Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Some Fucking Awesome Sex.

There’s a piece of twaddle going around FetLife called 10 Rules For Dating My Daughter, which is packed with “funny” threats like this:

“Rule Four: I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without utilising some kind of ‘barrier method’ can kill you. Let me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.”

All of which boil down to the tedious, “Boys are threatening louts, sex is awful when other people do it, and my daughter is a plastic doll whose destiny I control.”

Look, I love sex. It’s fun. And because I love my daughter, I want her to have all of the same delights in life that I do, and hopefully more. I don’t want to hear about the fine details because, heck, I don’t want those visuals any more than my daughter wants mine. But in the abstract, darling, go out and play.

Because consensual sex isn’t something that men take from you; it’s something you give. It doesn’t lessen you to give someone else pleasure. It doesn’t degrade you to have some of your own. And anyone who implies otherwise is a man who probably thinks very poorly of women underneath the surface.

Yes, all these boys and girls and genderqueers may break your heart, and that in turn will break mine. I’ve held you, sobbing, after your boyfriend cheated on you, and it tore me in two. But you know what would tear me in two even more? To see you in a glass cage, experiencing nothing but cold emptiness at your fingers, as Dear Old Dad ensured that you got to experience nothing until he decided what you should like.

You’re not me. Nor are you an extension of my will. And so you need to make your own damn mistakes, to learn how to pick yourself up when you fall, to learn where the bandages are and to bind up your own cuts. I’ll help. I’ll be your consigliere when I can, the advisor, the person you come to when all seems lost. But I think there’s value in getting lost. I think there’s a strength that only comes from fumbling your own way out of the darkness.

You’re your own person, and some of the things you’re going to love will strike me as insane, ugly, or unenjoyable. This is how large and wonderful the world is! Imagine if everyone loved the same thing; we’d all be battling for the same ten people. The miracle is how easily someone’s cast-offs become someone else’s beloved treasure. And I would be a sad, sad little man if I manipulated you into becoming a cookie-cutter clone of my desires. Love the music I hate, watch the movies I loathe, become a strong woman who knows where her bliss is and knows just what to do to get it.

Now, you’re going to get bruised by life, and sometimes bruised consensually. But I won’t tell you sex is bad, or that you’re bad for wanting it, or that other people are bad from wanting it from you if you’re willing to give it. I refuse to perpetuate, even through the plausible deniability of humor, the idea that the people my daughter is attracted to are my enemy.

I’m not the guard who locks you in the tower. Ideally, I am my daughter’s safe space, a garden to return to when the world has proved a little too cruel, a place where she can recuperate and reflect upon past mistakes and know that here, there is someone who loves her wholeheartedly and will hug her until the tears dry.

That’s what I want for you, sweetie. A bold life filled with big mistakes and bigger triumphs.

Now get out there and find all the things you fucking love, and vice versa.

154 Comments

  1. jerilynn
    Aug 8, 2013

    I love you for writing this. no, seriously. If there is anything I hate more than that sex-negative, misogynist daddy-daughter creepy ass bullshit….it’s spiders. Seriously. Thank you.

    • Deirdre
      Aug 13, 2013

      I don’t hide anything from my kids. That’s why I plan to tell them that recreational sex outside of marriage is essentially a vacuous testing ground that — although physically stimulating — does little to nothing for the heart. Better to seek meaningful connections above the waistline, sunshine.

      • Alicia
        Aug 15, 2013

        For you, maybe, but go back and read the post. Not everyone agrees. Not everyone WANTS marriage, not everyone is fulfilled by long term relationships. Encourage your kids to follow their hearts, yes. But don’t get pissy if their hearts lead them in a direction you consider “vacuous” or “irresponsible.”

        Trust me, I tried monogamous sex within the confines of long term relationships for a loooong time and I hated every minute of it. Then I tried casual relationships with a series of different people who I trusted and respected but didn’t see outside of sex or a meeting of friends. The latter is what makes me happy, keeps me comfortable, and leaves me fulfilled.

      • annabelle
        Aug 15, 2013

        Nice ‘Chess’ reference. It would possibly be best though if you phrased that in terms of your own experience. “I never got anything out of casual sex” and not “it will do nothing for you”. Roller coasters do nothing for me, but I’m not going to tell my children they’ll hate them/find them scary/etc.

      • Saul
        Aug 17, 2013

        Just because YOU find recreational sex to be a “vacuous testing ground” doesn’t give you the right to force that opinion on anyone else. I’ve learned a lot from “recreational sex” and it’s led to many “meaningful connections”.

        • Wendy
          Aug 22, 2013

          Um…I don’t see any “forcing” happening here. Just saying.

      • mark
        Aug 19, 2013

        Only things that are actively good for the heart are worthwhile?

        I really enjoy a stupendous meal, even though it does nothing for my heart, and sex outside of a committed relationship can be wonderful too. And, while we’re not married, I’ve been committed to the wonderful woman I’m with for 2 years, and being intimate is great for both our hearts.

      • Rebecca
        Aug 21, 2013

        If you don’t hide anything from your kids, then why would you lie to them like that?

        Why not tell them the truth and reveal that people’s reactions to sex vary? That you find sex outside of marriage to be flighty, vacuous and unfulfilling…while others find it to be extraordinarily useful in self-exploration, and learn how to be responsible human beings by having close, sexual relationships before they marry, and that they leave their partners better, more responsible, happier people also.

        And others find sex–in or out of marriage– to be repulsive, or a waste of time, or boring, and lead satisfying and happy lives without any sex at all.

        And others love more than one person at a time and form joyful, committed sexual relationships with all of them.

        And others never learn to control their sexual desires, and become immoral people.

        And others barely learn to control their sexual desires, and so choose celibacy, rather than having to deal with them (which may be the only situation in which they can be moral, in which case they should be praised for having that much strength).

        And others don’t learn to control their sexual desires, and attempt celibacy to try to escape, and fail, and end up hurting people.

        And others devote themselves monogamously to one partner, and share joyful sexual relationships with them, and choose not to marry.

        If you claim that you won’t hide anything from your children…why in the world would you pretend that sex is monolithic and just so….*small,* as what you described. Why not tell them the actual truth? That people experience sex in radically different ways, and that what you want for them is to find the way that is fulfilling for them and for their partner(s), and that they always use their sexuality to uplift people and never to hurt them.

        I *hope* that is the truth. If it isn’t…why isn’t it? And if it is…why wouldn’t you say that?

        • Will
          Nov 5, 2014

          Rebecca, Thank you for that reality check, and for your refreshing perspective. I seldom see such accurate, realistic, and honest commentary when reading such posts. There’s really not much more anyone could say about this topic.

      • Jim
        Aug 21, 2013

        Deirdre, that’s ridiculous. Recreational sex has proven cardiovascular benefits!

      • Christina
        Dec 4, 2013

        Thanks Alicia,

        My sentiments exactly. I have a son, and I will teach him how to respect women and their bodies.

        I doubt that we have to tell our kids to go out there and have sex!! The media does a great job of that already! What WE have to tell them is to be safe, be proud, be loving, be kind, be gentle, be faithful, be responsible, be respectful.

        Sooner or later (sooner I hope) they are going to understand that sex is wonderful – with the right partner in a committed relationship.

        So while I am sure we all hope that our kids have fantastic and fulfilling sex lives, we will also stress the fact that it does not necessarily happen at the expense of them living promiscuously.

