Thursday, March 20, 2008

Is There an Actor in the House?

When did your parents first talk to you about sex?

My folks never had the proverbial "birds and bees" conversation with me. Oh, we discussed sex, but never the real nuts and bolts of the act.

My pops (whose own father was a deadbeat) told me to keep my willy in my pants and assured me that any babies I did make would be cared for by me and me alone. He also revealed to me that he never really liked condoms and had started having sex at 12 or 13.

My mom attempted to avoid talking about sex as much as possible. It was only after repeated inquiries by my brother and I (prompted of course by my dad's revelation that his first time was with the neighborhood hussy), that my mom broke down and told us about her first time. For most of childhood my parents held the opinion that talking frankly about sex was "mannish" and encouraged me to stop "smelling my drawers."

I thought about that introduction to sexuality the other day when I read this NY times article. The idea that roughly a quarter of all young girls, and half of black girls, have had a sexually transmitted disease shocked me. Several black blogs already have discussed theis article; some expressed general dismay at the high incidence of disease among young black girls, others questioned the accuracy of the survey.

While the statistics were jarring, it was something I heard on the radio on Thursday that really caught my attention. A doctor on a talk radio show noted that most girls now begin having sex before 15-years old, and many of them have sex with multiple partners in a given year.

Whoa.

See, when I first started asking my folks about sex, I barely understood the mechanics of copulation. Y'all don't even want to know where I thought you were supposed to stick your penis initially.

Hell, for a nice chunk of my childhood I didn't even realize that girls' genitals were different from mine, or that those "private parts" behaved differently when sexually aroused. My introduction to difference between boys and girls came in my elementary school library from a pretty young thing who was way too advanced for her age.

It blows my mind that kids are having sex before they can drive. I mean, I've talked to a few sisters who got started on sex at 12 or 13, but I always assumed they were aberrations. After all, when I was sporting a raging boner in middle school it seemed like ever girl I hollered at was a churchgoing virgin.

Things done changed.

The world is a very different and dangerous place. As a new parent, I've gradually accepted the fact that my wife and I will have to deal with some challenges my parents never faced. Some of the tried and true methods of child rearing are still effective (ass whippings are a must!), but I'm going to have to adapt to the times. So I listened with interest when the doctor on the radio show mentioned that parents, particularly those with daughters, should consider role playing when discussing sex with their kids.

Role playing?

Is that some kinky shit?

Actually, the doctor pointed out that many young girls are ill-equipped to deal with the sexual advances they get from boys who typically spend 95 percent of their brainpower devising ways to get some panties. (Those figures were mine.) Since most girls have insecurities about their bodies and social standing it's actually no surprise that so many of them are engaging in risky sexual behavior.

Look, how else do you explain teenage girls falling for lines like:

"If you loved me you'd do it."

"You're the only one in school who isn't doing it."

"I love you."

The doctor said that mothers and fathers should walk their daughters through the typical game young boys spit, and help them think of ways to diffuse sexual situations. She also noted that this level of sharing would make it more likely that girls would be willing to discuss their questions about sex with their parents, or come to them if they contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

It sounded like a great plan to me, only I had to wonder if I could be the type of father could hit on my daughter. I mean, it wouldn't be real, but I would be fairly uncomfortable whispering sweet nothings in my hypothetical daughter's ear. Even if it was for her own good, there are some things you just don't want to talk about with your kids.

But, apparently that the wrong attitude. The doctor noted that parents have to get comfortable discussing sex with their kids or they will cede their authority to pornographers. And, I don't think any parent wants their kids to get educated about sex from porn.

Not only do parents need to prepare young girls for future sexual advances, but we need to teach our sons how to respectfully deal with women. We need to educate them on exactly how seriously women take intercourse, no matter what they say about being "friends with benefits." As the doctor said, parents have to move past their own sexual hangups and deal with today's reality.

I guess I'd better start studying my script.

14 comments:

Christina Springer said...

Here I am, mi'dear! It's gonna take me five minutes...but..I'm gonna address what you just spoke to.

Where I been? Snatching a few precious moments away from the love sucking demons who worship at my feet. OK - - - only the puppy does that. The others just do it emotionally..sort of. Just remember, "can I hep," asked innocently at the feet of your wife whie she is grilling steaks means its time for you to drag the little one off to play with blocks or better yet, puddle thwack. You - of course - assume all clean up responsibility. Including laundry.)

Anyway - that's been my pre-occupation lately. Obama - well, he spoke fr himself, didn't he? Response to Hilarius? Francis Holland took care of that. So, I spent my little bit of time crafting a piece for
http://whattamisaid.blogspot.com/2008/03/womens-history-month-blog-carnival_20.html

But - to this recent musing. I'm going to share my secret "keep the willy quiet for a long time" secret. Past life acceptance is a pre-requisite.

We told our daughter that every time she was intimate - in any way - that she blended her life energy with that person. AND by doing so, accepted them as part of her energy for the rest of her incarnations. THEN - we listed every on and off friend from grade school and asked her if she wanted to accept karmic responsibility for them until they both worked out everything they had to work out. All she had to do to accomplish this was "blend auras with them."

Needless to say, she happily accepted the vibrator we bought her...and demanded a replacement when she broke it. Cool. Mission accomplished.

We are developing a similar strategy for the boy...except it involves contracts that a girl's mama must sign regarding: our "repsonsibilities;" free transport to Planned Parenthood; accidental termination allowances; and a "hold hamrless" agreement in the case of baby-mama-stupidity - all of which must be signed before a phone or in home contact is allowed.

I've got my dad's firm working on it now. I'll make it publicly available in 8 years.

You're right...got to plan ahead. Easter....love-sucking angels...being swallowed whole...

vicdamonejr said...

RBL,

you don't need a script. Just take your kids to sexually transmitted diseases on wikipedia.

make them read and re-read the entries. Make them write you thesis papers on STDs. And then make sure they know how many people out there have them, and that they'll be playing Russian roulette with their sexual lives if they start sexing people at 10.

out,
vicdamone

WNG said...

You know I love you, Big Man but how about instead of teaching our boys how seriously women take intercourse how about teaching them HOW SERIOUSLY IT SHOULD BE TAKEN? Come on now.
It seems like we take it for granted that our boys will be pushing for it, and that it's up to our girls to resist. Is it crazy to suggest that until these boys can accept the responsibilty of manhood they should 'talk to the hand'?

Deacon Blue said...

I guess locking my little girl in her room from the ages of 10 through 21 won't work, eh? Oh, well, I don't know about you, Big Man, but I've only gotten 7-10 more years to figure it out...she's almost 3 already. I was thinking of having the shotgun and shovel prominently displayed when I talk with new boyfriends...except that I know I'll never even know about some of the boys who approach her in the future. Damn, maybe a convent...? ;-)

Big Man said...

WNG

In a perfect world, boys and girls would view sex the same way.

But, I'm here to tell you that by the time most boys hit puberty it's impossible to reason with them about the seriousness of sex. Impossible. While both girls and boys face peer pressure, I'm of the impression that the physical pressure on boys at a young age are higher. You know, the uncontrollable erections and what not.

Now, having never been a woman, I dont' know if this is true. Maybe girls have all of these same urges. But, in my limited experience, it was always the girls who were thinking with some measure of clarity while it was the guys who had the one track minds. So, while I think parents need to discuss things with boys, I think girls are more mentally equipped to make good decisions at that age.

WNG said...

I get what you're saying - never been a boy, but I do have a brother (you can see him in the latest Wendy's commercial!) and the parental units didn't wait until he'd hit puberty. I just think that boys get a pass when the truth is that if we need to hold them more accountable. They are nopt completely at the mercy of their mini minds and they need to be taught to act like it.

Dark & Stormy said...

Big Man, I commend you for realizing your responsibility in your child's sex education. You would think given the evidence of dire need that exists today (i.e. the NY Times article), all parents would get with the program.

Deacon blue: My mother started with me at a young age. At age 5 I had a picture book that explained the names of male & female genitalia with pictures for reference. My mom doesn't believe in having children refer to their body parts as "wee wee" and "pee pee". She also wanted me to be equipped with the proper vocab so that in case someone touched me in an improper way, I would be able to describe what happened. You may want to get that dialogue started earlier than 7-10 years... Of course the conversation changes as your child gets older.

My mother has worked in allied health all of my lifetime. When I was 13 or 14, the female condom had just come out. Mom brought home samples for me. Male latex condoms had already been brought home with a demonstration of proper use and disposal.

Moms also has always been anti-birth control for teens. She feels like they encourage unprotected sex. I was always taught latex saves your life and is more important than a pill that only prevents pregnancy.

I remember having girlfriends whose parents put them on BC pilss as soon as they started their periods but never had real talks with them. Needless to say, it wasn't long before they learned the hard way via sexual transmitted infections.

All of my mother's wonderful sex education could not stop my curiosity or raging hormones. But when I finally did start having sex, I was equipped with all the right stuff- inside and out.

Christina: I don't have children yet but would love to have that contract by the time mine hit their teens :)

Lolo said...

