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Rebeca Seitz is on a mission. She was aghast at her 8 year old son Andy catching a glimpse of a naked man and woman having sex as part of a TV ad for ABC’s Betrayed at an 8 a.m. Good Morning America time slot. Much of the subsequent coverage is mainly focusing on her efforts to educate and express her grievances regarding this affront to what she believes in.
Rebeca is understandably frustrated and angry at this given her point of view. The ad did leave little to the imagination. Ads with a sexual theme are generally slotted for later times when the kiddos are away or asleep. She really shouldn’t have to worry about having her kids watch Good Morning America with her. I salute her because she is not backing down from fighting for what she believes is right.
However, there is an important side to this story that’s not being discussed.
This is an important opportunity to talk about how we talk about sex and sexuality with our kids.
I grew up never having a true dialogue regarding sexuality between my parents, my brothers, and myself. I think an influencing factor was that I grew up as an evangelical pastor’s daughter. My sexuality was hardly ever discussed. I pieced together sex from romance novels, a few fantasy novels, Paula Abdul, and Taylor Dayne. Thankfully teen-geared booklets from Tampax, Always, and other like companies helped prepare me for my first blood. My mother and I have never talked about menstruation to my recollection. I never really thought of my vagina except when I was just cleaning up after using the bathroom. This experience has the name of “genital hole.”
Our denomination had a sex ed series but oddly my parents never used it. My parents gave me a very technical and dry book regarding sex in marriage very popular in Christian circles called Intended For Pleasure by the Wheat couple. It was barely helpful, a book instead of a talk. It wasn’t really designed for teenagers which is what I needed. It was clear my parents weren’t comfortable talking with me about sex.
But how could they when sexual shame silenced their parents and their parents down through the generations?
So how can Rebeca teach differently if she doesn’t know or believe differently?
How can a boy think sex is good when mommy tells him to look away? What else is he to think when hopefully the most important woman in his life at the time looks at a naked woman and a naked man and in a frenzied, frightened rush tells him to look away and to go unto the kitchen? It told Andy that Rebeca probably thinks all sex is dirty and bad not just sex she personally believes goes against her Christian values.
Again how can a boy who goes through this instantly turn around to sex is good because I’ve saved it until marriage? He’s learned that sex is to be shunned and to be hidden under covers.
In my experience, denying my sexuality under the guise of “sexual purity” for many years has led to many difficulties. I am continually learning more about my faith, my sexuality, and myself in new ways as a result and how to apply that to my relationships. That is the gift of what I’ve experienced.
I still wish I had learned a lot more about my sexuality when I was younger.
Rather than having our kids struggle with their sexualities alone, let’s be adults and admit we are still learning too. We can learn together with our kids.
Tagging this as “soft core porn” lessens what a positive impact this can have for all of us. For an alternative look on Christianity and porn please see Philo Thelos’ Divine Sex.
And as Soraya Chemaly wrote in “How Do You Feel About Sex and Teenage Sleepovers?”
“If you aren’t comfortable with your own sexuality or challenging deeply-embedded ideas about sex being “bad,” can you teach your kids anything different?”
Ever since she was little, Lisa Michalek has had her nose in a book. This thirst for knowledge and wisdom has helped her in her quest to help relieve this society of its debilitating sexual shame. She also enjoys watching cheesy shows like the Power Rangers franchise and other series.
A lot of this telling kids to hide their eyes from sexual depictions probably has to do with wanting to conform to some cultural norm of preserving their innocence, lest others (possibly including the child himself, once he’s been influenced by others) think the parent is being a bad mom or dad. Many of us, however, as kids snuck glimpses of nudity or sexual content and know that we were and are none the worse for it.
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