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Old 07-16-2002, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As evolved in the discussion, "teens and oral sex," I am interested in discussion with parents of teens and preteens about sexuality. Specifically, I am looking for discussion that does not include prohibitive attitudes about premarital or adolescent sex. I hope to remain close enough to my daughter that she is comfortable confiding anything in us, and that we can be a resource for information on health, safety, pleasure and fulfillment. I'd like to hear from experienced parents about the fine line between openness and privacy with our growing children as they experiment with their sexuality.
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Old 07-17-2002, 01:27 PM
 
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interesting 18 reads and no replys. I'd like to discuss this too. But my dd isn't quite a teen yet, very soon though. The months are counting down.

How many parents really are ok with their kids having sex?? I hear alot of no premartial sex stuff. Or no sex before adulthood ect. How do we help our kids to know when they are ready for sex?
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Old 07-17-2002, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, anything with "sex" in the title is going to get a lot of reads compared to replies!

My daughter is 8 1/2 and there is certainly no judgement on premarital sex or monogamy in our home. However, I am concerned about how to help her become a confident, grounded adolescent who can make wise-for-her (qualifying that adolescents' decisions may not seem wise to others!) decisions about such things (as well as other thoughtful decisions!). I guess as her questions come up our expectations and values will become more clear, anad hopefully she will feel happy sharing with us.

I couldn't discuss sex with my folks at all, but I wonder if children whose parents are relaxed about their sexual activity feel comfortable discussing it, or at least feel comfortable helping themselves to whatever reading material is available in the home. I also don't want to scare her off by appearing to have a prurient interest in what is, after all, quite personal. I'm sure she will go through a stage of, "omigod, my parents are such pervs it's so embarrassing!"- later on understanding will develop- How do we handle this well?

Any readers with experience ready to take a stab at this?
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Old 07-17-2002, 01:59 PM
 
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I can say that when I was a teen I didn't want to discuss sex with my parents. But my mom was not trustworthy and had a big mouth. So IMO I think that the important thing is to have good communication with family members. If kids see their parents able to talk about things (not meaning sex here) then that is a good thing. I also think that kids need to feel safe that we aren't going to just freak out and yell instead of listen.

Love to hear some of the parents who've BTDT with accepting attitudes about sex.
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Old 07-18-2002, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, but there are plenty of times when having sex is not a major emotional event, and is lots of fun with a fun partner you *know* you won't marry or have to worry about things getting heavy with. A great friendship that's shared some wonderful sex is a lovely thing. In high school I had a great sexual relationship with my best friend, while he and I were dating others. We are close friends to this day ; we are both married and have kids. His wife would never consider nonmonogamy whereas it is a given in our house, just not always easy to manage. These are issues I want my child to understand as well.


Meanwhile I know plenty of women and men who make *terrible* decisions choosing spouses and/or sex partners. They might come from great, non abusive childhoods! I have a hard time understanding why they have these problems, and worry about my daughter. I feel very lucky for having had the happy history I have, since I didn't have the kind of relationship with my parents that included honest discussion about such things.

So the issues of teen sexuality and openness with parents also include, for me, the entire gamut of self-esteem, control, privacy, etc.
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Old 07-18-2002, 06:55 PM
 
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I was 12 when I first got to know some sexually active teens (at Girl Scout camp!) and that really got me thinking about what kind of experiences I wanted for myself and when. The fact that these slightly older girls were enjoying sex, and that they hadn't suffered a lot of social disapproval for it, was heartening to me. I was concerned tho that they seemed to think contraception reduced their risk of pregnancy and disease to zero, which I knew wasn't true. I also got the impression that one of the two girls was kind of using the guys, and sex, to feel "wild" and grown-up, and that it didn't really mean as much to her as I thought it should. I'd always thought of sex as something in my distant adult future; now I was realizing that the future was drawing closer and that within just a few years I would need to be prepared to make decisions about sex. (I didn't see it as inevitable that I WOULD have sex as a teenager, just that the opportunity would be there.) What would I do differently from those girls?

