12 August 2012

social commentary Sunday . . . 'sex explosion - like it's new or something'

Greetings all,
Sex sells, we get it!!  Sex is plastered all over advertising, media, lyrics & television shows, for our children to see & ask wonderful peak hour traffic questions like "do you want longer lasting sex too, Mum??" as you pass those erectile dysfunction billboards.  Um, why are they Ok??  Surely if you were suffering from penile flaccidity, you'd go home & google help, not need a giant public announcement to prompt you??  I explain the science to my children, then the old "this is not for discussion outside the family" so they don't repeat it for Show&Tell with their class.  I posted on this topic 2 years ago here, now i have a teenager & trust me folks, there is always some misinformed child in the playground with older siblings talking about sex, incorrectly, i'd just rather my children know the facts!!  I also believe sex education is VERY different to sexual relationship information.  Not sure if sex reference laws have been relaxed in the media, but everyone seems to be carrying on like sex is a new fad!!       
Olympic Poster of the Day: Paris France 1924.
Olympic Message: celebrate athletes in their finest physical form, 1920's muscle-porn-style.

I've just spent the last week flat on my back with a cold, unable to kiss & breath at the same time, it's been a below-average-sex-week in our boudoir.  This morning i leapt out from under the covers giggling to my husband "get your naked penis away from me" only to find our middle daughter standing at the end of our bed saying "that was awkward, next time i'll knock!!"  I was gasping for air in a coughing fit, fully pyjama'ed.  Anyway, i've been watching the evening Olympics suffering the commentary on channel 9 (FYI Channel 9 Olympics Coverage Sucks on Facebook has 28000 'likes'.)  Many low points . . .  including a male commentator joking that our female swimmers were reading 50 Shades of Grey to help them sleep.  Female swimmers are mostly teenagers - is this where they are getting sexual relationship information from??  Sexual innuendo during swimming commentary is repulsive.  The only juices that book evokes . . . is my vomit reflex & it doesn't need any more publicity, especially not to children watching Olympic swimming.  A book with questionable ethics, sexual practises, weak female characters & men with the power??      
I've been catching up on blog reading & have noticed plenty of anti 50 Shades of Grey book reviews & bloggers wishing they could get their wasted-reading-hours back.  I had a hunch the book would suck & avoided it . . . one woman's erotic literature is very unlikely to be mine.  Accidental Housewife wrote a fabulously damning review here.  While i'm no prude, when you marry your teen love, your list of sexual partners is low, my children have already asked me how many people i've had sex with & how many dates i went on with Daddy before i slept with him . . . prompted by some subconscious message in the universe i can't control.  When my first born was 2 she asked HOW did those twins get in my belly, so i knew i was going to have to approach sex talk with my children, honestly & openly.  FYI i did not explain penetrative sex to a toddler, instead the sperm & egg version, which she thought sounded like cooking, excellent!!  I figure, sex is fun, it's how we made our children, it shouldn't be a taboo, mysterious OR naughty topic when they ask about it.  Gawd, if you want to encourage promiscuity - miseducate your daughters about sex so they find out the hard way - which rarely benefits them or their reputation.
This leads me to boys & porn.  Seriously parents, talk about sex & relationships to your sons, do you really want them learning how to treat a girl from porn movies??  I honestly believe, as my daughters get older, i'll be doing damage control & telling them what is not Ok, you can say NO; as opposed to all the fun, good, healthy things about sex.  Children need real accounts of sexual relationships - from an adult they respect - not a book, your church, their peers or porn media.  My eldest asked me a sex related question the other day & i answered the same way i would any intelligent person, then asked her if she understood & if it was awkward.  She replied "Mum, you're so open, there are no awkward moments with you!!"  I'd rather her hear it from me than misinformed peers, or both, so she can form her own balanced opinion.               
I'm done with prime time shows like How I Met Your Mother & The Big Bang Theory as they are so over-the-top saturated with sex & how-to-bag-a-girl . . . the message it's sending the big ears on our little children is all wrong.  Especially our daughters!!  Ok so it's a balance/ warning & conversation starter, i actually appreciate that my children are comfortable enough to ask what some thinly veiled innuendo means - often i respond with "it's about sex, not appropriate for your age" & by not making a fuss, they don't either.  
Are you comfortable about discussing sex with your own children??  What do you say when "football players have group sex with girl" comes up on the news, or the horror of pedophiles??  Clearly it's all very uninvited to our lives, but it's there & we need to cope with it & arm our children to make healthy positive choices.  Love Posie


Anonymous said...

It is like the TV ads for tampons and pads, do we really need them? I think every woman will know what they need and it sure gets me going every time I see an ad.
I actually just read 50 shades of grey and must say hated the book and to me it is just porn in a book and I am worried for young girls to read thinking that that is what is normal and expected... Hm great subject and one that it often swept under the carpet, it is crucial to talk to your kids as I think the more they are informed the safer they are

Unknown said...

Our son was 4 when Amelie was born so I answered his questions in an open yet age appropriate way. We no longer watch the news as I don't like him to hear words like murder just yet. I think we will be reasonably open with them both and just arm them with as much info as you can as is appropriate for their level.

Sally said...

