This period of coming to terms with viruses and transmitted diseases might be a good time to give some thought to whether we are protecting our sexual health, and whether we are doing our utmost to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Once we are all out of quarantine and sequestration, it would be wise to follow these guidelines coming from STDTesting.org.
A thought I want to share as the holidays approach: Your child owes no one a hug.
Insisting a child kiss or hug a relative or family friend Hello or Goodbye when s/he does want to, invalidates your child’s feelings by suggesting that external pressures (and Aunty’s feelings) are more important than his/hers. And it teaches them that consent can be manipulated, by cajoling or worse.
America is a rather prudish society, with sex still largely closeted, and sex education absent, limited or whitewashed. And yet, with many kids having free and unsupervised access to the internet, the average age for watching pornography online is getting younger and younger.
A steady rise in the number of young men experiencing erectile dysfunction has spurred a series of research studies about how frequent exposure to porn from a young age may be affecting their psychosexual development; a body of opinion is emerging linking such exposure to this steady rise in ED.
The following posting includes selections from Part 2 of psychologist and social sociologist Laurence Steinberg’s article in Psychology Today (Feb. 2011), that urges parents to talk to their teens about sex before they become sexually active. Part 1 offered some explanations why parents are reluctant to speak about sex.
* * *
How can parents overcome their own hesitations and their young adolescent’s resistance? Here are some suggestions:
Psychologist, professor and social sociologist Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned expert on the psychological development of adolescents. Steinberg urges parents to talk to their teens about sex before they become sexually active.
I include here his article on the subject that appeared Psychology Today (Feb. 2011), in two separate postings. Part 1 examines why parents are reluctant to speak about sex. Part 2 will look at how parents can overcome their own hesitations (and their young adolescent’s resistance) to talk to their young adolescent about sex.
In an article that appeared in Domestic Intelligence (1.19.2009), psychologist and writer Dr. Terri Apter suggests that recent discoveries about the still-developing adolescent human brain and traditional explanations about raging teenage hormones do not sufficiently explain the teen’s experience of parents. And they therefore do not sufficiently help us understand why teenagers fight so much with their parents.
Terri Apter, PhD, a University of Cambridge researcher and leading authority on mothers and teen girls, offers a four-point plan to improve your next conversation. These ideas are taken from the May 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.
I would only add that many of these ideas are equally applicable to speaking with your teenage sons about sex.
“How can a boy kiss a girl who wears braces?”
“I have enormous ears…. Is there an operation to whittle them down to size?”
“I am in terrible trouble and I don’t know where to turn. I’m 14 and I’m pregnant.”
“Should I sleep with my boyfriend?” (asked by a 10-year-old girl)
During the cultural upheaval of the 1960s and 70s, questions arose as never before about formerly forbidden topics such as sex. Thousands of teenagers and their parents, unable to find answers elsewhere, sent letters (first on paper and later by email) to Elizabeth Winship’s “Ask Beth” column in The Boston Globe, seeking her frank, detailed, sympathetic, and often witty advice on how to deal with delicate topics.