I think most young teens or preteens have an experience kind of like that: realizing that people their own age or a little older are having sex. The trick for parents is figuring out when that has happened and figuring out how to talk about it in a way that supports their kid's ability to make responsible decisions, instead of lecturing about how sex will ruin the kid's life. (Personal beliefs should be conveyed, of course, but with a tone of, "These are some important ideas to consider" rather than, "This is what you'd better do or else!!!") I guess my suggestions are to listen for anything the kid says about sex, to look for naturally occurring discussion starters (kid is reading a teen novel involving sex, you see a news article on "virginity pledges," you're working on a pro-choice or pro-life cause, etc.), and to remember that slumber parties and camp and similar events where teens spend the night together tend to be a forum for talk about sex.

After a couple of years of mulling it over, reading everything I could find on the subject, and discussing with some experienced relatives and friends, I decided that before I had any kind of sexual activity with another person, I should:
*like him--not just feel attracted to him, but really like him as a human being and be able to have a good conversation
*trust him not to laugh at me, hurt me on purpose, or treat me disrespectfully afterward
*feel comfortable with him seeing me naked
*be familiar with my own body and orgasmic response
*be confident about setting limits on how far we were going
*be prepared to learn what guys like instead of getting overwhelmed by uncertainty

and before I had intercourse, I should also:
*feel comfortable insisting that he provide and use condoms
*know what kind of contraception in addition to condoms (which are only 85% effective!) I would use and where I would get it
*have a plan for what to do if I got pregnant
*be able to talk with him about and agree on all of the above
*feel ready to accept whatever pain might be involved in losing my hymen, and feel that he would be sensitive about that.

There may have been a few more things on those lists, but those are the ones I can think of now. Notice there's no mention of romance or monogamy--those weren't important things to me then, and while I've since learned how wonderful it feels to be in love, I still don't think that's a mandatory prerequisite for sex...and I've never figured out what people think is so great about monogamy!

Actually, I think that for adults as well as teens, the ideal way to start a sexual relationship is with a solid friendship, not a dating relationship. (What I mean by "dating relationship" is the kind of thing where you barely know each other until one of you asks the other out, and then you share planned activities whose focus is on "romantic" behavior and entertainment--that's not a way to get to know each other on the kind of genuine, intimate level that makes for healthy sex.) Being friends motivates you to behave kindly in relation to sex and to either maintain the relationship or end it well, because if you're unkind or end it badly, you lose a friend. When you don't have that at stake, it's easier to cast someone aside for some trivial flaw and never see each other again and move on to other fish in the sea. So, maybe one of the best ways to help your child have healthy sexual relationships is to encourage friendships with both sexes!

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Old 07-18-2002, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ah, very interesting point about friendships with both sexes. My daughter has always had good friendships with little boys until moving to a new school this last year. It is interesting to me that she is less curious about sex than I was at her age (though I have always had friends of both sexes and never went through that boys-are-gross stage), and not at all giddy and ridiculous as a lot of girls her age already are about staying away from boys, sex-as-dirty, "curse" words, dressing beyond their years, britney spears and the like. (ick)

I once assumed a friend of mine could sleep in my bedroom when he stayed the night because it was so obvious to *me* that no sexual activity or thought thereof would ever take place! My mother was shocked and forbid it, having no idea that I had been having sex for years already; just not in our house. Oy.

Interesting thoughts also, Becca, on the respect that is innate when a good friendship becomes a sexual friendship as well.
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Old 07-19-2002, 12:44 AM
 
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It is so hard to tell people about how open I am with my 13 yo dd. We have talked about it all!!! She REALLY KNOWS> I was recently annoyed at work. Some 20 somethings were laughing at me and saying I only "think" I have an open and honest relationship. They wouldn't believe me. I know I am not wrong. My daughter shares so many personal stories and feelings with me. I know we will grow apart during her teen years(it is natural) but I think we are pretty firmly bonded. I have been so open about everything and I think it has worked well. I am sure that she will feel comfortable asking me about sex. She has already asked some hard questions. I think if I keep the lines of communication open and the trust, everything else will fall into place!! Good discussion!

