Sex Positive Parenting.

Via on Jun 19, 2010

Teaching Our Children About Sex.

As a child of the ‘70s, and more-over, a child of the counter-culture, I can say there is such a thing as too much permissiveness. However, sexual positivity and sexual permissiveness are not by nature the same thing.

Conscious parenting has many focuses and aspects. But one area that perennially gets too little attention in the movement toward conscious parenting is that of sex and our kids.

If we, as conscious parents, can’t begin bringing sex out of the closet, who can? Yet again and again I see evidence of a profound split in our (counter) cultural psyche that has sex on one side and everything else on the other.

Recently, our esteemed editor, Waylon Lewis, started a new fan page on facebook. Here’s his post about the new page:

Join our new page (elephant journal gets sexy) where we’ll be posting the Sexy once we have enough friends over there (we’re making this page more family-friendly).

As I understand it, Waylon didn’t do this because he wanted to, but because he had gotten tired of having to apologize for “sexy” content on the elephant journal fan page.

Why does “family friendly” translate to “devoid of any sexual content”?

How are we supposed to have an open conversation with our kids about sex when we can’t have a rational conversation about it as adults? It’s not our kids who are reading the fan page, its us!

Apparently, there is no “middle way” as far as our cultural relationship with sex is concerned.

But here’s the simple truth; we have bodies. We have sex. And according to science, sex is good, and good for us!

Our culture is saturated with sexualized images. It’s drenched in sexual terminology. Sexual energy is a foundational part of social interaction.

Not all of these things are always positive. Many sexualized images are not sex-positive, and much of the sexual terminology at play in the social lexicon of the schoolyard is down-right negative.

But in our blanket negation of sexual expression as part of a healthy life, or even a healthy spiritual reality, we in effect take ourselves out of the conversation.

When things are hidden, they gain importance. Separating sex out makes it simultaneously more important (not always in good ways) and less transparent (rarely a good thing at all).

What we don’t say often says more than what we do say. Leaving sex out of the conversation makes it a dark and hidden topic. Forbidden fruit. Dirty. Unmentionable.

But a question you may want to ask yourself is, “Where do I want my kid getting his/her information about sex from?”

The best tool we can offer our children is sexual literacy.

Sexual literacy begins with awareness and appropriate education. The information you hand down to your child will inevitably be flavored by your own values, morals and ethics. So the more clear you are on what those values, ethics, and morals are, the more consciously you will be able to help your child gain literacy, and develop their own ethical structure.

One starting point for increasing awareness and definition of your sexual ethics is my Sexual Values and Ethics Worksheet. This worksheet can also be a starting point for a group discussion with your family, other parents, or your friends.

Contrary to popular belief, sexual expression does not instantly commence at puberty. Children, like all of us, are sexual beings. They have sexual feelings, and sexual curiosity. They engage – even in utero – in sexual self-stimulation.

Ignoring the fact that our children have their own sexual lives won’t make the fact that they do go away. Yet the idea of seeing “sex” and “child” in the same article, let alone the same paragraph or sentence, puts many parent’s hair on end.

In our household, sex has always been one of the items on the table. Not the only item, not the central item, but not a hidden item either.

Since my kids were little, we’ve parented with a few rules about communication. Rules for us, as parents – not rules for them. Rule number one, and first in importance, has always been, “If the child is old enough to ask a question, she’s old enough for a valid, age-appropriate answer.”

This rule has been implemented regarding everything from ecology to economy to spirituality to sexuality. And this leveling of the conversational playing field has had the effect of ameliorating both super-negative and super-positive charge on the topic of sex and sexuality.

This tack hasn’t removed all embarrassment, nor has it ensured that our children agree with us regarding everything we believe about sex. It hasn’t made it so that our children are automatically going to defer to us without argument when we set a limit.

But those things were never the goal.

Years worth of open, educated, aware, and non-judgmental conversation with our children has allowed for an ongoing and honest dialogue; one where our kids know that sex is a natural part of the conversation. It has made our home a safe place to discuss a socially and culturally charged, complex topic.

And, most importantly, this encouragement of sexual literacy has allowed our kids the ability to make their own well thought-out and conscious choices about sex and sexuality.

