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Having The Talk With Your Teenage Son: One Dad’s Story

“I’ve Been Meaning To Talk To You.” Discussing Sex With Teens

Dear Son,

I assume that’s what outer space must be like—that absolute void and total silence that confronted me when I suggested we talk about sex.

I tried to plan for all contingencies and bring up the subject while we were walking together. Short of running away, you had no means of escape. Unfortunately, the dialogue turned into an uncomfortable monologue, with an occasional grunt (or was it an attempt at self asphyxiation?) from you.

So, I decided to write you a letter. I know you’ll read it, so this way we can spare ourselves the actual discomfort of being together while you do.

First of all, I know you find it hard to believe, but I really do know exactly what you’re thinking. Sex and girls are an overwhelming, all-consuming issue for you. Believe me, it still is at my age, and it’s still just as impossible to figure out. Admittedly, at my age I’ve come to the realization that the ultimate fantasy (which Mom says I can’t print) is probably unattainable.

Above all, I want you to be safe. Luckily, we live in an age where knowledge of condoms and safe sex for teens is widespread. I cannot emphasize it enough. It is IMPORTANT! A frivolous moment where precautions are avoided because they are unavailable or inconvenient can lead to a lifetime of regrets. Sexually transmitted diseases, even those “minor” ones, like herpes, will never go away. An unwanted pregnancy becomes your responsibility forever. AIDS can kill you. Again, safety is IMPORTANT!

I also want you to be honest. As with everything in life, character and integrity are absolute requirements. Whether you are with one partner or pursuing many, I hope you never mislead anyone about your intentions. Having fun, just for fun’s sake, is fine as long as it is mutual. Intentionally hurting someone physically or emotionally is not what a real man does.

I want you to go out into the world and enjoy yourself: meet new people and do crazy and exciting things. But be responsible.  Don’t let one encounter, or even one relationship, deter you from your goals in life.

I’ll try to spare you the discomfort of discussing physical issues, but if you have a question or concern, please try to find the courage to ask me. I promise to help you find an answer without judging you. I’ve probably thought about your question and possibly discussed your concern (although definitely not with my dad).

Finally, I want you to know that I’m always here for you. No matter what problem you have, whose fault it is, what went wrong, how much it costs, how embarrassing it is, you are my son, and I will always support you. And, chances are that I have the experience and resources to help you correct the problem easier than you can on your own.

I love you,

Dad

Dan Borison

Dr. Dan Borison, a writer and Disney Dad of five, is a doctor in his free time.