Your Daughter Will Have Sex and There’s Nothing You Can Do About It

by Krislyn Domingue

Last week,  a video of a Black father who assaulted his daughter’s male friend after finding the pair alone together in his home presumably engaging in some form of intimacy, made the rounds on the Internet. The father defends his actions in the video under the guise of wanting “to protect his [17-year-old] daughter;” and since then, many fathers have joined in on the conversation to defend his behavior. On social media, particularly, men have contended in unison that “protection” equates policing when rearing their daughters—further perpetuating the notion that fathers are the de facto authority when it comes to the sex lives of their daughters. But, au contraire sirs (and madams), your daughters will have sex, and there’s absolutely, positively nothing you can do about it… except support and educate her.

Watching the video mentioned above moved me to empathy—for the young girl, two years my junior, sitting at the center of this fiasco. We are both daughters of “protective” fathers. Even though I am “of-age,” meaning I am fully capable of making informed, empowered decisions about the who/what/when/where/how’s of my sex life, my father would probably have had a similar reaction to the man in the video. And like the girl in the video, I am struggling to balance the gap between who my parents expect me to be and being the informed, sexually autonomous young Black woman I know I have the right to be.

This is no easy feat. And I have a PSA for fathers (and mothers) everywhere, inclusive of my own: Your daughters will have sex. We will have consensual sex. We will receive pleasure. We will give pleasure. And to top it off, we will love it. And maybe a bit to your remorse, there is nothing you can do about it.

Our bodies—whether it comforts you to accept this or not—are ours, to do with as we so desire. Our bodies are ours to gift to whom we may—woman and/or man—when and wherever we so please. Our bodies are ours. Our sexualities are ours.

We are the sole and absolute rulers of what is done to and with our bodies. When she is a child, it is your job to protect her from those who may take advantage of her. But it is also your job to teach her that her body is hers, and she gets to make all decisions about what happens to it. As a parent, it is your job to educate, to support, to encourage the healthy formation of your daughter’s sexuality.

Yes, daughters do need protection. We need protection from those individuals who seek to inflict sexual harm on unsuspecting, non-consenting young women. And as a parent, it is your duty, your responsibility to protect your not-of-age daughters from predators. But, it is extremely important to acknowledge that of-age daughters are fully capable of assuming the unique responsibility of safeguarding our bodies and our sexual lives.

This does not require that you dictate the terms of nor suppress the exploration of pleasure by your teenage daughter. Rather, when your daughter is able to make informed, responsible decisions regarding the activities in her sexual life, you must give her the space to do so. You must trust that you have educated, supported, and encouraged enough to produce a young woman that is sexually accountable, informed, and empowered.

However, you have every right as an established adult to prohibit your daughter from getting the feels on in your house and under your roof, just as is the right of the father mentioned above. You also have the right to suggest she abide by your religious ideals. You have every natural-born right to want to shield your daughter from all of the responsibilities, consequences, and possibilities that stem from being sexually active.

We deserve the right to exercise the agency, sexual autonomy, and bodily authority that is ours. And it is ours because our bodies are ours—not yours. Yes, that’s right. Your daughter’s body belongs to her, and so does her sexuality. Have faith in her capacities to construct healthy sexual lives and trust that you have supported, encouraged and educated enough.

For we will have sex—mind-blowing, orgasmic, beautifully wonderful sex—and there’s absolutely, positively nothing you can do about it.

Photo: Shuttertock

Krislyn Domingue is a sophomore, Sociology & Anthropology and Comparative Women’s Studies double major at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She enjoys reading, writing, and sipping Chai Tea. Email her. Tweet her @krislynsd.

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