Chronicle of a mother: how to talk about sex with our children without feeling stupid?

Chronicle of a mother: how to talk about sex with our children without feeling stupid?
Chronicle of a mother: how to talk about sex with our children without feeling stupid?

Being able to talk about everything, even what bothers us? I try to talk about sexuality with my teenagers and it’s not always easy.

This post is taken from the weekly newsletter “Le Balagan” by our editor-in-chief Candice Satara. Candice is the mother of four boys ages 2 to 12. To receive it you can sign up for free here.

It was a fairly ordinary Sunday evening. As I struggled to cook a decent meal, my 12-year-old son burst into the kitchen, giggling. “Ah ah, L., he has a note for you to sign, it’s too embarrassing…“. The other returned, chuckling himself, as he handed me the notebook. The word in question. “Dear parents, when we return from spring break, we will work in science on ‘Describing and Identifying’ body changes during puberty, in accordance with the CM2 2020 programs. »So that’s what made my two boys laugh nervously ? Puberty. Not even sexuality, puberty. I, with my usual finesse, immediately challenged them on what was bothering them while they drained the pasta. And I started with the changes of the body, the sexual organs, I think my demonstration had just begun that they had already gone to their room.

So is puberty a taboo?

How can I help them deal with them calmly? bodily changes Who is watching them? For my part, in my family the topic of puberty/sexuality was rarely discussed, perhaps due to a generational issue. My first period in fifth grade brought terrible shame to me. I remember wanting to hide this terrible event from my mother – per month for that month – then I changed my mind given the complexity of the issue. On contraception, good reflexes, I received no information. One day my mother casually said to me: “Maybe you should take the pill”I answered “OK “. I must have been about 18, I don’t know, I wasn’t very young.

We are in the worst position to talk about sex

But let’s get back to my children. I was able to read Professor Israel Nisand’s book Talk about sex. How to inform our teenagers (Grasset) recently published. And the obstetrician-gynecologist sheds very interesting light on these questions. For twenty-five years he has worked with university students to answer all their questions. What does it tell us? First let’s reassure ourselves. It’s normal not to know how to approach the topic of sexuality, and it is even more normal to be kicked by the teenager. I’m the guy who wears big shoes: “Your body will change, your penis will grow and you will discover that it can give pleasure » I feel ridiculous and intrusive, it seems fake.

“Parents are always overwhelmed when adolescence arrives, writes the professor. They are not the ones who can discuss the topic of sexuality with their children. For a simple reason: when we talk about sex to our children, we more or less lift the veil on our sexuality and if there is one thing children don’t want to hear it’s this. “In his opinion, It’s not up to us parents to go into details.

It should be the school's job to provide this reliable, reassuring and enlightening information. But the problem is that this has no consequences on the national education side. The 2002 law on information on emotional and sexual life has never been implemented and no resources have been allocated to this quickly buried project. The three hours of annual courses, which require staff trained for this type of intervention, often end up forgotten. Result, France is significantly behind in terms of sex education. What is currently happening on a political level does not bode well.

Porn educates our children about sexuality

“In France our young people are ignorant” regrets the specialist. Ignorant, but formatted by pornography. Sometimes I look at my two children and wonder if they have ever seen a porn film. If they were in the statistics, the answer would be yes. But I can't believe it, "They are children." Am I naive? I'm sure some of you are saying the same thing, “They are not interested in these topics at all, they are not interested! » I've already tried to talk to them about it, probably embarrassingly, but at least I tell myself that I did it and I'll do it again.

I explain that these videos transmit false ideas about sexualityand can lead to anxiety complexes regarding physical performance, penis size, etc. Like drugs, it can be addictive. And then, I'm talking about the image of women which is proven and does not correspond to reality, that a woman does not like to be humiliated, that this industry promotes violence and contempt for women. In fact, when we are mother of four boysin a society still marked by patriarchy and crossed #Me too, we tell ourselves that we have a responsibility. And let this responsibility pass consent education.

I quote the professor. “The third part is saying itWhen it comes to sexuality, there are no standards. Or rather, that everything is normal. A first report at 2pm? Normal. A relationship with multiple people? Normal. No sex before 22? Normal. A report in three minutes? Normal. The only prohibition, the only obstacle, is to force the other or to agree to do something you don't want to do. Teaching consent is one of my missions. I tell them, time and time again, that a woman saying no doesn't mean yes. Anyone who doesn't feel it or who believes that their partner can be forced to do what he doesn't want will sooner or later be condemned. »

The question of homosexuality, homophobia

There is one last point that I have already discussed with my children and which is fundamental for me, the issue of homosexuality, homophobia. All teenagers ask questions about their sexual identity. Again, I don't know if they'll hear me, but I'm trying. I explain that we can love someone of the same sex, someone of the opposite sex, or both, and that is how it is, we don't choose. How does the specialist deal with this subject with students? “The first thing I tell them is this we come from a childhood where we were bisexual in the first two years of our life, he writes. In the first year the child does not know that there are two different sexes. He accepts hugs from one of his parents without questioning the gender of the person giving them to him. (…) I repeat to them that sexuality is organized slowly, over the course of life, and that initially we are all interested in both sexes. » Apparently, this intervention provokes strong reactions among young people. I wonder how mine would react, but I think it's a good introduction.

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