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Old 07-19-2002, 10:19 AM
 
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Marg and NM I have had that experience as well!! My four oldest are very forthcoming..we talk about anything and everything!!
My oldest who is 24, felt sex for the first time (at 16) was so important and special he shared the news with me as soon as he got home. He has always been that way about any subject, even when he knew I may not agree, he knew we could talk it out with out judgements and a scene.
My 17 yr. old DD is a virgin. She says that she hasn't found anyone that deserves her yet!! Some people roll their eyes and say "You just THINK she's a virgin" They can't believe that my DD and I have remained close enough that we talk about this stuff a lot.
I have never had the attitude with my children that they should wait until marriage, although I have expressed my belief that it should be special and not treated casually. ( and treated responsibly)

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Old 08-05-2002, 11:05 AM
 
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N.M. quote:

"I believe it comes from the AP bond that was established so long ago, its just natural to talk like that to my kids."

Yes, N.M., You are sooooo right!! Other people just don't seem to get it!! The same way they didn't get it when I did all the attachment parenting stuff with her when she was a babe!! I am so happy to have people here who understand where I am coming from!!!!

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Old 08-08-2002, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"even when he knew I may not agree, he knew we could talk it out with out judgements and a scene. "

well, this is the question I have for those who believe in a total ban on premarital or adolescent sexual experminentation and experience: Are your children really going to come home and tell you, "Mom, I'm having sex," when they already know you disapprove? What else are teens going to do but tell you they agree with you and aren't doing it? If you have such strong views for everyone, not just yourself, where is the room for your children to discover they do not share your values or religious beliefs? Where is the assurance that you will respect them even when their decisions and fundamental values differ from yours?The member I quoted above has a clear vision, because she is not disapproving in any way. Even if all subjects are open and you are wholly approving of responsible sex in adolescence, your child may feel it is too private to share with you.

However, I don't want to argue with those who are religious or for other reasons disapprove of premarital sex about whether or not their children are honest with them. I'm afraid i suspect that anyone with inflexible judgements is not experiencing honesty on the level that I am seeking with my child(ren), because inflexible judgements and rules about marriage, sex and relationships are not what my family is looking for. So, if anyone is still interested in keeping close with their children *about their sex lives,* with the assumption that they exist, let's discuss. I want to hear from others for whom topics such as abortion, polyamory, BDSM, porn and such are not at all taboo in the home.
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Old 08-10-2002, 12:45 AM
 
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Hey Liz, I can't help you with this much because I am still a wannabe mama (ttc). I am involved in a polymorous relationship myself, and am very sex-positive, so I could relate to your questions. I agree that children need to have their own sex lives, and to make their own decisions. I really hope I am the kind of mom like the one above (peggy?) whose son ran home to share his first sexual experience with her. I want my kids to know that sex is about PLEASURE, not just reproduction or disease. As long as they understand how to avoid disease, I think kids should be encouraged to explore their sexuality freely. The hard part is that the adolescent peer group, being a product of the larger culture, is often similtaneously prudish and exploitive. For instance, there are many adolescent girls who don't have a clue about what gives THEM sexual pleasure, but they can be talked into giving blow jobs to cute boys. It is a balancing act to help kids to explore their sexuality while being true to their real desires. I began exploring sex at age 14, although I didn't have intercourse until 16 (with condom AND contraceptive sponge!). I don't regret any of the sex I had in high school, it was an important part of my growth and development. I am a child psychologist by profession. I can't tell you how many times I have had parents drag their child into therapy for fairly innocent explorations of a sexual nature. Little girls drawing penis pictures, boys showing pp's in the bathroom, girls touching eachother (horrors!). And of course, sexually mature teens exploring their sexuality. Parents have a right to be concerned, but many of them are entirely too phobic about their kids having sexual urges. Our culture is so screwed up sexually. On the one hand, sex is cheapened and for sale, on the other hand, our sexual expression is rigidly constrained: wait until heterosexual marriage, and then, nothing too weird. Anyway, wish I could help you more, but I do at least think I know what you are talking about. Good luck with raising your young ones to enjoy themselves.
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Old 08-10-2002, 06:03 AM
 
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I am avidly reading this thread! And I'm really heartened to hear that "Oh you won't think that when they're older" and "Oh they won't talk to you" type comments don't have to be true! I feel very strongly that I'm going to be open to my children about their sexuality when they are teenagers.

