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17 Pieces Of Advice Our Mothers Gave Us About Sex That Stuck With Us

What we learned about sex from our mothers.

Sex

I received a million lessons about sex when I was growing up and all 999,999 were about being safe to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Being a 17-year-old mother, my mom had been practicing that spiel since before I came out the womb. She had it on lock.

Then there was that one time my father sat a 12-year-old me down over a delightful iHOP meal to tell me that should I let a man f*ck, consequently I could not be upset when he no longer wants anything to do with me. Or at least that's what it translates to in the language of "real ones", but for those of you whose fathers don't sound like a BET: Uncut video, that simply meant don't be upset when you give the milk up for free and men don't want to buy the whole damn cow. One, that's a lie, and two, it's a shame if you have to scheme me out of my cookie at this age.

What's most disappointing was that in all those lessons that I received about sex, not one of them warned me that the dick could have you sprung. That sex could be amazing, orgasmic, and intimate — with or without a ring on it (it being your finger, of course). Even me being grown-grown, my mom is not really one for the sex talk. Glimpses of her being about that life here and there but nothing that has stuck with me.

But as someone who received so many messages about safe sex and still engaged in unprotected sex, I can attest to the the fact that scare tactics under the guise of a helpful lesson won't discourage but encourage curiosity. Still, holding onto hope after one of xoNecole's editors put us up on game based on advice her own mother had given her, we asked our friends, our readers, and our staff to tell us what messages they received about sex and here's what they said:

​1. "Turn your eyes instead of confronting your husband about cheating. This was paralleled by my mother teaching me to demand money for attention and for my body."

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Wise words from: Grandmother

How did it shape your attitude towards sex? How did it affect your sex life in adulthood?

"These ideals affected my attitude towards sex because it turned into an exchange of goods instead of an exchange of energy and aligned goals. Today, I had to commit to multiple years of celibacy and self-love to peel back the layers of misguided learnings to design the experience in life and love I desire. Yes, a man should be a provider, but that holds no bearings on him deserving my body just because. Yes, I can forgive indiscretions, but I'm allowed to have boundaries, standards... Anyone not honoring them are telling me how they feel about me." – A.Comeaux

2. "Men who like you shaved down there are pedophiles." – Kyla

3. "Your cat is all you have to give and once you give it away, it's over for you." – xoFollower

4. "The willingness to eat you out was a requirement."

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Wise words from: Mom and/or grandma

How did it shape your attitude towards sex? How did it affect your sex life in adulthood?

"They instilled in me the expectation that sex is pleasurable to me, period. I remember telling them when I lost my virginity, being afraid if they would be ashamed of me or something, my grandmother's first response was literally, 'Was it good?' They regularly taught me that as a woman sex is to be a delightful experience, and any man who makes you feel otherwise isn't a man I should share myself with. It helped me feel confident in my sexual experiences — I've never cared about 'body count', how many people I was seeing in a given period time or any of that stuff. It unleashed the inner 'hoe' that's probably in every woman. I've never felt the need to debate, justify, or explain the female position in casual sex. Likewise, I'm in a perfectly healthy monogamous relationship right now. They helped shape the way I think about myself, and helped me disregard the pressures our society has around women and their sexuality. I didn't live my life trying to be wifey material, whatever the f*ck that is." – Carla

5. "If you have sex you will contract HIV or become a single mother and die alone." – xoFollower

6. "You'll go to hell." – xoFollower

"They regularly taught me that as a woman sex is to be a delightful experience, and any man who makes you feel otherwise isn't a man I should share myself with."

7. "Never let a man get on top of you and hump you like a rabbit. It's not a race."

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Wise words from: Auntie

How did it shape your attitude towards sex? How did it affect your sex life in adulthood?

"I took it to heart. I actually tell [partners] that just so they know to come correct. I told the guy I'm currently talking to that and he spent 30 minutes going down. I make sure I get mine. It has made me more upfront and confident in what I want sexually, it's made me comfortable vocalizing it. If they can't respect that, then they're not the right one." – Kamilah

8. "Boys are nasty. Don't let them touch you." – xoFollower

9. "Every partner you have will take a little piece of you and you'll feel less like yourself each time."

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Wise words from: Auntie

How did it shape your attitude towards sex? How did it affect your sex life in adulthood?

"I love sex and although it's only been in recent years that I made a conscious effort to remain celibate, these words have been taking root in me for years, from the first time I began crying mid-sex to the next two times. I tried to fight it as much as possible since I love sex and all...But the older I got, the more I grew tired of ignoring the burnout that came with meaningless sex for me. I truly felt my partners depleting me of my energy. Some people are built for casual sex, emotionally. I've finally realized that I'm not one of them. I try to be on an annual basis, like literally I try having sex again once a year and it ends in tears. This has made my sex life nearly nonexistent as far as including other partners goes, but I hope that it will give me a more fruitful sex life when I find the right person to have sex with." – Tracey*

10. "If he's horny and you're not, you better give it or he'll find it somewhere else."

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Wise words from: Nana

How did it shape your attitude towards sex? How did it affect your sex life in adulthood?

"It made me feel like sex is something I have with a man to show him I care about him, and in a way, value him more. It's [sex] for consumption and if I don't give it to him, that's grounds for him to be unsatisfied/not love me. So I used sex as a way to get a guy to really be interested in me — a bargaining tool if you will, and a major component of my value as a woman and partner." – Zaniah

11. "Don't let them boys dig in you." – xoFollower

12. "Sometimes you have to set your alarm so you can get it in the morning because men are always ready in the morning."

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Wise words from: Mom

How did it shape your attitude towards sex? How did it affect your sex life in adulthood?

"Although we're a religious family, my parents have always talked about how once married, sex should be pleasurable and it is an act created by God to be enjoyed — not to be ashamed of. I've carried that into my marriage and have a very healthy sex life with my husband. I've always been open to try new things but the comfort and pleasure that comes with sex in marriage when you've been raised to understand that sex is natural, pleasurable, and Christian is maximized." – Mya

13. "A wet ass and an empty purse don't go together." – Rebecca

14. "I'll tell you how to keep em! You gotta put that voodoo p*ssy on them." – Jamillah

15. "Men are dogs and sex is bad." – xoFollower

"I've always been open to try new things but the comfort and pleasure that comes with sex in marriage when you've been raised to understand that sex is natural, pleasurable, and Christian is maximized."

16. "Try it before you buy it."

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Wise words from: Mom

How did it shape your attitude towards sex? How did it affect your sex life in adulthood?

"It gave me the confidence to go out into the world and be as sexual as I desired, regardless of what anyone else thinks. I don't feel disappointed in myself or the experience, I just look at the glass half full and am always grateful that I found out sooner than later." – Sam

17. "Cop a feel. Make sure it's real." – Shellie

After speaking to so many different women about the different things they've learned from women before them about sex, I am fully aware that some of these messages have gray areas. I also recognize the danger of pushing an abstinence-only agenda. Depending on how you flex your sexuality, the placement of some of these will resonate with you more than others. Really, it's simple: We must be sure to educate our daughters on the pleasure principles while simultaneously stressing the difficulties of teenage pregnancy and the potential dangers that arise with sexually transmitted infections.

There's a way to go about it and some of the stuff I read above — that ain't it. So, lets vow to do better. Let's cancel this rhetoric of sex being "unlady-like" in adolescents because, for some of us, it's making good sex hard to come by in adulthood. Now, I'd like to hear from you. What have the women before you taught you about sex? How has it shaped your sexuality or your sex life today?

All images by Getty Images.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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