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Mother of Lesbian Needs Advice about her Teenage Daughter

Lots of Questions About Sex and Relationships

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Hi Kathy,

I have a 15 ½-year-old daughter who recently “found what she has been looking for” in a lesbian girl in her school. Although she has claimed to be bisexual for the last few months, she now says she's lesbian.

Her father and I are supportive and don't have any particular issues with either scenario, but I want to be able to speak to her about things she may want to keep in her mind as she enters relationships with other girls/women and maybe continues to explore her bisexuality or lesbian lifestyle.

Advice Needed for My Lesbian Daughter

She has "really liked" several boys since school began in the fall and so, until now, I have spoken to her about aggressive boys and various ways they pressure girls for sex of all kinds. I find myself at a loss when thinking about lesbian relationships, asking whether women are inherently less pressuring? What risks should I be speaking about with her, e.g. What are the common sexually-transmitted diseases (are some less predominant in lesbian relationships?) How much should I talk to her about sex toys or is that something explored generally in the relationship itself or left to an older age?

So many questions. Do you know of a good resource for parents to speak to their coming-out teens? I'm having difficulty finding them.

Thank you,
Supportive Mom

Dear Mom:

What great questions! It’s nice to hear from supportive parents who only want to do what’s best for their children. I’ll tackle your questions one at a time.

Do women pressure for sex less than men?

Are women less pressuring than males about sex? Honestly, I had never thought about that question until you asked it. I think the important thing for your daughter (and all young women) is not to feel pressured into having sex if they are not ready. Whether or not women are less pressuring about sex, is not always the issue when people are coming out. Usually the pressure is from within. Some young women (and men) feel the need to have sex to “prove” they are really gay or bisexual. They may not feel like they can claim the label if they’ve never had sex. Which is ridiculous, because I’ve never heard of a straight person feeling the need to have sex to prove to themselves they are heterosexual. So that might be the approach you want to take with your daughter.

The thing I would try to instill in a strong sense of self-esteem and ownership of her body and not letting anyone pressure her into having sex -regardless of the reason.

Lesbians and STDs

As for sexually transmitted diseases, yes, lesbians do need to worry. You don’t hear a lot about lesbians and HIV, but certainly HIV is a risk for any sexually active individual. Probably of more concern are herpes and HPV.

You might want to learn about lesbian safe sex so you can discuss it with your daughter.

Just like with heterosexual relationships, there are varying degrees of lesbian sex. Some of which are safer than others. This article talks about some lower risk sexual activities.

No matter the nature of the sexual relationship, communication is the key. If I would coach your daughter in anything it would be the ability to ask for what she wants in a relationship--not just sexually.

If I were to guess, your daughter’s biggest risk right now is of a broken heart. For some reason, when you get two women together in a relationship, the emotions tend to be extra amplified. First lesbian love can be really intense and when the break up occurs, it can be especially traumatic. Be prepared to be there for her if/when her relationship ends.

And as for sex toys, I wouldn’t even go there. She can’t even buy them until she’s 18. Many lesbians have sexually satisfying relationships without ever using a sex toy.

Support for Parents of Gay/Lesbian Teens

As for a good resource for parents, check out PFLAG. They are one of the best organizations out there for the LGBT community. Period.

Good luck. You’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so don’t expect to do it in one evening!

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