Sexuality is the hot topic in our house these days–both for my own 20 year old marriage–and for my teen. Despite our gender differences (ie. he’s a boy, I’m not) my 14 year old seems willing to hear me out when it comes to this particular topic.
Sure, he’ll make a display of disdain–walking away–but he always winds back around to hear more. Sometimes he even engages so far as to ask a follow up question or offer his own fledgling opinion.
For my part, I either speak frankly or make a dramatic effort to be stereotypically parental. For example, I often say, “Don’t worry about dating. You’re not allowed to date until your 18.” In this way, I keep him playfully amused and attentive to whatever else absurd (or vital) I may offer.
Every now and then, I get preachy with a half-hour disertation on a topic like pornography. For that particular one, I use the help of a great article I found posted on the the Northampton (MA) No Porn Site.
The extended conversation on the topic of porn is “painful” enough that I hope it helps him resist that slippery slope of dehumanizing sexuality. (I offer “the talk” to each of his friends as well.)
Occasionally, I’ll bring a catchy teen info. book home from the library, which he’ll refuse with rolling eyes, but then later pick up to read– cover to cover: like the the teenage guy’s survival guide–the real deal on girls, growing up, and other guy stuff by Jeremy Daldry.
The Teenage Survival Guide is funny, cartoonish and even random enough to engage a 14 year old guy; but this read may be a little more bold than some moms can tolerate. (I was surprised to find it on a ban list.)
I know that my son is thinking about all these things, and more significantly– talking about them with his friends–so I want to make sure that he hears other voices too–even explicitly candid ones.
If nothing else, explicit sexuality provides an engaging platform for more conversation between us, like the movie JUNO did, as it comically explored teen pregnancy.
For myself, I’m reading a provocative book by Margot Anand, The Art of Sexual Ecstasy. It’s been on our marriage shelf for years but I’ve avoided any reads directly addressing the act of sex. I’ve always found that kind of thing a little brash– and unnecessary.
And yet, my husband and I are at a stage in our marriage where we want more–not necessarily more sex–and not better sex (20+ years makes for great loving)–but more… intimacy.
A large part of my youth was spent either romanticizing or recreationalizing sex. Then there was procreation. Now I want celebration– of body, mind– AND soul!
Anand’s book addresses the full expression of sexuality— and that’s something I’d like to pass onto my son while I scramble to figure it out for myself. (Plus Margot is French– and they definitely know how to live life’s pleasures more fully than some of us more uptight Americans.)
I’ve been able to share some of the basic (non-sexual) intimacy exercises from Margot’s book with my 14 year old– in the hope that he’ll be better prepared to experience the fullness of his own sexuality– when he’s about 25 🙂