Sex Is All in a Day’s Work for a Sri Lankan Mother

When growing up in SL my mother didn’t sit me down and tell me “thou shalt not sleep with a man until married” I just knew it. It was sort of in the air in SL. We could whiff the drift of what is expected of us girls.

But when bringing up children of SL parental in a western society, social mores enters an entirely different realm. I was happily going about doing the things I do in life when I started hearing hitherto unheard comments from the horse’s mouth (horse being my daughter)

“So and so is having a boyfriend”

“Ok”, no drama

“So and so is moving in with her boyfriend”

“Ok” no drama. My thought was- ‘it’s not you, so not a problem’.

Suddenly I felt a nudge. More like a sharp push ‘wake up Mia, your daughter is growing up and this is not SL’. The message of ‘no sex’ is not in the atmosphere.

I started to panic. How do I approach the subject? Though she didn’t have a boyfriend, the issue was not that, it was to ascertain her thoughts on sex.

So I was blunt and straight to the point like I always am. “Tell me, do your friends sleep with their BF’s?” “I don’t mean the ones living together and I don’t mean your male friends either”

“NOO, yuk sex” was the answer.

I thought ‘Good girl. Keep thinking of sex that way’

Year or so down the track I thought the time has come to ask the question again. People and their perceptions change with the moving of times, you know. : ) She still didn’t have a BF but I wanted her to be aware jumping to bed for the sake of it, is not the way to go when she eventually has one.

I was struggling to find the right words to express my thoughts in a society where sex is such a part, a natural progression of love. Not something you wait for a signature and a document. She was one year older since our last conversation and she got embarrassed when I brought up the subject of sex.

“Mum, you are embarrassing me”

“What is so embarrassing about sex?”

“Oh my God, I don’t believe this. I am so not having this conversation with you” and walked away

“Don’t walk away when I am talking to you”

“You are unbelievable” and slammed the door

Just so you know, sex is not a casual thing” I raised my voice to make sure she heard me through the slammed door.

The volume of her music went up.

At least that proved she heard me through the door. So much for finding the right words, sitting down and having a mature conversation. Ultimately it was just raised words blurted through a slammed door.

And next, it will be the son. Who is going to talk to him? I know his father won’t. In fact I can bet my last dime on that. I don’t think I can tell him “remember to wear a condom” It may sound like a different set of rules for the boys. But hey, that’s how it is. Isn’t it?

Luckily, his school teaches safe sex practises. Yes, it is a Catholic School and no, they don’t advocate casual or pre marital sex but they understand it happens and have moved with the times to teach the importance of protection.

This is a smartypants son with his smart remarks….. ..who once asked what alcohol tasted like and when I offered “do you want a taste?” answered back “jeez, you are asking an underage kid if he wants alcohol, what is the world coming to?”

(I offered because I appreciate the natural curiosity of us all and believe making a big deal of such things will only make it more enticing. I didn’t offer him a full glass; I asked if he would like a taste – I explained the reason for my offering to any purist who might read and come to bite me)

So with the subject of sex he could very well ask me “are you asking me to be promiscuous?”

Sometimes you can’t win as a parent.

PS: This post is a collection of conversations I have had with my children during the past couple/few years and written from memory.

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26 comments so far

  1. John on

    Well, goodluck with it Mia. Sex has always been a sticky topic. At any rate, whenever you try to get a teenager to do something you know for a fact that he/she will do the exact opposite 🙂

  2. John on

    Well, goodluck with it Mia. Sex has always been a sticky topic. At any rate, whenever you try to get a teenager to do something you know for a fact that he/she will do the exact opposite 🙂

  3. Darwin on

    Lol! I never had that conversation with my parents either, and I’m kinda glad I didn’t as it would have been pretty awkward.

    Have you seen ‘Juno’ yet? Maybe you and your daughter can go watch that together, the subject might be a bit easier to talk about after that!

  4. Six - &- Out on

    Im gonna print out all these posts and use them when I have kids LOL.

    Good luck with everything. Im sure your kids will know the right from the wrongs from what you have taught them over the years.

  5. Dili on

    Just tell them how you feel and why you’re worried and dont go into any err… details… 😛 No elaboration, no rants, no sob stories, no ultimatums. I know Id have appreciated the “speech” in a no nonsense matter-of-fact version than a nervous embarrassed version.