I hope to be able to teach them about safe sex, respecting themselves by making wise decisions on who they choose to have intimate relationships with, hopefully instilling the idea that sex should be something they do because *they* choose to, not because they are pressured into it by friends of their girl/boyfriends, ect,.

And I've always thought I would just have to settle for strained conversations about safe sex and having available condoms and birth control for them. I never thought that there might be hope for open discussions past this point that would be seriously listened to and not pawned off on "Mom doesn't know anything"...

Thanks for giving me hope!

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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Old 08-10-2002, 11:36 AM
 
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I agree with Nursing Mother, sex is beautiful and sacred. Coming from a different spiritual and moral perspectice, I don't think it is so only within the context of a committed relationship. I do believe that sexual expression can be healthy solely for fun and recreation. The only important ethical criteria here (to me) is first, protection from disease (condoms), and second, total honesty with your partner. As human beings, sometimes we are in love, sometimes we are simply attracted. As long as both partners are consenting, safe, and honest, I don't see an ethical problem. I have had plenty of fun, beautiful sex with friends and lovers whom I am not in a committed relationship with. I think compulsive sex and coercive sex are wrong and unhealthy. I agree, sex is best and most fulfilling when you are totally in love (not necessarily married). But, I would not limit my own sex life to that time because it would be a waste of a beautiful, renewable resource. Of course, our underlying values are going to inform this discussion. Sex is a very loaded issue. BTW, Liz, I agree, when kids know your stance is anti-sex before marriage, they are not going to be able to come to you when they face real world decisions about sexuality. "Mom, Taylor and I started having oral sex because we don't feel ready yet for intercourse." One study of kids given a strong "abstinence only" message in sex ed found that the kids were no less likely to have sex, only less likely to plan for it and use contraception. For kids who are made to feel guilty about it, not using contraception makes it seem like it "just happened" by accident. Less guilt.
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Old 08-10-2002, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I am glad Raven67 is here! I knew there must be some poly folks on here! The clash between our values and the culture's is one that concerns me greatly. The abstinence only message is destructive and wrong, and setting people up for so much psychological and emotional failure. It is also already leading to less self-awareness in terms of physical sex: what to do and how to have orgasms. This is a problem that should have been solved in the era when Dee Williams started Eve's Garden, not a problem that is resurfacing in 2000+.

I am concerned about protecting my child; her ability to explore sexuality in a healthy way without being labelled a slut, and without only experiencing sex in the context of doing it to get that milestone marked, or only performing on the partner (though in mature sex that's a great practice too). I want her to have the positive experiences I have had with friends who were lovers, maybe on and off, maybe consistently for years, etc, with the addition of what I did not have: openness with parents. I want her not to have some absurd notion of "true love," as though it is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, instead of the beautiful, renewable resource it is, or that "we are no longer in love therefore were not in true love".We are open to the notion that being with more than one partner is not "cheating" unless there is a betrayal of trust or agreements. If she chooses not to become involved sexually during adolescence that will be her choice, but a choice based on knowing what is right for her, at the time. Not a belief that it is always wrong, or always right, for everyone under such-and-such circumstances.

For people like us, there really is no such thing as "casual sex;" all sex is imbued with deeper meaning, even the lighthearted, fun, no-pressure sex. By no means is it "casual" or "meaningless." But when we are open to many types of experiences and experimentation, the variety in that deeper meaning opens up much further. This is what I want my children to know is healthy and available to them, when they are ready.

There is an Egyptian saying, "when your son grows up, make him your brother." This is what I'm really getting at. As a sister, I have to refrain from imposing my judgements on another's behaviour and choices. My daughter may choose to work in the sex industry; I will still be her parent; supportive, approving, concerned for her health and safety, whether that choice would be right for me or not.

