I was at a dinner party with a gang of gals a couple weeks ago. Several of these women were in the process of raising teenagers. And of course, after a while, our conversation turned to sex.
Specifically, the challenges of raising teens in a porn-infused world, where any kid who can use google can access it.
Sometimes stuff on the internet can get into our kids’ hands way before we want it to, and way before they have any idea what to do with it. (Not that any of us have any idea, really, of what to do with all the stuff that is out there, lurking on the internet.)
There are so many areas of life where our teenagers get so much training. My daughter just completed 20 hours of driver’s ed, with a special section on drunk driving, and 10 hours of practice behind the wheel, in order to prep for her license.
But in the area of sex—which is so important, and a central part of a healthy, fulfilled life—they get extremely inadequate education, or absolutely no education at all.
So, how does a parent handle being handed this legacy of ignorance?
One of the most inspiring stories I have heard came from an unusually young reader of my first book. I was at a book signing in Miami, 10 years ago, and a young 15-year-old girl came up to me to get her book signed. I asked her what she was doing there, because I used the word ‘pussy’ in that book, and I was afraid she was too young to encounter that word.
She said she was there because all of the girls in her high school hated themselves. And after finding and reading my book, it was the first time she had ever heard the sound of a woman who loved herself. And she began to love herself, too.
I was lucky enough to catch up with this girl’s mother, just a couple years ago, to hear the rest of the story of the red-haired girl from Miami.
Turns out, she went and gave the book to her gang of friends in her class so they could learn to love themselves right along with her. She even hosted a weekly book club meetings in her house, so they could all practice the exercises together.
So, here we have a young group of teens learning that they are beautiful and spectacular and worthy of love. They also learned the importance of knowing and owning their bodies, learned all about what’s up down there, and learned how to self-pleasure. It was Driver’s Ed, as it were, for vulvas.
The book, and the gang of teens, gave each other so much self-confidence, that when they started dating boys, instead of hitting their knees or imitating porn videos – these girls did the opposite.
They had learned how to turn themselves on, and learned how to connect with their own pleasure.
This meant that each girl was not only able to teach boys about how to pleasure her, it gave her really good radar for picking a caring boy. Her higher pussy education enabled her to distinguish between boys that were selfish and insensitive to women, and boys that were really attuned and really interested in her for who she was.
When she was in college, that same red-haired girl was able to teach her first boyfriend how to touch her in a way that brought her pleasure, because she had done the research. She is a confident, powerful, young woman now, because she learned to turn on and tune in to her pussy.
But, what if you are the mother of teenage boys? One of my students, the mom of two teenagers, 13 and 15, took matters into her own hands.
She knew she could not compete with the videos that the boys could access. But she decided she could teach them that porn only showed part of the experience of sex. And in fact, the most important parts were the stuff that happened both before and after what they were seeing there.
She explained the importance of treating the girls like ladies. To open doors for them, and pull out chairs for them to sit when taken out for a date. She taught them how to make conversation, and to be truly interested. And to look into her eyes. She described how nice it is to call or text both before and after a date, to check in and thank her. And she drew the boys a diagram of a vulva, so they knew where the clitoris is.
I was so deeply inspired by this mom, who took matters into her own hands and provide an important bit of training that will save these young men (and the women they encounter) years of anguish and disappointment.
We would never ever let our kids drive without a license, and yet so many of us (and our kids) have had to do exactly that, as we tried hard to cobble together a sex education of sorts, as we were growing up.
In the comments below, I want to hear about your experience of sex ed.
- How and what and where did you get the info you needed to create a healthy sex life?
- How did you learn what you like, and what you don’t like?
- How have you taught your children?
- What scares you about teaching your kids about sex?
- Is this an area which you feel powerful? Or powerless?
I am so curious to hear what you think on this topic – come join the conversation!