Hope and I have always talked. She tells me just about everything, and since she can’t keep a secret or lie well, I’m pretty sure of that. I’ve mastered the non-judgmental face while sometimes I scream on the inside; BTW, there’s been a helluva lot of screaming in 2020.
I’ve also always been open and honest when it came to discussing sex. I committed to having a sex positive home very early on. Now there are times when that’s been especially hard, really, really hard. But sex positivity remains the goal. Too many kids don’t get the chance to ask open and honest questions about sex, the feelings, the challenges, the ups and downs and the values I have around it. Parents often say they’ve taught their kids about sex, but they focus almost exclusively on the values associated with it, rather than the mechanics, the more detailed body stuff that we tend to learn either from friends or trial and error. I have always wanted Hope to know she can talk to me about sex; I want to be the first stop for inquiries! And I don’t claim to have all the answers; sometimes I have to say, “ya know, I don’t know the answer to that. Let me research and get back to you.” And then…I do.
Anyhoo, with COVID and the trauma of 2020, Hope and I only have each other day in and day out, we talk a lot and really substantively. And we talk about EVERYTHING.
Even when it’s awkward, I think, “wow the fact that we are doing this, talking like this is really mind-blowing.” I can’t even imagine my parents having some of these kind of chats with me at her age. Heck I don’t see us really having some of these chats at my current age and I’m pushing 50. It’s just not done!
This week Hope brought up some very specific questions and concerns that left me thinking….
Seriously, in the moment, I plastered on my “Oh this is totally normal” face and thought, “This is a wicked time for me to fast from alcohol cause I really need a cocktail.”
I allowed for a long pause, thought about how I’ve handled this issue in my own life, and then I made some recommendations. What I recommended shocked even me to be perfectly honest!
And it’s kinda got me really in my head. Not because I question the decision to make some pointed recommendations, but because these conversations really force me to confront my own hang ups and insecurities. I’m realizing that I’ve really got some stuff to unpack on my own, you know? #morestufftodiscusswithmytherapist
I want Hope to have a full, loving, meaningful relationship with herself, her body and hopefully one day a partner. Heck, I want that for myself too. It’s so taboo to talk about these things, and I feel especially so for women of color. I want Hope to know that how she loves herself directly influences how she looks for love externally. It took me way too long to learn that.
So, we’ll keep talking, and with this pandemic, all anyone around here can do is talk.
So, what does sex positive parenting look like for you?
December 11th, 2020 at 3:39 pm
“…to know that how she loves herself directly influences how to looks for love externally.”
So very important. So NOT what I ever heard but what I wish I had heard all my life … it would have helped, a lot.
Thank you for the difference you are making, for standing firm even when it isn’t easy or part of how you grew up.
Thank you for who you are and all you share making the world a better place.
December 11th, 2020 at 4:29 pm
I agree. It was/is unheard of for us to have these conversations with our elders. In fact, my husband is always scratching his head and announcing that we know way too much about our daughters lol But still, their not AS open as I’d hoped for. It’s more me raising issues and them answering, “yes” or “no” lol
December 11th, 2020 at 7:27 pm
I totally agree with everything you said and tried to do the same in my own home, yes including “mechanics”. Sometimes I am blushing when I answer but oh well such as it is. Good for you!!!
December 12th, 2020 at 1:53 pm
sex positive parenting
December 12th, 2020 at 2:02 pm
??? I guess that reply sums up 2020 for me lol. About 1/33383872748450993 of what I want or need to do gets out. No idea how that posted.
Great article – sex-positive parenting is so important and definitely not discussed enough. For us, it means just being open and especially open even to the uncomfortable stuff. One thing that is uncomfortable for me – more uncomfortable than talking about mechanics and pleasure – is negative words associated with sex talk. **tch makes me cringe but is a common word used by all kinds of people nowdays. **ck is the same. So if that word comes up at the dinner table when young adults are talking about their relationships or sex philosophy I don’t respond. I don’t give a feminist lecture or try to educate anyone. Because that stops the flow of information coming from their brains to mine.
Don’t get me wrong. I do let them know how I feel. But I choose a time when we are talking about derogatory language specifically and try not to associate it with a conversation about sex.
December 12th, 2020 at 2:06 pm
Yeah, I know both of us likely use that language, but definitely not when we are the ones chatting. To your point tho, I have to check myself sometimes so I don’t get caught up in the language so I can focus on content.
December 14th, 2020 at 12:24 pm
I absolutely love your posts.
December 20th, 2020 at 9:56 am
Love this! So glad you are talking with her about this stuff!
January 7th, 2021 at 12:18 am
Ooof, with a 2 and 4 year old I am already getting knotted up inside with some of the very light conversations we have. My formative sexual experiences were entrenched in a puritanical context (very sex negative!). I really believe in sex positivity, and I actually discuss (bad) sex at work ALL THE TIME (it’s part of my job), but parenting with this lens realllllly pushes you to examine your own internalized issues!! Hoping that as my kids grow, I’ll get better at staying open-minded and not showing hints of my own struggles because I stilllll find myself subtly reverting to a mindset of attaching sex to virtues and commitment and love and blah blah blah.