So, how do those of us who are open to or involved in polyamory, BDSM, healthy interest in porn, swinging, etc, deal with our children about it, and deal with the conflicting messages they receive from "the outside world." How do we keep the status quo at bay? How much do we share with them about ourselves, and when? Experimenting teens are often grossed out by oral or anal sex, or have black-and-white judgements about porn or bondage. I guess I want my daughter to bypass that sort of juvenile naivete, by healthy exposure to these ideas in the home. Have any readers experienced bringing their teens up with this? With "Anal Pleasure and Health" on the bookshelves? How do we keep the lines of conversation open? Do we back off, or bring it up when we haven't talked about it in a while? I think everyone aspires to be Peggy at this point! What a heartwarming anecdote!

The discussion evolves further!
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Old 08-10-2002, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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<<You're kidding right? I was abstinenant until my marriage and I am certainly not a psychological or an emotional failure. >>

My comment meant that teaching abstinence as the only option, or "what this family/religion does" is what is wrong, as opposed to teaching the wide variety of choices.

Again, on this board I am not interested in discussing teaching abstinence to teens. Perhaps a new thread would be a good place if someone wishes to discuss the pros and cons. Rather, I wish to explore how to maintain openness in families who do *not* believe that abstinence until marriage is a healthy choice, or a realistic offering in lieu of sex education that allows the probability that adolescents and young adults will have sex before marriage.

<<Maybe I missed something. People like us? Who exactly? >>


By "people like us" I was referring to polyamorous families and individuals, and those who are otherwise open to nonmonogamy, before, after or during marriage.
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Old 08-10-2002, 08:08 PM
 
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Liz, the best discussions of children and open sexuality I have seen come from Pagan parenting forums. I don't know how familiar you are with Paganism, but many Pagans are polyamorous. I am Pagan. There are a couple of good books out on Pagan parenting, including, "Circle Round" by Starhawk. There is a whole chapter there on dealing with children and sexuality (coming of age, exploration, masturbation), including a charming essay from a 14-year-old about "outercourse" as an option for teens not yet ready for intercourse. Pagans are very concerned with this issue, especially with devising rituals to acknowledge and bless children's coming of age. I agree with you that it is very destructive to teach young people: Sex is beautiful and sacred, but only the day after your wedding vows, before that it is sinful and likely to kill you. Talk about crazy-making! It is ashame that so many of us have had to grow up with the association between sex and death being ever present in the culture. The right wingers have really expoited the AIDS crisis to reinforce controlling, patriarchal attitudes about sex. It is sad. I am not sure how much relevant dialogue you are going to find here, I doubt if many responders even know what polyamory is. I am curious about your situation with your daughter, ie, living with a partner, or not. If you would prefer to do private email, you can reach me at [email protected]
Cheers,
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Old 08-11-2002, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, Raven, I am most familiar with Paganism and not at all surprised that polyamory/paganism/openness go together for you too!

I was even considering inviting some of the polyamory list people over here to join the discussion so that we have some cross-pollenation on these boards. I like Mothering because of its long history of openness, and want to make sure these aspects and lifestyles, and awareness thereof, are kept alive here.

We don't have any set religion in our home; we are far too scientifically oriented to ascribe to any one track of belief, but there is a strong Buddhist leaning from my husband and certainly a very strong ethical and moral code, expounded daily in the form of political discussion. We love playing Devil's Advocate here!
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Old 08-11-2002, 04:58 PM
 
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I'm putting on the Moderator hat that Sierra left for me in her absence...

LizD, Mothering strongly discourages encouraging members of other boards to come support a particular idea on our boards. This very thing has caused numerous problems in the past and really causes a disruption to those Mothering members who would like to respectfully discuss this topic. Please be respectful of your fellow members who consider Mothering to be a safe place for them to voice their feelings, opinions and fears, and refrain from inviting non members to come and post simply for the purpose of adding support here for your opinions.

