Roger (40) and Lisa (42), the parents of Becky(14), are in the kitchen, having a cup of late night herbal tea, and discussing their daughter. Roger is a journalist and Lisa is a C.P.A.
Roger: You what?
Lisa: I made an appointment at the gynecologist. For Becky.
Roger: For what?
Lisa: For birth control.
Roger: What are you thinking? She's only 14. She doesn't need birth control.
Lisa: Not now. But I want her to be prepared.
Roger: She doesn't have a boyfriend. Why are you pushing her?
Lisa: I'm not pushing her into anything. Face reality, Roger.
Roger: What reality?
Lisa: I lost my virginity at 16. And that was 25 years ago. Kids are doing it, Roger. I had to go to a clinic by myself. I took the bus to Far Rockaway, and there were pregnant teenagers in that waiting room. I'm not taking any chances with Becky.
Roger: But she's not ready. She's a baby. She's innocent.
Lisa: She's surrounded by sex. It's in the air. It's on the street. It's everywhere. It's inevitable that she'll become sexually active.
Roger: No, it's not. We need to talk to her. To explain to her that it's better to wait. We need to send her a message that just because other kids are doing it doesn't mean that she should.
Lisa: You did it. I did it.
Roger: It doesn't mean we were right, does it?
Lisa: I don't regret any thing I did.
Rgoer: Well I do. I think screwing around so much affected me. I should have waited. I wasn't mature enough to handle it. That's all I could think about.
Lisa: She'll be thinking about it too.
Roger: Thinking and doing aren't the same. I'm sorry that I lost my innocence.
Lisa: What do you mean?
Roger: I wish that I hadn't been with other women.
Lisa: That's sweet, Roger, but you didn't mind it then.
Roger: I was young and stupid. And nobody educated me. I want it to be different for Becky. I don't want her her to be used.
Lisa: Were you using women? I fooled around and I wasn't used.
Roger: I don't think it was so great for you either. You've told me a few things. About Joe, for example, I don't think that was such a great relationship. You said you were looking for somebody to love, to be with-long term.
Lisa: I would have been a virgin until I was 28. I don't think that's very practical.
Roger: No. But waiting until you're an adult is a good idea. And waiting until you're married is even better. I think our bond would be stronger if we had only been with each other. And our wedding night would have been a lot more exciting. If you remember , you fell asleep before we made love.
When is it OK to Start Having Sex?
Lisa: We weren't getting married so we could make love. We already lived together.
Roger: I don't want that for Becky. And I don't want to push her into having sex. I think we need to have a serious talk with her. Have you tried that?
Lisa: No, have you?
Roger: This is a mother thing.
Lisa: If you feel so strongly about it, you should talk to her. Besides, even if we talk to her, she's going to do what she wants. That's how I was.
Roger: Yeah, but nobody ever talked to you seriously, with respect.
Lisa: I think respecting her is teaching her how to protect herself. I want her to know we love her and we care about her. And we're not going to treat her like a baby. She can be open and honest with us.
Roger: This isn't Jerry Springer, Lisa. I don't want open and honest. I don't want her to be having sex.
Lisa: I'm afraid that if you come on so strong, she'll do it just to rebel. I think we should give her the facts and then let her decide. I'm not worried about her innocence. It's her health I'm worried about-- AIDS and STDs and getting pregnant. I want her to be protected.
Roger: So do I. And the best protection is if she doesn't fool around. If she understands that sex is for an intimate, connected, stable relationship. Not something to play with.