This is a topic Leanne and I were discussing this weekend. How to teach our kids a healthy view of sexuality.
I’m a firm believer in having sexuality celebrated in our home. I’m not too sure how I will do it but I know I want it to be that way. I do not want to be the type of family who gives their kid “the talk” and then is done with it. I want to be open and honest and I also want my kids to feel like I’m a safe person to come to when they need to talk about it.
I’m a very open person but it’s not just because I am open that I want my kids to see a certain side of my sexuality with my husband. I do not want to be 100% private about it at all. Not saying, obviously, that we’re going to be blatant about it, but yes, showing signs that we’re attracted to each other, that we do spend time alone, and yes, smooching and cuddling and winking at each other around the kids. Perhaps the father making comments about the mother in a semi sexual manner. In healthy ways.
The problem I see with hiding your sexuality is that it become this taboo thing. Kids also never have much of an idea of how their parents sex lives is. I think them at least knowing it’s healthy and alive is a good thing for the kids to know. But of course…boundaries boundaries boundaries. Of course.
What does it say to young girls and boys to never see their parents hit on each other? What else does it say to them to only seeing their father comment on hot women in a movie or check out a lady in a mall? Yes we all do those things. I think, even though it’s a weird idea, that it’s much healthier for the children to see those comments go towards the other spouse than the plastic women on tv or in magazines. As much as it grosses the children out to see. Makey sensey?
I’m not too sure, though, how to go about them knowing what sex actually is. Is it really necessary to keep the whole penis-goes-into-the-vagina thing a secret from them and then put that on them with this crazy conversation that usually makes them feel frightened and scared? I was mortified myself. Preserving innocence is one thing but sexuality IS innocent. Of course I’m not going to be watching sex scenes in a movie with my young children and eventually I’ll have to stop letting them listen to pop music because they might figure out what that “disco stick” really is. But perhaps a boy knowing that his penis is for making babies isn’t such a terrible thing. The fact that it goes somewhere warm and cozy to accomplish the baby making….I dunno when it’s the best time to announce that. I wonder if they just always knew?? Is that bad? I dunno.
All I do know is I don’t want to be old school about it with the one talk and the hiding of it. I want my kids to know that despite what the media says, sexuality within marriage can be happy and healthy and excellent. I want them to not see it as something taboo or something wrong but something to be celebrated and embraced. Of course I’ll encourage for them to save it all for when they’re married, but knowing what I know about humans…I aint counting on it.
K perhaps I should have spent more time on this, I think I’ll come back to it because it IS a big issue these days. I want my boys to know how to respect women, I want them to know and truly believe in the fact that being promiscuous isn’t the best thing for them. I want them to see their father being attracted to a normal looking woman rather than only the plastic ones on TV. I want them to be comfortable with themselves and with me.
I think I’m going to do more reading on this topic and some more discussing with other parents and come back to it. But for now, I’d love to hear what you all think about it. Agree, dissagree…etc etc etc.
When we thought our kids were old enough to kinda get it, we read them a special book. It was really great. They still ask questions all the time and ask to read the book. We tell them that it’s not something to talk about at school or in public, but they know it’s not an awkward or taboo subject at home.
Cute story. Only a week after going over the book with our son, he was wondering how birds can possibly have babies when they don’t have lips to kiss. I said, “Um, let’s go through that book again.”
They really only absorb as much as they can handle.
I’ll be needing that book.
Thinking about this more. “Sexuality” isn’t just about intercourse, either. I’ve worked hard to make my children comfortable with their body parts and they have no problem asking me why this does that and that does this.
I think you have the right idea. Rather than having one BIG talk where we dump all this information on them I think it happens in little steps. They will ask questions as they’re curious, and we can give them little tidbits of information as they’re old enough to absorb it. I think a healthy approach is to have it be something that they learn about gradually, though I’m not sure how that will play out practically yet. And I absolutely agree with you that the healthiest picture of sexuality that we can give our kids is to demonstrate affection and love for our spouses. I think a healthy marriage does more for kids than all the expert parenting in the world.
