I was inspired to write this five part blog series after I listened to podcast on healthy sexual pleasure by Dr. Lori Brotto, “Restart Your Sex Life,” which was hosted by Glennon Doyle Home – We Can Do Hard Things – The Podcast (wecandohardthingspodcast.com). It focused on how adult women (especially) can create more health in their sex lives by embracing pleasure–knowing your body well helps you be a better sexual partner–you understand your pleasure and you can express that better both in and out of the bedroom. As a parent of tweens/teens, I thought to myself, “Now why don’t we teach this practice to our children?”
We all want our children to grow up healthy, right? We work to help our kids learn about and use their emotions to stay healthy and express their needs, right? We strive for our children to stay safe! We give our kids better food, newer skills, and more support than we received, RIGHT!~Then why don’t we naturally do that when it comes to teaching our children about sexuality?
Let’s be clear, I’m talking about age appropriate sexual health. I’m not advocating for sexualizing our children. Yet I am asking parents to realize that their children are sexual beings throughout their lives not just when they grow body hair and get zits. I started my career working with children who were victims of abuse, and early on specialized in helping children heal from sexual abuse. And some of what I taught children helps ALL OUR CHILDREN develop and grow into healthy human beings— sexually, emotionally and physically.
In this series, I have reviewed Peggy Orenstein’s books [SPEAKING — Peggy Orenstein] and have combined my specialized experience with some of what she learned in nearly 200 interviews with teens (both boy and girl adolescents/young adults) over more than a decade of research into this topic.
So here it goes! First, I want to walk you through how to teach your children the skills that they need to be healthy, happy sexual beings in adulthood—-from birth to launch! Think of it as your own customized SEX SCHOOL for Your Kids. Don’t worry, it isn’t scary! It begins with basic skills in body safety and feelings vocabulary. It also can and should completely flow from your values and beliefs about sexual connection/intimacy. How I can get Modafinil online? http://curtspharmacy.com/modafinil
Second, I want to share in the next two blog posts some of what Peggy Orenstein learned in her research, which IS pretty scary. We need to educate our daughters to be empowered, fully developed sexual young women. Read more in the next post–Parents, GET REAL! Your Daughter’s Sexual Health. AND, we need to step up into regular conversations with our boys about what is going on with them in porn use, confusion about consent, and the changing landscape of dating. Read more next in Part 3– Parents, BE BRAVE! Your Son’s Sexual Health. Our boys truly want to learn how to communicate and express better in their sex lives and beyond.
Yet, before we dig into the hard stuff, I want to share the ideal of having continual conversations with your kids throughout their development. YES, that means thinking ahead about these prime topics and bringing them up often. Michelle Icard details some of these discussions in her book, “Fourteen Talks by Age 14: The Essential Conversations You Need to Have with Your Kids Before They Start High School.” Here’s her list of topics:
- Parent-child relationship: What type of relationship you’d like to have?
- Independence: What’s the difference between isolation (cocooning) and exploration? What’s healthy and what’s not?
- Changing friendships: How to cope with friends coming and going?
- Creativity: How do you notice and nurture your urge to build and create?
- Taking care of yourself: How do we care for and love our bodies throughout all the changes that we experience throughout our growth into and through adulthood?
- Fairness: How can we think of justice, fairness, equity and inclusion among all different types of people?
- Technology: How do we develop regulation and decision making skills for how we use tech well?
- Criticism: How do we handle put downs? How can we focus on affirming and building up others and ourselves?
- Hard work: How do we teach grit, model a strong work ethic, support motivation without pressuring our children too much?
- Money: What do we want to pass on and teach about money?
- Sexuality: How do we discuss gender, sexual orientation and the expression of both in a way that affirms and supports our children and others?
- Reputations: How can we manage rumors and gossip to help our kids develop responsible reputations?
- Impulsivity: How do we explain emotional regulation and help our kids learn about and modulate their actions/feelings/spoken thoughts?
- Helping others: How do we teach altruism and support the development of empathy?
Notice that only one of these 14 topics is focused on sex. But all of the conversations lay the groundwork for good discussions about your teens sexual health, because they establish openness and a pattern of communication.
Here’s a video that might help you rethink your perspective on Sex Ed with your children often shared by one of our experts, Lottie Walker, MSW, who works with families/kids specifically on sexual health. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xF-CX9mAHPo) It addresses the variance of sexual activity – and it is a helpful reframe for what we all typically think of when we hear the word “sex”
So Hold on Tight~You can do this. We’ve got this! We can grow a new generation of adults who are able to communicate in healthy ways about sex.