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Topic: Why are we still too ashamed to talk to our teens about sex!?!

11 posts, 0 answered
  1. Quercus
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    28 April 2019

    Right. No idea if a thread like this is allowed but right now I feel it is desperately needed.

    Recently I spoke to a friend's teen who was her school's newest victim of sexual images being shared without consent. It was an eye opening discussion. Made me wonder why in 2019 are we still repeating the same old mistakes?

    Yep. The technology is changing. Teens today are dealing with totally different risks than even ten years ago. But the lack of education stays the same decade after decade!

    I asked this young woman why was she embarrassed to talk and ask for help? Ok she messed up. But did she really think her Mum or myself hadn't messed up just as badly at her age?

    News flash to any young adults reading... Technology has changed. Sex hasn't. Your parents, grandparents, teachers you name it all went through the horrible misery that is puberty, developing sexuality, experimentation and all the cringeworthy mistakes that go along with it.

    What has changed significantly is the consequences and shame that now exist.

    Years ago a few girls skinnydipped at a girlfriend's house. My mate decided she would show the blokes in my year a photo she'd taken of me (thankfully a cleavage pic with most of the top still on). It was a nice photo and she wanted to help me to be noticed... but my goodness I was horrified. The difference was I got to walk up to the boys, tear up the photo and threaten my friend till she gave me the negative.

    I shared that trying to show her we all go through similar crap in life. It feels good to have someone say you are beautiful or sexy and sometimes we go looking for people to make us feel ok about ourselves instead of looking at why we have low self esteem.

    But then I realised this young woman didn't have the luxury of control over her photos. Or of forgetting silly mistakes fueled by hormones and youth and wanting to feel good.

    So why the hell aren't we talking about it? I wouldn't go back to being a young adult for anything. It was hard enough before the internet. I feel like we are failing our kids.

    If you could go back and tell your teenage self something about sexuality what would you want them to know?

    Nat

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  2. Jojo100
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    4 posts
    28 April 2019 in reply to Quercus

    Hi Nat

    I don’t see why we can’t talk about this topic. If I could go back and tell my teenage self one thing about sexuality it would be that it’s not okay to be sexually assaulted by your boss. This happened to me and because he was a highly respected doctor I didn’t think anyone would believe me. I was also too ashamed. Looking back I realise this was probably quite a common problem along with sexual harassment in the workplace. I ended up changing jobs just to get away from him.

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  3. Quercus
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    29 April 2019 in reply to Jojo100

    Hi JoJo,

    Thanks for your reassurance and for joining in.

    Totally agree with your advice. On paper and in theory consent seems obvious. But when you are in a first job (or relationship) and inexperienced it is easy to be pressured or manipulated or guilted or threatened.

    You're not alone Jojo. I didn't say anything about an ex either. Spent years thinking it was my fault.

    Consent is vital. Thank you for bringing it up.

  4. Jojo100
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    29 April 2019 in reply to Quercus

    Hi Quercus

    Thanks for your reply. Teenagers are very vulnerable- I know I was - I was quiet and shy which made me an easy target. I think we need to instil in teenagers that they need to speak up if something is happening to them that they don’t feel comfortable with. I wish I could have been more assertive. Like you mentioned in your first post I would not like to go back to my teenage years for anything!

    All the best

    Jojo

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  5. romantic_thi3f
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    1 May 2019 in reply to Quercus

    Hi,

    This is a really interesting conversation, thank you for starting it!

    Like Jojo, I was really quiet and shy as a teenager. The other people my age used to bully me for being too 'inexperienced' so as I didn't know all the sex lingo, I didn't really have a lot of people to talk to about it. My family has also never been one to talk about it - so instead I lingered a lot with self-doubt and insecurity.

    I don't have any kids yet, but I hope that if I do, they'll know it's okay to come and ask me questions. That I'd always rather them ask even if it feels awkward, then try and find the answers elsewhere.

    and to answer your question, if I could tell my teenage self one thing about sexuality it'd probably be that it's not a big a deal as you think it is. It doesn't and will never define you, and trust your instinct - because it's always right.

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  6. quirkywords
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    2 May 2019 in reply to Quercus

    Nat

    What an interesting thread. In the early 1980s worked as a health(sex) educator and spoke to school groups.

    So many of the teenagers I spoke to back then are now parents of teenager themselves , a few maybe grandparents of teens or pre teens.

    So much has changed in technology but not much has changed in how parents talk to teens , but I think the ignorance is still there with teens but they think they are very knowledgeable. Now teens get information from the internet but much is misinformation.

    I think parents sometimes feel if they start talking with their teens about sexuality and technology , they may be encouraging them to experiment. Research shows the more information teens have the more informed their choices.

    I think many people ,adults included have no idea how permanent our words or images are on the internet.

    I feel that parents need to be open with their children from a young age so the children can feel free to ask their parents anything and not suddenly when they become teenagers to sit down and "Have the talk about sex."

    Quirky

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  7. Billyc
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    2 May 2019 in reply to Quercus

    Good question...

    I’m in a dilemma with this one, my daughters are 7 and 9, I wish they would just stay this age so I won’t have to deal with this issue..

