A large part of my every day is taken up with reading articles about teenagers and sexuality. What are the latest trends, what’s making headlines, who is doing what to whom, and how are they doing it??
And some days I feel absolutely overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed with sadness, and fear.
Overwhelmed by the fact that it seems the scary stories, the sad stories, far outnumber the good news stories.
Suicide after rape, labiaplasty at 13, slut shaming, virgin shaming, genital freezing, violent porn, g-spot injections, classroom coercion, stealthing,, blow jobs as birth control… Some days the list is endless.
Some days I wonder how on earth we are ever going to be able to help our children in this bewildering world.
Some days I cannot even keep up with the changing landscape – and this is my full time job..
Some days it feels like we are losing …
So I sit with this. And I know, in my body, in my bones, there has to be a way we can safely guide our young people into relationships built on respect, pleasure, trust, and ultimately, love.
And in my heart, in my soul, I know there is only one way to do this.
We teach them love.
We teach them SELF love.
It has to start with an abundance of knowledge, a tool kit of self appreciation, an unshakeable belief in their own self worth. We can never shoot down the obstacles, one by one, that they will eventually face, in the school ground, at that party, online or in their own bedroom.
But we can give them a greater gift – the gift of sexual self worth.
A young woman who knows how to respect & care for her own body is more likely to create strong and clear sexual boundaries, because she knows her worth.
A young man who is taught to value his feelings, who is shown a language to use when he speaks about emotions, who is shown safety & respect when he uses that language, is more likely to create a safe sexual container for himself and his partner.
As parents, as educators, we absolutely must move away from the ‘don’t’ We will never have enough resources to combat every new issue that comes along.
But we absolutely have enough resources to have the conversations with our children that foster connection, self- respect, honesty, safety & pleasure.