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I know it’s a tough subject. Many parents are determined to do better than their parents did. But how do we start? When do we start? How do we tell them the truth about where babies come from without scarring them for life? The good news is that it is much easier than you think, because BOOKS. Glorious BOOKS! You don’t need to even think about how to start. You start with BOOKS. When to start? Today! Here’s the rundown on my favorite ways to approach everyone’s favorite topic with kids under 11.
‘Sexting’ is typically referred to as sending a nude photo through a phone. There is nothing new about sharing a nude photo with a beloved. You just used to have to go to a seedy photography shop to get your film developed, or use a Polaroid and hand it over. The chances of lots of people seeing the photo were low. Remember needing to spring for double prints? Now, within seconds, thousands of people can see your nude photo depending on which app or website it gets uploaded to. Stats on the prevalence of sexting among teens are unclear, because studies range between 9%-60% (1, 2) of teens reporting that they have ever shared a nude image of themselves. So it’s difficult to tell how common sexting actually is. In order for us to address sexting in a realistic way with teens, we must first understand the sexual culture they live in that normalizes sexting.
When Bruce Jenner’s transition became a focus of public attention, it got me thinking about what the attention means for transgender folks, and particularly transgender youth. Having only known a few transgender people myself, but having colleagues who are either trans or dedicated to research that supports the understanding of transgender lives, I decided to get someone to write a guest post on what we should all be doing to support transgender people and particularly transgender youth. Meet Chris Dungee. He is a counselor who speaks at colleges and universities about LGBT issues for faculty and staff development. He also transitioned himself from female to male, so I knew he would be the perfect resource with both professional and personal experience with transgender issues. Here is what he wants us to know:
Currently, the world is a buzz again over accusations from multiple women who were allegedly sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby. I am not going to go into whether or not you should or shouldn't believe that Bill Cosby is guilty of these crimes. That is not my job. However, part of my job is to educate people on the psychology of experiencing abuse or assault, perpetrating abuse or assault, and the culture in which sustains the cycle of abuse and assault. As a culture, we do not want to go there. But I’m going to (sort of) go there now.
Every time there is a big media story about sexual abuse or assault everyone gets wound up. However, these are not isolated events of violence. These are publicized events of violence. These atrocious acts occur every day to people we probably know. What’s worse, because we are used to huge media outbreaks of sex scandals, we're only aware of events that are publicized. This leads us to perceive this problem as being much smaller than it actually is.
I know, talking about sex with kids is hard enough, let alone talking about porn! You may have tried to have “the talk”, and that was awkward, so now you just hope for the best! You’re not alone. Our ever-growing-media-saturated culture is not easy to keep up with. Even sex educators and sex researchers like myself have a hard time keeping up. Luckily, you get more than one shot. Talking about sex and porn isn’t a one-time only deal. Especially if your children are young or haven’t seen much porn yet. So, make sure to read part 1 of this 3-part series and prepare yourself first. In my years of studying and talking about sexuality and pornography with college students, teachers, social workers, counselors, and academics, I’ve discovered some important talking points to get conversations going. Regardless of how you feel about how right or wrong porn is, it is essential you understand porn and sex are quite different and should be approached differently.
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.