I was 11 years old when I got my first period. I remember that I had absolutely no idea WHAT was happening inside of me. I knew what sex was, though. The only “talk” my mom gave me was “you’re a big girl now, so stay away from boys and look after yourself”. The “stay away from boys” talk is what would (and still does) plague any conversation about sex and sexuality I may have tried to have with her.

All these things were happening to me-- tension in strange places, my moods were as delicate as rose petals, the skin on my face wasn’t smooth anymore and once a month I bled from my vagina-- and the one person in my life who knew that ALL THIS what was happening didn’t want to talk about them to me. Because the L.O. textbook at school that I would only receive the following year should have sufficed, right? The communication barrier my mother had wedged between us ignited my (sexual) curiosity.

The first time I had sex I was 14. There was consent and everything. I knew what it was legally, and I didn’t care. The first time was terrible, awful. We did it a few more times before I decided that I didn’t “get” it, and that the guy got on my nerves anyway.

Fast forward to 17. I was almost 18, fresh out of a “relationship”. It was the holidays after the dreaded November exams, so I figured I was a little (read ‘a lot’) wiser. I had a better idea of what to want from the experience then (I thought). He was cute. I thought “why not?”. We did it. It was WOMP. It was the kind of sex that sort of happens to you. He was selfish, I was (and still am) insecure. So, I avoided him for a year afterwards.

I talked to absolutely NOBODY about these things until a few days after they all happened. These weren’t accidental or spur of the moment. They were all carefully thought out, planned and had money for transport and everything I needed budgeted for out of my pocket money. But I was ashamed. Because “stay away from boys, boys bring babies and shame”. But I had nobody around me informed enough or willing to tell me exactly what it was I was opening myself up to. I'm not sure I was sure what exactly it was that I was ashamed of. My attitude towards all this was "Seeing as I'm going to do it anyway, I might as well do it now".

I had my first time too young. I knew it full and well. But I remember thinking "this is my body". It's almost as if i had sex to prove it to myself. To prove it truly is my body and I can do with it as I please.

Fast forward two years. I’m halfway through 19. I look back to all of that and think "girrrrl, so many things could have gone SO wrong. So reckless!".

Teenage sex. It happens. Pretending it hasn't and hoping it won't does not make the possibility go away. Because your daughter is "quiet and responsible at such a young age" does not in any way erase the possibility. Silence won't make the wide range of "unfavorable" teenage experiences and behaviours go away.

It kind of (read "really") hurts that so much of what I've learnt about sex was from outside of my home-- from the basics of protecting myself from things that could go wrong during sex, to not being ashamed of my vagina. I read so many blogs and articles, and think "I REALLY wish my mother had told me this.". But, I remember that all she did was teach me the way she had been taught and she tried to protect me.

Can I really fault her for that? She did the best that she knew how, and maybe it's a good thing I walked this path (mostly) alone.

There's also the small matter of taking responsibility for one's actions. I take full responsibility for my actions. I just wonder whether the decisions I made would have been different had I been armed with more complete (?) information.

Now I'm learning about my body, my sexuality, loving myself, standing my ground and that I'm SUPPOSED to enjoy sex. It's been a (relatively short) journey filled with tight chests and tears. I have a looooooooong way to go (because these things don't end until you die). And i look forward to it.