Good post! Lots to think about…
I agree, healthy marriage is key. I even believe it’s better to have a healthy marriage with someone who’s not their bio parent than an unhealthy one with their bio parent.
That book that Jennie C. referred to sounds good. Another way would be to have them take care of some farm animals. Don’t know if your small back yard would contain a cow and a bull, or mare and a stallion, or even a nanny and billy goats. Your easiest solution would be rabbits I’m sure. The pen can be quite small and a buck and a doe would be all that is required to generate many mind opening questions. The action is frequent and production is bountiful.
I swear, you’re the funniest grandpa in the world. I love you!!!
I don’t remember getting anything sexual out of our rabbits Dad. Guess it went right over my head!!!!!!! I suppose the rat experiment with 20 offspring should have 🙂
why are you mum II now??? And um…what rat experiment!?
Mum II. Guess you were not out by the rabbit pen when I put the buck in with one of the does. The action was over quick and it was back to his own pen. It’s quite easy to see where the term “quick like a rabbit” came from.
I’m covering my ears and saying “la la la la la la la”
One thing I DO know is how much things have changed since you and I were youngens. I taught an internet safety course in elementary schools a couple years ago – and I was HORRIFIED to overhear boys as young as grade 2 make gross comments about pornography. I HATE that my kids will possibly be exposed to that via other children, etc, and think it is very important for parents to get to their kids to teach them a healthy and wholesome view on sexuality before others do. Soooo – I think you’re on the right track. 🙂
Um, has this turned into a talk about rabbit sex with my Mother AND my Grandparents? I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that. 😉
Actually, talking about animal reproduction came before talking about people reproduction. It just happened and was very comfortable. It all started with salmon.
Your highschool rat project was just too much. Guess who ended up cleaning the cage a few times. You are right – your Mom. Mom got fed up and marched the rats off to a pet shop. I’m sure they were fed to the snakes. Mom
first off, grandpa rules! i think it’s all about taking advantage of those teachable moments. children show interest in many things…all things really. and, when they do it’s a good idea to inform them, in an age appropriate way. good post little sister!
I’ve mulled this one over for a few days to condense my thoughts. I agree with you that its important for a child to see attraction between their parents, they learn by example don’t they? But I think its more than just knowing that your parents are attracted to/by each other. Its just as important to see the impact that has, the pleasure a person experiences when that attraction is turned on them. I’m talking about the sly smiles and blushes that pass between a couple when they speak to each other, the soft sighs of contentment when they kiss or hug and I don’t see anything wrong with children growing up in a house where they might hear the sounds of sex in the nighttime, as long as its not crazy dirty sex – save that for when they aren’t home 🙂
As far as the timeline for the talk, I’m leaving that up to my kids. I answer the questions they have fully, without being graphic and while being conscious of their understanding/processing level and keeping in mind that they don’t need to know everything all at once.
2 years ago my youngest asked about my period, so I explained the very simplest basics about a woman’s body preparing to comfort and grow a child if she gets the Daddy’s half of the mix, and we talked a bit about sperm and eggs, and growing seedlings for the garden.
Just after the holidays this year my oldest asked about how a baby gets inside a woman’s stomach. I answered her questions without offering info she hadn’t asked for and let her lead the way. She asked what happens when sperm and egg meet, where the baby actually grows, where the sperm and eggs are until they’re used. She didn’t ask how babies come out of their mothers or how the sperm gets to the egg. I used some basic anatomy pics I pulled off the web and we watch parts of a nature program about the development of babies that was pertinent to what she was asking.
When it gets to actually having to explain sex and all its ramifications to my daughters I think I’ll be alright. My husband and I worked it out years ago. Sex is like sugar. Oh God, its great stuff but when its all by itself, not so much. Sure its sweet but it doesn’t fill you up, its not enjoyable for very long and in the end you’ll just hurt yourself if its all you have. But when mixed in the right proportions with other ingredients, love, comfort, security, trust, it is freakin stellar!
Oh, and your family is a riot.
Thanks for your reply. You had a good way of explaining things there. I have nothing to add…bravo!