About Lasara Allen

Lasara is wife to her true love, and mother to two amazing young women. She’s also a best-selling author, an educator, and an activist. Lasara’s first book, the bestselling Sexy Witch (nonfiction, Llewellyn Worldwide), was published in 2005 under the name LaSara FireFox. As of 3/6/2012, after a coaching sabbatical, Lasara has openings for three three-week, individual, personally tailored coaching and mentoring programs. She also has slots in a cohort-model group coaching program available for a limited amount of time. Lasara is available for one-session commitments as well. Make whatever commitment feels best for you. Lasara offers individual coaching on topics such as; * Mental and Physical Health and Wellness - accepting your diagnosis (or that of a loved one) - learning to live with awareness of strengths and vulnerabilities - Learning to live gracefully within your spectrum of the possible * Mindful Relationships - self as primary partner - loving partnerships, friendships and connections - marriages - parenting - family * Spiritual Contemplation and Alignment - Entering into and committing to your spiritual inquiry - Learning to listen to listen for and hear the divine in your life - Inquiring into the role that faith may play in informing your path - The role of meditation, contemplation, and prayer in your practice For more information and endorsements, visit: http://lasaraallen.com/about-lasara/coaching-services/

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17 Responses to “Sex Positive Parenting.”

  1. Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

    From fb:
    Steve Nitro
    Great article Lasara! Thanks for writing this gem. :b

  2. Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

    from fb:
    Et'han Clarkmoore
    ♥ ♥ ♥

  3. Diana Mercer Diana Mercer says:

    Thanks Lasara, for your thoughtful perspective on sex in parenting.

    I have always been one to support a developmentally appropriate approach for children to the introduction of everything from literacy, to social activism, to sexual awareness. I appreciate the reminder that the topic of sex and children are not mutually exclusive.

    I do support Waylon in creating a space dedicated to family and child oriented topics, not as a prudish reaction to the discussion of sex, but in support of a conscious community interested in family and child related discussions. Not everyone reading Ele articles with 'naked' in the title are interested in such.

    For me, it simply adds another dimension and space to dig deep into rich dialogue about children, education and parenting.

    Blessings,

    Diana Mercer

    • Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

      Thanks for your comments, Diana,

      Way created the"elephant journal gets sexy" section as a response to some very heated exchanges on the general elephant journal fan page. He didn't create a "family friendly" page. Which, actually, is an option that probably none of us would have thought of…

      But kind of a good one! Way, what do you think?!

  4. Nathan Smith Nathan Smith says:

    Great post, Lasara! Thanks for the perspective on this issue. Also, the worksheet looks really interesting. We'll be using it.

    What you say about children, sexual development, and honest answers to honest questions is exactly right on as far as I'm concerned.

  5. Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

    from fb:
    Lisa Oden
    I was brought up in an extremely sexually literate household. Peter Mayle's Where did I come from?, was a gift at age 8. I bought my kids a copy, as well as as What is happening to me? My son feels that we have an "open book" attitude surrounding just about every topic, including sex. Each of my kids, at different developmental stages has age appropriate questions that require sensitive and thoughtful responses. If we as parents are our childrens initial role models in all areas of communication, we need to hold that responsibility close to our hearts. Excellent article Lasara!

  6. Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

    From fb:
    Heather Cox
    This is so fantastic, mama. When are you going to contribute over at Femomist?

  7. Great article, Lasara! This has been a topic of conversation in our moms group and, of course, between my husband and I. I will share this article and worksheet with many. Question: How does one determine what information is age appropriate? We have only one child–a 9-yr old son.

    Cheers! Lynn

  8. Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

    From fb:
    Meg Crocker
    Oh, this is divinity…thank you for these words and for your heart beating in this world for all to hear & echo back to you…fantastic article. Will share xo

  9. Saffron says:

    My kids both got their very first ‘sex talk’ in preschool…we studied plant reproduction! From there we studied how different insects and bugs reproduced and so on…by middle school, talking about mammal reproduction was easy. It’s natural…great article, I have friends who are scared to talk about sex with their kids, and that scares me!

  10. Wow, wonderful blog structure! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging glance easy. The overall glance of your site is magnificent, let alone the content!

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