        • Chance
          Feb 10, 2014

          maybe they don’t want to have sex “with the right partner in a committed relationship”…maybe they want to live “promiscuously”…that is the point…don’t force your ideas and standards on them give them the information they need to be safe and let them decide what they want.

    • Johnnyboy
      Aug 13, 2013

      But… spiders are awesome!

  2. Silver Longjohns
    Aug 8, 2013

    I’m going to have to disagree with Jerilynn:
    spiders are awesome.
    But the rest of her comment is spot on.

    • TheFerrett
      Aug 8, 2013

      As an arachnophobe, I’m gonna disagree here.

      • Silver Longjohns
        Aug 8, 2013

        No worries; send me your spiders! They help me write stories because I’m allergic to the more standard cat familiars.
        When they’re all living with me we both win.

        • TheFerrett
          Aug 9, 2013

          I wish they would just migrate on their own.

          • Ayle
            Aug 14, 2013

            Get a basilisk

          • NeverSkurred
            Aug 17, 2013

            Just don’t look it in the eye.

  3. Warren
    Aug 8, 2013

    Beautifully done. My daughter is 8, so this is still a way off in her future…but I’m saving it for her. And for me.

    • Stephen
      Aug 15, 2013

      Warren, if this is so beautifully done, then how do you know it’s “still a way off in her future.” Many children are choosing to have sex as early as 9-12 years old. Why would you withhold such pleasure and fun from her?

      If you agree with “Dear Old Dad ensured that you got to experience nothing until he decided what you should like,” then you cannot encourage her to wait or restrain her from such pursuits.

      I’m sorry, but if this thinking is extrapolated to all areas of life then why have parents at all?

      • TheFerrett
        Aug 19, 2013

        I’m sorry, but if this thinking is extrapolated to all areas of life then why have parents at all?

        Because kids need guidance and a hand in telling them what things would be terribly, terribly unwise?

        It’s a dumb correlation to go, “JOE MAH GAWD, YOU CAN HAVE NO INFLUENCE ON YOUR DAUGHTER’S LIFE IF YOU CAN’T LOCK HER UP!” There are plenty of ways to encourage, wheedle, and coax, and even then there may be a few “Not under my roof”s used sparingly. But to go, “If I can’t lock her in her room, what ever will I do?” is the most specious of arguments.

      • AlbanianWarriorOfTheMountains
        Jan 14, 2014

        I know you are trying to be sarcastic but in reality you are correct. If my daughter, at whatever age, wanted to enjoy the pleasures of sexual interactions I would not stop her just because “OMG OH no! Sex! Bad!” We would likely already have an open relationship about this stuff so I would be able to analyze the situation, give her helpful information on safety and the general social views and even be able to meet this potential “lover”. Why does this scare people? It’s a human interaction based on pleasure.

        • Saraa
          Mar 15, 2014

          I’m glad you would because many Albanian parents including mine wouldn’t even want to hear it.

      • Alex
        Mar 2, 2014

        Didn’t you read the part about how he would be there for her? Love. That’s why kids need parents.

  4. Tom
    Aug 8, 2013

    Sorry, but I find this another “piece of twaddle.” Your piece is too full of contradictions and false choices. You want your daughter to play, have sexual fun as it doesn’t lessen her to give someone else pleasure. Yet you feel her pain when “cheated on.” Why be pained if the “cheating” was consensual and just gave someone else pleasure? Perhaps because sex is more than you are recognizing in this piece. The choice is not sex as mere play vs “cold emptiness.” Most of us Dads can identify with and laugh at Rule Four. And I suspect you can go a bit deeper in your response.

    • TheFerrett
      Aug 8, 2013

      A rather idiotic response. If it’s cheating, as in she wasn’t aware of it, then what happened wasn’t consensual to her.

      By this line of logic, rape is consensual because hey, the rapist liked it. Sex is only good when everyone involved is okay with what happens. Like, you know, most other events in life.

      • Megan
        Aug 8, 2013

        Ferret, you rock.

        • Ang
          Aug 27, 2013

          Seconded.

          • Brian Dv
            Sep 3, 2013

            Thirded! Ferret you rock.

      • Troy
        Aug 9, 2013

        I think you’ve missed Tom’s point. I think he’s saying that if you view sex as nothing more than something pleasant that people can do, then it’s impossible for anyone to “cheat” on anyone else, because sex doesn’t *mean* anything deeper than scratching the inside of your ear with your pinky. If, however, you view sex as a sign of devotion between people in a committed relationship, then maybe we should be telling our daughters AND sons that grabbing every piece of action they can get is not such a great idea.

        PS: I’m not endorsing or condemning Tom’s opinion here. I’m just attempting to clarify what it looks like he was trying to say.

        • TheFerrett
          Aug 9, 2013

          Still an idiotic point. Sex is like food in that it can have an emotional component, but does not need to. Not every scarfed McDonald’s burger has the same resonance as Thanksgiving dinner.

          The fact that I think sex is fun does not mean that I don’t think that sex can also be emotionally meaningful, and anyone who thinks otherwise is truncating in a superbly idiotic way.

          • AndrewD
            Aug 9, 2013

            Even briefer: it’s called empathy. We share the highs and lows of those we love.

          • Susan Montgomery
            Aug 14, 2013

            So sex is like food? Sharing your body means so little? I’m sorry that you feel that way. I would hate to be your lover if I meant that little to you – especially if I were just a Big Mac to you and not a steak.

            You can call me an idiot, square, downer and just plain uncool if you like but that’s what I think. Look me up on Facebook to see the person you’re dismissing as a pill before you do.

          • TheFerrett
            Aug 14, 2013

            I don’t think you’re necessarily uncool, but I do think you attach a lot of valence to SEX MUST BE EMOTIONALLY MEANINGFUL TO BE GOOD. It can be good when casual, if everyone’s on the same page. Hell, it can be great when casual.

            Ideally, you don’t have sex with people you don’t like. That seems silly. But you don’t need to be rapturously in love. Or, at least, “you” as “all of humanity.”

          • Susan Montgomery
            Aug 15, 2013

            Ferret, I’ve been a Quarter Pounder and I’ve been Cordon Bleu. I know which one I prefer. I treat others the way I’d prefer to be treated as well.

            And I’m not the least bit ashamed to say that if a person really only aspires to be a happy meal I won’t bother with them at all.

            Maybe because my total number of encounters would equal a “slow month” for you we see things differently.

          • TheFerrett
            Aug 19, 2013

            And if you prefer it that way, that’s perfectly fine. You should follow your bliss. But to state that hey, anyone who wants different is wrong is completely incorrect.

            Hey, I don’t like mint, I actually hate Quarter Pounders, and Cordon Bleu is generally kind of greasy. That doesn’t make anyone who wants a greater variety wrong, and that kind of snobbery is craptastic whether you’re talking food, sex, or almost any other activity people enjoy.

          • annabelle
            Aug 15, 2013

            To Susan Montgomery:

            Based on this article, I’d say it’s a fair bet the author would be fine with his daughter feeling the way you do. The point doesn’t seem to be “you damn well better like and have lots of casual sex”, it’s “you damn well better find/like/and do that which makes you happy”. He wants his daughter to be herself, whoever that may be. He won’t try to deny her the sex life she chooses, but he also won’t force her to have one if she chooses not to.

