After growing up with some seriously heavy shame-based teachings on sex and sexuality, I get really excited when I see parents teaching their little ones about their bodies without guilt and in accurate and articulate ways. Huffington Post ran a piece this week by a mom who responded to her little daughter learning to masturbate in a shame-free way, and I think it’s pretty fantastic.
I’m what some people call “sex-positive.” That doesn’t mean I talk with my 4-year-olds about how great sex is and how good it feels. It means I don’t pretend it’s something other than it is.
As parents, we lie all the time. About the Easter Bunny or Santa or the Tooth Fairy, about how long 10 minutes is, about whether or not we remembered they wanted to have grilled cheese for dinner again… We lie a lot. But one thing I never lie about is sex.
The mom, to my utter delight, uses medically accurate terms for her daughter’s anatomy and sets the stage for good conversations about sexuality later in her daughter’s life. If she is open and honest about the facts of life, her daughter will want to come to her to talk about her sexual awakening, rather than trying to hide it in shame.
What a contrast to the way I was taught in church!
This is from a post I wrote last year about my Christian guilt over masturbation as a teenager:
I [thought I] was the messed up one, the girl who wished she could attend the men’s retreat session on lust and pornography. The girl who was afraid to date someone because what might happen if I “woke love” and my desires increased more than they are now?! I was embarrassed because I liked my body, and all my friends hated theirs and dieted and binged and cut and hid theirs under frumpy clothes. I did, too, for fear of boys looking at me, but secretly I dreamed that someone might notice me beyond my frumpy clothes and see that I could pretty and desirable if I got a chance to try being so. And they all chattered on about what the most romantic proposal might be and who’d end up having the first baby, while I wondered what it might be like to be kissed and wondered if I was the only one among us who felt this way.
Christian parents could learn a thing or two about talking about sex from this mom — if they want to keep their kids from experimenting behind their backs, her approach is a better way to ensure that.
(Image via Shutterstock)