Paradise By The Dashboard Light!

paradise3carOkay,  My TEEN-aged son announces to me a few days ago…”Mom…we had sex.”

“BRZZZPTTTT!!!!”  Now, that’s my peaceful little mental LP recording of Barney’s Theme Song that’s being demolished by the inevitable ‘time’ needle.  In comes Meatloaf and Paradise By The Dashboard Light… “Ain’t no doubt about it we were doubly blessed. We were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed….”

“Dear Mr.Meatloaf, when it was me, I thought you were cool….Now?  YOU SUCK!”paradise4

When the hell did my little boy turn into a maaaaan who has sex???  F$%&!!!!  Don’t even get me going on the copious amounts of cerebral clorox I’ve used  to incinerate the frightening images in my head since his admission!  WTF?

Okay…time to regroup.  Time to be a mature adult and rid myself of those thoughts of locking him in his room and burying him with 72 boxes of Legos, 59 Tonka trucks and 58,400 hours of PBS and NatGeo programming. (thats 10 years worth of educational viewing, if your trying to figure it out…).

Time to put all those initial parental insincts aside, (especially the one where I pull every nasty picture I can on every horrible STD I can think of along with the stats on teen parenting…hence, his monthly XBOX payment will now need to be put toward DIAPERS!) and put myself in his shoes.

Time to go back to a time when I was a young teen…in love…doodling J & M FOREVER on every piece of stray paper, practicing the linguistic eloquence of my soon-to-be married name as Barry Manilow, Foriegner, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young watch me from their one dimentional posts on my powder blue walls.

paradise8Yes, I remember it all well…those first niggles of sexual interest…first base; some serious making out in my parents basement, second base; that heavy petting and touching that  brought us ever closer to nirvana…AGAIN…in my parents basement (WTF were they thinking?), third base; not sure what constitues third, but I’m assuming its when things went oral….which much to my disliking is now considered first base by teens cause it’s (insert whiney teen voice here) “Not really having sex!”)

Then home plate…good old home plate where all the answers to the sweet mysteries of life are found.

Yup, we made loooooove….Or WAS it?

Whatever the hell it was, all I remember is getting up, yanking up my pallazzo pants(remember those beauties, ladies? hip huggers with the big wide legs?) fixing my Farrah Faucet ‘do’ and having to get out of there as quickly as possible.  I practically stepped on his teen-sized woody as I ran out to my ca….?

WAIT!  That’s not a car on the sidewalk?  That’s a …………………BIKE!  Holy Shit! That’s right…. I WAS ONLY 14!!! WWWTTTFFF!

Hot Dang! I lost my virginity at 14!  You guys must think I’m an absolute slut! A hussy, a hoe, whore, floozie, scuz, skank, scag, tramp, tart…Was I a really a PROSTITOT?

God…when I think about it now…if that were my kid…I’d be mortified!

But to tell you the truth, when I look back, I don’t think I’d change a thing.

So is it wrong? Is it horrible? So many parents converse with me about this considering I teach Human Sexuality for the Catholic Church for teens…(yeah…go figure!)

But should we be bashing sex to our kids? Telling them its dirty, wrong, something only adults should have a hankerin’ for? Should we be promoting the vision the media portrays of sex? What as parents, aunts, uncles, friends, and relatives are we to do when it comes to talking about sex with our kids?  Is teen sex in a loving relationship a bad thing?  CRAP!!!  I don’t know what to do!!

Biologically, our bodies are hormonally geared up to start engaging in sex in our teens. So if our bodies were meant to…is it wrong?paradise5

Cultural  and/or religious restraints, rather than biological restraints, have had the biggest effect on our sexual behaviors. With so many cultures and religions…who’s to say what is right?

Now don’t get me wrong, there are many risks with sex for a person at ANY age. And with sex comes the responsibility of being emotionally mature enough to get that it’s not just about ‘the sex’.  But how do we raise children that have a healthy attitude about sex without being that mom.  You know…the fruity one that believes in sex, drugs and rock-and-roll?

As a kid, I was lucky enough to have two parents that taught me sex was absolutely filthy, horrible, sinful…yadda yadda yadda….

Didn’t deter me! (Obviously…) But it did mess with my head. I was never really comfortable with my sexuality.  I was shy, withdrawn, self-conscious and quite frankly, grew up just not paradisejulunderstanding what all the hub-bub was about. I was afraid if I liked it…I was a dirty, dirty girl.  But it certainly didn’t stop me from ‘givin’ it up’!  I was always hopeful that sex was the path to love, even if I never allowed myself to enjoy it.  Was I wrong? Yup…but did it hurt me? I don’t think it did…

So were my misconceptions due to having sex at too young of an age? Or were they due to having such negative information fed to me about sex?