~Beth
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Old 08-12-2002, 01:59 AM
 
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Margeret, NM, and Peggy I know just what you mean -they say, yeah right...
NM, Liz and others, I do not teach abstinince to my children because it is not what I believe howEVER I firmly believe it is no more right or wrong then what I DO believe- and for those children for whom the abstinence method has failed I think it may have more to do witrh the method in which it was taught and the individuals rather than the method(abstinince) itsself-
I think its a great method when taught with the information and love that NM has described.
I am a single mother with five children between 3 and 16 at home, and a daughter who will be 26 in 2 days in LA- I also assist a homebirth midwife so discussions on sexuality and birth,birth control, orgasm and so forth are all pretty run of the mill and I think open honest discussion and love works- I believe in different sexual lifestyles for different people.Id love to find a monogamous life partner but Im not holding my breath and my kids know that occasionally I am sexually active (much LESS occasionally than I would like)
all that said...My 14 DD has taken to dressing like she is definately looking for attention/action and it does concern me- I dont want it to appear like I have the whole sex thing down to a tee, I DONT-
but so far so good. One day at a time...
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Old 08-12-2002, 02:23 AM
 
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Liz, Could you give me a link to a good polyamory bb? I would like to be able to communicate with other polyamorous types besides the handful that I know in RL. I guess you still have not gotten ideas about helping your daughter. The best I could come up with is reading.....sharing sex-positive material with her, keeping it around the house, and letting her draw her own conclusions. I would say reading definitely opened my eyes to exploring beyond the usual prudish adolescent scene when I was young. I suppose making comments too about the subtext of Hollywood portrayals of sexuality would be a way to open dialogue, too. "Look, hon, in this movie, they are assuming that girls would not be interested in sex unless they were corrupted by a powerful male, we know that is not true." Parents I know who are very sex-positive usually start by "normalizing" masturbation in their home. Talking about it with the assumption that it is a regular and healthy part of life, boys do it, girls do it, moms do it, dads do it, etc....Wish I could be more helpful.
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Old 08-12-2002, 04:54 AM
 
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I'd still really love to discuss the topic. Specifically how to help teens identify when they are ready for sex. Other than "when you get married"
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Old 08-12-2002, 10:22 AM
 
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I think part of parenting, (to me,today anyways) is knowing your child well and teaching your child,young person at this point, to learn how to know theirselves. I think this is an advantage attatchment orientations parenting has, because you know your child's feelings and so forth as they develop and the child, as they grow into a young adult,comprehends their own feelings and emotions and so forth -When a young adult is ready<sigh> -define ready?
I guess I had so many screwed up sexual issues (have?)-was active at 12- I was...NOT ready. that when I focus on the whole sexuality issue I egetconfused but when I am open and honest with my kids on a regular basis dealing with the situations when they arise or become...ready to deal with it all seems to work out -I think there are some definate...advisable things to do(like talking alot, being informative,supplying resources,etc-HONESTY, ) and not to do, but I dont think this is a case of right and wrong things to do- I think everyone is different, their circumstances are so different-
here I am carrying on again, this must be something I am wanting to talk about...
My 14 dd this morning just left on her first day of high school- she had a very...slinky kewl lacey top out to wear that her brother gently informed her was out of dress code at the last minute so bless her she ran out the door in jeans and a t shirt-
I read an article about young girls maturing faster and it was regarding phermones(sp?) and chemical interactions discussing that young girls raised with step fathers or other men around regularly mature quicker because of actual chemical interactions with men who are not their father -whereas daughters with biological fathers in the house do not experience the chemical interactions- I am forgetting where I read it but it really made sense to me- sorry I dont have the reference, Ill try to remember tho-
edited to add that abortion ,porn and so forth are not taboo at all in my house, I discuss abortion with co workers(usually menstral regulation/herbally ) -this is NOT an abortion is right or wrong statement by the way, I assist a midwife, this stuff comes up- I have views sure but I dont want to upset anyone-and the older sister danced (topless)and did some porn stuff for a whil;e- I was totally NOT ok with that stuff because I thought it was dangerous and involved her with a crowd I was not comfortable with- My kids know how I feel and we have discussed it- I know my son checks out porn sites-its his business I think- we talk abot it to a degree and the rest he feels free to investigate, my 14 daughter I think probably doesnt discuss as openl;y with me, she is younger- It is my personal attitude that if it is healthy for you to do(physically and psychologically,emotionally and spiritually) and if it feels good-do it- arriving at concerting those "whether ifs" is what I feel is my job as a parent- at this point I shoot from the hip, Im so glad we are discussing this-
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Old 08-12-2002, 03:43 PM
 
