Guide To The Birds & The Bees Talk!

Ahhhh the birds & the bees talk – one of those much anticipated but often delayed chats we all need to have with our growing children. How do you have this chat and educated your children on this important topic?
My 9 year old picked up his dads phone yesterday.  Dad had obviously gone to bed the previous night watching porn. My son came running to show me immediately, laughing and asking what it was. I just grabbed it from him and told him it he wasn’t old enough yet. He obviously had an idea about what it was all about and ran off jumping up and down excited.
I loved being the first person he shared it with. I want him to view sex like driving: eagerly anticipated when mature and responsible. The hope is he continues to feel like things like that are not anything you have to hide from anyone. I want sex for him to be like driving a car: something eagerly anticipated when old and responsible enough.
In this internet era, I’m amazed at how older kids in the family navigate unscathed despite bombardment. We might flippantly say that “it wasn’t like that in my day” but this time it’s true, It really isn’t!

The Internet Has Forever Changed The Birds & The Bees Talk

The internet has catapulted a whole generation into a world that their parents have no experience of.  Kids in school now have had unprecedented access to everything to do with sex at their fingertips. And they are soaking it up like sponges and often it is in the form of hardcore porn. It isn’t the teen health websites they are looking at that is for sure.
Cosmopolitan magazine was my idea of hardcore sex education, that, and what was passed down from friends. It just isn’t the case anymore and the results are  heartbreaking. When we get older, we mostly view pornography as fantasy, which is acceptable, unlike the younger generation’s perspective. They have been brought up swamped with it.
There is often  a huge disconnect between children and their parents. In-store, I observe adults in their forties and fifties hesitating to explore upstairs due to the taboo nature of sex.

Porn & Modern Day Sex-Education

Teenagers are going to watch porn, they are teenagers they are curious, this is never going to change. The problem is it  tends to be more and more violent pornography that is often very degrading to women. Thanks to a lot of parent’s current prudish and archaic attitudes, this is where a lot of teenagers now get their sex education. And whether or not a child wants to see it or intends to see it, they are likely to see it.
The pornified world distorts healthy sexual exploration.. The importance of consent and respect  become clouded. Boys are copying what they see online and find that girls don’t always moan with pleasure at a porn-style sexual pounding.
Pornography is shaping their sexual imaginations, expectations and practices. Young men genuinely express surprise when they enact pornographic behaviour, only to find their partners disapprove, unlike the women depicted on screen. When a young guy watches porn and thinks he wants to try out what he sees. He is going to pressure his girlfriend, because he thinks that is what everyone is doing.
The sad thing is, they actually are, so peer pressure is there too.  He thinks if he pressures her enough she will do what he wants, and that she will like it. That’s what his mates are telling him and the girl thinks she has to do it because it is expected.  The level of dis-empowerment in some of the  girls at the moment is so sad. Girls feel disconnected from their own sense of pleasure and intimacy. They can end up pretending to like certain acts to keep a boy happy.

Sexting Is The New Flirting

These days flirting for a 13 year old girl  is sending a nude picture to a boy she barely knows because he demands one.  A 15 year old doesn’t consider oral sex, sex.  In my day, a French kiss represented what people commonly understood as an intimate gesture.  For a boy, to ejaculate on a girls face and expect her to swallow, is normal, for a girl to express distaste at either practice, unusual. Guys are pressuring for anal and threesomes as if that is a normal thing to expect all girls to be into and girls are feeling they have to do these things just to fit in.
Female Teenager Writing
Photo: Sex Education
There is a huge gap that needs filling in with sex education in schools, and if they cant do it there, then it is up to us as parents. It should not still be taboo for anyone over 18 to come into a sex shop, to a place that is all about making sex what it should be, pleasurable. A lot of men still don’t realise the majority of women need a bit of extra help when it comes to clitoral stimulation during sex. Those aren’t the facts teens are learning from watching porn. They are not learning important facts like that anywhere. They are being taught that shoving a penis inside a vagina is enough to make girls, orgasm, often extremely loudly.

Porn Contributes To Body Image Issues

Porn has also contributed to body-image dissatisfaction. Kids have always obsessed and worried about appearance but it is usually something that can be disguised with the right clothing or some make up.  Now boys think they need bigger penises. Girls want huge breasts and lips and designer vaginas. They have to shave everywhere. Shaving  is not optional these days in school.  As early as year seven, girls are shaving. If you don’t, there is no two ways about it, you are dirty and will be ostracised. When I was young, if a guy suggested I completely shave myself, I would have thought he was a pedophile!   Do we want our 12 year old’s locking themselves in the bathroom with dad’s razor blade and no idea what they are doing?
It isn’t just porn either. It is social media and the culture of celebrity.  Young girls are building their self esteem with the number of likes they get for pictures they post on Facebook, particularly from the opposite sex. They don’t care who likes them it is all about the amount of likes. A picture of you winning a school race might get you a few, but one where you look like you are about to put out will get you an instant ‘like like like” confidence hit.
If society only presents hyper-masculinized or hyper-feminized images of boys and girls, it reduces them to two-dimensional objects to swipe across. The best way to counter all the tacky commercialised messages about sex and bodies we are flooded with, is to start talking about sex in a positive way. If you tell your kids  what you want for them, you are filling a vacuum that is otherwise filled by commercial interests.
If you think I am exaggerating about any of this, just ask any school aged kids you know. That is the problem though.  No one IS asking or discussing. If we can’t openly and comfortably confront and discuss healthy sex attitudes, how can we expect to dispel the myths in teenagers’ heads?This is not a joke, this is an unprecedented experiment on the sexual development of young people. It has been shown that there is a strong relationship between exposure to hardcore explicit material and sexual behaviour that then leads to adverse sexual and mental health outcomes. Who knows what other consequences there may be.
Many adults worry about saying the right thing when it comes to discussing topics like this, often resulting in silence. If we want our children to abstain from sex until they understand the emotions involved, we should frequently discuss it and acknowledge its pleasures.
Negativity about sex is what drives teens to alternative sources of information. Research shows that to be true. You only have to look at the statistics for countries like Holland where there is a much more relaxed attitude to sex and America that preaches abstinence. They have polar opposite rates of teen pregnancies and std’s. The less guidance and knowledge children have, the more likely they are to have sex earlier and less safely. If you are only talking about the dangers of sex, then you are not credible, kids will go elsewhere to find out the truth. Dads should actively participate in these discussions, especially regarding boys. Boys need to see examples of men taking responsibility when it comes to matters of sex.
We desperately need to bring sex out into the open in a body positive healthy way. Thankfully we are making progress in some areas . Stores like Oh Zone and blogs like Adultsmart help create and shape attitudes towards sex and move things in a really positive direction. Here, we celebrate sex openly and honestly, as it should be.  It is that kind of knowledge that we should be bringing into our schools. An informed choice is a better choice. Lets keep our kids informed and keep the conversations open so that they make the best choices too.
About the Author: Emily is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres


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