What To Do When Your Parents Find Out You Had Sex

Hi Heather,

I recently had sex for the first time with my boyfriend who I care about very much. I’m almost 17-years-old and will be a senior in the fall. My parents found out about me losing my virginity and completely flipped out. They took away my phone and it’s still to be determined how long I’ll be grounded for. They told me that they’ve never been more disappointed in me, which really stung, and that this isn’t okay for me to do. I don’t know what to do. Can they actually tell me to not do it again? I appreciate any advice you can give me. Thank you!

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Oh, man. It sounds like you’re dealing with a case of very strict and/or very traditional parents here. I know that their anger is coming from a place of love and protectiveness, but make no mistake: it isn’t fair of them to react this way. Of course no parent wants to think about their child having sex, and of course they’re going to feel a lot of emotions when they discover it’s happening, but grounding you and making you feel badly about this isn’t cool.

Maybe your parents are the type of people who don’t believe in sex before marriage. Maybe they’re very religious. I don’t know what their reasoning behind this anger is, but I do know that it’s not right for them to, one, push their beliefs on you, and two, make you feel guilty for doing something normal. Having sex with your significant other (or anyone) is normal. Losing your virginity at the age you feel comfortable with is normal and totally okay. No one should make you feel like you’ve done something wrong here, even your parents.

I don’t know your parents, so I can’t say I know what’s going to happen. Maybe this is something they need to adjust to. Put yourself in their shoes: they birthed you, they raised you, they watched you grow up. In many ways, they probably feel as if you’re still their little girl, even though you’re getting ready to graduate high school. Is that fair? No, but it happens a lot. Sometimes when parents get a reality slap in the face, it takes them a while to adjust and accept it. Before they get there, they release their irrational anger and parental sadness through fury and strict discipline. They want you to stay young, damnit! So, they’ll do anything to make you stay young – in the moment, they might think, “Hey, if we ground her and take away her phone, she has no choice but to stay in her room and be our little daughter forever.” It’s their way of trying to control you when they know they can’t.

If this is the case – i.e. if this anger isn’t because they are very religious or something of that sort – you may need to wait this out and give them time. In the meantime, though, try to talk to them. Maybe they’re feeling sad that you’re growing up and the answer is to make them feel more included in your life. Try to spend a little time with them and talk to them. That could help! And obeying their rules helps also.

But if this is not the case, and your parents are doing this because of strict religious views, then things get more tricky. It’s very, very hard to sway beliefs like that, and you may need to just stand up for yourself and bide your time. This might be something you guys will just always disagree on, but please, don’t listen to things like “you’ve disappointed us.” Having sex does not make you a bad person.

And finally: can they actually keep you from having sex? Uh, no, but they sure will try. At the end of the day, you’re the only one who should have control over your sex life. If you want to do it, do it. They can’t be by your side 24/7, telling you no. You can make that decision!

So, my advice: try to wait it out. Try to follow their rules and make peace, because, at the end of the day, they are your parents and while you’re living under their roof, you do unfortunately have to listen to them. But hey, the good news is that college is just around the corner! Good luck.

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at heather@gurl.com


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  • Patteeya Jumpalek

    hey so my parents took my phone and I’m grounded because they have been on my phone and knew that I had sex so many time (I’m 17) they’re so mad and pissed off they told me I’m not going to have my phone back as long as I’m with them
    what should I do?because I really need to have my phone back but they think that I just want to text with the other guys only