Many researchers who try to understand sexual development from a public health perspective have two choices for framing their research agenda: prevention of risk behaviors or promotion of positive behaviors. I’m interested in combining the two. I aim to understand how young people both prevent pregnancy, STIs, sexual assault, and teen dating violence as well as promote positive body image, pleasurable and satisfying relationships, and sexual agency to make the sexual choices they want to make on their own terms. More than half of all individuals are sexually active by age 18 (1), which suggests we should be more focused on sexual behavior as normative and therefore in need of understanding, instead of in need of preventing. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence (2).
I'm delighted to introduce a very special writer and mom, Wesley Davidson. She is the author of straightparentgaykid.blogspot.com and is going to teach us how to talk to kids of all ages about sexual orientation in this guest post of hers. She is currently writing a book on this topic, so follow her if you don't want to miss out on the release!
It’s Not Just the Birds and Bees Anymore!
Chances are your kids are bound to see a gay family at a park or fair. Perhaps they attend a school where a classmate has two daddies or two mommies.
Or maybe he watches Modern Family and sees that Cameron and Mitchell are married and have an adopted daughter Lily. Gay celebrities such as Neil Patrick Harris recently married while raising children already. The marriage announcement is fodder for the tabloids and Internet. So in a world where the family is being redefined, how do you explain gay to a child?
You may be thinking your kids are downloading apps because they are just a simple way for them to keep in contact with their friends. This is certainly true for most kids, but unfortunately, even innocent use of most of these apps can land a kid in a situation he/she never intended to be in.
Here are some apps that are popular among kids and why they are potentially problematic for them:
I was facilitating a workshop for parents the other night, and there was some confusion over the difference between gender and sexual identity. So, I thought I’d do a quick post on some terminology, and share this helpful video that is really simplistic, yet clear, and suitable for most ages. Understanding the differences in gender, sexual orientation, biological sex, and sexual behavior can be legitimately confusing unless you happen to have had a course on gender or sexuality. For example, many people think of gender in a binary way, but it is more widely accepted as a spectrum (1). There is also the issue of intersectionality, where an individual’s gender identity meets their sexual identity (2), highlighting the importance of considering the nuances of identity and not trying to simply put people in clearly marked boxes. Then, there is the whole issue of sexual behavior. For example, some heterosexually-identified women kiss or engage in other sexual behavior with other women (3), and like the video suggests, some heterosexually-identified priests don’t engage in any sexual behavior. Therefore, sexual behavior does not determine sexual identity. In sum, not everyone agrees on the best terminology to use, but here are some terms that are pretty widely accepted with definitions mostly from GLAAD:
Sex: The biological classification of people as male or female. At birth, infants are typically assigned a sex based on a combination of internal and external genitalia and in some cases, chromosomes.
I’ve been getting requests from parents over the past year, to write a post about talking to kids about sexuality. It really is impossible to boil down all the relevant information a parent needs to talk about sexuality with their kids into a single blog post for several reasons: 1. Each child is going to require different discussions at different points throughout childhood; 2. You wouldn’t emphasize all the same points to a girl as you would a boy or a child that is struggling with their gender identity; 3. You wouldn’t approach discussions about sexuality with a wallflower child as you would a social butterfly; 4. If your child has experienced sexual abuse, he/she would need different care that this post cannot address; 5. If your child is a sexual minority he/she is going to need some different conversations than a heterosexual child. However, there are some basics that everyone at any age can handle. There are also some points that I like to emphasize that are rarely if ever emphasized in standardized sexuality education programs or even parent-child communication programs. I also believe these points can be made regardless of the sexual values you have for your family. Here are a few “tip of the iceberg” pointers:
About this Blog:
I'm here to help us discuss sexuality, gender, and media by integrating information from academic and mainstream sources. I hope this resource produces more sexually competent people who raise sexually competent kids.
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