          • Susan Montgomery
            Aug 15, 2013

            If you or anyone else has any further ideas that I’m some sheltered spinster please visit: http://beyondthedss.blogspot.com/
            for more information.

          • annabelle
            Aug 15, 2013

            Susan:

            I went to your website. I read it. You somehow seem to think having a nonstandard sexuality means you can’t also be prudish. I maintain condemning those sexual practices you don’t personally enjoy/engage in is what makes one a prude.

          • RP
            Aug 15, 2013

            I’m pretty sure Susan was only trolling here in an attempt to get people to visit her blog.

          • Rachel
            Aug 16, 2013

            I think assuming anything about the sexual lifestyle of someone based on blogs and comments is pretty idiotic in and of itself.

            This is a beautifully written piece Ferret. I wish my own father had taken this approach while I was dating. I can’t tell you how many times I was (and still am) embarrassed by things he has done and said to my long term boyfriends.

          • Chuck
            Aug 17, 2013

            No one implied that you were a “sheltered spinster”.

            It’s ironic that you would accuse us of making accusations when you’re sitting here making outrageous assumptions about Ferrett (i.e. when you said that all of your sexual encounters would equal a “slow month” for him you essentially implied that he is sexually promiscuous… even though the article doesn’t suggest that anywhere…)

            The point that you seem to have missed (or willfully ignored) Susan, is that he’s not saying “GO OUT AND HAVE AS MUCH MEANINGLESS SEX AS POSSIBLE!” He’s telling his daughter that he has no right to her body. He’s telling his daughter that she has to experience things for herself.

            The point that he is making is that treating your daughter like some trophy not to be touched completely dehumanizes her. It tells her that she has no right to make decisions about her own sex life. What Ferrett is saying is “go do what YOU feel is appropriate”.

            Obviously we’re all going to have varying opinions on the subject. You could get 100,000 people posting on this blog and they might all have an entirely different view-point.

            The point (and I’m reiterating it this many times to make sure you understand) is that his daughter gets to make the choice. No one besides his daughter can give his daughter’s consent.

          • Chuck
            Aug 17, 2013

            assumptions* I meant assumptions when I said accusations… *facepalm*

          • Lain
            Aug 19, 2013

            I think saying “I feel sorry for you for not feeling that sex is more meaningful” is rather condescending. Sex is different for everyone. And just because you have “casual” sex with someone, as in you don’t continue dating them long term, does not mean it was meaningless, or there was no connection, or it was not important.

            Perhaps casual sex isn’t for everyone (it’s not something I did much of), but that doesn’t mean that you get to decide for someone else or look down on them for something they enjoy, just because you don’t.

          • Susan Montgomery
            Aug 23, 2013

            First things first: @Mr Ferret – It was a little classless to plug my blog on yours. Although I did want to share that I’m not the Christian Bluenose my comments may have led some to believe I was, there were better ways to go about it.

            Secondly: I think that being thought a spinster was a fair assumption to make. Look at any blog or comments section where a female name is attached to a statement that may be viewed as “sex negative”. The responses are usually: a) Put away your bible and get laid – and I hope you get raped, b) you should be raped I know you’d learn to like it and c) You must be a dyke (and should be raped).

            Thirdly: I have no desire to be a prude, as such. The post on my blog to which I think you refer was a discussion regarding the morality of edge play and role playing illegal and non-consensual activities in BDSM. Can I do a military interrogation scene and still go to the Amnesty International benefit with a clear conscience? Can a do an age play scene or a no-safeword rape scene and not trivialize the trauma of actual sexual assault? The discussion itself was meant to ask questions and stimulate thought not to provide a platform for making pronouncements and judgements.

            Lastly, my view on sexuality and emotional connection starts with the conviction that I am more that a couple of holes and a bundle of sensations. Whether you look at it from a spiritual or biochemical angle both sex and BDSM (which I view as mostly separate from sex) are powerful experiences and I don’t think they should be taken lightly.

            Everything has SOME emotional valence. Having a Big Mac can provide a little nostalgia for a lost time or a touchstone of home if you’re outside the country. It needn’t be emotionally barren just because it’s a hamburger.

            Of the 31 people I’ve ever had relations with (counting manual stimulation, oral only and D/s scenes) I can remember only 4 instances which had any emotional weight and were thus pleasurable: A drag queen I met at 2am one sunday morning, a college girl, a topless masseuse and my ex-fiancee. All different degrees of commitment but all in their way special.

            I’m sorry, Ferrett, for taking up so much of your blog space with my ravings but I did want to answer the responses fully!

          • Susan Montgomery
            Sep 11, 2013
        • Alicia
          Aug 15, 2013

          Ridiculous. Of course cheating can still occur in a world where sex is fun. You put your trust in a partner not to betray you, not to put you at risk without informing you first. By sleeping with someone else without your knowledge, they betray that trust and put you at risk. To say nothing of the fact that framing sex as a fun pleasurable activity that doesn’t have to have emotional consequences in every case does not ignore the fact that sometimes and for some people, it will.

        • Ambulance Chaser
          Aug 7, 2014

          Well, then she would not have been cheated on. You can’t be cheated on if the sex you’re having is meaningless. so, we can extrapolate that in this case, either the sex, the relationship, or both were important to her.

      • Jenny
        Aug 15, 2013

        I could take the previous comment a little further. If you want your daughter to experiment sex, then everyone should be able to experiment it as well. Boyfriend/girlfriend relationships before you even graduate high school are not committed ones, and you really shouldn’t get mad at someone who “cheated” in high school. FFS they’re teenagers. They’re gonna make stupid decisions and being in a relationship that young is pretty stupid. Sure, experiment but don’t get butt-hurt if some guy you had sex with has sex with someone else. Get the fuck over it and try someone else. Or have an actual relationship with a person and if you find that person to be amazing, then try being physical with that person. I have found sex to be much more pleasing later on in life when I found the love of my life. When I was younger, I played… a lot. And you know… now, my sex life will never be as good as it could’ve because I decided to experiment in my younger days. If I could do it all over again, I would’ve waited for someone I completely truly loved, then had sex, then experimented.

        • Dani
          Aug 20, 2013

          Jenny
          “And you know… now, my sex life will never be as good as it could’ve because I decided to experiment in my younger days.”

          Could you please elaborate on this statement? I have no idea why experimenting at a younger age would keep your current sex life form being as good as it could be. You present it as if it’s obvious, but I’m missing your point.

      • Intheknow
        Aug 17, 2013

        He meant consensual for the mistress. Not hard to understand, it had nothing to do with rape.

    • jlb
      Aug 10, 2013

      “Cheating” is not sex with other people. “Cheating” is breaking the vow you have made to your partner. If your vow is no sex with other people, that’s important. It’s the trust, not the sex.

      • Gren
        Aug 15, 2013

        That is spot on–when the two consent to a commitment and one breaks it, the other will feel a lack of trust.

        Whatever agreement a couple might come to, if they go into it together, they can only both be happy if they see it through or if they mutually decide to dissolve the agreement/vow/commitment.

      • me
        Aug 15, 2013

        How can a teenager make a vow? I don’t believe teens can cheat.

      • Lain
        Aug 19, 2013

        I agree. It could be just as heartbreaking even if sex wasn’t involved. “Cheating” doesn’t even necessarily mean sex.

