There are Birds. There are Bees. And then there are discussions about the birds and the bees. And some parents (and children) DREAD this discussion. And some parents never have this discussion with their children. And that is a tragedy...
Pop Culture. Magazines. Advertisements. Commercials. TV shows. Movies. YouTube. Children are being bombarded with sexual messages. How to look. How to please. And how to do so with instant gratification.
It is time we take back our right to parent. Our right to embed values and meaningfulness into one aspect of our children that has been exploited by cultural media.
It is important to talk about. It is imperative to talk about. Parents need to discuss this intimate and complex and seemingly awkward conversation with their children. Because if you don't, pop culture will, and probably already has a thousand times over.
Sexuality is powerful and vulnerable all at the same time. Sex is more than an act. It is an exchange of energy; of physical and psychological and spiritual energy. Sex is an opening of oneself in a deep and intimate way.
Most parents who chose to talk with their children discuss the biology of sex. The anatomy. The physiology. The explanation of reproduction. Important information, indeed.
The next conversation might tackle the image and power of sexuality. What does it mean to be sexy? How should one dress? Why do some women bare it all? What energy does that put out there. What is she trying to say? Why do some women show only a little? Leave some to the imagination. What energy does that put out there? What is she trying to say?
And then bring it back to your child. Who are they? What do they want to say about themselves? How much do they want to give away? How much do they want to keep intimate and meaningful?
And what about sexual ethics? What does it mean to be a good person and a sexual person?
Old dogma separates the two and forces a person to be classified as one or the other; considering it mutually exclusive to be both a good person and a sexual person. This can be extremely damaging to the individual when they do become sexually active. A person may react by hiding their sexuality. Expressing it in suppressed and/or ashamed ways. It is important to remember that a person can be a good and virtuous person AND be honorable and ethical in their sexuality.
When is it okay to have sex?
The most common answer to this question is when someone is in love. So talk with your child. What does it mean to be in love? When do you know you are in love? How do you know when someone loves you? How do you treat, honor, and respect someone you love? How should they treat, honor, and respect you? Love is not lust. Love is not hormones and desire. Love is deep, steadfast, kind. Discuss this with your child. It may be the most important discussion you may ever have.
When an individual goes through puberty, there are new hormones and endorphins flowing through his or her body. The sexual energy that is created can be overwhelming at times. If we can understand how to direct and control this energy, we can understand how to direct and control our desire and create conscious, ethical sexuality.
We teach our children the proper tools to understand their own energy when we encourage them to pause, reflect, and assess who they are. Sexuality does not have to be released as sexual tension or instant gratification. Your children will indirectly (or more blatantly) learn this way of expression through pop culture and media. There can be a way to control and harness this energy in a productive and powerful way.
A (progressive) rabbi was speaking to a group of teenagers about the topic of sexuality. He stated to them that sex has to be a meaningful act. He said a person needs ‘ginokso’. Ginosko is a greek word that means to know; to reveal oneself to another. To have another reveal themselves to you. To do this, the rabbi said, you have to know yourself enough to know what you are sharing. What are you giving away? If you lose one aspect of yourself you are not whole. Therefore, you are not revealing or cherishing your whole self.
Here is the bottom line, your children will be making these decisions whether you are aware of them or not. So, please, help make your children conscious of their own power, of their own sexual energy. Teach them how to recognize it. Teach them what it means. Teach them how to express it in a way that honors themselves. That honors their most intimate creative power.