This last weekend my little brother* hijacked a day. It was unplanned and on par with his visits, we had a lot of fun shopping and BSing. In a lot of ways we’ve both grown up over the last year, but in different ways. I don’t talk about family or name names, so the juicy bits aren’t up for discussion, but I’m always an open book. Sometimes I share too much – so sue me!
After high school and the following years my life was very restrained. I’d attended a Christian college and had a lot of my creativity and zest squeezed out of my life thanks to the weight of guilt I was told I should feel. Sex, dating, even being attracted to a person were all grounds to feel guilty about. Heck, if you hugged or kissed for too long you could get $250 fine. The measures the school went to control people were extreme, but at the time I didn’t notice it because prior to attending college my parents discussed the matter of sex with me a grand total of once. And then it was to shove a picture book at me that was intended for medical students.
Fast forward to yesterday, I don’t know how or why, but the topic of sex was broached. I think I almost gave my little brother a heart attack. A reoccurring phrase he uttered was, “I wouldn’t think you would know about that.”
My point today, dear reader, is that somewhere along the way we’ve forgotten to educate our children about sex, leaving it to mainstream media to explain what is sexy or appealing. We allow our religious institutions to make us feel guilty about being aroused, much less the act of sex alone. There are some things that a child shouldn’t be taught, but parents who cannot discuss even the basics hurt their children more than they protect them.
For me, I spent several years uncomfortable with the idea of discussing sex – and then it happened in a college classroom with 54 boys and 6 girls and 1 teacher. Of course I was the only girl not sitting with the other girls because I was friends with all of the class clowns. It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life – and it didn’t need to be. As a freshman in college I learned more about sex than I had from my parents, or my rural school that refused to teach sex ed.
Learning about sex not only equips kids and then young adults to make better, wiser choices, it also helps them to be safe. If you don’t talk sex, chances are you aren’t talking STD’s, rape, abusive situations, or any other list of things.
I wish I had that open path of communication to my parents about difficult subjects, but I never did. I grew up finding the answers to my own questions and sometimes I had to learn the hard way. If I ever have kids, I don’t care how uncomfortable the conversation gets, I want to talk to them.
*Just a note, because this is probably going to sound confusing to some, my ‘little brother’ is not a blood relative, but we’ve been like siblings to each other for most of our lives. As far as I am concerned, he IS my family and I am his. We just have different parents.