    • Tim
      Aug 10, 2013

      An violated oath is always vice. If someone swears an oath to me that they will never wear the color red, or that they will never eat a meat at the same table as anyone other than myself, it is still an oath. Those are two idiotic oaths, and I would never ask someone to swear to such a thing, but if they had done so, I would hold them to it. Of course, a coerced oath is no oath at all, but I digress.

      Agreeing to date someone, to form a romantic relationship, is an oath. It is an oath of a different kind than marrying someone, but it is still an oath with terms. If one party violates the terms of that oath, then they are dirt. Infidelity is not painful because of the sex involved, but because of the broken promise. This is why there is no contradiction in this post.

      Ferret rocks.

      • Ellamydear
        Aug 13, 2013

        Love this. Well put.

      • Ashley
        Aug 13, 2013

        That was a beautiful response, Tim.

      • MD
        Oct 11, 2013

        Very well put indeed. But I really wish the oath was the whole matter. And of course “cheating” reffers to this oath of sexual unicity.
        Yet somehow I disagree with the conclusion :”Infidelity is not painful because of the sex involved, but because of the broken promise.”
        Indeed, personnaly I would also hold someone to his oath if he swore he would never share anyone else’s meal, but the pain I would feel if he broke the vow would very quickly be forgotten.
        The real question is why do we want/need sex unicity? (I say we because I know I’m not alone, but I also know some people just don’t experience the feeling of jealousy).
        As a matter of fact, even if you decide with your long time lover that sexual unicity isn’t part of the deal (in a way it’s reassuring because it’s one less reason the couple could break), it still hurts… At least, as for me, I accept sexual pluricity with my brains, but my heart is just crying, demanding to be unique.
        There you go: no oath broken, but still, the pain inside.
        And you forgive, out of love, but you keep on looking for a rational reason why you should stop pluricity.
        So the sex IS meaningful, on different levels of course, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have it outside of a longterm relationship or anything.
        So to my doughter I’ll say, sex always has to be well shared, and limits always have to be discussed.

    • Maia
      Aug 11, 2013

      Why is it that people think that you can’t have fun and play with your partner AND have that be serious? Sex should make you laugh, and be the most fun you can have. It should feel good for everyone involved. Its not a matter of the choice between meaninglessness or cold emptiness. And just because you are having fun doesn’t mean your heart cannot be broken. It sounds like Mr.Tom thinks that a girl who enjoys sex play is a slut who deserves what she gets.

    • Victoria
      Aug 12, 2013

      Sex can be fun but if one is in a committed relationship then the point is that the sex is fun enough with that individual. Then it’s a matter of respecting the individual you’ve committed to as well as the commitment, but mostly to respect your partner. Polyamory isn’t wrong or degrading, it’s just exploring sexuality with multiple partners instead of just one. But when one is cheated on, they are not in the loop about having other partners. There isn’t clear communication, and most likely the one who was cheated was committed to only being with that person. Hence the pain, and the pain comes from the outright disrespect. If someone wants to sleep with other people but remain in a relationship with a particular individual, the point is to communicate those desires and also allow them to explore other partners (because it’s some kinda messed up if one person expects to sleep around and doesn’t allow their partner to). It’s all communication.

      Also, he’s only talking about sex in general, not monogamy. For whatever it’s worth, here’s an article on polyamory and how that can work.

    • midge
      Aug 19, 2013

      Tom, this is a false distinction that you are making here.The reason that cheating is hurtful is because it is deceptive. Someone lies to another person and leads them to believe that they are in a committed, monogamous relationship. Though someone undoubtedly experienced pleasure in this scenario, it is at the expense of another person’s trust and therein lies the problem. Acknowledging the pain of deception in an intimate relationship in no way undermines this writer’s central thesis.

    • Sam
      Aug 27, 2013

      I’m utterly baffled at your arbitrary logic Tom, I’m pretty sure the article does an excellent job of representing sex and not confining it to a narrow and stereotypical “mainstream” view. I fail to see how he reduces sex to a dichotomy. Your “point” about the flaw in recognizing sex can be fun and then turning around to point out that cheating is also giving someone pleasure is so facile that I hope you refrain from reproducing yourself.
      That said, this was a very moving article and I’m glad to see someone really taking a stand about actually acknowledging the complexities of sex and relationships. She’s a lucky girl

  5. Riv
    Aug 8, 2013

    The sad part about society is this would basically go without saying to a son. That women are still taught entirely different things about sex (except whereas concerns pregnancy, which the boys should be spending more time being taught so as not to become deadbeats) tells me We Haven’t Come as Far as We Thought.

    • Robert
      Aug 11, 2013

      You’re right that sons and daughters are usually taught different things, but I disagree that TheFerret’s comments would go without saying to a son. Boys are taught many negative things about sex, for example that it is something they need to coax or trick women into, or something they always want and can’t say no to, or an urge they cannot control. And of course it is always heterosexual, and the end point – the sole legitimate destination – is always marriage, monogamy and children.

      • MPC
        Aug 17, 2013

        I love you for writing this- I agree completely.

      • Helen
        Aug 18, 2013

        Absolutely! Well put.

  6. Skellymom
    Aug 8, 2013

    I had felt this way, too. Knew my great grandmothers, grandmothers, aunt and mothers situation with sex as it changed through the generations and the struggles they all went through with sex and how they were perceived if they consented to and enjoyed (whether married or not). And, I want my daughter to not have to struggle with what they did. I want her to become a happy, independent, cherished, strong and satisfied woman So sharing this with my daughter.

  7. domingo
    Aug 9, 2013

    Although I agree with some of your sentiment, I think there’s a piece missing in there somewhere about the timing of the message. Not that age is the appropriate measure here, but as an example, it’s much different in the context of a 13 year old daughter than a 23 year old daughter.
    It’s like saying “Dear daughter, I hope you have fun playing in the ocean.” Not the greatest example, because sex and teenagers is such a hormonally charged topic that I think it merits a bit of “protecting them from themselves” for a bit until they stabilize and have a bit more maturity.

    • misskitty_79
      Aug 15, 2013

      I think you just entirely missed the point of TheFerret’s message. Our children need information, support, & positive examples of healthy relationships, but they do not need to be protected from their own decisions. Sometimes, they’ll have made the wrong ones, but falling down is a huge part of learning. Please learn to trust your child’s choices…

    • EDieL
      Aug 16, 2013

      The age thing need not be an issue if you look at a rule that works for everybody: mutual informed consent based in an equal balance of power is the prerequisite to healthy encounters. what the parties involved work out from there is up to them.

      No coercion, no pushing boundaries, no shutting down communication. It’s fine to not know what you want, it’s not fine to just try something without the other person consenting to be surprised.

    • Lain
      Aug 19, 2013

      The bottom line is, a child is MUCH more likely to make a mistake if they don’t have guidance. If they don’t have information and positive role models, and they find themselves facing a decision such as “do I do sexy stuff with this person?” (and guess what – 13 is an age where that could easily happen, whether you want to believe it or not), if they have no information to go on they are far more likely to get hurt. Also, if they feel like Mum and Dad are going to be mad at them, judge them, or punish them for doing those things, then there is a much higher chance that they just won’t tell their parents, or ask for help or advice.

      This is why we should be open about sex with our kids. And about drugs and alcohol for that matter – about whatever they are curious about. Just saying “Don’t do it, because I said so” never works.

