Oh My Gosh!
Did anyone catch the Oprah on How to Have the Sex Talk yesterday?
Dr. Laura Berman, the beautiful and non-threatening sex therapist and author of Real Sex for Real Women, walked us through a very nice and forthright conversation we can have with our tweens. I was down with that. I even asked Ainsley if she wanted to watch that part of the show to answer any questions. No, I’m almost finished with my chapter book, she said.
We’ve already had the nuts and bolts discussion about what sex is. I know it seems young, but it kept coming up and like Laura, I think it should be an ongoing and honest conversation devoid of fear and anxiety. I wrote how that went for Ainsley and I in Empowering Girls: Anti-Climactic Birds and the Bees.
I was totally on board when Laura said we should talk to our kids about touching themselves as well. Small children – girls and boys – know it feels good to touch themselves on their private parts. I have been having a dialogue with Ainsley about this since toddlerhood. The conversation was centered around safety issues:
No one is allowed to touch you there except you. You need to be very gentle when you touch your vagina (I’m not saying labia or clitoris to a toddler – shut up). You never, ever put anything inside your vagina, because that’s not gentle and you could harm yourself. No one, ever, is allowed to put anything inside your vagina ever. That is never, ever okay and if anyone ever tries to, you kick and scream and bite and then come to mommy or daddy and tell on them.
Menstruation? Easy. Just answer the natural questions “what are those for?” when you buy tampons or pads or they find them in your purse. We bleed. It’s how God made women. We do it to carry babies.
I’m totally down with the talking about sex thing, I thought.
Until the junior high girls came on. I swear to you my first instinct was, Screw that! I’ll just put her in an All Girls School or Home School. Who doesn’t want to be spared the singular social nightmare of junior high anyway?
Here’s the part I’m confused about: Was there some evolutionary shift in the Universe that made girls way more desperate for love and affection than teenage boys are to touch boobs or have sex?
Evidently, teenage girls are desperate to be loved and claim a “boyfriend.” So desperate, in fact, according to the teen survey in Seventeen Magazine and O Magazine, that boys can extort nude photos to show their friends and demand sexual favors of girls simply by saying “if you don’t put out then I won’t talk to you anymore.” And girls are falling for it. Read the article about the teen survey here.
Steve Harvey claims that girls lowered the bar for boys. In his book, Act like a Lady, Think Like a Man, he claims that the fact that girls require nothing – no dating, no roses, no commitment or basic level of respect - before they will have sex is responsible for the declining behavior of men.
When I wrote about this theory before, a several adult women responded that they don’t “withhold sex” to get stuff. They felt the men they dated respected them anyway and it was mutual. But, when we’re talking about teenagers it seems teenage girls ought to get some level of dating signifying respect before they do it for nothing! And nothing about it seemed mutual.
Girls are giving blow jobs as Third Base (30% of teen girls admit to oral sex). Boys don’t perform oral sex in return. Foreplay is a Sext demanding sexual acts, for which the girls get . . . .what? Evidently nothing. No love, commitment, romance or affection. No movie, no dinner out, no flowers, no love poem, and no “I’ll love you forever.” She gets to claim she has a “boyfriend” for five minutes, until another girl sends nude photos of herself and trumps her claim.
Surely this is an extreme example? Those middle school kids on Oprah acted like this is run-of-the-mill, every-day reality for them.
“Seventy-eight percent of surveyed girls who are no longer virgins say they’ve had sex without using a condom, and 65 percent of them admit they lied about or hid it from their mothers. Most troubling, a sobering 56 percent of girls who are no longer virgins have had sex without any form of birth control: Sixty-six percent of these girls have kept that a secret from Mom. Even among the few girls who had an abortion, many didn’t tell,” says the article.
Boys no longer have to do anything to get sex from girls, girls do it for nothing and they aren’t using condoms and 25% of them now have STDs. Brilliant.
A few weeks ago I suggested parents, teachers, mentors and counselors talk about sex so often, so openly and so honestly that we claim sex back from the media with the truth and make it a middle-aged serious-as-hell, kinda grody thing to do in Real Sex, Take 35.
The survey holds this theory to be true: “It’s the girls who talk to their moms before their first time who are less likely to have regrets and risky sex. Also, girls who have The Talk are half as likely to get pregnant as those who don’t,” says the article.
Toward the end of the show Dr. Laura Berman made Gale King nearly die of a heart attack when she suggested mothers buy their daughters vibrators. Truth be told, I also nearly choked.
Her logic holds that if girls are able to fulfill their sexual needs by themselves, they won’t be so likely to have sex with a partner.
But, what’s wrong with good old-fashioned tools like shower heads and water faucets? Or their own hands? Why do we need to buy our kids vibrating gadgets? Will it be the new status symbol like the hottest cell phone or Wii? It’s just too much.
And really, the vibrator solution does nothing for my biggest concern – the obvious desperation of girls who will do anything sexual for no emotional pay-off from boys who treat them like they are nothing.
What did you think of the Talking to Kids About Sex Oprah Show?
Download an easy-to-use free handbook about how to talk to your kids about sex here.