex in creepy places like school stairwells or behind the gym. They have perfectly good bedrooms with doors that lock and their friends will be welcome to stay for breakfast."
Arrest this man for burglary, because he has officially stolen our hearts.
There's something seriously wrong with American sex ed: In an email to Mic, t-away-man (who wished to remain anonymous) said that he was inspired to write the post after talking to his son about his school sex ed program. Until recently, he said, he and his wife had believed that their kids' "fairly progressive" school system was teaching comprehensive sex ed. But that turned out not to be the case.
"We found out from my son that their idea of sex ed was: 1) A man's penis goes into a woman's vagina to make a baby, 2) It is very dangerous and if you do it too much or too soon you will die and 3) Don't do it," he told Mic.
The dad said that he had raised his kids under the Dutch sex ed model, which teaches youth not only the importance of safe sex, but also how sex and relationships can play a crucial (not to mention pleasurable) role in one's development.
"Most of what I am espousing in my post is straight from the Dutch approach — open discussion, no shame," he told Mic.
"I wish my parents were like this."
Indeed, there is ample statistical evidence that the approach to sex ed in the Netherlands is factually superior to that of the United States. According to a 2006 study AlterNet reported, while Dutch teenagers and American teenagers become sexually active around the same age, American teen girls are twice as likely to have an abortion and eight times more likely to give birth than their Dutch counterparts. (In fact, the American teen pregnancy rate is one of the highest in the world, with 600,000 teens becoming pregnant every year.)
Moreover, the STI rate among American young adults is "considerably higher" than that of their peers in the Netherlands, according to a 2011 Adolescent Sexual Health report.
With these stats in mind, it makes perfect sense for parents like this sex-positive redditor to talk to kids about sex. In fact, there's positive evidence that teens benefit from it, no matter how initially uncomfortable it might be.
According to a November 2015 survey of past sex ed research, teenagers who talk to their parents about sex are less likely to become pregnant and contract STIs. "Results of this study confirm that parent-adolescent sexual communication is a protective factor for youth," the authors wrote.
Clearly, this anonymous redditor is onto something here — and others agree, judging by the effusive response from others who received subpar sexual health education.
"As a daughter who has had a parent say this to me, you did good," one redditor wrote. Another added, "I'm 15, I wish my parents were like this. It avoids a lot of sneaking around and fear of being caught doing something that is OK to do."