Gina Vaynshteyn
March 24, 2016 1:55 pm
Warner Bros.

Growing up, my parents (who emigrated from Russia to the States in the ’70s) dealt with certain things differently than a lot of parents I knew. Specifically, the topic of sex.

Sex was something not discussed in my household. In fact, it was like sex didn’t even exist, and my brother and I materialized out of oxygen. And this wasn’t because my parents were religious (they weren’t), but because being open about sex was just not something they were comfortable with. Which made things for me, a curious teenage girl, weird and confusing.

Talking to some of my first-generation co-workers, we all agreed that learning about sex was especially a weird time, and that none of our parents were very forthcoming with the deets. Here’s what you maybe experienced growing up and learned about sex if you, too, had immigrant parents.

1.  You usually didn’t get the sex talk.

2. In fact, nothing about sex or love or relationships was even uttered until you started dating.

3. Which basically started World War 3 because (usually) there is nothing immigrant parents hate more than their teenage son or daughter dating.


4. Because if you started dating, it meant you weren’t thinking about school and education and getting into an Ivy League. Dating = A distraction.

5. In reality, you probably learned about sex through HBO.


6. Like Sex and the City and a late night showing of Basic Instinct.


7. Or even Judy Blume novels your parents didn’t think twice about because they just loved the fact that you were reading so much and therefore a genius.


8. Sometimes, you got the four-one-one from your friends, and they filled you in on sex but in weird kid code, like “sex is when you get naked and wrestle,” or “when a stick pokes a girl’s private parts.”

9. And when you asked your parents, they either brushed you off or were annoyed you would be wondering about such a thing when you could be asking about something about your eduction, or your future —something MEANINGFUL.

10. Masturbation was mostly likely never, ever brought up. Like not only was it taboo to discuss, but most likely taboo to partake in.

10. Your parents (probably) let you watch Titanic when it came out on VHS because it was critically acclaimed and they wanted you to be cultured. Which, looking back on this, seems crazy because HELLO ROSE’S BOOBS.

20th Century Fox/Giphy

11. When your parents discovered that you were getting ~*~serious~*~ with your significant other (aka, having sex), they probably lost their minds.


12. Like, you probably wouldn’t be allowed within 200 feet of your boyfriend or girlfriend. And you were grounded for LIFE. You probably got a lot of “NOT WHILE YOU’RE LIVING UNDER *MY* ROOF” lectures.

13. And they figured you were probably pregnant. (Probably because they never had the sex talk with you.)


14. And therefore not going to a good college and getting a good job, and getting married, and living a proper, respectable, mensch-worthy life.

United Artists/Giphy

15. But as time went on, and you got older, and you moved out of your parent’s house, they maybe (begrudgingly) got used to the idea that their daughter/son was going to be sexually active. Sometimes even before getting married! Because that’s life.

The CW/Giphy

16. In fact, now that you look back on it, you appreciate how much they cared about you. Even if they showed it in weird, non-traditional ways, as opposed to more liberal parents who can talk about sex with ease.

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