I was talking to a friend the other day about the high number of junior high school students that are sexually active in our town. Unlike most other parents who have expressed an opinion about this I have mixed feelings. Like most adults the thought of 12-13 year old people having sex makes me shudder. On the other hand, it is just sex. I would rather they be having sex than doing drugs, not that some of them aren't doing both.
The suggestions on how to solve this problem have ranged from ruling with an iron fist, to we can't stop them so why try. I fall somewhere in the middle. If somebody decides they want to do something, no matter what their age, they will find a way to do it. Arranging more supervised activities for them could deter them a bit though. I think education is an important part of the answer. They are the ones making the decisions, we should help them to make informed, and hopefully safer ones.
This conversation with my friend turned to talking about our decisions and rather we have any regrets. She was much more conservative as a teenager than I was and regrets having sex before marriage, even if it was only with the man she has now been married to for many years. I was older than the kids we were discussing earlier, but only by a year or two, when I started being sexually active and have no major regrets. Sure I have some of those 'what was I thinking about that guy' moments but people of all ages have those.
The major difference is the amount of guilt these decisions have caused us. She has felt guilty since before the first time was finished, and I really don't think I would change many of my experiences. This raises the question, should we raise our children to feel like sex is wrong and hope the guilt keeps them safe or raise them to think of it as a part of life so they don' t have to worry about the guilt?