  8. Shelley
    Aug 9, 2013

    I absolutely love this. Sex was not discussed in my house at all…I learned everything from Dr. Ruth Westheimer. And eventually life. I do have a daughter and she and I are close. Not close enough to share details, but I feel we can discuss things honestly and she knows I will support her and trust her in making choices. This is a great piece of writing. Thank you.

  9. Molly
    Aug 9, 2013

    My son is 13 and my daughter is 10. I strive to teach them the sentiments of this post every day. Thank you for writing it.

    Mollyxxx

  10. Red 'Goose
    Aug 10, 2013

    Fantastic! Now we just need a voice like yours to write sex education courses for teens everywhere, and the world will be a much better place.

    (N.B. My phone autocowrecked ‘better’ to ‘wetter’. Was tempted to leave it that way…)

  11. C
    Aug 10, 2013

    Regarding comments about age and protecting children from themselves, I, through experience, think this is a grave mistake. If people want to have sex at 12, they are going to. And to have had this conversation, among others, is going to protect these young people against getting into hurtful and controlling relationships. We should seriously consider the consequences of putting an age bar where the veil of shame and darkness of ignorance is lifted, and ponder what sort of an effect that would have on the 12 year old who already began.

    • Alicia
      Aug 15, 2013

      Yes, please. And let’s face it, “maturity” does not magically appear at 18, 20, or 25. SOME children are emotionally and mentally prepared for sex at 15 or 16, some aren’t until they’re in their mid-to-late twenties. The best way to make sure a child waits to have sex until they’re as ready as they can be is to teach them exactly what is being encouraged and discussed here: that sex isn’t this scary, evil thing; that parents are here to support, not “get” whoever “did” this to you; that it is consensual; that it is healthy; that nothing is lost when sex is freely given and that there is nothing to be ashamed of in enjoying sex. THAT is what I was taught, that is what I knew of sex and I am so grateful, because I did wait until I was 18 before my first time, but I’ve also never felt shame or that I lost anything of myself for enjoying it. Nor do I now, long after the point when sex-shamers would think me a “slut.”

    • Wendi
      Aug 15, 2013

      It would tell the 12 year old that has already started that some things are wonderful when you are old enough to experience them. You wouldn’t hand a 12 year old the keys to your car. She’s not old enough for the responsibility that comes with the privilege. It doesn’t mean that driving is bad, just that she isn’t ready yet. Children are not old enough to understand the consequences of sex or to make the rational, responsible choices that comes with having sex. That is why the law says there is no such thing as consensual sex with a 12 year old. Just like putting a 12 year old on the interstate behind the wheel of a car will have disastrous results, so will telling a 12 year old that there is no reason for her to wait for sex. It doesn’t have to be about shame.

      • BrittanyDaile
        Aug 27, 2013

        I knew how to drive a car at 12. Competently. I didn’t take one onto the interstate because that would have been illegal, but I drove down country roads and never had any issues with it. Not all 12 year olds are incapable of handling a car, and not all are incapable of handling a sexual relationship. I didn’t start having sex that early, but I thought about it a lot. In fact, I was kind of obsessed with the idea, mostly because it was something that was “off limits”. I wasn’t supposed to like boys that much, I wasn’t supposed to let them touch me or kiss me, and that’s exactly why it was so enticing.

        Telling someone that they shouldn’t want something just because you don’t deem them old enough to want it isn’t going to change the things that are going through their head, it’s just going to make them feel terrible about themselves. I hated myself when I was 12-13 because I thought there must be something terribly wrong with me. After all, what 12 year old wants a boy to touch her like that? Surely something was wrong with my brain! Of course, I hit puberty at 9, so I had all the hormones flowing through me that a 16 year old did. I never thought of that at the time though, because everyone was telling me that girls my age were supposed to want this and that, but certainly not boys.

        I think you should talk to your kids, be honest with them without judgement, and they just might be honest with you in return. Is it really that big of a deal if your teenager wants to have sex, as long as they’re being responsible in their use of birth control and STD protection?

  12. Ruby Ryder
    Aug 10, 2013

    This is incredibly refreshing, intelligent, measured and most important of all, encouraging of a healthy sexuality. Thanks for the sex-positivity!

  13. Brianne Bilyeu
    Aug 11, 2013

    LOVE LOVE LOVE! These are thoughtful, rational, loving messages to send to a child. They honor both her individuality and her safety and happiness. Well done. Also, that you used the difference between a meal from McDonalds and Thanksgiving dinner as a metaphor for different kinds of sexual experiences made me laugh very loudly. What an apt comparison.

  14. Autumn
    Aug 12, 2013

    Not just men with a low opinion of women. Women do this too… and sometimes even worse than men. But god, this is true. So very very true.

  15. Tom
    Aug 12, 2013

    Brilliant. Thanks for that. I’m the dad of a son, and I echo for him the sentiments you express here for your daughter. I just hope when he does find someone, he/she has a dad as cool as you are.

  16. Robert L
    Aug 12, 2013

    Do you actually have a daughter? Some other comments section implied that through bios they read that you do not actually have a daughter. Can you confirm?

    • TheFerrett
      Aug 12, 2013

      I’m not sure how they came to that conclusion. I have two daughters, one twenty-seven, the other twenty-one. I blog about them very rarely because they’ve never asked to be brought on stage, and so I generally do not bring them up. But they’ve definitely been mentioned before.

      • Robert L
        Aug 14, 2013

        Thank you for clearing that up.

  17. Amber
    Aug 12, 2013

    Imagine my surprise when I click the link to this blog post, which then points me to the direction of your blog. Upon reading the title of your blog, TheFerrett, I realized that I was quite possibly reading the same Ferrett that I read back in the days of LiveJournal. Miraculously, I logged into my LJ to find I was correct! Unbelievable! It is like discovering an old favorite book again. I will never forget the blog you wrote about only eating things you found truly enjoyable and your subsequent weight loss. Kudos to you and nice to see your work again!

  18. Nick Armstrong
    Aug 12, 2013

    Actually… most of the “10 Rules For Dating My Daughter” were pulled from W. Bruce Cameron’s Book “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” (which was later turned into a television show featuring Kaley Cuoco and John Ritter) and were written satirically.

    If you’ve ever read the book, you’ll realize there’s nothing but love and support and plenty of comedic denial for a dad watching his young women grow up. In fact, his book gave me a greater appreciation of my girlfriends, their fathers, and how I should show respect for both. How Cameron’s “rules” are used in pop-(sub)-culture as distributed and bastardized throughout the internet… that’s another story.

    This post – same intent, different wording, just as much helpless denial from a dad watching his girl grow up. Two different dads separated by 10 years each with the same simple message: respect yourself and your body, no matter how you choose to use it.

  19. Anu
    Aug 13, 2013

    I wish every dad thought like you. Being born in a conservative community makes women rebellious!

  20. Corey
    Aug 13, 2013

    Thank you. Yes. My dad actually did a pretty good job of conveying the same to me, and I intend to pass it on to my daughter. I think this article will help my husband understand, because right now (she’s four) the whole concept freaks him out utterly. Thank you for putting this out there.