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Nursing Mother wrote:
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I wouldn't respect anyone having casual sex as it is dangerous and wrong imo.
I think what you meant to say is that you wouldn't condone the BEHAVIOR regardless of who did it (even your own child), but what you actually said in this sentence is that you wouldn't respect anyone having casual sex which seems to mean you don't respect a PERSON who has casual sex. This is a crucial distinction. (The only way I can figure out what you meant is by the other things you said, about still respecting the person in other ways.) If you do have to cope with finding out that one your children has made sexual choices different from the ones you wanted him/her to make, I hope you will remember to make it crystal clear that your respect for every other aspect of him/her is unchanged and that your disappointment with the sexual behavior does not make you think he/she is a bad person.

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Can one talk about those issues, abortion, BDSM, porn, etc with ones teen yet still not condone those behaviors or acts. I am very close with my teens and we talk about those things
Seems like you've answered your own question! Of course it is possible to talk about an issue, to acknowledge that it is a choice some people make, without saying that it is a good idea. My parents did an excellent job of that on the issue of BDSM: They said, basically, "Some people like to hurt each other as part of their sexual activity. We believe it's wrong to hurt anyone on purpose. We believe sex should be caring and gentle and should not involve pain. We feel sad and worried that there are people who like to get hurt. We don't understand why they like what they do, but we don't know everything about them, and it isn't our business to say what consenting adults should do when they're alone. It's something some people like, but if you don't want to try it there's no reason why you ever should, and don't let anyone talk you into it."

LizD wrote:
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Well, I am glad Raven67 is here! I knew there must be some poly folks on here!
I am poly! I alluded to it earlier in this thread and have talked about it in more detail in other threads. Actually, I think one of the reasons I am poly is the way I was raised: being taught to love all the many wonderful people around us rather than restricting affections to a particular social group, a religious or racial community, or one "best friend", in combination with being taught to enjoy my own sexuality, in combination with being encouraged to be an independent woman rather than depending on Prince Charming.

Raven67 mentioned a charming essay from a 14-year-old about "outercourse" as an option for teens not yet ready for intercourse. I think that's one of the most neglected topics in talking about teen sexuality! As on many other issues, a lot of people have a very "all or nothing" view of sex, and that can lead teens who are feeling horny and attracted to each other to think that the ONLY thing to do is have intercourse. This exposes them to many more risks than touching or even oral sex. I almost feel it should be REQUIRED that people of any age, but especially teens, have at least one session of just touching before they have intercourse together. It's worked out great for me!

Arduinna wrote:
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I'd still really love to discuss the topic. Specifically how to help teens identify when they are ready for sex. Other than "when you get married"
I posted some ideas earlier. Did you miss them, or not find them helpful?

I agree with Raven67 that making books available is a good idea. I would suggest actively showing (even reading to) your daughter those books that contain really crucial information, for instance something like Our Bodies, Ourselves. Be more passive with books about alternative-type stuff--just put them on a shelf, discreet but in plain sight, and if you see her reading one don't pounce eagerly (that's likely to embarrass her) but the next time you're talking ask her what she thought of the book and if she has questions.

Comments like, "Look, hon, in this movie, they are assuming that girls would not be interested in sex unless they were corrupted by a powerful male, we know that is not true." I think are better when the last clause is replaced with "What do you think?" or "Why would they write it that way?" Then it comes across as an invitation to discussion, rather than beating the kid over the head with your opinions.

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Old 08-12-2002, 04:29 PM
 
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Becca, I loved your posts and think they were really helpful. I guess I was just attempting to invite anyone who might be lurking to post about it.

