‘Talk To Your Mom’ Is The Conversation You Wish You Had After Losing Your Virginity

Culture & Entertainment

Whether you thought losing your virginity was beautiful and sentimental, or awkward and regrettable, it's an experience that few women forget. Over the years, sex gets better and somewhat less awkward and sentimental, but I can honestly say that one of the best things about getting my back blown out as an adult is the fact that I can openly talk to my mom about it. Now that may sound strange to some, but I'll give you some back story.

I lost my virginity to my high school sweetheart at 17 at The Mississipi River levee in Baton Rouge. While that may sound sweet and romantic, I can assure you that it absolutely was not. My first time wasn't about love or commitment, it was an act of rebellion that would ultimately send me and my mother's relationship into a downward spiral.


During my teenage years, I was constantly at odds with my family. My senior year, I discovered that I had gotten accepted to my dream college, and I was ready to let go of childish things, emancipate myself from all authority and finally become a woman (LOL). At the time, I thought sex would be my golden ticket into adulthood, but as that wildly horny teenager hoisted me on top of a dirty garbage can and thrusted to his heart's desire, I felt like anything but… a woman.

My mom didn't find out about my wildly regrettable lifestyle choice to become sexually active until months later at the doctor's office, who suspected I was having a miscarriage. My mom (understandably) lost her shit, and I felt like I had betrayed her on the deepest level possible.

While she was never the type of parent to preach that sex equals death, I knew that I violated her trust in me on so many levels that I wondered if she would ever look at me the same. Now, nine years later, I'm proud to say that my mom is my bestie. I seek her advice about everything, from bad sex to blowjobs, and she's even equipped me with some knowledge you won't find in a typical Google search.

While in the black community, talking about your sexuality with your mother may be taboo, writer/producer Keyaira Kelly and her mom, Tarawoner Kelly think these conversations are necessary and have launched a new podcast, Talk To Your Mom, which will feature intimate conversations between the mother-daughter duo about raw topics like love, trauma, healing, spirituality, and sex.

Keyaira explained that she and her mother created the show with hopes of challenging other women to have tough conversations with the women in their lives, even if they're a little bit uncomfortable at first.

"My goal is that these episodes will inspire other moms and their kids to get to know each other on a deeper level. I really feel where there is vulnerability, there is healing."

In the first episode, Keyaira and Mama Tarawoner jumped right into awkward waters with an emotional discussion about popping cherries, and with a more than 20-year age distance between the two women, it's safe to say that their experiences were worlds apart. While we now live in a world where sex education and preventative methods are passed out like candy, Tarawoner said that things were much different 30 years ago.

In the '70s, a time where sex before marriage was still considered gravely immoral, there were little to no resources for youth who decided to become sexually active. Today, we have organizations like planned parenthood that help women understand reproductive health, but Keyaira's mom explained that unlike her daughter, she went into her first sexual encounter with little to no information about how to protect herself. This lack of resources and sex education, Tarawoner explained, was what led to the conception of her first child the day she lost her virginity.

Keyaira, on the other hand, explained that growing up with mother who was real about vaginas, safe sex, and everything in between helped her navigate her own sexuality in a healthy way.

Although me and my mom's first version of "the talk" involved a whole lot of screaming (on her part, might I add), from that point on, our relationship would blossom into one based on truth and understanding; both factors that Tarawoner thought were imperative to instill in her relationship with her daughter:

"Shame is very powerful. Guilt is very powerful. It will keep you in bondage. I think it's important to talk. I think every woman should have a safe haven where they can feel like they can shed all the layers of bondage that's against them so they can be whole again."

In the podcast, Keyaira also dropped a few gems pertaining to selectivity and discernment, and lawd. 17-year-old me felt that in her spirit. According to her, one of a woman's biggest missteps can be falling for a f*ckboy in potential suitor's clothing. To remedy this easily-made mistake, Keyaira told her mother that she lives by this philosophy:

"Never f*ck anybody you wouldn't want to be. For me, if I look at a man and I would not feel comfortable being that man, walking this world and existing as that man, his energy can't be in my body."

Lovers of the millennial age have coined sex as something that can be deemed as strictly physical, but according to science, that's not true, sis. When a man is knee deep in your guts, that thang might just hit your spirit in a way you weren't prepared for and Keyaira challenges women to ask themselves a tough question. Is that man is someone who you'd wanna be, or is it just somebody that you're OK being with? She explained:

"I think it was just transforming the conversation in a way that resonated with my spirit. Just saying 'you gave yourself away' or 'you gave them something you can't get back,' all of that was so disempowering for me. And so I said okay, well how can I own this? Because at the end of the day it's my body my spirit. And when I started looking at who I wanted to exchange energy with, when I met a man who carried himself with dignity, self-love, power, gentleness, and patience. So I'm like okay if I can walk in this man's shoes then he can get it."

While Keyaira and Tarawoner had some key differences in their ideologies on sex, their conversation is proof that talking with your mom about navigating some of the more intimate moments in your life isn't as crazy as it sounds. If I could go back in time, would I have opened up to my mom about my curiosity concerning sex and told her about the day that I lost my virginity? No, probably not. But I know I'll use all the time I have now to learn everything she has to teach me, even if it makes me cringe sometimes.

Our devastating trip to the doctor's office may have temporarily strained our relationship, but now, my mother and I communicate better because of it.

Talk To Your Mom is the conversation most young women wish they could have with their mothers, and a necessary dialogue for women of color. To hear more, check out the full episode on Spotify or Apple and catch up with Keyaira on Instagram!

"Talk To Your Mom" Podcast Hosts Tarawoner & Keyaira Discuss The Purpose Of Their Platformwww.youtube.com

Featured image by Keyaira Kelly/Instagram.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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