As a mom of daughters, I thought I had at least 10 years before I would be presented questions about sex. I was wrong.

As I read my oldest—age three—the Christmas story, she asked, “Mom, why is Mary called a virgin? What does ‘virgin’ mean?”

My heart raced and my mind ran through a hundred age-appropriate answers in the matter of milliseconds. “Well, a virgin is a man or woman who is not married.”  This is the best I could come up with on the spot; she accepted my answer and I thought I now had a few more years to worry about presenting her with an accurate explanation.

Then, at age four, after telling her she was going to be a big sister: “Mommy, how did the baby get in your tummy?” Once again I should have prepared myself for this. My mind raced for an answer, my husband beat me to it and said, “Well God gave a baby to Mommy and Daddy because he saw how well we loved you so he gifted us another in Mommy’s tummy.” She smiled and took the answer. Whew, another one diverted and I thought we bought about six more years.

Age five, as we watch an educational show about animals on Netflix Kids: “Mom why does that ox have something hanging down from its vagina?” I sat mouth gaped open and mind racing. I thought, OK this is it, it’s time for the penis talk. We have had the vagina discussion but not the penis talk. So I explained to her males are different and I explained male anatomy and that Daddy is different than Mommy, etc., etc. I think I may have had a part of my Mommy heart die at the end of the conversation. She just looked at me wide-eyed and bewildered as she processed all I had just explained to her about male anatomy.

Can you tell I don’t have a clue what I am doing? Can you tell I am not fully prepared for this part of parenting?

This is just the basics of where babies come from and how boys are different from girls and I am already failing. We haven’t reached the hard subjects of purity and sex as a gift to your spouse and God’s truth on sex and marriage. I am not yet prepared.

I am not prepared because I was never properly prepared.

As a kid, my household did not follow Christ. Purity was not a subject taught. My parents’ marriage ended due to an affair, I was told what sex was from my older cousins by the time I was seven, I knew what an affair was and what it meant occurred in my parents’ marriage by the time I was eight. I was never taught any word from God regarding sex, or that it was a gift or special. My sex education was ninth-grade health class and my mom asking me if I was having it when I started going on dates and riding in cars with boys. I would always answer no, even when the time came that the answer was actually yes. At 17, I think she finally knew or just assumed and I was put on birth control to, as she said, clear up my skin. No discussion about sex or purity or God ever occured. 

On my wedding day, my husband was not my first. It wasn’t even our first time together because we lived together for three years prior to our wedding night. It wasn’t unique, it was no different from any other time we were together in the three years earlier. It was just another night that happened to follow a wedding.

Shortly before we were married, I began seeking Jesus. Shortly after our first wedding anniversary, I was baptized and really began trying to walk a life with Christ. As I fell in love with Jesus that first year of our marriage, I also fell in love with my husband in a new way.

I began to see our intimacy in a new light. I began to cherish it as God intended it, a gift between husband and wife.

I began to have pain over the memories of men before him. I did not look back fondly at my experiences; I looked back with sadness and hurt that someone else knew me in the intimate way my husband did. I got sick to my stomach knowing there were women out there who knew my husband in an intimate way from his life before me. Through knowing Jesus, I realized the beauty of purity and the gift of sex to a husband and a wife, and at times it aches me to my core that my husband and I missed out on giving one another such a precious gift specifically designed for us by God. 

God can’t change my past, but he has changed the way I view it. He has given me repentance and knowledge to prepare words I can plant in my daughters’ hearts for their future.

As I prepare my heart for the discussions to come in the next years I still have no clue what I am doing when it comes to talking about sex with my daughters but I do know I plan to tell them I didn’t wait. I plan to tell my girls I lost my virginity at 16. I plan to tell them the love I have for their dad and the pain I have from the memories of pureness lost. I plan to tell my girls what a gift sex is for marriage.

I pray by telling them my experience, my hurt, and what God’s truth absolutely is, that they will understand giving themselves to anyone is a gift they can only give once. 

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Stacey Tadlock

Stacey Tadlock is working wife, mother, photographer, writer, and cleft and infertility awareness advocate. She grew up in the rolling hills of Tennessee where the sun shines long and the tea is sweet. After years of infertility treatment she delivered her first daughter, followed four years later by complete surprise a second daughter came. When she is isn’t working you can find her soaking in every moment with her family as if it were her last.