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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Random Thoughts about Sex and Kids

Over the last week or so in particular - but my whole life in general - I have noticed something that kinda disturbs me. To give some background info on recent events, I had to call the cops on my neighbor because he was shouting obscenities at me and demanding that I go out and confront him.

Also, I read an wonderful blog post about a mom who decided to breastfeed her 4 year old adopted daughters.

Both incidences have a common theme: the belief that kids should not see nudity. To clarify, the blog post was about overcoming the stigma society has about older kids breastfeeding because of the rampant belief that breasts are sexual objects. However, this also means that people are typically against nudity in general because naked body parts are sexual objects.

One of my neighbor's complaints against me is that I walk around my house naked and his son might/has seen me. His belief is that his son is too young to see nudity. This is the same as all those mothers who complain about ads such as for Victoria's Secret in which the models are naked or nearly so. They don't want their kids to see that!

I sigh... I do understand wanting to keep kids from seeing (and having) sex. I still get skiddish when I'm watching a movie with the boys and a love scene suddenly arrives. The funny thing is that if they were to show both people changing their clothes. Say that - for whatever reason - the movie showed someone strip completely naked and then put different clothes back on; I'd have no problem letting my boys see that. Lets also say that the entire movie (or play or whatever) was performed by naked people. I STILL wouldn't have a problem with that. It's when they start groping each other and getting hot and heavy that I pause the show and kick the boys out of the room!

Here's the thing: I don't think sex is bad. I think sex is sacred. I think that it should not be hidden from kids - in the sense of talking about it and perhaps letting them read or see certain examples. (Reread the previous paragraph if you somehow think I am advocating letting kids watch porn!) I think that teaching teens how to have sex responsibly is probably THE most valuable lesson a teenager could have.

But... our culture has long believed that sex is bad. Sinful. Shameful. Perverse...

Therefore, even in the blog I linked, it is stated several times that: "Breasts are not sexual objects. They were created to nourish children."

That line frustrated me to no end because it is EXACTLY the same as my neighbor saying that his son should not be seeing me naked. (When said like that, it makes it sound like I am strutting my stuff outside for the world to see, but I'm not. I'm in my house trying to make sure that the neighbors aren't traumatized by my fat ass!)

So basically, in a push to define what is acceptable for children to see, overprotective parents have decided that anything that can possibly be considered a sexual object - such as breasts specifically or a naked body in general - is simply unfit. Therefore children should not see naked people and breastfeeding should be done in private. This is maddening and frankly wrong!

In this day and age, there are actually a lot of women who grew up thinking that breastfeeding was shameful. That it was dirty and should only be done at home. Heaven forbid that the baby needed to eat in public!!! Go to the bathroom! Don't do that where my child might see you! I don't want to see that!

In my opinion, it's like a war has been declared and on one side we have sex. On the other side, we have kids. The two should never ever ever ever ever ever cross! If a child saw sex or a sexual object, he or she would be traumatized for life!!!

However, sex sells. Therefore, ad companies are constantly pushing the boundaries of what they can and can't show. Lots of ads show barely concealed nudity, and or couples about to have sex. This makes the whole situation WORSE because then understandably upset moms push back. They shriek in outrage - How dare you expose my child to sex?!!!

This is a war that hurts everyone, IMO. I completely agree that kids should not be having sex. (And in this sentence I refer to anyone who hasn't gone through puberty yet - or is JUST going through it. They simply do not have the hormones to make sex interesting to them yet.)

HOWEVER, I also think that it is only natural for kids to want to talk about sex with each other. Their curiosity will make young kids "play doctor," and they are NOT little perverts for doing so! In fact, it is the parent who is a pervert if they think that there is ANY possibility that young kids even know what sex truly is! My older son is 8 and we've talked about sex enough that he does know what it is and why adults have it. He is even old enough to realize that mama and daddy have it more than he wants to think about.

To him, sex is about making babies. End of story!

He was raised by nudist parents, and he sees nudity quite often. This has not made him want to go around molesting people! When he gets into arguments with his friends, it's ALWAYS about toys/possessions. "He wouldn't let go of my blanket, so I punched him!" It is NEVER about inappropriate touching/flashing. I have never gotten a complaint about my boys trying to touch their friends in ways they shouldn't. Nor have my boys ever just stripped naked in public. They have clearly defined boundaries.

When others come over and tell them things like: "Put clothes on, I don't want to see you naked!" I get mad! How would they like it if I went to their house and said: "Take your clothes off, I don't want to see you dressed!"

When I said that to my mom, she rolled her eyes and basically ignored me. WHY? Because society says that wearing clothes is right and that being naked is wrong. Therefore, in her opinion, someone telling my boys to put clothes on in our house is right and me even daring to suggest that this is equal to me demanding that someone take clothes off in their own home is wrong.

I.E. nudity = sex, and sex+kids is wrong!

It makes me want to pull my hair and bang my head on the wall! I don't want EVERYONE to think and believe the same things I do, but in this one instance, studies prove that children who grow up seeing nudity (most societies had communal bathing before the modern convenience of showers) have better self-image. They aren't as concerned about how they look. They don't go on dangerous diets to look like barbie dolls and supermodels.

More and more we are overprotecting our children. We are declaring war on anything that makes us even slightly uncomfortable. We are trying to put our kids in a little bubble until they turn 18, and even then, a lot of parents don't want to let their kids go. Some parents even go so far as to make their kids so completely dependent on them that their kids CAN'T leave them when they grow up!

Childhood is a period of time when young people are supposed to be learning how to be good and responsible adults who are self-sufficient enough to live their lives on their own. They learn how to interact with others by playing. WITHOUT parental supervision!!! Only when their parent is not there watching their every move and trying to solve all their problems for them, only then can children learn how to act around others and solve their own problems. They need their parents to be role models, not puppet masters...

Getting back to sex. There is absolutely no reason that sex should be hidden from kids. (Again, not advocating letting them watch porn or even parental sex, stop thinking that's what I'm trying to do!) Sex should be fully acknowledged as part of life. A BIG part of life.

That means that rather than bitch about a sexual ad on a billboard, simply tell your kids why it's there. "They just want to sell cigarettes, honey. The sexual tension of the ad makes cigarettes seem cool when they're really not. They harm your body and give you cancer."

That's really not so hard, IMO, so I wonder why so many parents would rather try to prevent their child from seeing the ad instead of simply talking about it? Oh wait... that war thing again. Kids should never ever ever ..... be exposed to sex, so rather than talk about it, I'll just remove the "problem."

Sigh... too bad it doesn't work that way...

(Here's a long article that references multiple studies to confirm that parents are overprotecting their kids.)

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