  21. Kiki
    Aug 13, 2013

    I think this is a fantastic article, you are correct in a way but as a 24 year old woman , wife and mother to a brand new baby girl I do disagree not because I nor my husband, father, or anyone else disagree with my having (awesome) sex before marriage, but because I do, because no one taught me it was okay to save myself everyone told me “test drive the car before you buy” and now I adore my husband he is the most kind and wonderful man I have ever known and I see why it is so special to wait , all others before are now insignificant .

    • Lola
      Aug 13, 2013

      If you hadn’t had those previous experiences, you wouldn’t know they would feel insignificant compared to what you have now. The way I see it, those earlier experiences are valuable because they show you the value of your current experience. Also, they helped shape you into the person you are today. You learn from every experience you have. If the experience is, “Well that sucked!” then you’ve learnt what type of sexual encounters/relationships you want to avoid it in the future.

      You can’t really learn these things without experiencing them. That’s why “saving yourself for the right man” rarely works. How will you know he’s the right one if you don’t know what the wrong ones are like? And even if you feel perfectly happy with the first man you meet, what’s to stop you from wondering later on if this is as good as it gets, or if you might not be happier with someone else, if you’ve never tried it? You’ve tried it, so now you know. You won’t have to second guess your choices for lack of experience.

  22. Dan
    Aug 13, 2013

    Thank you, having read “The Ethical Slut” and now reading “Sex At Dawn” this piece made yet another great addition. :)

  23. Danni
    Aug 13, 2013

    Awww. I cried while reading this. It’s everything I ever wanted my dad to say. We don’t talk very much anymore. It really sounds like you love your daughter and want her to be happy. I remember my dad calling me a slut before I’d even lost my virginity, and then twice after that. It was confusing because it wasn’t the definition of the word I had in my mind. Slut- has sex with way too many people. I really wish we could just erase that word entirely. Thank you for posting. I am definitely sharing.

    • Vishwa
      Aug 18, 2013

      @Danni – Amen. The word slut is bandied about far too easily .

  24. HappinessSavouredHot
    Aug 13, 2013

    This message you write to your daughter is so important, yet so often neglected, or even looked down on. Women are entitled to have a fun sex life, no matter what some people say about it.

  25. antoinette
    Aug 13, 2013

    Wow – one of the more intelligent, thoughtful, interesting conversations I have read about such a touchy subject. Thanks to everyone who shared their perspective and to the originator for the courage to publish. Will keep this one in hard copy!

  26. Vanice
    Aug 13, 2013

    Thank you for writing and sharing this. You brought tears to my eyes.

  27. JS
    Aug 13, 2013

    Lovely. I count myself very lucky, as a daughter, to have heard a similar sentiment from my dad, even if he didn’t directly say the words.

    The part I find missing from both your words and my own father’s is, honestly, the acceptance of abstention. Sure, we hear it from health teachers and parents everywhere when we’re young, but that seems to end abruptly after high school (at the latest).

    We (men AND women AND everyone in between) have the assumption that at some point, when we reach a certain age or have some other set of characteristics, we should be out looking for love, or for physical intimacy, or for “whatever gets you through the night.” Solitude is not as desolate as we make it out to be. It is perfectly acceptable to be alone… or to be intimate with someone without a physical relationship… or any combination.

    • Aleigh
      Aug 20, 2013

      Well said!

  28. Ashley
    Aug 13, 2013

    In my house the philosophy was “if your gonna experiment then I want you to make informed decisions. You can do what you want with your body and as long as you are safe and don’t hurt any one then you can make your own choices. No one can make you do something you don’t want. Consent matters.” I feel like this made me more okay with my sexuality and my worth as a person.

  29. Sharon A Brrunk
    Aug 13, 2013

    I agree with some of your comments and others confuse me. I have been married for 47 years and have had sex with only one man. My husband is very old school. Currently I am trying to help my daughter through what is a very messy divorce without much help from my better half! We both love her very much and would do anything to help her! She seems to have a great admiration for your teachings and way of thinking. Please remember that she is still learning about life’s ups and down. Thank you for your time.

  30. 5tephe
    Aug 13, 2013

    Love every bit of this essay, and couldn’t agree more. I’ve been saying the same thing (though less articulately and eloquently) for years now, and my daughter is about to turn 16 on Friday.

    So I’m glad you re-iterated these thoughts (I’m sure I saw them in various versions over on LiveJournal years ago) in such a timely manner for me!

    Incredibly happy to stumble back upon you, ferret.

    • TheFerrett
      Aug 14, 2013

      Yay! I hope your daughter is doing as wonderfully as I think she is. (Given that she’s a teen, it’s hard to see at the micro level sometimes as every teen needs some development, but I trust.)

  31. Katie
    Aug 13, 2013

    Props to you!!!!

  32. Kristian
    Aug 14, 2013

    Thank you for this amazing text. I do not have a biological daughter. But I am helping raising one.
    As a professional sex educator, practitioner, Top, Tantra teacher, body worker and lover I will like to make your words mine.

    Thank you

    Kristian

  33. Peggy
    Aug 14, 2013

    Well said. I completely agree. We all need permission to live life. Thank you for giving her yours. peace, Peg

  34. Amy
    Aug 14, 2013

    I like that you took this past ‘sex’ and into all of life’s experienced. My parents tell me “We just don’t know where you came from.” due to the fact that I have had experiences they never dreamed of having themselves.

  35. Robert M
    Aug 14, 2013

    Excellent article, Ferrett, excellent points. I also loved seeing this pop up on my Facebook feed by one of my friends that didn’t follow you from when you were writing Serious Fun. It made me chuckle to respond to her post by saying, “Hey! I used to play Magic with that guy!”
    - Robert, one of the guys that joined your Magic game and contributed a sub-article for one of your articles

    • TheFerrett
      Aug 14, 2013

      It’s crazy, isn’t it? All my old Magic audience is like, “Hey! It’s Enrico Pallazzo!”

  36. Bev
    Aug 14, 2013

    This is the best thing I’ve read in a long time. How wonderful that a father loves his daughter as an individual rather than his property. I like this so much that i’m going to print out a copy for my daughter. Thank you so much.

  37. Nicole
    Aug 14, 2013

    I wish my parents had said something like this to me growing up, instead of constant jokes about my dad sitting on the porch with his shotgun when the boys come around. That always felt to me that my parents didn’t trust my choices or my ability to know if a person was good for me or not. Like I wasn’t worthy of autonomy. (Plus, my parents always thought I was an innocent little virgin — my mom once went so far as to tell me to stop laughing at a suggestive joke because I didn’t get it. I was 15. I got it. She also told me that I was still a virgin after I visited my girlfriend, because lesbians can’t have real sex…)

    I think your daughter is lucky to have a dad with such a healthy view of sex, and I’m glad you wrote and posted this for everyone else to read, too.

    • Don
      Aug 16, 2013

      We cannot control when our kids have sex. But we can help them to have a healthy mindset around it.

      I made sure that my daughter knew that I nor anyone else was in charge of when she had sex or kept having it. I made sure she knew of many of my past friends and girlfriends negative first (and other times) encounters and how this effected them for sometimes years after in a negative way. I wanted to make sure that she knew that sex could be a positive or negative thing and that if she was making the choice without pressure to do so from anyone else that it could be a very healthy and beautiful thing.

      She did have sex before I or most parents would want her to. But she chose it. And she kept having it. She is now almost 21 and is in a very healthy happy relationship and I know that me being a relaxed but intelligent Dad about this has helped her develop into the wonderful human being she is.