Another brilliant post Ms. Posie :)
No shame about sex here. It's natural, it is a part of life and yes the media and our society in general has a very uneasy & very exploitative relationship with it. Like you I want my children to have a well developed idea of what a healthy sexual relationship is and know that that information will come from me and my partner. I too am concerned about the messages both boys and girls get from pornography and as for 50 Shades of Grey... blah blah - it's like it is the first book of erotica ever written... and if I did have the time to read erotica/fantasy I'd prefer something that in terms of feminist values belongs in this century/millenium!

Anonymous said...

Hit the nail on the head with this one Posie....we think so alike its abit scary I could have written those words...lol
Up front and honest about sex and the nasty side of footballers and pedophiles..., if the kids ask then I will tell them....it is hard though as I feel my 9 yr old has been exposed to way more than she needs at her age due to the fact she has older siblings...But I feel she will probably be better able to handle what comes her way in the future. I grew up in a house where sex wasnt discussed....so naive for sooo long. xx

Mother Down Under said...

It sounds like you have such an amazing relationship with your children!

Even though Baby C is only fifteen moths old I already worry that he gets the correct messages and grows up to have healthy relationships and to treat women with respect.

And I am passing on 50 Shades of Grey too...and I am tired of hearing about it!

ally said...

Clearly we forgot to reinforce the "this is just for our house " message to our four year old who went to child care and explained to everyone in very medical terms (wonder why??!!) just exactly where from and how her baby brother was born!!!
I hope I can be as open and frank as you

Sim said...

50 Shades of What? I swear I had been living under a rock because I had not even heard about that book until my husband jokingly asked if I wanted to read it - he then had to explain the whole hoo haa surrounding it to me. Let's just say I had no interest in going there. I love this post Posie. It makes me realise that I need to start thinking about the words that I want to share with my little tribe so they have a realistic understanding. I just hope that they will know they can ask me anything and I will answer as honestly as I possibly can. The last thing I want is for them to be too embarrassed or scared to ask.

Sophie Slim said...

Firstly, heeeheeeheee that your daughter was there! And such a brash comment!

Second, PLEASE! Lets talk about this.

Did you know most first world boys are discovering sex by age 9 - whether through porn on the internet or their friends. By the time most parents get around to mentioning it (around 13 or 14 usually) its far too late. They already see a womens body at a tool, toy, something lesser than, and sex as an object rather than relationship.


Sindy said...

I remember sparking the talk in my family in the car (as always) when I was 3 (as the youngest of 3 as well). My mother has never forgotten it either! We had a really useful, very scientific book with diagrams also for easy reference for questions we didn't want to ask. As for Fifty Shades of Grey - I had never heard of it before I had to read it for my book club, and leaving aside the non-erotic descriptions and terrible stereotypes, it was also very poorly written - incorrect grammar, and every character "murmurs", they never speak/retort/say/respond/shout etc etc. Just murmur... Hated those books.

The Accidental Housewife said...

Thanks for the shout out, Posie! I'm chuffed :)

We've reached the point with Miss 3 where she knows that she came from a seed Daddy put in my tummy, but I'm kind of glad she hasn't questioned the mechanics of it yet... at this stage it would probably fascinate her, at lead to many shopping centre announcements.

I hope to be as open as you are with your children, Mum never had a "birds and bees" chat with me, just supplied heaps of literature, and that technical understanding of course didn't come with any actual relationship advice. It took a while to figure it out on my own!

Brenda @ 13 Acres said...

Common Sense approach to sex...great post as usual Jennie! My kids ask often how they grew in my tummy...my information starts out general and as they are getting older, I'm giving them more and more specifics...nothing too graphic but just what they can cope with. Your advice will be great to remember when mine get older. I hope my kids have no awkwardness around me and my husband about sex stuff. As for the link to the Accidental Wife's review on 50 shades...gee's it's getting really nasty out there. I've read the books. They are not my favourite, but I read them and because they are fiction, i could take from it what I wanted. Having the psych background made me more interested in the trauma experienced by the main male character. I agree it's not greatly written and gets a little frustrating at times, but it is a successful book. I do hope people just aren't damning it for the sake of it (you know..tall poppy syndrome and all). Sometimes I think if you can't say something nice it's better not to say anything at all. Of all the books I've started, not liked and never finished, well I don't really harp on about them. But i guess that's what you get when a book gets so much media attention! I'm more opposed to all the crap reality shows on TV nowadays. And yes, all those sexual comments during the olympics! Eddie was going on for ages how this runner from the US was a virgin....who gives a crap Eddie!!! Lovely coming to visit you as always Jen,

Simoney said...

I'm with you on the 50 shades of grey thing - just doesn't sound like my idea of an enjoyable read, from what I've heard which is TOO MUCH ALREADY :)

I think it's interesting how our ideas about when/how we'll explain sex in all its facets to our kids gets sidetracked as they get older and the outside world muscles in.

I like the sound of your no-nonsense approach, so your kids can come to YOU for info, without embarrassment. My eldest (son) is nearly ten; he was kindly informed about the mechanics by a kid in his class at age 7 who has older (teenage) siblings and i was less than pleased. We now emphasise to him that sex is special and not a game and that rudeness is not cool, and respecting yourself and others is hugely important. i.e. sex is not for making silly jokes about or playing rude games with. it's for grownups and its private and special.

When he turns ten at the end of the year, he's going on a Big Weekend adventure with his dad, for male bonding and The Talk, before we get into the puberty years, so he can enter the next stage of growing up fully informed and knowing how to respect himself and others (i.e. girls/women).
Ahhh its a minefield. i just hope we can negotiate it a little better than my parents (or hubby's) did!