And I'd love to hear more thoughts from those that support or accept that teens will be sexually active before marriage and are ok with it.
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Old 08-12-2002, 08:07 PM
 
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I agree with many great ideas here.

Personally, I have a very open relationship with my dd. If she comes to me about having sex with a boy I will make sure that I let her know both the down and upside to a decision to HAVE sex before love....(notice I didn't say marriage). I think it is important discuss ALL of the possible outcomes of a decision like that!!

The most important thing is that she feel safe coming to me with ANY problem. I don't want her to lie to me or hide something from me out of fear or embarrassment. I have shared some very personal stories from my teen past(I did it all) and I think it healp her relate to me So far, she hasn't been interested in boys. She hasn't even gotten her period yet(will be 14 in Oct.)! I am enjoying these days while they last!!!!

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Old 08-12-2002, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally posted by jbcjmom
I'm putting on the Moderator hat that Sierra left for me in her absence...

LizD, Mothering strongly discourages encouraging members of other boards to come support a particular idea on our boards. This very thing has caused numerous problems in the past and really causes a disruption to those Mothering members who would like to respectfully discuss this topic. Please be respectful of your fellow members who consider Mothering to be a safe place for them to voice their feelings, opinions and fears, and refrain from inviting non members to come and post simply for the purpose of adding support here for your opinions.

~Beth
I understand the concern, but my intention was not to bolster support for my opinions; hardly!! Rather, to make aware parents who might not otherwise know there is a safe place for discussion of all the fine topics here. The same way I give Mothering subscriptions to new parents I know. I meant to encourage more readership of Mothering, not to start some sort of rebellion. I barely have the time for the discussion here as it is. Let alone tracking down potential new members!
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Old 08-13-2002, 01:34 PM
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I've deleted a post from this thread due to its adversarial tone and it's potential to create conflict rather than beneficial, respectful discussion.

LizD I think you may have given some mixed messages in your posts. In your opening post you clarified that you wanted discussion with those who share your concerns or have the experience you're looking for and that you did not want input from those, religious or otherwise, with what you consider to be "prohibitive attitudes". Then in another post you addressed questions to people with the attitudes you didn't want to discuss. So the discussion has been widened by that and you should expect it to extend beyond your own beliefs now.

However, respectful exchange of ideas and beliefs can take place. Let's try and make that the goal here - and in every board.

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Old 08-14-2002, 06:43 PM
 
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Liz, I was rereading the thread and came across the part where you were talking about helping them make wise for them decisions.

It got me thinking that one of the things I've worked hard at is helping my dd do that. Other than issues of health and safety (no playing in the street), I let her decide. I don't make arbitrary rules for her. So I rarely say no to her just because it's "enough". IE you've played over there enough, you've spent the night enough this week, ect.

So I think that has layed the ground work for the same kind of "do what's right for you" as far as sex is concerned. I'm hoping that by thinking about her own needs and desires for the less important things, such as "Do I want to go to _____ and be gone all day?" she will have learned the skills when the question is " Do I want to have sex with so and so".

She has many opportunities to work out saying no to people. Even when her friends sometimes whine about it, and beg PLEASE. Good practice IMO.
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Old 09-04-2002, 07:18 PM
 
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Just wandering around the boards today - we have a 6 and 2 year old (both daughters) so I have a little time. But I would definitely fall into the category of accepting of teen sexuality. It was a fun, exciting time for me and I would not want my girls to miss it. I actually think that premarital sex ups the odds that your marriage will last! My theory is this: everyone has a promiscuous phase. Some in jr/sr. high, some in college, some after ten years of marriage, some after forty! But my theory is that EVERYONE will have it eventually. So why not before marriage? Seems like the best time to me.
I would hope my girls would give it serious thought and be "safe".
Someone asked how to help kids know when is the "right" time. I think the friends first idea is great. With a best friend of the opposite sex (or same if that is your situation) you really KNOW the person, trust them, have mutual respect, and will likely be friends even after the sexual part of your relationship is past.
Interesting thread.
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