Sexting and Sex, Having the Talk

Sexting and Sex, Having the Talk

I remember having the talk, it was awkward and I hated every minute of it.  A long sigh with eyes rolling, "Mom, I know all about it...we're good." When I think back, she did a pretty good job...we had the talk and she was open.

My Mom told me about her talk, and her Mom told her of the lack of her own talk; her mother started crying when she got her period and ran out of the room screeching, "My baby is all grown up."

You would think the infamous "talk" would get easier for parents, it hasn't. Our kids are even more informed...or so we think. But the question is do they know about the emotions or are they just being educated by social media, pop culture, porn, the internet and their friends with a few technical issues discussed by their school? 

In a survey done in 2012 of over 4000 young people, most said they wished they had more information, especially from Mom or Dad, on sex and especially about relationships and the emotions of sex. (Peggy Orenstein, Girls and Sex)

With sexting, porn, Instagram, snap chat and the pop culture of today you need to talk to them more than ever, boys and girls alike.

How should you do this? It's awkward, I know, but here are a few pointers.

Number one: Start by listening to their cues 

Do they ask a question while watching a movie? If yes, put it on pause and discuss it, there in front of everyone. Talk about your feelings and the emotions involved of whatever you're watching and then...take a deep breath and listen to them; really listen without judging their views.

Two: Let your teen know you are open to talking about sex and the whole internet culture around it

Tell them that they can come and talk to you about what they are seeing and observing; that you'll take time. Here is the trick...when they come, put your phone, your computer, your work away and again, listen first.  

Three: Find moments to connect

One of our families big moments to connect is mealtimes. I will discuss anything at the table, and the kids know it. One of my daughters asked her Grandpa, "I learned in science most boys masturbate Grandpa, have you ever done it?" I was so proud she asked, and I was even more thrilled that he answered, "Why yes, I have." 

I like to go and sit on my kid's beds, tuck them in and talk. I bake cookies and hang out while they eat them. We also have a no phone policy in the car, so that is always a good option to get a conversation flowing.

I even share newspaper articles or basic gossip I've heard, asking them for their opinion and input. That is the trick...I name it as gossip if it is and I ask them what they think? Their opinion. I care what they think! Sometimes they are harsh, sometimes they get involved, but it sparks into an entirely different conversation every time. 

Four: Don't just tell them not to. It takes more than that.

Whatever your beliefs are about sexual relations, you need to talk about it.  I come from a Mormon background; sex is not had until you get married how I was raised. Whatever your beliefs are, you still need to talk. Sex is everywhere online, you cannot hide from it, which means they need more than ever to have conversations (not the one-time awkward one but rather multiple ones). 

There is plenty to talk about. Here are some ideas for conversation starters: the #metoo movement, sexual harassment in the workplace or at school, their online image, sharing images, ethics and the internet, the emotions of falling in love, communication within relationships, mistakes, and of course don't forget pleasure and this goes for girls and boys alike. 

Most importantly they need to feel safe with you; you need to facilitate this feeling and these conversations.

–Allison Ochs, Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife

Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash