Julia Sweeney has "The Talk"
A week ago or so, I was invited in a friend’s place. Same as usual, the group was consisted of different nationalities and cultures. This time, there were three of us from Iran. We were talking about different topics and I have no idea but the discussion of pornography and porn festival also brought up. One of the Iranian girls who is 22 years old asked what porn was. While the rest of the group were shocked about this unawareness, the other Iranian girl (~28 years of age) started defining the concept in Farsi but she was very discreet with her definition (i.e. she is very conservative). Then, she switched to English and explained that since Muslims are not supposed to have sex before they get married, “the Talk” usually does not happen at all.
My German friend said he was 11 years old when his parents had the Talk with him. I said I was 7 years old when I received the Talk from my same age cousin who heard it from her classmate. He adds the downside to this is receiving either inaccurate or incomprehensive information. I totally agree with him. It took me almost one year to come out the shock and the disbelief that what I heard about sex is actually true (I was only 7 years old). Then, it took more years until I accumulated enough information about sex to consider myself knowledgeable enough to be safe in today’s society since in Iran, there is no room for formal sex education in school. I am pretty sure that is also true for most of my Iranian generation.
Similar to most Iranian family, my parents never had the Talk with me. Now, that I a grown woman, at least there is some jokes being exchanged that is related to sex but when I was younger, the topic of sex was just a taboo. I am sure what stopped my parents from having the Talk with me was not really religion beliefs but the fact that they were too timid and embarrassed to talk about sex with me and my siblings. Basically, they raised us the same way that their parents did without considering all the changes that happened since. I remember when I was in high school in Tehran, we heard of occasional miscarriages or abortions in other high schools washrooms (I studied in a very strict and religious high school so I don’t know of any incident in my high school). Only because people do not talk about sex and they are not supposed to have sex does not mean that there are not unwanted pregnancies.
Similar to anything else, parenthood has to be updated to address the needs of today’s society. You do not do a favour to your kid if you do not have the Talk with them. When you choose to talk to them and how you choose to tell them about sex depends on you, your kid, and the environment you live in. But please have the Talk with your kid. Any 22 years old girl must know what porn and other sex-related terms are to stay safe in today’s society. This also goes about drugs.