May 242011

sexy plantWe made a trip into town to see Susie Bright talk about sex positive parenting Sunday night. Melanie and Harold and I went because our family values both sex and good parenting. Sexuality is an important aspect of everyone’s lives and we want our children to have a sexuality that is as healthy as the rest of them. We also want to keep our own sex lives going rather than letting our identities as parents subsume our adult pleasures. We want to find a balance that’s good for everybody.

The class gave me a lot to think about, but mostly was affirming that we do a fabulous job as sex positive parents. Like the way that we create space for each couple to have time alone with each other – each week we have child-free date time set aside. This is hugely important and worth the hassle and expense. It’s not even necessarily about sex. It’s about having fun together as a couple and prioritizing the relationship.

We also try to make sure that everyone has some alone time, even the children. At this point our 14-year-old especially needs time to herself. The adults have a harder time taking time for themselves, but it’s so important. I don’t think Harold hardly ever masturbates any more because he just doesn’t have enough alone time. I have one evening a week alone and that’s time that I enjoy. I do tend to masturbate, but I also do things like read or dream or watch movies or write or just plain space off. It’s time for me to be me. Sometimes it’s hard for me to be alone because I’m not used to it, but I’m coming to treasure it.

Another thing we do well with our children is to talk to them. We talk about everything – art, literature, world events, mathematics, drugs, school, their friends, and anything they’re interested in. Including sex. Susie pointed out that you can’t help talking about sex if you talk about everything. It’s true. Our children feel very comfortable talking to us about sex or anything. I like that they bring me their concerns.

The last thing that Susie mentioned is not to hit your kids. This seems obvious to me. But when I thought about it, parents who are abusive to their children are creating a relationship in which children are unable to form a healthy attachment. This carries forward to their adult relationships. I can say from experience that it causes all kinds of problems. So yes, we are aware of the dangers of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and we protect our children.

We talked in class about what things our parents did well around sex that we would like to continue to do with our own children. And then what they did that was awful and we are determined not to pass down to our children. It’s very emotional to think about. So much of our sex culture is taken from our parents when we were young. Think about it. Think about what you would pass on and what you refuse to do the way your parents did.

sexy plantUltimately I am pleased at how well we do by our children around sex. We’re careful not to over-share about our sex lives, because they don’t actually want to know, but we are openly affectionate with each other in front of them. I think that even if we didn’t ever talk to them about sex, it would be enough for them to see us be openly in love with each other. All of the hows and whats of sex are just details. I want my babies to know in their souls that sex is about connection.

Our larger culture is slowly changing. More people are thinking about how to parent in a sex-positive manner. Already things are more open than they were a couple generations back. Join us, it doesn’t take much: respect, privacy, open communication, and no abuse. Be a sex positive parent!

  • Beyondshades

    Good article. I didn’t have the greatest of relationships with my parents, and the one thing they didn’t ever talk to me about was sex; though I still absorbed their attitudes towards it. The notion of sex just made them so unbelievably uncomfortable. They didn’t want to know anything about it in regards to me. This one area of my life that I had guarded so closely (they even thought I was gay for a long time), that when I finally did leave my parents, it became the one area I could express myself without reservation or bitterness. It was just me and another (and/or more) being truly alive and in the moment; sharing unbridled joy and passion.

    I’ve been around your family a fair bit and I am truly impressed at the way you’re raising your kids, even with all the issues you face. You’re real people and thoughtful, not just playing roles and going through motions as I see so many others do. I believe this will make a big positive impact on the rest of your children’s lives.