  38. Lampost
    Aug 15, 2013

    Yeah, while I can appreciate the point of this article, I’m eternally grateful my father’s rules protected me from the yutzes in my small town as a teenager growing up. Once I was in my 20′s and had sex with a yutz as a learning experience, realize how I could have found myself caught in potentially a bad situation growing up, and might have never seen the bigger picture outside that town. I respectfully disagree that a father’s wisdom and protection has no value while a teen is still on shaky ground.

  39. Alicia
    Aug 15, 2013

    Thank you so much for this. My mom tried to foster this environment for me and the rest of the family fought her tooth and nail on it. Ultimately, I took this message to heart and have been happier for it. It takes a lot of love for a child to look at the great wide world and all its terrors and say, “You can do it. Find what makes you happy. I’m always here.”

  40. Shelley
    Aug 15, 2013

    Refreshing!

  41. Adi
    Aug 15, 2013

    You are an awesome father ! Your daughter is very lucky to have you as a father.

  42. Dolly LeBourbon
    Aug 15, 2013

    Fucking awesome article. Saving this for my daughter, AND my son!

  43. SJ
    Aug 15, 2013

    I’m a very conservative, religious, monogamous kind of person.

    I feel the underlying message is this: Sex is not bad. Sex is okay! Even good!

    As a parent, sure, teach morals, values, safety, consequences, and wisdom about sex. But too often sex is labeled as bad and shameful. It’s not.

  44. Bo
    Aug 15, 2013

    Poignant. Made me teary eyed. Dad of two 20-somethings.
    My sentiments exactly.

  45. Carmen
    Aug 15, 2013

    I absolutely adored this. As the daughter of a mom who woulda loved nothing more than to have me locked up the second I ever looked at a boy (and that has led me to a LONG battle to fight my own fights and basically stop being afraid even of my own shadow, which is what she achieved), I have to say I love you for being like this. Hope your daughter and the daughters and sons of those reading this also get a chance to go grab life by the balls and mess things up royally, cos there is basically no better way to learn. Thank you

  46. Jason
    Aug 15, 2013

    Reading your post almost bought tears to my eyes. As a father of two girls (7 and 4) I often cast my mind forward to thik about how I might tackle issues in 10+ years time. If I can practice a little of what you preach there I’ll be in good shape. The sentiment of your post is absolutely essential.

    I get your point about the sex thing specifically – and I agree whole heartedly, but what I took away from your post was a broader point about having respect, trust and maturity in our relationships with our children and allowing them to fail and learn lessons…. That can and should start much earlier in life.

  47. Jason
    Aug 15, 2013

    Reading your post almost bought tears to my eyes. As a father of two girls (7 and 4) I often cast my mind forward to thik about how I might tackle issues in 10+ years time. If I can practice a little of what you preach there I’ll be in good shape. The sentiment of your post is absolutely essential.

    I get your point about the sex thing specifically – and I agree whole heartedly, but what I took away from your post was a broader point about having respect, trust and maturity in our relationships with our children and allowing them to fail and learn lessons…. That can and should start much earlier in life.

  48. Ellen Dawn
    Aug 16, 2013

    I have no idea who you are, and I have never read your blog before. Someone posted this on facebook and it showed up on my wall.

    This is so beautiful. I’m so thankful that you shared your thoughts on this matter because it’s so true that many people lock their daughters up (or try to) which often results in unhappy lives on both sides. I am a daughter myself. Thank you for this.

  49. Sonnie
    Aug 16, 2013

    Thank you. I think my daughter may be ready to take the plunge sometime in the near future (but I don’t know, I’m not her). I’m not sure, but coming across this has given me a great stepping off point to start the conversation that I really hope she knows that it’s OK to enjoy yourself.

  50. Jen
    Aug 16, 2013

    I think what you’ve said is spot on, and is so good to see someone doing this publicly. I wish my parents had said something similar to me! It’s a shame it’s had some negative responses but, as you say, we can’t all love the same things, and by the same token we can’t all think/feel the same things. As a society we’re not used to our parents, let alone dads, talk about female sexuality in such an open and supportive way, but I think it’s exactly what’s needed.

  51. Kennedy
    Aug 17, 2013

    Im 14, and This is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever read. You’re an amazing dad. If every father was like you there every girl would most likely grow up to be a strong, healthy, and happy person. Thank you so much for NOT being sexist, and thank you so much for including men, women, and transgendered people. It’s a breath of fresh air to read about a father like you. Thank you so much for your non sexist, feminist, non stereotypical views!!!!!!

  52. Claude
    Aug 18, 2013

    Ferrett, thank you for an inspiring and incisive post. You have beautifully captured many of the sentiments that I have toward my own beloved 24 year-old daughter. While it pains me to see the knocks that life sometimes deals her, I’m elated to see her “out there”, and committed to living.

    In savoring your post, I see several key “take-home” points:

    Choice is a great gift:
    • Making good choices requires good information, as well as support and acceptance. Parents can help their kids, by providing them with good information (not biases, attitudes or “programming”.)
    • Parents need to permit and respect (if not always agree with) their kids’ choices.
    • Kids will make their own mistakes, just as we did/do. That’s OK, and is even necessary for growth.
    • Cultural stereotypes, especially fear-based and sex-negative ones, undermine making good choices.

    Sex can be a joyful and life-affirming activity:
    • Mutual consent, and the willingness to give one another the gift of pleasure, is crucial.
    • Sex requires experimentation and learning— like any other human activity.
    • Sex can range from being purely playful, to being a contributor to the closest of emotional connections between two human beings. It exists in a spectrum. It’s powerful stuff, requiring respect and dignity— but not leaden seriousness. It’s about sharing joy.

    Sex is a delightful part of being alive:
    • Living fully is an active experience, requiring engagement and experimentation.
    • Living fully takes courage and reasoned risk-taking, not cowering in fear or being sheltered behind a moat.
    • Parents can give kids the gift of encouraging their initiative, self-acceptance, self-confidence and courage.

    Thanks for such a rich post and such a thought-provoking forum!

  53. Donald Leighton
    Aug 19, 2013

    In between the many fine examples of good writing and clear thinking on this thread are some very obvious examples of what looks to be emotional scar tissue. Sexual relationships of whatever stripe are fun AND dangerous. Looks like there are some who are ‘Once bitten, twice shy’ and are dertimined to stay that way. Better to take a bite out of life on the substantial risk that it might bite back than go starving, no? Sure that’s a false choice when taken (excessively) literally, but it’s a metaphor, educational or not, depending on the reader…..

  54. Abigail Rotholz
    Aug 19, 2013

    Beautiful. Thank you. The love you feel for your daughters is so very evident. You love them as they are, or will be, truly and deeply. You love them so that they can feel free to be themselves, and to discover more about themselves without fear of losing that love.

  55. Elizabeth McFadden
    Aug 19, 2013

    Ferrett, I think this is one of the loveliest things I’ve read in years. What a lucky girl your daughter is, to have you as a dad!

    I’ve never understood why anyone would want to deny their children — the people they presumably love most in the world — a fulfilling sex life. Sex is wonderful part of adult life … why on earth would I not wish that for anyone I care for?