    Be brave. Even if they don’t show it, Kids VERY much appreciate a strong parent.

    Good Luck

    🙂

  6. ~ lo$t $oul ~ on

    “do you want a taste?” answered back “jeez, you are asking an underage kid if he wants alcohol, what is the world coming to?” – damm hilarious!! i can’t believe he is such a straight kid!!

    “are you asking me to be promiscuous?” – im sure this wudnt be the answer he’s goin to give.. when he comes around to tht age!!

    we all skipped the conversation on this topic!! thank god my mom never bothered to open her mouth on this one!!

  7. Indyana on

    haha! i had that with the boys already…so much for gathering the right words is what I’d say too! i ddi the same thing! And as for the girl…there is time! but, today a friend was over for some project and the doors were closed and her brother was called in t help save something on a flashdrive! i panicked beyond belief at the innocent giggles(why do girls these dyas giggle so frighteningly much!)….and wanted the son out of there….quick!hehe….panicky aren’t we!

  8. සමනලී on

    aiyo.. still remember when my mom sat me down at age 14 and gave me “the talk”!! It was awkward to say the least!! Now my sister’s around that age and we’re having a harder time with her, i guess because she didn’t live in SL long enough to have any sort of an idea about what’s expected, what’s not etc.

    Good luck with your kids Mia, God knows moms need it when we grow up abroad! 😀

    And, I agree with Dili. At the time I thought it was ridiculous, but now just 5-6 years down the road, I fully appreciate all the lectures and what not my parents drilled into my head!

  9. pissu perera on

    he he.. this is something my folks skipped too.. i guess they too assumed/hoped that the air would get the message across 😉

  10. Curious Yellow on

    For all my parents’ failings they were very honest and open about sex. They gave me information as soon as I showed any curiosity about the subject and tried to put sex in context for me and I think I’m a better person for it.

    As a parent I would rather my kids learnt about it from me than from one of their peers who is likely to be ill-informed about the subject. In the end, it is something that’s an important part of a relationship and it helps to have it explained to you by someone who has already been there I reckon. Looking back I respect them a lot for being so mature about it and treating me with respect and not pooh-poohing my questions. That counts for a lot with me.

    Good luck to you!

  11. N on

    I would second Darwin’s suggestion of checking Juno out…or you could just tell em what my mom told me…”I don’t care what you do with your sexual life, just don’t get anyone pregnant or catch a disease’…sage words…

  12. crystal flame on

    boy am i glad that my parents skipped the subject as well.. it would’ve been quite awkward. i think they just left it to school and the air as you said..

    hope you’ll find a way to get through to them :D..

  13. Nishadha on

    I’m also glad I didn’t have this conversation with my parents , we Sri Lankans especially ones living in Sri Lanka are very reluctant to talk about sex.We had a lesson about sex in health science in school and I remember the lady teacher skipping that.Btw after reading this blog I think its fun to be a parent.

  14. mia on

    Wow who says sex doean’t sell? I had over 90 hits on this post alone yesterday .
    And found it as the top post according to this site http://buzz.yahoo.com/article/wordpress:top_family_309:b5934cc6085456f5d4c9bd2dba8f29fc

    I am pressed for time right now will answer comments individually when I have more time.

  15. mia on

    John,
    That is the reason I didn’t want to sound sex as a taboo thing rather make aware it is not casual either.

    Darwin,
    I might take your suggestion and go see it with my daughter. This weekend perhaps. I asked her if she would like to see it and she said isn’t it something to do with someone getting pregnant? I said I don’t know, but how about you and I go see it.

    Six & out,
    That’s the thing Damith, there is no right from wrong here. It is what feels right for the individual. I know a very conservative Tamil family (older family with grown up children) and with all their conservative beliefs they couldn’t stop their daughter from living with her BF, they eventually got married years later but still…. Looking at the way those parents think and their outlook it was a shock….. She had her own professional job, lived and worked in another state, had her own apartment and she met this guy and the next step was to live together.There was nothing the parents do or say to stop her. It is a very hard thing to control in this environment.

