My Half-Assed Teenage Rebellion

Growing up, my parents had a rule that I couldn’t sleepover with someone I was dating until I was 18. It seemed (and still does) like such an arbitrary number to me – like being able to buy cigarettes in America or to vote was somehow a reflection of my emotional maturity. By 17, I would spend days without talking to them unless it was to call them fascists or to point out the holes in their logic (“But you pay for my birth control!”, “You let me sleep at [friend]’s house!”). I still don’t understand it, but in hindsight I’m sure they had their reasons.

When they went away for their anniversary one weekend, I went straight to my boyfriend’s place. That was about the extent of my teenage rebellion: sharing a bed with someone I’d been dating for a year, with whom my parents already knew I was having sex. My brother ratted me out a week later and neither of them seemed all that surprised. It was a rule that I had challenged and concluded was unfair. They knew it was coming.

But I got lucky (pun intended). My parents might not have liked my little sleepover but they were accepting of my sex life before I even had one. My mother warned me about STIs, provided my birth control, and paid way more attention to my menstrual cycle than was necessary. I wasn’t the only teenager that was going to make decisions about their body and relationships regardless of their parent’s input, but I was one of few that weren’t kept in the dark about sex.

In the unlikely event that I reproduce, I’ll be doing the same for my kids. Except maybe for letting them sleep wherever they like.