The Pleasure Principle–Teen Sexual Health
So here we are. After 4 posts about contemporary sexual practices and expectations for our teens, we are ready to talk about how to promote positive sexual health with your teen. From my research, I believe that the sex positivity movement from the 1990’s lends us a hand in this goal. Sex Positivity: What it Means and How to Practice it | Psych Central. In short, sex positivity includes attitudes, language and actions that promote sex geared towards healthy exploration, wholeness, wellness, acceptance, pleasure with respect, and it avoids shame and judgement. Believe it or not, there are few and perhaps no books about sexual pleasure for youth. That blows my mind! Sex positivity is relatively new, and it is just beginning to be applied to sex education programs for youth. Sex-Positivity – SERC. Here are a few books that focus on sex education for kids/teens, but don’t necessarily promote sex positivity. 15 Best Sex Education Books and Resources for Kids (parents.com).
Let’s face it, we are the generation of parents that need to catch up with our kids knowledge about sex so that we can pass on the messages of sex positivity. These messages include:
Sex isn’t bad, it’s pleasurable. Sex isn’t wrong, it’s natural. Sexual exploration is positive. Sex can be a happy, healthy experience. Sex needs to be consensual and treated with respect and safety. There are vast differences in how everyone experiences their sexuality, and that’s positive. Blame, shame, judgment are not healthy reactions. AND, sexual pleasure can be a goal, even for youth.
Of course. All of these statements need to be considered within the content of CONSENT, HEALTH/SAFETY, RESPECT & TRUST. And all of these factors can occur well within connecting relationships and are worth pursuing. Why? Most importantly to your teen, because it usually makes for better sex.
It saddens me that youth are taught about sex from a stance of fear. Let’s try talking with our kids about sex as a source of pleasure. Pleasure is the sensation when something feels good. And like all forms of pleasure, sex needs limits around it just like other forms of pleasure. Take popsicles, for instance When we eat popsicles inside without napkins without AC on a hot summer day, we drip and spill.. If we eat a whole box of popsicles, we might throw up because that much sugar is unhealthy. Should we eat popsicles without other balanced foods year after year, we could get sick and likely develop high blood sugar. Sex without protection, in excess, without certain standards can lead to problems. But sex isn’t the problem anymore than popsicles are a problem.
Good, pleasurable sex has strong healthy boundaries–what each person likes, doesn’t like, will and won’t do. Ideally, a healthy sexual identity aids a person’s self esteem. When we enjoy and appreciate our bodies, we are more inclined to insist on being treated well in nonsexual and sexual encounters. In our body negative society, we need to work hard to help teens lead with self love. Model how you “date yourself,” or treat yourself well after a long week or when you are in need of some fun. That could include a dinner out, a bubble bath, or an early bedtime with a book. And show your teen how much you love your spouse– loving interactions between their parents helps teens see that committed relationships can be fun and pleasurable.
There is SO MUCH MORE~Yet, I think you get my main point–Let’s Talk about Sex with our Kids….early on, often, positively, and openly!