Dr J's Sex Facts

Fun sex facts and accurate information from a clinical sexologist for a hotter and more fulfilling sex life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Teach Your Children—Part II

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Asked a Girl What She Wanted To Be

Last week, we discussed how myopic, right-wing politics and politicians tend to treat sexual issues with a blanket we’ll-just-hide-our-heads-deep-in-the-sand-and-legislate-that-BY-LAW-everyone-else-must-do-the-same-and-in-that-way-everything-we-aren’t-comfortable-with-will-either-be-treated-our-way-or-no-way. No backsies, forever and ever and ever. Whew!

She Said Baby, Can’t You See?

This week, we’ll discuss a new approach to educating our kids (and hopefully everyone else within the sound of my cyber voice) about sex in a way that will treat our children—and everyone else—as the empowered, sexual individuals they are. Cyber sound check: am I speaking loud enough for the people in the back row?

As a society, our attitudes and our whole approach to sexuality are still deeply rooted in the kind of 19th century myths that made our great-great-grandparents uncomfortable. To this very day we tend to treat anything having to do with sex as though we don’t value it as an important part of our lives. Tell me if you think children notice the way their parents act whenever the topic of sex comes up? Did you ever wonder WHY it is that kids of any age never seem to be able to talk to their parents about sex?

But You Can Do Something In Between

Parents can’t keep sex in the closet, hidden from their kids and then suddenly expect to have “The Talk” with their 14-year-old about something they’ve pretended doesn’t exist. To provide the proper context, sex MUST be integrated as a positive, enjoyable part of life from the moment of birth if you want to be able to talk about it openly and honestly and comfortably. Do that little thing and then—and only then—can our kids grow up to be sexually healthy. Society can’t seriously expect to keep sexual knowledge hidden away from the kids and then have the schools do what the parents are too timid to do. Then, when the schools finally do start teaching kids about sex, parents get all weirded out about it and tell the schools that they’re doing it wrong. That’s what scared and uninformed people do.

Baby You Can Drive My Car

Here’s an example of how we can all learn to integrate positive information and give our children a solid background so that they can take part in constructive adult behavior before they have any expectation of engaging in it. Kids ride in cars. Cars are a fact of life, and all kids look forward to that day when they can finally drive a car. So we help with a little rehearsal behavior: parents put their kids on their laps while the car is parked in order to let the kids “steer” the parked car, giving the kids both a car seat that’s safe and encouraging and throwing in a little toy steering wheel they can call their own. Parents do more than that: they talk to their kids about cars and about car safety, they use child safety car seats and seat belts—and they do all this before the kids actually learn how to drive.

Just imagine if we, as a society, were to fully integrate sexual knowledge and education in our own families in that same positive and beneficial way! Of course, that would entail talking about it with our kids at age-appropriate levels (what our kids can understand at their specific age—remember when we couldn’t understand how to add and subtract fractions until we were old enough to grasp the concept? Same thing with sexual concepts). To do this, we need to allow our kids to know that we are, in fact, attracted to our present or past partner and that we have sexual feelings too. When I tell parents this, some think I mean being sexual in front of your kids. Please! What I mean is not hiding your sexual identity from your kid, but treating it as an important part of you—one that is experienced in private for sure, but not an off-limits topic. Another way is to have books and art in the house that will indicate to them your healthy interest in sex, etc. As with everything else, sex would then be seen by your kid as just another wonderful part of life, no scarier than the family car.

And She Said, Baby It’s Understood

Then, when your kids are ready to take responsibility for being sexual with themselves and/or with others, they’ll already have a strong foundation which you’ve thoughtfully (and positively) provided for them. In this way, they’ll be less likely to make poor decisions or to allow themselves to be placed in an awkward situation where they might be exploited. In fact, all sexological research actually points to the conclusion that when we take responsibility for our own sexual pleasure, we’re actually providing ourselves with one of the major contributors to not engaging in risky behavior. Self esteem isn’t just empowering, it’s pretty darn sexy.

I Told That Girl I Can Start Right Away

Now that we’ve talked about what parents can do, next week we’ll discuss Part 3; and when class is in session, we’ll examine the role our schools play in contributing to our kids’ sexual health. You don’t have to bring me an apple. See you then.

With Pleasure,

Dr. J


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