Today, I talked very seriously about consent and impulse control, challenging the notion that “boys will be boys” during an interview about the 6 year old in Colorado accused of sexual harassment. Directly after that, I headed over to the Adult Superstore to pick up a secret Santa gift for the PTA holiday party.
While catching up with a friend, she asked “Was that weird? You know, jumping from thinking about sex one way when talking about kids, to thinking about it another way over at the sex shop???”. We chatted about about open sexual communication and consent and pleasure are not being mutually exclusive. It made me realized that, to many, these two things may seem diametrically opposed… very much like the warped way we dichotomize sexuality. You’re either the “prude” or the “slut”.
Her question made perfect sense to me as I considered ways we have failed to educate ourselves and our children. Sexuality is such a charged topic in our culture, fraught with taboo, stigma and misinformation. Yet, if we challenge ourselves to look at the massive gap between healthy sexuality and our culture’s warped perceptions of sex, it’s easier to understand how interrelated my morning really was.
It all starts with sexuality education and busting “pornified” myths about what sex is and what sex is not. We must approach the topic the same way we approach and support other facets of our childrens’ education and development, placing a priority and value on a depth and breadth of information provided in an open and non-threatening way.
If we talk to our kids about sex and their bodies, then the likelihood of them gathering clear, accurate information and gaining greater understanding is exponentially higher. That greater understanding can lead to greater potential for critical thinking and that greater potential for critical thinking can lead to more educated decisions and more positive outcomes in the future.
Think about it, the simple act of normalizing and validating our children’s natural inquiries about sexual matters will ultimately make for more sexually responsible, confident and competent adults. We can develop a society of people who respect themselves and others… and who will totally appreciate receiving a rubber ducky vibrator at the PTA holiday party.