So…as romance efficianados…how do we unscramble the anthropological (notice I didnt say religious cause I know that answer) questions; “Is sex between consenting caring people bad?” “At what age is it okay?” “Does love HAVE to be a component?” 

Taking into account history…sex has been known to be acceptable at ages as young as 13!  Who makes up the rules?

paradise9Now I’m asking you to think outside the box…remove yourself from your current position as parent, church member, responsible upstanding person of a community in the year 2013 and look at this from your tender, young, teen heart.  I believe love felt as a teen is some of the strongest feelings a person can feel. They stay with us forever. The newness, the excitement, the innocence of first love. Most of those intense feelings we never recapture again. Is it so wrong for teens to have sex?

Do you remember your first love? Your first sexual encounter? Do you regret it? Or embrace it?

If you had sex at a young age…did it mess with your mind? or is it just a wonderful, innocent, nostalgic memory? 

In my case, love was always a factor of my sexual experiences (except one…the one where I sacraficed my beliefs…I’ll tell ya’ all about THAT fu$#-u& someday) and I have to say….my sexual experiences are dear to my heart and have made me the woman I am today. I’m not a whore, or a failure, or misguided or suffering in guilt and sin. I’m safe and secure and smiling at the innocent memories of my paradise by the dashboard light.

Why society (and the media) has attempted to sully up such a wonderul thing is a mystery to me.

Love to you all…J


  1. I have 6 grandchildren from ages 13 to 25. None are married. I’m guessing half are still inexperienced. So, my remarks come from the mind and heart of a grandma. Older society–parents, grandparents and social organizations–owe the younger society honesty and education. Could I take one my grandkids shopping for condoms? Absolutely. Could I explain to him or her how to use them. Sure. Heck, they probably already know. But I’d also sling my arm around his/her shoulder as we go for a walk and talk about what sex means emotionally. Have they ever heard the age-old statement “guys pretend love to get sex and girls give sex to get love?” Do they think that’s true? It was when I was growing up…do they or their friends think that way? Open a dialog. Let them know the feelings they’re having are universal and ageless. Let’s take away the guilt. We’ve been using it for centuries–and it hasn’t worked. It didn’t stop me in the early sixties when I was 15. What makes us think it’ll stop the young ones now??? Better to talk about emotions they might have pre-sex and post-sex. Better to let them know they can come to you and share. Better to bond them to us with acceptance and unconditional love. I grew up in church, my uncles and brother were pastors…yet nothing could prevent me from experiencing those new, exciting, almost cutting feelings of youthful passion. Your son is lucky…he felt he could tell you…no doubt in part to his security in your unconditional love. Now that he’s experienced intimacy, it’s unrealistic to think any one can make him stop. Open that dialogue on the intensity and sometimes irrational range of emotions resulting from a sexual relationship. Good luck, hon. I’m betting you’ll handle it well.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Oh Von…I just LOVE you!!
      ” Let them know the feelings they’re having are universal and ageless. Let’s take away the guilt.” This is so true and it warms my heart to hear it from a grandma!!! I SO agree with you. This society’s messages on sex are so tangled up…it would be nice to get back to the simplicity of what it really is no matter what age. An expression of feeling…Can teens truly feel love? Oh…I think so…like you said…the ‘almost cutting feelings of youthful passion’ for someone else. So well put…
      I do have a very open relationship with both my boys…and many kids in the community due to my job. I’m glad Im not crazy thinking sex should not be sold as a forbidden fruit but rather looked at as a serious emotional endeavor to be considered between two caring people…
      Thanks Von!!!!!

  2. I’ll come right out with it…I was raped by a 16 year old boy when I was 12. I was totally naive about sex and had a lot of issues to work through.
    When our children started school, my husband and I had several discussions about how to handle their sexual education. We agreed that it was our responsibility.
    We kept an open dialog, but were careful not to let it get weird. There was nothing they couldn’t ask us, and believe me, they did. The emphasis was on emotional as well as physical maturity and safety.
    When the subject came up with our sons, we warned them that one act of passion can change a girls life forever. There’s the issue of pregnancy and STDs, but did you know that the younger a girl is when she starts having sex, the more likely she is to develop cervical cancer and other serious conditions? We told them that birth control was a great second line of defense, but condoms were still be required. I also warned them that if they ever mistreated a girl jail would be the least of their problems because they’d have to face me first.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Thank you so much for sharing what you’ve been through. I can’t even imagine. Your strength an wisdom as a loving wife and mom is a tribute to the way you obviously channeled the effects of such a life-changing event. You are an inspiration to all! I too was molested at 9 by an adult and then raped in my early 20’s…it certainly bleeds into everything you feel about yourself and sex. Having a loving husband is my key to growth at this point in my life.
      I too take a hard stance with my boys…I did warn them that with pregnancy comes a full-time job…an apartment of their own and say goodby to college…Sometimes we gotta pull out the big guns to make them think twice!
      Thanks also for the reminder to all about the risks for teens of STDs. In the early 70’s there were only about 5 different Stds…now there are over 25! 1 in 5 people in America are currently infected. Condoms….Condoms…Condoms!!!!
      Thanks for being with me today!
      Love J