    I am fearful of what lies ahead, regarding examples of harm of exposure without permission,

    i recall that incident with the Richmond football player two years ago and the awful events that the female had to endure, (he wasn’t punished enough in books)

    I guess I have to teach myself not to project any of my fears on my girls when they do grow into the teens and trust that they know how to avoid these issues... as for the topic of discussing sex, I’ll leave that to the illustrations in the school books and a good yarn with their mum!

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  8. Quercus
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    3 May 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Romantic and Quirky and Billy C,

    Thank you all for your helpful replies! Every one has such important ideas that are so worthwhile discussing more!

    Romantic you mentioned being inexperienced and unable to ask questions which ties so well into what Quirky said about misinformation on the internet (but also in what peers talk about).

    Originally I wanted to call this thread "what I want my kids to know about sex but might be too embarrassed to speak about when it is time". After talking to my friend's teen I realised her Mum would not have been able to have the same open conversation. There is that eww factor on both sides that gets in the way of honesty.

    But sometimes we do have to consider if we don't give our kids the information who will? And will it be accurate? Or safe?

    Which brings me to a question for everyone... where did you learn about sex? Did you learn about sex from pornography, class, peers? It is something that has been worrying me a fair bit. I'm not remotely worried to admit I have watched a fair bit of porn. Since having kids I started wondering if my kids might one day expect sex to be something from a porno. Not all, but some is a bit aggressive and degrading.

    I do like how Romantic mentioned trusting instincts. I agree with that too. From speaking to friends it feels like most make the mistake of not following their instincts at some point. Not sure what makes us too awkward to stand up for ourselves.

    Thank you for joining in and sharing openly. 😊

  9. Quercus
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    3 May 2019 in reply to Billyc

    Hi Billy C,

    I wanted to reply separately to what you wrote because it hits so close to home. Ok my kids are younger and I'm a Mum but the fear is the same.

    It really does feel scary when we consider how different our experiences were compared to now. Our kids grow up with technology so they can tend to feel safer with it. But as Quirky said the permanance of information online isn't considered sometimes. One thing I learnt from speaking to my friend's teen was that her school covers online bullying thoroughly but absolutely nothing about being sexually safe online. I wonder if schools teach this or if this is for us as parents to step up to.

    Also you mentioned leaving sex ed to Mum because you have daughters which I'mcurious about because it is the opposite to what we had considered. What made you decide this? Maybe my idea is crap after all.

    In therapy my psychiatrist asked about my Dad especially his involvement in teenage years. When I asked why it mattered he said fathers can have a huge impact on their daughter's self esteem and confidence as a woman. I think he is right. As their Dad you have the opportunity to teach your girls how you expect men to treat women. This area was one I knew nothing about except for the theory of consent until the day my Grandfather got peeved at how an ex spoke to me, took me aside and said that if someone I loved was rude and sarcastic to me it was not ok and eventually in private would get worse. It was the only time anyone said aloud they didn't like what he was doing. He was abusive.

    I suppose my point is I see your role as a parent as equally as important.

    Thank you for taking the time to write. I appreciate it a lot.

  10. Billyc
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    26 posts
    3 May 2019 in reply to Quercus

    Hi Quercus,

    firstly, to put it into context, their mum and I are separated. I believe that plays a role here.

    To answer your questions,

    Im only assuming the conversation will occur with their Mum. It’s kind of how the dynamic works in both our relationships with the girls. Their Mum has a firm grip on what she wants for them, ie: where to go to school, who to Be friends with, what to wear, etc...I stopped fighting that fight for equal balance of power a long time ago..

    In saying that, my children are very independent and inquisitive little worms, and I feel we as parents have collectively given them free reign to be confident in raising questions as they feel they need too..

    The interesting thing is this,

    The elder one will definitely confide in her mum for these kinds of things there’s a Mum and daughter connection that allows that to occur, who am to say it should be any different, she has picked me for other roles and confidence building is one of them. she gets a big kick out of when I compliment her on her efforts in school, how she looks and how she achieves, so I guess you could call that a layer of schivallry maybe?

    And I guess that’s the expectation she will take with her as she embarks on the journey of “girl meets boy”.

    The younger is not shy to ask the big questions to both of us.

    We go camping and swimming and surfing together and we all take our wetsuits off at the same time while in the shower. Although that’s kind of stopped recently as the older one has started taking charge of the shower and general “naked “ stuff..

    don’t get me wrong, if they come to me for a chat I’ll sit down and do my best! We have a very honest and open relationship (so far) so they know they can come to me for anything.

    in summary, it’s horses for courses...

    I focus on respecting their differences to each other, and not try an umbrella rule that fits all..

    Tom cruise once said on an old Oprah Winfrey show that

    ”I want to teach my kids, to teach themselves” it’s corny I know, but it kind of stuck with me when I was young..

    sorry for waffling but it’s hard to answer these questions in a short paragraph..

    The other thing is, I didn’t grow up with a mum. She left us when I was 4, so I believe that has had its layer of effect on me and women.

    But to date I can proudly say that my relationship with my daughters is one thing my ex has “NOT” criticised me about.... so I must be doing something right in her eyes..

    theres

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  11. Billyc
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    26 posts
    3 May 2019 in reply to Billyc
    Quercus, hows your relationship with your Dad? And is their any substance behind your Psychologists questions?