Oh yes, safety first is our Golden Rule here. Always has been, from not touching the hot stove and putting things into the outlets to now, not touching other people's penii (what is the plural of penis?) or vaginas or putting one inside the other, etc. without full protection. That what I want, more than anything, is for them to experience a fully committed and respectful and loving partnership. However, their safety is paramount and oooooh, clinical descriptions of disease goes a long ways.

By the time my son had his sixth grade "life science" course, he knew more information than the teacher was comfortable or legally allowed to share. STDs, condoms, just the facts, ma'am. And that whole "if you make a baby, then it's your responsibility" line? Nope. Babies are cuuuuute, even with the poopy diapers. With us it's "if you make a baby, it grows to be a child your age. How old do you want to be and have to be responsible for a TEENAGER?"

Yes, now would be a good time to start practising your lines but you know, a little bit at a time and you'll end up fine.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

Big Man, my mother was ahead of her time. I "came of age" during the 70s and 80s; they started teaching sex ed in junior high school, but your school sent you home with a permission slip that had to be checked "yes" or "no", to take the class or not.

I took that slip home to Mama, fully expecting her to be uptight, send me back to school with that permit slip saying I had to take another class during that time period.

Imagine my 13-year-old surprise when that slip was checked "yes", and signed in my mother's flourish.

So, I took sex ed at 13. My mother had already had the talk about "Aunt Red" two years earlier, so I knew what to expect in the matter of changing bodies.

Once I finished sex ed, my mother said to me: "There's nothing about sex, or boys, or anything that you can't ask me, or come to me to talk about."

I never forgot that. Her statement helped guide me through the transition to womanhood, because more than once, I took her up on that offer to talk. Those "talks" kept me from having sex too soon, before I was emotionally ready to handle the responsibility; getting pregnant while being a teenager, and STDs.

This was before AIDS and you could still go to the clinic and get a shot of penecilin to clear up an STD.

I thank God for my mother; for giving her that wisdom. She later told me she did what she did because her mother didn't "have that talk with her."

She vowed that if she had a daughter, she wouldn't leave her clueless about men or sex. My grandmother meant well, but their generation didn't talk about sex.

It appears that our generation doesn't want to talk to their children about sex, either. Especially if the daughters are 15, the mothers are 28, and the grandmothers are 42.

Or if the fathers are really sperm donors who deposit their seed and walk off, denying the child is theirs.

Talking. It ain't out of fashion, is it?

Christina Springer said...

Dark & Stormy - believe me - as soon as it is written, I'll post it online. (Note to self - finish and post soon.)

But, really, age-appropriate honesty is the best policy. And it has to begin at the beginning. My daughter (now 21 yrs) began asking at six. I was armed and ready with science. I think I set the tone then and it has influenced her life. When she asked, "Exactly how does the sperm meet with the egg?" I gave her three scenarios: artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and the old fashioned way. (All of this with a straight face in front of dinner guests.)

Well, the 3rd option was so insanely funny and downright stupid, she decided then and there that she'd never do it that way. We introduced the vibrator at 13 - and she's been a mostly good girl ever since.

(Then again with a digital age brother, she has to suffer through every boyfriend in every family slide show. Blending auras just causes long term problems.)

Regardless - you have to do it whenever they ask, with great enthusiasm, a healthy does of morals and love.

Even at almost five, my son sees kissing in films and shouts, "Look! They're getting married!" (Note to self - get a pre-nup prepared in advance.)

Happy Easter, Fertility Celebration, Purim, etc. all!

Deacon Blue said...

dark & stormy: Believe me, my mom started me relatively early too...gave me a book on all that body change and sexual stuff before I was 12 (yeah, I know that would be late now, but I'm 40, so it was early back them). I joke about threatening the boys (at least, I think I'm joking) but I know it really begins with education and awareness...my little girl ain't going out there ignorant of anything. ;-)

Big Man said...

Thank you all for your input. Most of y'all are much more comfortable than I am. I'm going to have to get my mind right.

Lolo said...

Og, Big Man, the comfort did not come easily for me. I think that being as old as I was when I had my first did help (34) but it took determination and some emotional distance in order to be able to speak to my babies about facts.

Just try not to overload with too much info, keep the love in your manner and don't be afraid to say "what do you think?" and allow yourself to follow their lead. There used to be some Usborne books that were incredibly helpful because they were simple enough for children to grasp without scarring them.

Ferocious Kitty said...

I recommend a colorful, kid-friendly book called "It's So Amazing: A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Familes." We started reading it when my girls were 8 and 3, and are still working through it.

For older kids, the same authors have written a book called "It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health."

I recommend that parents preview the book before sitting down with the kids to read together.

Raving Black Lunatic