About 15 years ago, a friend caught her teenage son watching porn on the internet and freaked out about what to say, how to punish him, how to stop it, and worst of all, what kind of future did he have with women if he was learning about sex from porn. She demanded that her husband address this with their son, assuming that only men could understand this behavior. The good news is that her son now has a successful career and a loving relationship with a terrific spouse, but the experience of the past cannot prepare us for the world teenagers are now living in, and parents need to step up to their responsibilities in a world of rapidly changing gender dynamics.

Evidence Suggests Children Are Receptive to the Sex Talk from an Opposite-Gendered Adult

What was considered porn 15 years ago, is now readily available on all media platforms, and kids are growing up learning that a wide range of sexual practices are normal and expected. Girls are equally exposed to the normalcy of sexual behavior, leading to a quandary of perplexing choices. But what hasn’t kept up with the times is the way we address sex education. While many of us think that the man in your son’s life should be in charge of his sex education or the woman should address her daughters, a new study has found that kids may be more open to an adult of the opposite sex in their quest for understanding their physical and emotional intimacy issues.

Healthy Sexual Education is an Opportunity to Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Child

A new book, Boys and Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent and Navigating the New Masculinity, the author Peggy Orenstein interviewed dozens of boys who were eager to talk to her when given permission to be open about their feelings. Peggy’s interview on C-Span, Book TV, will convince you to find the time to read her book, and consider her prescription for opening a continuing dialogue with your sons to help them navigate the current culture. Peggy admits that most parents are reluctant to tackle the tough job of providing their child with necessary sex education out of fear, or feeling awkward, apprehension about their success or by denial that their child is or wants to be sexually active. She warns that if you don’t open the dialogue, your kids will be educated by porn and social media and you won’t like the results. Instead, Peggy suggests that parents look at this as an opportunity to connect with your child, to show up for them, to deepen your relationship, and to model how to have an open conversation about sex.

Peggy’s interviews with young men revealed that peer pressure to have sex and brag about it, “locker room talk” is still prevalent and even though the boys knew it was wrong, and felt shame, they still participated out of fear of social rejection. Instead of challenging inappropriate locker room talk, boys learn to deflect with humor, cutting off their authentic self and subverting a more compassionate response. She warns parents that just repeating “Respect Women” is meaningless, as much deeper and personal conversations are needed to prepare your son for having ”respectable, responsible, mutually gratifying sexual experiences.” Her book also addresses the need to include LGBTQ issues in your child’s sex education to help remove stigma and create acceptance.

After a divorce, challenges like sex education can be even more difficult for single parents. In her interview, Peggy commented that even if you have not had success in your relationships, you still have wisdom to pass on to your children. The family law lawyers at Molly B. Kenny, LLC, also have the wisdom of their own experiences to help parents through the difficult issues faced when going through the divorce process. When you need legal assistance, contact the divorce lawyers at Molly B. Kenny, LLC.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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