    “Im gonna print out all these posts and use them when I have kids LOL.” This could be sarcasm at its best but I refuse to take this as anything but a compliment 😛

    Dili,
    I was not nervous at all but found it hard to relate my thoughts to someone grown up in an entirely different environment without any Sri Lankans as friends except cousins.

    LS,
    Oh he is one cheeky kid alright. What he can’t remember is that he asked the same Q when he was 8,9 10 (can’t remember exactly) and I gave him a sip of wine and he liked it so much it freaked me when he asked for more so had to say “no, that is it” My daughter on the other hand went and washed her mouth saying it tasted disgusting. This time it was a year or so ago that he asked, obviously he had forgotten the last time and when he came up with his smart remark I had to resist with everything within me to not mention of the last time 🙂

    Indyana,
    Giggles are part of becoming aware of the opposite sex I guess. Do you know in this country parents are so happy when children take some notice of the opposite sex or even have a GF or BF at a young age rather than going the other way, if you know what I mean.

    ?????
    Yes if you are living in the west then you know what I mean. It is a whole different ball game

    PP
    Yes in SL it is not that bad. You just know it.

    Curious Yellow,
    Thanks. I didn’t have to teach my children. Their sex education began in year four at school and I was really upset because I thought it was my job to teach them not their teachers.

    N
    Hmm I don’t know if I want to tell a daughter that. She will think, ok to sex but no to getting pregnant 🙂

    Crystal flame,
    There is nothing to be awkward that is how we all came to be. 🙂

    Nishadha,
    “Btw after reading this blog I think its fun to be a parent” You want to say that again? 😛
    As a parent you have to learn to evolve with the children otherwise it is going to be one hell of a battle.

  16. lady divine on

    Interesting…
    You can actually start up a ‘Parenting Guide’ someday…:D

    My mum has said stuff too.. but I barely bothered to listen to them… just nodded pretending to have listened.. But then, she knows I wouldn’t get into lets say ‘unmarked territories’ ..;) hehee

  17. Jerry on

    ““NOO, yuk sex” was the answer.

    I thought ‘Good girl. Keep thinking of sex that way’”

    ROTFL!!!

    You actually wrote it, didn’t you? And I was wondering whether you would really get around to it ;). But now I can’t post about the “talk” in SL…

  18. Jerry on

    By the way, congratulations on the “buzz” top post!

  19. indyana on

    My husband has the same attitude…he is relieved to know his boys are interested in girls….and he has a really funny way of saying it….but, cant say it here!

  20. mia on

    Ld
    hmm.. parenting guide. Don’t know about that. I have my own methods that aren’t necessarily the mainstream you know.

    Jerry,
    Thanks. Well you asked for it and you got. Ask and you shall receive 🙂

    What post are you talking about when you say “talk” in SL?

    Indyana,
    I think we should be glad if our children take some interest in the opposite sex with everything that is happening around us.

  21. Jerry on

    I was contemplating an exposé on how local parents educate their kids about the birds and the bees.

  22. mia on

    Just do it,Jerry. Go for it.will be an interesting and entertaining read.
    Shall look forward to it.

  23. Jerry on

    Thanks for the encouragement mia! True Nike material! 😉

    Coming soon…

  24. mia on

    “True Nike material!” 😛

  25. Scrumpulicious on

    To do this day, my mum still hasn’t mentioned sex to me. I’m in my mid 20s, born and bred in London! And to this day, I like to think that she thinks that I’m none the wiser about sex and boys.

    Luckily, I think she raised me well enough for me to know what I should and shouldn’t be doing.

    And there’s always the “what she doesn’t know, won’t hurt her” right?

    I’m dreading having these moments with my children!

  26. Angel Eyes on

    LOL! Mia I sure as hell was sniggering to myself reading your post, way to go with parenting skills. Good approach to the topic with your kid.

    Back here in SL things are way different and trust me if parents get married late in life they become even more paranoid when it comes to such topics with their kids.

    Stuff like that are totally taboo topics to them and are like an electric shock if brought up. I can remember when I was in my teens my dad didn’t even let us watch people kissing on TV. (yep talk about the height of being paranoid)

    Times are changing rapidly and I think its best that parents confront their kids before they get to an age where they think that they can do anything coz they are kids no more.


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