What We’re Telling Our Kids About Pleasure
By Selena Mills, Daughter of Detail
Photo by heftiba via Twenty20
Mar 22, 2018
Oh, the dreaded S-E-X talk! When does one begin talking about it with their kids? How do we approach it? What do we include? How on earth? Well, when my kids were smaller, I would wonder about this now and then, but not all that much, as I was was just a tad bit busy with keeping them alive and placing one foot in front of the other.
But now, through their own development and curiosity and of course, the unavoidable influence of media and ‘entertainment,' my kids have questions, and the mythical stork is not a lie I’m about to construct. I draw the line at weaving webs of magic for my kids that borderline on seriously messing with their intellect. I believe they have an inherent right as humans to understand how their bodies work and how bodies of the opposite sex work. And I want my kids to understand how human hearts and spirits sometimes decide that the bodies they are born with don’t necessarily match how they respond to love, pleasure and identity. YAH! Complicated stuff, right? Which is why I’m all about consistent baby steps, progressing slowly over time.
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My kids are six and seven, and some might say that it’s too early to start talking about these things with my kids. But I’m not going to avoid their questions, nor can I keep them sheltered from all outside influences. Unless, of course, we decide to change everything and live off-grid in a yurt somewhere. (An option that I’ve researched, by the way). Since we’re not moving to a remote area in Costa Rica any time soon, and my kids are just like every other kid in Canada who loves watching movies, playing outside, hanging out with their friends and the occasional epic round of Mario Kart, they’re gonna continue to see people making out and loving one another in ways they’re beginning to understand to be different than how they love and experience pleasure. At the moment. (Someone, hold me.)
We began with dispelling the whole “ewww” myth that most kids seem to pick up revolving around witnessing acts of love between parentals. We talk to our kids about how incredible it feels to be loved in ways that partners love and support one another, and how healing and renewing touch can be. Sometimes we ask them questions about how good they might feel when cuddling us, or receiving and giving kisses and hugs. We talk about those feelings of pleasure and get them to describe them. Helping our kids get comfortable with talking about and describing their own pleasure and explaining to them that it’s an intrinsic necessity for all humans is a great stepping stone.
I truly believe that if we create open and understanding dialogue with them now, they will have more respect for how and when and with whom they share and give of themselves so deeply.
Because, I’ll be honest: I don’t want my daughter or my son growing up the way I did. I don't want them becoming sexually active without understanding the power and sacredness of their bodies. I’m not going to be able to stop them from experimenting, and the influence of technology and social media scares the ever-loving crap out of me, but believers of ‘no sex before marriage’ we are not. I truly believe that if we create open and understanding dialogue with them now, they will have more respect for how and when and with whom they share and give of themselves so deeply.
Right now, my kids feel good about their bodies and have positive, nurturing experiences to do with love and pleasure. We’re tapping into that so that when the time comes they are able to decipher the good feelings from the bad, and feel strong enough to set boundaries and explore self-touch (as they will naturally begin to do) in privacy and without shame.
For too long, kids have been taught that sex is dangerous and safe sex practices are often a child's first introduction to what sex may or may not be all about.
You may note that we’re not approaching this from a fearful place, passing on that fear to our kids. For too long, kids have been taught that sex is dangerous and safe sex practices (condoms on a banana anyone?!) are often a child's first introduction to what sex may or may not be all about. Sex education, IMO, should always begin in the home, focused on love, pleasure, consent and boundaries first, so that when discussions about disease, safety, pregnancy and identity come around the corner, they have a foundation built on positive associations and knowledge about their bodies. Because, if they’re not having these conversations at home, our kids will make up for those knowledge gaps elsewhere, and it’s the elsewhere that I don’t trust.
I’m not naive enough to think that any amount of open conversation and support will make sexuality education and identity any less difficult. But I want my kids to know that there is much more to it than the mechanics of intercourse and statistics. I want them to know that they are fully in charge of their own bodies and to always consider consent and boundaries as they develop the freedom to explore desire.