I snoop on my teenage son’s Instagram account. I shouldn’t do, but I am really fucking nosey, so I do. But I do it out of love, so it’s fine.
I read a group message thread yesterday where one of his female friends was discussing losing her virginity over Christmas (not with my son, thank God, but wow, that’s a slap in the face of the Virgin Mary if ever I’ve heard one). This girl is 15 and I admit, for a few seconds, I was shocked and came over all Victorian, until I gave my self a shake and reminded my self that I couldn’t judge because I was 15 the first time I had sex too. In a field.
Okay it was actually in a tent, but a tent in a field.
It was at Reading Festival 1995, to some idiot I only liked because he bore a passing resemblance to the singer from Menswear and who I was then stuck with for the next two years because he kept saying he’d kill himself of I dumped him, so you could say, it ended badly.
The first time was shit, by the way. As was the second, third and so on. I thought I’d give it a few tries over the weekend (I’ve never exactly been hard to get), but it soon became clear that he didn’t have a clue what he was doing. As he was 18 at the time, I stupidly assumed he’d know better or that he’d at least know what to do with it.
It was distinctly underwhelming and left me with a feeling of, “was that it?” Which is something that has also been a bit of a reoccurring theme in my life, but thankfully not with the most recent chap, although it does take the piss somewhat that I had to wait until the age of 36 to finally get a great shag.
You can’t stop teenagers having sex, but you can put the fear of God into them about STDs and unwanted pregnancies.
I know I have gone to far with this with my own son, as whenever the subject of sex comes up in our house, he says to me, “yes, yes, gonorrhea and you don’t want to be a Grandmother before the age of 40”.
I have only gone down the super open route with him because of the way my Catholic mother was about sex. It was never spoken about and it was like some dirty little secret, which ironically went totally the wrong way for me fucking the first bloke I could find at age 15.
When I was growing up, sex was a taboo subject, as was everything else to do with bodies or emotions.
I accidentally said the word period once and she had to go off for a lie down and a pray. I don’t know how she thought that attitude would equip me for life but it was the way that she had been brought up herself.
I remember overhearing a story she told a friend about how on her wedding night, she still didn’t know what sex was, and that that was the way things should be. I was only young at the time, but I promised myself that if I ever had children, I would be far more open with them.
The daft thing is, had sex has been spoken about more at home, I probably would have waited a little longer to lose my virginity, whereas my mother seemed to think that any mention of the word sex would turn me into an immoral nymphomaniac.
If only someone had told me that for the most part, sex when you are a teenager is awkward and a bit crap, I might have waited a little longer and not have been left staring at the roof of a cheap tent at Reading 95′ thinking “what the hell was that”.
I am hoping that my son, who is infuriatingly gorgeous, funny and very popular with girls will be far more sensible than I was, or at least feels like he is able to discuss it with me when he does feel ready for a physical relationship with something other than his right hand, a selection of socks and random images on Twitter.
I would rather he felt he could talk to me about sex than risk his health, so I have always kept the subject light and communication open in the hope that he doesn’t feel like he has to hide anything from me – apart from the occasional chat on his Instagram feed.