What’s the feeling when your child asks a sex-related question? Do you get a knot in the stomach? If yes, don’t sweat it because most of us do.
Human sexuality is an amazing gift and nothing to be ashamed of. But is that what parents tell kids about sex? Mostly not. Why? Sometimes it’s about age-appropriateness, while other times, it’s the awkwardness that most parents aren’t ready to deal with.
Sex-positive parenting means allowing our children to grow, learn, enjoy and freely choose their sexual path and experiences.
It’s about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and offering proper parental guidance to give these little ones the sexual freedom they deserve.
What Sex-Positive Parents Do In a Nutshell
If you were raised in a conservative environment where conversations about sex were almost taboo, becoming a sex-positive parent may sound a bit far-fetched.
Not to worry, there’s hope. Gather the little courage you have to learn and do better. You don’t want to raise sexually clueless kids in this fast-paced world.
Sex-positive parents have a positive attitude toward sexuality and have no place for sex negativity. They guide, counsel, encourage, set free, and celebrate their children’s sexuality without overlooking bad behavior.
The main challenge that most American parents face is granting their children sexual freedom without being too permissive.
Molding your child’s sexual behavior requires a balance between self-learning and parental guidance.
The sex-positive movement has gained popularity over the past decade, with more parents allowing their kids to discover and enjoy their sexuality.
If you’re wondering where this is going, keep reading because a lot goes into parenting, and your approach to sexuality, makes a huge difference.
The Meat of Sex-Positive Parenting
You don’t just wake up one day and call yourself a sex-positive parent. This is a lifelong process that involves embracing and appreciating your sexuality and passing the same confidence to your children.
Below are the main aspects of sex positivity:
Does your child know who they are sexually? Have they owned an identity from which they live and express their lives?
Well, sex education in American school systems has made it easier for parents because most middle school kids have an idea of what sexuality is.
However, you still have a lot to do as a parent because sexual matters are intense. If sex positivity has finally got your attention, training your kids on the following issues will set them up for fulfilling lives:
Gender identity: By three years, the average kid can identify as a boy or a girl, which happens almost naturally. Teach your kids the basics of their identities and allow them to evolve and own their gender expressions.
Sexual orientation: This is still a touchy topic even with same-sex relationships gaining popularity and acceptance across America.
A sex-positive parent will educate their child and free them to find and be comfortable in their sexual orientation.
Sex roles: Society expects males and females to behave a certain way and perform specific roles. Some traditional people still have backward ideas about sex roles, but that shouldn’t be you. Children will thrive with fewer restrictions and more guidance.
Comprehensive sex education should include detailed sexual health training regardless of the child’s age.
What does your five-year-old know about their genital health? How about a contraceptive and STI conversation with your teenage daughter?
Sex-positive parenting normalizes sexual health discussions between parents and children. Isn’t that a great place to be? You bet.
While every parent wishes their kids would abstain from sex till marriage, we can no longer bury our heads in the sand and assume that teenage sex isn’t happening.
Safe sex education will save lives as many are dying from abortions and suffering from STIs.
Positive Body Image
This is one of the most recent trends that have transformed the way people, especially females, view their bodies.
Healthy sexuality begins with accepting and appreciating every aspect of our bodies. With Social Media taking over the world, body positivity has never been more necessary.
Most girls now subscribe to unhealthy body image perspectives and idolize particular body sizes and shapes.
If, as a parent, you don’t teach your child to love their body as they are, society won’t. Let your girls admire themselves in the mirror and love every aspect of their femininity.
It’s okay for your teenage girl to accentuate her hips and chest if that makes her feel more feminine.
If her tummy isn’t as flat as she would like it, train her to love what she has so much that she’s willing to change it for the better. Remind her to be kind to herself while at it.
Self-love will allow your children to embrace physical affection from their sexual partners when they come of age.
Sexual enjoyment is two-way, and each partner should feel worthy of love and affection without allowing body image negativity to spoil the fun.
Let your child know they can seek advice from you if they feel confused or unsure about something.
Your role as a parent is to provide unconditional love and acceptance regardless of what your child chooses to do or not do. You can’t control everything, but you can help guide your child through life.
Contrary to what many people think, supportive parents, don’t just wink at every wrong move their children take.
It’s about providing a safe space for your kids to make mistakes and learn. Avail as many life tools as possible, and allow enough room for natural growth and sexual discoveries.
So, what do you do when your once little boy or girl makes terrible choices despite all the warnings and guidance? Simple; breathe in and out and let them learn through it.
The good news is, if you train your child from a young age, they’ll learn more life navigation skills and gain enough freedom to enjoy their sexuality.
The Don’ts of Sex-Positive Parenting
Does sex positivity make any sense to you? If you’d like to try out this parenting style, below are some mistakes to avoid:
The other day my 4-year-old son told me that a girl kissed him on the lips when they were playing. I almost jumped out of my skin, but it didn’t show, thankfully.
Then I remembered he’s only four, and instead of overthinking, I took the opportunity to educate him on why a hug was more age-appropriate.
The 21st-century children are growing up ridiculously fast. Thanks to the internet and Social Media, kids know more than they should but overreacting to issues only widens the already existing parent-child gap.
A sex-positive parent finds composure amidst the chaos and addresses issues objectively to educate the child and equip them to make better choices.
Shaming does little or nothing at all in correcting bad behavior. If anything, the offender may do worse to prove a point. If your teenage girl breaks her virginity during a friend’s birthday, calling her names and making her feel less than won’t bring her innocence back.
You need the grace to embrace and teach her that sex isn’t a casual act but a bond between two consenting adults.
Do you know what happens when you punish a child? They feel pain and resentment for a while and may as well scheme on how to repeat the mistake without getting caught. So what do sex-positive parents do? Discipline.
If your daughter sends her nude pictures to her boyfriend, she probably doesn’t know the damage it can cause if they leaked to the internet.
Or that she’s treating her body as a sexual object and not the amazing gift it is. You can confiscate her phone for a few days as you agree on the rules of engagement and teach her better ways to make her boyfriend feel special.
Every time my 6-year-old tries to tell me something and I ignore them, it takes something out of their confidence.
If you constantly disregard your child’s sexual concerns and dilemmas, with time, they start seeking information elsewhere, and it’s not guaranteed they’ll find the right help.
The child may even think their sexuality isn’t important, so they shelve it and decide to deal with things as they come.
Sex-positive parenting requires that you be present to counsel and guide your child every step of the way.
Sex positivity has nothing to do with ignoring and encouraging sexual misbehavior. It’s about embracing and celebrating human sexuality freely and wholly. Sex-positive parents should aim at raising sexually aware children who love and enjoy their bodies healthily.