Hey, have a seat. No, don't worry. You're not in trouble. I know we haven't met yet, but that's okay.

I think it's time we have "the talk."

And no. We're not going to talk about sperm cells and egg cells, or what happens to your body during puberty. You'll learn that at school. I want to talk about the things they don't talk about during health class. Please listen because they're just as important.

At school, they'll tell you all about the clinical stuff like which places will start to grow hair, and what parts go where during sex. But they won't show you how to navigate the feelings you'll start to have, exploring your sexuality, consent, or things like pressure from society to be a certain way.

I'm not going to pretend that your sexual awakening won't happen until the moment you turn 18. Whether I like it or not, you will be a sexual being. Everyone is a sexual being. Unfortunately, choosing to ignore that women and sexuality are not mutually exclusive has long perpetuated rape culture, victim blaming, and slut shaming.

Well, the fight starts with us.

I hope you'll grow into a woman who's intelligent, confident in herself, and comfortable with her sexuality. I know sometimes what you'll be feeling can be scary or frustrating. So I promise to be open, and to help guide you as best as I can at every stage along the way.

At some point, you'll probably notice that your lady parts being touched a certain way, or with certain things, feels good. Humans are innately curious creatures, so it's only natural that you'll want to start exploring your own body. You're not dirty. You're not sinful. This is completely normal. It's one hundred percent okay to explore those things yourself in private. This is called masturbation, and not only is it normal, it's healthy.

Learn what makes you feel good. It means that you won't have to rely on a partner if you don't want to. Knowing what feels good will help you if you choose to have a partner later, too. You can't expect to make someone else feel good — or for them to know how to make you feel good — if you don't even know what feels good.

Just make sure to close your door first. But just in case, your dad and I will always make sure to knock before coming in. And for fucks sake, please wash your hands after. Now that would be nasty.

You'll probably start to be more curious about your parts around this time too. It's good to be. As you get older, you'll see that being in tune with your vagina and the way things should look and feel helps you catch complications like bacterial or yeast infections earlier.

By the way, boys, sex, and sexuality won't be some blacklisted topic of conversation in this household. I want you to feel like you can talk to me. Speaking from experience, you'll probably do way less shady shit if you feel like you can trust me to help you fix your mistakes — not just punish you for them.

I want you to remember this: Most mistakes in life can be fixed. Your dad and I can help you fix whatever fuck up you made as long as you don't kill anyone, get someone else pregnant (which I imagine won't be too much of a problem for obvious reasons), or contract an incurable disease… the ones with the H's don't go away.

Now let's talk about sex.

Who you choose to have sex with and whether or not you're ready is up to you. My only ask is that you have sex because you want to have sex. Not because some douchebag keeps pressuring you, or all your friends are doing it, or "you've already been dating for so long," or whatever bullshit kids come up with nowadays.

I promise to lay groundwork for the kind of relationship where you can talk to me openly about sex as best as I can. But if for whatever reason you still don't feel like you can ask me to take you to get condoms or birth control, then please remember that there are clinics and organizations like Planned Parenthood that can help you with those things and more. It's not wrong or shameful to use their services. I did it. A lot of people do it. Even if you visit a clinic for birth control and didn't tell me, it still means I'm doing my job right. And I'd be proud that you took control of your body and sexual health on your own.

Choosing to have sex means accepting all the responsibility that comes with it. That means making sure you're on some kind of birth control, having regular gynecological exams, knowing who you're having sex with, or at the very, very least, always making sure to use a condom.

No, it's not just the guy's responsibility to have condoms. I know I said you have to be the one to determine if you're ready to have sex, but one thing's for sure: If you're not mature enough to get your own condoms, then you're not mature enough to have sex.

I hope you'll choose people who respect you and treat you kindly (although, even I know you'll probably be with some shitheads before you find someone nice). I can't always be there to warn you about fuckboys, but I'll try to give you the tools so you can determine who they are for yourself.

Let's double back to consent. As a girl, especially one who's comfortable with her sexuality, you'll probably be getting unwanted attention at times. Do not be intimidated. You have every right to say no. Your body belongs to you and nobody else. Even if you're in the middle of the deed, you can decide to stop at any time. You don't owe anybody anything.

If someone is pressuring you to do something you don't want to do, say no. If they keep doing it after you've told them to stop, leave — especially if you feel threatened. Somebody else's orgasm is never worth the cost of your mental and emotional health.

And if — god forbid — you're ever in a situation where you say no and they do it anyway, let me say this loud and clear: It is not your fault. It doesn't matter if you were flirting. It doesn't matter if you were under the influence. It doesn't matter what you were wearing. It doesn't even matter if you wanted it at first and changed your mind. Someone else's lack of restraint, lack of common fucking sense, and shitty character is never your fault.

If something like that happens, you need to speak up. People might say it was your fault and try to blame you. But internalize what I said and know that your dad and I, especially me, will be behind you every step of the way. The majority of rapists don't get prosecuted, but it's so important to report what happened to authorities anyway. At the very least, it's on record if the same person tries to pull something like that again. Karma's a real bitch.

But not so fast, young lady!

The same rules for consent apply to you too. You need to respect other people's boundaries the same way you want them to respect yours. Being a girl doesn't make you immune to the rules. If a partner says no, then you need to stop what you're doing immediately. It's not cool to leer at people or intentionally do things that make them uncomfortable. And I hope I don't have to tell you that unconscious or too-drunk-to-function people don't want to be touched. If it ever gets back to me that you pulled a stunt like that, you'll be dealt with accordingly.

That aside, I want to talk about the importance of communication. Never underestimate the power of speaking up. If a partner is doing something that doesn't feel good, tell them. And then suggest something that will feel good. Chances are, they want to satisfy you and they'll listen. Never feel like you have to stay quiet when you don't like something. Or for that matter, don't feel like you have to stay quiet if you do like something. Being vocal about what you like helps your partner keep doing things that feel good!

Likewise, listen when your partner says they don't like what you're doing. And don't take it personally. When you and a partner can give and receive advice without taking things too personally, you'll both be happier.

Phew! That was a lot for one conversation, wasn't it?

Ultimately, I just want you to be happy and healthy. I don't care if you like boys, or girls, or boys and girls. Or even if you decide that you don't want to be a girl anymore. It doesn't matter if you have a high sex drive, a low one, or something in between. What matters is that you feel empowered to be whoever you choose to be, freely and unapologetically.

Whatever you do, always be kind to others and kind to yourself.

And eat your vegetables!!

Can't wait to meet you one day,

– Your mom, at 20-years old

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