Women With Strained Relationships With Their Parents Have A Tendency To Take Sexual Risks, Says Study
Years ago, a close friend of mine was going through a troubled phase in her life; she wasn’t quite herself, she wasn’t quite at peace. In that phase, she has indulged in several behaviours that she wouldn’t now. From casual sex to rebound sex – her emotions were taking her all over the place. My friend was a mess at that point but I am so glad she came out of it. And it all happened because of love. She met a guy who was stable, committed and loved her genuinely. It just clicked! But what really turned things around, as per my observation is when she took a break from work and spent time with her parents and her family in her hometown after years.
She had always been living outside – for education and work – and that gets lonely! But it’s like she healed when she was surrounded by her loved ones. Her family gave her all the love and nurturing she missed. Today, she glows in the light of her own security, satiation and happiness.
That’s the kind of effect I have too when my sisters are in the city. In those weeks, we are just content and at peace. In that moment, we find the strength to break away from unhealthy dating patterns and part ways with undeserving men. Family love heals us and makes us love ourselves even better.
The lack of support and connection with one’s family can have several ramifications, even the world of fiction television knows that. You know Chandler’s commitment phobia comes from his troubled childhood!
In fact, a recent study found that people who have very little or troubled connection with their family are more likely to indulge in risky sexual behaviours. The number of adults, damaged due to childhood issues or a severed connection with family, running around being messed up is huge!
The study, led by Lisa M Bohon says that people who were raised in stressful homes with disengaged parents end up having low expectations from future and hence live in the present. This mindset led to risky sexual behaviours as well as a tendency of substance abuse.
To conduct the research, around 140 college women were recruited and asked to complete an online experiment. They had to recall a time when one or both their parents were engaged or disengaged with them. The young women were then asked to visualize they memory and describe their feelings. They were then asked to complete an assessment of their sexual attitudes and intentions. The college-going women were also asked questions pertaining to parental engagement in the past and in the present.
The study revealed that women who recalled a time of parental disengagement “endorsed more sexually risky attitudes and intentions” as compared to those who recalled a time of parental engagement. “Consistent with these results, correlational analyses also revealed that childhood and current biographical parent disengagement were significantly associated with sexually risky attitudes and intentions,” the study added.
In fact, experts vouch for the fact that our romantic relationships and attachment styles are very strongly influenced by the connection we share with our parents. “As we are loved by our parents, an internal ‘script’ is written for us. This script directs us in terms of our understanding of what love is, how we receive it, how we express it, and most importantly, how we come to ‘rest’ into love. In this way, the manner in which you were parented becomes an integral part of how you will navigate love in adulthood,” Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, a child psychologist told Bustle.
However, there are several people whose parents are emotionally unavailable or exhibited a negative perspective of relationships but they end up just fine. The key lies in mindfulness and healing. “The ship has [not] sailed if you had a terrible relationship with your parents, or if you watched them in high conflict. Indeed, with conscious focused awareness of these dynamics and their probable impact on your adult perceptions of relationship and love, resilience can be awakened and a new script written that will be profound in its power to elevate you out of the perhaps negative relationship experiences of your childhood and into wonderfully fulfilling relationships in adulthood,” LaPointe explained.
If your severed connection with your parent(s) is making you indulge in risky sexual behaviours such as not using a condom, having drunk sex or hooking up with a guy without double-checking your safety, this can be fixed. You need to heal. And if not through family love, you can definitely fix this through self-love.
This is why, when I am looking for a partner for marriage, I want to make sure he is not just a good husband but also a good parent. I don’t want to raise my children with an emotionally unavailable dad. Unfortunately, our generation is filled with men whose emotional expression lasts just a minute longer than the vaccine slots for 18-44 age group. And it is equally, if not more, frustrating. I hope they heal so we have better options. Can you relate?
The study, “The Effects of Manipulated and Biographical Parent Disengagement on the Sexually Risky Attitudes and Intentions of College Women”, was authored by Lisa M. Bohon, Cole Lancaster, Thalia P. Sullivan, Raquel R. Medeiros, and Lynn Hawley.