Parents and ‘The Talk’
It all starts when dads smartly reach for the television remote as soon as Cameron Diaz starts kissing Tom Cruise passionately while the entire family is enjoying movie night on the couch. The moment her lips wrap around Tom’s, your dad’s fingers wrap around and clutch the remote quickly as he switches the channel to something that’s more appropriate for the family to watch together.
Unfortunately, by then the awkwardness has already been stilted into your 12-year-old mind. Neither were you able to acknowledge the on-screen hotness that you deserved to enjoy nor will it ever undo the complicated relationship with sex and your family that you are about to endure.
Having The Talk
Sex as a topic of conversation carries an aura of discomfort that you’d expect adults to work their way around. And some of them do, yes. But most of them shun it like it was never their business – which is pretty unfair and ironic on multiple levels.
While sex education in schools is essential, as cliche as it may sound, all kinds of education really do start at home. Most girls around the age of 12-13 do not even know what a period is until they suddenly have one in school. That traumatizing moment when you’ve got blood coming out of places you don’t even understand, you’d really wish your mother had explained that senseless Whisper Ultra advertisement to you that would keep interrupting your television shows.
A lot of this awkwardness around the topic is entrenched in us because of our overall societal disconnect with the concept itself. I personally still find it weird imagining my mother having to explain sex to me. But porn and online scavenging isn’t always the best teacher either and most of us have learned that the hard way.
Why Do Parents Run From It?
From a parent’s point of view, we get that too. It’s hard to think of your child as a sexual being, let alone encourage them to be one. The conversation is also uncomfortable because one may feel that the world their child is growing up in is much different than theirs. Moreover, your parents probably didn’t have positive role models who could teach them about sex. They don’t know how to talk to you because they probably also never talked to anyone.
While that flaw is excusable, it points to a larger problem. As parents, one might even feel like they do not have all the answers to the kinds of questions kids might be asking. Sometimes, parents are worried that by talking about it, they’ll probably let loose some kind of ominous hormones that will run a rampage and their child will turn into a sexual beast of some sort.
While we can validate these concerns, they are still not a reason to get away with having ‘The Talk’. What all these reasons have in common is the lack of confidence in parents themselves with regards to sex and understanding the importance of it. They have a fairly good idea about the concept in general. But they are still coming to terms with the normalcy of it, talking about it, and raising the right questions. A lot of times, the children themselves scream ‘Ew no! Stop it mom!’ and bolt to the next room. So, while our parents hardly know the right thing to say, the same stigma has ruined the capacity of children to be receptive too.
Remember, that talking about sex with a responsible adult is not just about discussing sex as an activity. It also teaches you more so about relationships and how to navigate the same. We should try to meet our parents halfway. While it is disappointing that they never bring it up themselves, it is only because they were conditioned in a society that was even more stringent about these things than we are today. Cut them some slack and bring up the conversation yourself if you can.
There is no greater intelligence with regards to sex than having a mature person you can always fall back on when you’re confused. Seeing a therapist or having coffee with your mom – is totally up to you.
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