    Also, your description of what you hope to be for your daughter is — this passage — is simply beautiful: “Ideally, I am my daughter’s safe space, a garden to return to when the world has proved a little too cruel, a place where she can recuperate and reflect upon past mistakes and know that here, there is someone who loves her wholeheartedly and will hug her until the tears dry.”

    I had a dad who was that safe space for me. He passed away 10 weeks ago, and while losing his was the worst thing I’ve ever faced, I’m so grateful to have had him.

    Best wishes to you and your family.

  56. Sandra
    Aug 20, 2013

    Thank you for your letter to your daughter. I wish my dad had enough balls to say something like that to me maybe then I wouldnt have fucked up relationships.

  57. DB
    Aug 20, 2013

    If pleasure is the guiding principle of when to have sex, why should anyone make a vow to have sex with one and only one person in a marriage or a “committed” relationship? Why can’t I make a vow to my wife or girlfriend that from now on I’ll only give pleasure to other women who get tested regularly and always with protection as a sign of respect/commitment to my partner? Now before any of you answer this, consider that whatever reason(s) you give, proponents of the old-fashioned position will just say that those reason(s) are exactly why they endorse the whole not till you’re married view.

    • annabelle
      Aug 22, 2013

      You can make that vow. I would be willing to bet more people make that vow than you realize. Even entirely committed couples are not always sexually monogamous because, as this comment section shows, different people view sex differently. My husband and I are happily non monogamous and have been that way since before we were married. Our union is a bond between two people, not to sets of genitalia.

      • DB
        Aug 23, 2013

        Annabelle, the question isn’t directed at couples in open marriages. It’s directed at married couples who are exclusive to one another yet do not believe in the “waiting until marriage” view or in having open marriages such as yours.

  58. Anon.
    Aug 24, 2013

    Oh great, more teenage whores without morals. Keep up the great parenting.

    • Jen
      Aug 26, 2013

      How did that comment even get through moderation? Just seems unnecessarily offensive.

  59. KD
    Aug 26, 2013

    Absolutely love it!!! Love, accept, listen, and guide.

  60. Amy
    Aug 30, 2013

    kudos!! You have it right :) Thank you for being an awesome dad! Your daughter is fortunate indeed. I am sharing with my stepchildren.

  61. Brian
    Sep 5, 2013

    Mr. Ferrett, I believe You just won the Internet. Very well done.

    • Kashmir
      Sep 15, 2013

      Mr. Ferrett,

      Thank you so much for this letter. Although I’ve long passed the teen mark (I’m in my 30′s now), my father also had the same approach towards my coming into womenhood that you do.

      “Love yourself. Be true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Love if you want, who you want, when you want. Be kind and sincere and considerate towards yourself and others”.

      It worked for me. There were tears and laughter and joy as I went from discovery to discovery year by year. Safe and secure in the knowledge that my father would never judge me and always support me, he became my best friend and confidante. There is no subject that we can’t discuss and we have maintained an incredibly loving and open relationship between us.

      I believe that my father’s attitude directly contributed to my healthy outlook on sexual and emotional relationships and my healthy and loving attitude towards my “self” and my body. I am currently in an extremely fulfilling and loving long-term relationship and happy.

      I wish you and your darling daughter all the very best. She is lucky to have such a wonderful and supportive father such as you. I of all people should know.

  62. maret jaks
    Sep 15, 2013

    Wonderful blog — it’s precisely how I reared my girls. Had a drawer full of condoms and motherly advice on the fact that the time to have sex is when . . . YOU are ready.

    I hope lots of dads read this and learn to honour their daughters and their daughters’ choices.

  63. Tom
    Sep 30, 2013

    As a father of a 7 and a 5 year old , I still do like jokes like “My date’s dad threw a shotgun shell at me. Told me it moves a lot faster after 10pm”. However, I do agree with your post. That wont stop me embarrassing them a bit when they bring their first boyfreinds home though ;)

  64. Francesca
    Oct 12, 2013

    Thank you for writing this.

    To me, it’s perfect, and symbolises what I believe the role of a parent should be.

    I only wish my own parents could see from your point of view.

  65. Angelina
    Oct 20, 2013

    I can hear my dad in your letter. Even if he never told me these things, I know he wants to see me happy. And when I make some mistakes, he’s always here to comfort me. So Daddy, thanks you so much, I love you !!

  66. johnson
    Dec 3, 2013

    I am worried, what could be end of the world, what kind of father and daughter are born, they are only talk about sex and sex and sex. They should shame on this, this is very holy relationship and people are crazy about sex and does not mind any kind of relationship

  67. ...
    Dec 6, 2013

    Thank you so much for this blog post. I really wish all parents had the same attitude that you do.

  68. T.
    Dec 14, 2013

    Thank you for this. My father never said this, but I know that’s what he means. I see it every time I tell him something, good or bad. When I came out as bi, he was happy for me for “having more choices”. He doesn’t judge me, he doesn’t forbid me things, but he’s there for me when I need him and celebrates my triumphs with me.
    You’re doing it right.

  69. Gen
    Dec 28, 2013

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

    This was the most amazingly unconditionally loving liberating real authentic huge mammoth culture changing fearless truth seeking truth sharing courageous letter from a father to his daughter.

    Thank you for your part in openness, fearlessness and compassion towards women’s sexuality, and participating in the cultural shift of stripping away shame, judgment, fear and control woman have experienced for centuries in relationship to their sexual expression and sex lives.

    Thank you for creating a safe space for your daughter, for me as I read this, to be *human*, to be *herself* to be *authentic*, to be allowed to *taste the world* and come back despite the glory or the gore. Thank you for being a man contributing to that safety.

    You are a delightful important gutsy contribution to this world, and your daughter is lucky to have such a father, (and I am sure you feel damn lucky to have your daughter).

    Thank you

  70. Ariadna
    Dec 29, 2013

    :)) Congrats! I’ll tell dad he’s not the only “outside the box” dad ever :))
    When he heard i started my sex life he said he wanted “that talk” with his little girl. So we had some beer and started chatting. He made the theory of “the body against mind and soul” and i laughed like hell – i still do. He is always asking the same question even now, when i’m married: “Does this guy make you happy? “

  71. Sivakethan
    Mar 19, 2014

    That is so nice of you.You are willing to let your daughter have sex.

    But as “daddy’s rules for dating” say that every dad is “the people my daughter is attracted to are my enemy”.
    Same way brothers think too. Even if they have their own girlfriends but they not letting their sister have boyfriends(not always though). I once myself had this feeling when my sis had one(although I didn’t have any girl),I don’t know why but it really kept bugging me. I know why some fathers feel the same way, cause he himself is a man, He is really ought to worry of his daughter.

    But really this man Ferret motivated me to think differently…

  72. Mike D.
    Apr 13, 2014

    My wife and I raised 3 daughters. Over time, I became less concerned about what they might or might not be doing sexually. All along, my main concern was knowing that, whatever they were doing–and I don’t have a better way of putting this–that they were ok. Not hurt, not unduly guilty. Healthy, feeling something “good” in the broadest sense. (Although, I do join with those comments here that the good meal metaphor is a rather sad and inadequate one.) The only regret I have about it is that, in spite of otherwise good, father-daughter relationships, we really weren’t able to talk about it along the way. They didn’t want to and I thought it inappropriate to force the conversation. Plus, to be honest, I wasn’t crazy about talking about it either. It’s a regret, though.

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