    • Kudos to you Sandra for being strong and courageous. It’s so hard as parents to address the sex thing, but you have with conviction, sensitivity and honesty. Awesome!

  3. I have never really understood the whole “sex is dirty” guilt-culture because fortunately I grew up in a very communicative household where we could talk about anything…and we certainly did. When I was a sophomore, I remember being in the truck with my dad and we talked about birth control. It wasn’t weird or a long, painful conversation. It just came up, we had an open dialogue, end of story. And here’s the kicker…I was a VIRGIN UNTIL I WAS 21. So anyone who thinks giving kids all kinds of sex information will make them more promiscuous is dead wrong. I think know that my parents loved and respected me enough to educate me and keep the lines of communication open – knowing they’d love me unconditionally – made me more equipped to make my own decisions about when I was ready. I’m following the same path with my children today who are 11 and 8.

    Great topic, Josie! Your children are SOOOO lucky to have a strong, fun, and supportive mother like you! Love you!! xoxo

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Thanks Mist! Im a-trying!!! What a great Dad you had! My father to this day gives me filthy looks if I even speak about sex or it comes up on TV!!! Amazing how much influence our actions and words have on the little ones around us…Education is the key!
      Love ya!

  4. First of all, *hugs* all around. Sandra, Josie, and the others out there, I applaud your strength for having overcome something so horrible and fighting for loving, healthy relationships. Very inspiring.

    As for sex and age… I’m with Misty here. I didn’t have the open communication about sex with my parents, but I did see my mom’s life torn apart when my father passed when I was 15. It really shaped my view of love. That, and romance novels  But in all seriousness, for me, love and making love just have to go hand in hand. I waited until I was 20, when I met my husband, and he definitely made the experience beautiful, memorable, and romance-novel worthy 😉

    I don’t know what age is appropriate to begin having sex. You can’t deny the emotional maturity required, and that’s different for everyone. But I do know, Josie, that you’ve done the right things with your son. As parents, we can only give our children the tools to make those decisions for themselves. It’s not any different from my daughter’s first experience out in the world as she starts kindergarten (EEEPP!) or learns how to drive a car (SO not ready for that!)

    I hope that you and your son continue to have an open dialogue and a wonderful relationship 

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Thanks so much for the hugs Rachael! My heart does break for the teens that are engaging in sex without love…for many…sad to say…its all a big fun game. For some, they are actually keeping points! I do wonder about their self-esteems. Peer pressure is horrible.
      You support my feelings that what we view from our parents as kids DOES shape us. You experienced great love between your parents. Me…not so much. It was more like a perpetual War of the Roses with absolutely no affection. Hence, i get really twitchy when someone hugs me!
      Kindergarten is so hard!!! My love to you! This same son of mine had to be carried down the hall for the first whole week by the teacher screaming and crying for me…AND I WORKED ALL DAY IN THE SAME SCHOOL! Once the little ones are in the classroom they are usually fine and have a great day. Never fear…
      Just ADORE you!
      PS…major writing slump for me lately!! UGHH

  5. I kept pushing my husband to have the big talk with our son, but in the end it was me. I also gave him condoms, talked about STDs, and having a child and how that responsibility would alter his life. However, I wish I had talked more with my son about the sexual act itself, and how it’s a two way street. I think this new generation is bombarded with so much internet porn that I worry they get a lot of their idea of what sex should be from this medium. I don’t have anything against porn, but it’s a male dominated industry and it really gives a man’s perspective. I truly believe there is a huge difference between having sex and making love, and knowing the difference is very important in whatever long term relationship you have.Great topic!

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hi Renee! I so agree with you on the media issue. Even regular television! Check out some of these reality shows where sex is a sport! No one shows the long term damage to these kids. They’ve been desensitized. I long for the day when it was innocent love. I always said the day a woman comes up with a porn series that has a plot, good actors, and a romance involved she’s gonna make a MINT!!! HEy??? Chickswagger Productions???? ANyone in?
      Kisses! J


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